Friday, October 19, 2007

Huckabee into the top tier

David Brooks, not generally a favorite columnist around MH, has written an interesting article pointing out that Mike Huckabee is positioned not only to break into the top tier (we have argued that he is already there, and many pundits are echoing that sentiment,) but to win the nomination.

After noting that the GOP electorate, especially in Iowa, is restless and that late movement often breaks to the candidate on the rise, he makes an even more important observation:

...each of the top-tier candidates makes certain parts of the party uncomfortable. Huckabee is the one candidate acceptable to all factions.

This is true. He is not the top choice of any faction, but he is acceptable to all, and very attractive to most.

Then comes this winner -- again nailing it:

Huckabee is the most normal person running for president (a trait that might come in handy in a race against Hillary Clinton). He is funny and engaging — almost impossible not to like. He has no history of flip-flopping in order to be electable. He doesn’t seem to be visibly calculating every gesture. Far from being narcissistic, he is, if anything, too neighborly to seem presidential.

Furthermore, while he is a natural with voters of strong religious convictions, there is a crucial difference about this guy who likes to rock out in his own band:

>...unlike the first generation of politically engaged Christian conservatives, Huckabee is not at war with mainstream America.

And how do you measure the strength of that?

Even more importantly, Huckabee is poised to nail down the segment of the GOP electorate that is most crucially needed, unless we want to go back to the evil days of country-club Republicanism and permanent minority status:

>...though you wouldn’t know it from the past few years, the white working class is the backbone of the G.O.P. Huckabee is most in tune with these voters.

Brooks goes on -- pointing out the obvious strengths that a governor has on the campaign trail and in governing, pointing out Huckabee's ability to work collaboratively with Democrats in his own state, and so forth.

Yes, the Club for Growth -- whom we admire, but whom we also don't want picking our president for us all by themselves -- will have a fit if Huckabee is the guy.

But the very reasons why Huckabee is at the top of almost no-one's list are the reasons why he could be so formidable in the fall of 2008.

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