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Can we all heart Huckabee?

This TNR profile isn’t totally a puff piece, but it makes Huckabee seem admirably nuanced. He lacks foreign policy gravitas, but that distinguishes him only from Giuliani and McCain (and maybe Duncan Hunter) among all the aspirants, and he has the advantage of not having had to cast a vote for or against anything the Bush Administration has does anywhere in the world.

I think he has an appeal beyond his "natural" constituency: his language of self-discipline and self-help sounds like it could be deployed to good effect in a conversation with Oprah Winfrey (shudder!), which means that he’s a Republican who could actually contest the female vote with any comer. I leave it to others to tell me whether he’s manly enough to appeal to men.

Discussions - 22 Comments

I don't mean to be argumentative, but what gives Giuliani foreign policy gravitas? He was Mayor of New York City and a prosecutor. Is gravitas just an intangible quality unrelated to experience? Is it synonymous with the manliness factor you ask about?

More on point, I am skeptical of the whole “manly” thing. While it may describe an actual dimension/dynamic that voters notice (I don’t doubt that it does), I think it is sometimes used as a sort of surrogate for certain policy positions. The manliest politician I know of is Pat Buchanan, but some would say his policies aren’t manly.

That said, after Huckabee speaks I do not come away with the feeling “I sure would hate to meet that guy in a dark alley.” Neither would I be afraid to meet George W. I would be a little nervous if I had to meet Cheney. But what does that all mean? I certainly would not want to be governed by Dick Cheney.

I assume Harvey C. Mansfield's book "Manliness" would provide the definition you seek, though I find it odd that a flaming "paleoconservative" would be skeptical of the whole manly thing.

In answer to Dr. Knippenberg's question: No - not at all. I'll support him if he wins the nomination, but he's way too nicey nice.

Andrew, that is my point. "Manliness" seems to be some sort of code for flexing foreign policy muscle, a strong executive, etc. I am certainly not against manliness as an attribute. I am just not sure it means in the political sphere what some would have it mean.

No more wimps!

We desperately need a President who won't hesitate to tell the "international community" where they can get off. We desperately need a President who is downright eager to take names, and kick ass, at home, and abroad.

I was sure that the next election was going to be another "Dole" moment until Thompson joined in.

Dole, old Senator; Thompson, old Senator.

Huckabee conservative governor. It seems pretty clear to me.

I've already expressed my doubts about the plausibility of another president from Hope. Having said that, this gravitas thing is overrated. Rudy, for example, doesn't really have any foreign policy experience, and McCain is a plausible candidate only if you can really believe that getting tougher in Iraq is a winning issue for Reps. in 08. One Mansfield definition of manliness is excessive self-confidence, and Huck has the confidence without surrendering the moderating quality of self-irony.


Please enlighten us on how Huckabee is conservative.

I just know him as the
tax-and-spend, fiscally-irresponsible governor who increased the size of government in Arkansas and who also supports using the full power of the government to nanny the personal behavior choices of the American people to the upmost extreme.

As I mentioned in my last post about Huckabee, I have now made a donation to the Huckabee campaign. Got tired of telling people he is my favorite of the lot, but never putting my money where my mouth is. Even if you don't think he can win the nomination for whatever reason (though do tell us what those reasons are), I think his is a voice that is much needed for GOP voters in the early rounds of primaries and caucuses. Now, pony up!

Red, if you name a few of your favorite political leaders throughout history (Wellington, perhaps?) you will find that, by the definition laid down by Mansfield, they are all manly men. There are little to no politics as such in the book, and it is a useful tool because it provides a definition and apology for an important virtue which has been deemed passe at best in this day and age.

I believe Dr. Morel makes a good point. I like Huckabee, especially his sense of humor (which I believe says a lot about the soul), but I would prefer nearly any of the other front runners as our next commander-in-chief.

Harvy Mansfield is a Straussian neocon (i.e. a left-winger in disguise, like all neocons). Being a real conservative, I could care less what he says.

And, Mike Huckabee supports the third-world invasion of the U.S. - and thus is guilty of TREASON.

Among other problems, Huck could never get the all-important Gnostic Heideggerian Existentialist vote.

Mansfield has good enemies. I looked at his book on Amazon and most of the negative reviews are from feminist egalitarian types who are flabbergasted that someone could suggest that there is some virtue in manliness. But Mansfield also wrote the article "The Case for the Strong Executive." So I think there is more going on here than just manliness as an identifiable trait. Like I said, I think it is code or a surrogate for certain political ideas. I would be happy to be proven wrong.

Actually, John, that's one place he's strong.

I guess that no one even needs to defend Huckabee's social record, seeing not even his most blatant opponents can attack that bastion of conservatism.

Economically/fiscally is Huckabee's only potential weakspot. For starters during his tenure as governor, the AR Supreme Court ordered school funding to be fixed (much like the OH Supreme Court has) which led to a large transfer of school funding from the local to the state level, increasing the state budget. Secondly he cut taxes in Arkansas a bunch of times, all while working with a Democratic legislature. Sure, he's not going to give huge tax cuts to the rich, but if you want someone who understands and will work for middle class tax cuts, without taxing the rich more, then Huckabee sounds like the right man for the job.

I guess that no one even needs to defend Huckabee's social record, seeing not even his most blatant opponents can attack that bastion of conservatism.

I think he's about as socially conservative as Bush is. Which is to say, not much.

His comments on race and immigration could have come from the mouth of Jimmy Carter or Bill Clinton. Huck is from the God as a big ole' cuddly teddybear wing of Christianity.

Huckabee is just another open borders neocon. There's no way I'd vote for him.

Yeah, John, I much prefer a God who hates people too. Darn, I just wish we could elect someone who believed in a God who enjoyed Damning people. Wouldn't that be great??

In fact God hates us so much that He gets mad when we actually love Him, see the Prodigal Son and the Lost Sheep...Oh, yeah I think God forgives and loves them anyway.

I guess that no one even needs to defend Huckabee's social record

I've attacked his record. You have not defended it. So perhaps it is more accurate to say that nobody is able to defend Huckabee's social record.

On the other hand, you did a great job of tearing that Hateful God strawman to shreds.

Frankly John your attack was so bad that I was trying to make it better with a straw man. Get real, comparing Bush to Clinton and then to Huckabee and claiming all are social liberals. Clinton and Bush are opposites on the social scale, see abortion, civil unions, morals, religion/faith based initiative. Bush is probably the most socially conservative President, it's hard to go back that far. Eisenhower, maybe? Clinton on the other hand was extremely liberal, expanding international abortion funding, sucking up to the UN and their radical social agenda, and because of his greater political skill, making Carter look benign.

John, please note the Huckabee is pro-life, pro-marriage, pro-family, and just an all around good man in a way that none of the other GOP candidates are. All the other candidates have changed their positions on these issues, while Huckabee has been solid on these his whole life.

"I leave it to others to tell me whether he’s manly enough to appeal to men."

Huckabee plays bass and covers Freebird. That's kind of cool.

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