John Podhoretz admits he was "foolish" to dismiss Huckabee’s chances at the nomination a few weeks ago. And he wonders whether Huck’s rise may indicate that McCain--who also may have had a premature dismissal--might be able to stage a comeback against Huck in January. In the end, however, JPod seems to share my concern that a ticket led by Huckabee would spell electoral disaster for the GOP in November.
On another note, Michael Medved today was speculating on whether Lieberman’s endorsement of McCain signals a kind of growing disgust with the hyper-partisanship of the last few years (decades?). Are Americans really sick of the so-called extremes in both parties?
While I don’t want to jump on the bandwagon that’s always ready to heap disdain on the two party system, I think there is something to this. I think it is true that this election cycle has produced more of what we might call "niche" candidates. I add this disclaimer--that these are very "off the cuff" reflections--but I might also say that the candidates seem to reflect the growing trend in media toward "niche" reporting. There is a blog and a candidate for everyone . . . but there doesn’t seem to be one that unites enough of any of us. And I might also say that this accounts for the vacuousness of the Obama effort. His instincts are correct in trying to appeal to this vague notion of a need for "unity." But the problem is that he can’t really move away from oblique references to universally admired objectives such as hope and unity. That’s why an Oprah endorsement has been such a boon to him . . . she can and does appeal to the same kind of vague notions and has had great success in this for many years. It will be interesting to see his appeal continues to grow in this vague way or if the harsh realities of politics will force him to embrace some absolutes. As soon as he begins to designate specifics, I think things will fall apart and Hillary will be safe. But a Republican who can continue the theme of portraying her as a divider and successfully color himself as a uniter may have a decided advantage.