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The Handicappers Say Huckabee Won

Here’s one version of the verdict among many. I agree with the nerve of the thoughtful comments in the threads below: Mike might be both too much like Bush and too much like Clinton. But I have to add the more positive spin that his disdain for Wall Street and his worry about our dependence on foreign oil--as well as his general compassionate unlibertarianism--sound something, at least, like our friend Dr. Pat Deneen (with evangelical add-ons). I make that point not to endorse the new man from Hope’s positions but to suggest that Huck might be developing a distinctive niche campaign. I also agree with the point made in the threads that the Ames result also showed that maybe the only Republicans who aren’t lethargic are particularly concerned with either abortion or immigration.

Discussions - 9 Comments

"his general compassionate unlibertarianism"

Who is this appealing to among the base? I think the compassionate stuff is, like a said below, a reactive defense against the inevitable charge that he is a mean spirited Baptist. The base still likes budget cutting rhetoric, even if they don't really want significant budget cutting. (If they did they would be supporting Ron Paul.)

I don't think the compassionate conservative stuff has much inherent appeal on its own. At least not to self-identified conservatives. It may have some appeal to moderates.

Huckabee's relatively good support at Ames reflects a likeable personality, good communications skills, and a complete absense of any obvious negatives. Substantively, Huckabee appears to be another George W. Bush circa 2000. His fluffy message and lightweight demeanor may win votes, but they do not reflect the enormous stakes of this election -- and this nomination -- which in turn reflects the gravity of the times. He says in today's NYT story that he's a conservative, but not "angry" about it. That's a large part of the problem. God help us if we nominate a candidate, or elect a president, who isn't angry about anything.

I want a candidate who is angry about porous borders, high taxes, unconstitutional spending, dead babies, political correctness, cultural decay, etc.

Amen. The speeches we're hearing from most of the Republican candidates just don't match the times.

Amen!!!!! Oh wait, I don't think we are in a position to win by getting angry. When did Washington or Lincoln get angry? Please remind me. We need somebody like a Huckabee who sympathizes with the human condition. Lincoln sympathized with even slaveholders. Sympathy and compassion are really the only way that you are going to change people or policy. Government is not your Dad so paternal authority doesn't fly. If we want to make changes to and through our government, we need someone smart enough to approach these issues likably.

This is not political correctness; this is common sense. Don't burn the barn down to kill the rats.

Exactly right, Clint. Angry candidates don't win. We need a Reagan, not a Goldwater.

6: Ronald Reagan got his start in big-time politics (from the early 1960s) as a rather angry man. The "Time for Choosing" speech on behalf of Goldwater in October 1964, which I have heard, is not a sunny speech by any means. It is confident about the underlying America to which Reagan is appealing, but not about the current situation or the future toward which America seems to be headed. Even the tone of voice is rather dire. And this speech is far from the only example.
Later, Reagan's anger probably moderated, and certainly did in terms of outward appearances. But he was always, at least through 1980, a man who divided and didn't mind dividing.
He appeared less divisive than he was because he honestly believed, and had some basis for believing, he was speaking for a silent majority. Goldwater's problem wasn't his anger, but consisted of several things: his lack of will to be president, his ambivalent attitude toward his base, his probably-correct belief that he could not beat Johnson, and his frequent indiscipline in terms of campaigning (an angry candidate can still be disciplined and even cheerful).

5: Clint, remember, Lincoln got about 40 percent of the vote in 1860, in a four-party race. As someone correctly said, the electoral map of 1860 gives the picture of a country breaking in two. Lincoln didn't want this to happen, but was prepared for it to happen. He may well have been compassionate toward slaveholders, but his anger at slavery and the advocates of the pro-slavery ideology (this is not the same as slaveholders) was real. It's not easy to measure a person's subjective anger when he is a public figure, and less so 150 years after the fact. But divisive? blunt? risk-taking? I think Lincoln was all of these things. Read or re-read the last pages of the Cooper Union address, just for starters: "Their thinking it right, and our thinking it wrong, is the precise fact upon which depends this whole controversy." Look at the House Divided speech, with its unsparing analysis of "where we are, and whither we are tending." Look at the speech on the Dred Scott decision: "the plainest print cannot be read through a gold Eagle." Look at the Lincoln-Douglas debate, I think it was, in which Lincoln accuses either Douglas (a moderate, in terms of the big picture) or his supporters of "covert real zeal" for slavery, despite their "declared indifference" to it. I would say that in a democratic system, a large-scale agent of change must probably have significant sympathy and compassion in his makeup, and show it. Yes, Lincoln did. That's not to say that these things are the key to change. They are subordinate, I think, in all serious political actors.

I think Dr. Lawler is trying to poison the well against Huckabee. "general compassionate unlibertarianism"? whatever the hell that means...obviously we are to react as Dan P does.

But I still like Mike, whatever Dr. Lawler might say in his favor. He is reasonable, and Dr. Mosier is right.

I say pick Huckabee, and get the very reasonable libertarian professinal poker player/familly man Greg Raymer as the Vice Presidential running mate.

I would be sympathetic to Mr. Frisk but any candidate that tried to be what he wants would just be canned peaches.

Get the guys who can talk sense character and reason, and let the chips fall where they may.

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