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Is Huck Another Dean?

Thanks to Steve Hayward for his post below. But, with all due respect, I don’t think he deserves any dibs. We’ve been discussing the Huck-Dean comparison, which is in some ways quite instructive, for weeks here at Berry College. And the most obvious possibility is that Huck will flame out like Dean. But there are differences: Dean had become the establishment candidate soon before imploding. He was endorsed, remember, by Steve’s good friend Al Gore, and many, many others. The Republican "establishment," meanwhile, has shown nothing but contempt for Huck, and that’s not likely to change. So the new man from Hope continues to benefit from the "outsider," "man of the people against the interests" perception. What united Democrats in 2004 was hatred for Bush, and the perception that any relatively moderate, uncontroversial candidate could beat him. As soon as it seemed Dean could really get the nomination, he suddenly seemed too risky. The most important thing was not that any particular Democrat win, but that Bush lose. It suddenly seemed obvious to the Democrats that the "electable alternative" was Kerry. (Boy, were they wrong!)

The Republicans aren’t united by hatred of Hillary; Hillary hatred ain’t what it used to be. And it’s not obvious who the electable alternative to Huckabee is. Giuliani has been fading for months, has not had good press, is conservative only on issues on which the Republicans seem unpopular and on the defensive (health care, Iraq, even more tax cuts), has not campaigned well, and missed numerous opportunities to reach out to social conservatives (by, for example, being against ROE).

Romney is just starting to show some character, but he has a way to go. Thompson and McCain seem too old and sort of yesterday’s news. In general, they all seem like yesterday’s news, parts of a party that now deserves to surrender the White House and give the other guys a chance.

But I’m in favor of giving McCain a close second look, simply because he joins Huck in scoring high in authenticity. The Republican establishment is discredited for lots of reasons, and the party really, really needs an outsider. McCain is trying to be one. Huckabee certainly is one. I agree with those who who say he’s surely too evangelical to be elected, and that we really don’t know much about him. He would certainly be a very high-risk nominee. But that criticism only works if there’s confidence that someone else can be elected. And, let’s face it, most astute Republicans are pretty despondent about their party’s prospects next November. I’m not endorsing Huck (far from it), but Republicans shouldn’t be smug about cooler heads prevailing against him.

Discussions - 14 Comments

Excellent analysis but I think SH still gets dibs since he called it "in public" first.

Short answer: NO. Dean was crying to his campaign manager Joe Trippi, confessing that he NEVER thought he'd win, didn't think himself equal to the job and only ran to forward his agenda. Not to mention, Dean was clearly struggling to rein in his seething anger during the homestretch of his run for the Iowa primary.

Huckabee has nothing like that, and Huckabee is nothing like Dean.

Dean wasn't affable, Huck is, genuinely so. That's not feigned. Huck feigns much, {though not as much as Romney} he feigns a foreign policy grasp, but he's comfortable in his own skin, he's comfortable on the stage, he's comfortable under the big lights, he's comfortable answering and he's comfortable dodging.

It's that as much as anything that accounts for his surge.

Despite the pressure to select Romney, the rank and file is sickened by him. The party respects Giuliani, but isn't keen to place the nomination in his hands. And McCain insulted the party once too often for his own good. Thompson looks like the political equivalent to Jacob Marley's ghost.

In such a situation, Huck could EASILY win the thing.

People saying Huck is but the flavour du jour only confess their over attachment to tired political clichés.

Huck can win the thing.

And Peter, men in their 60s, running for THE WHITE HOUSE, don't get a chance to "start showing some character" at this late date. If you haven't demonstrated character in your 40s, in your 50s, then we're not going to give you a chance to "start showing some" in your 60s.

I mean Peter, are you for real with that ????????????

We're not talking some state legislator here, this is the MOST important and prestigious job on the planet. The responsibilities break men down. And you're SERIOUSLY considering a guy who is only "starting," AT THIS LATE DATE IN THE CAMPAIGN, AND THIS LATE DATE IN HIS LIFE, only now "starting," not demonstrating mind you, only "starting" to give a glimmer of character.

Romney is political decadence incarnate. Incarnate. He personifies it, represents it, will long be remembered as the poster child for it. He's the Republican equivalent to Gore and Kerry.

And I'm feeling charitable about him tonight. When I really consider how he's playing this party so that he can get his Presidential library, I could be sick.

There is something morally repugnant about the entirety of the Romney campaign.

McCain really is looking better and better.

And Peter, McCain has NO executive experience, and as Gingrich remarked, doesn't the day to day running and managing of the vast federal government mean something anymore in the Republican primary.

If you think Bush has been an executive incompetent, and he has been, take a look at how McCain handled the immigration battle, then examine what he did to his staff in the aftermath. There was a political bloodbath, resulting in the purge of men who had been with him for over a decade.

Don't get me wrong here, I like McCain, and I like Curt Schilling's ad for McCain, and he demonstrated tough-mindedness in battling for the surge when most of Washington was waffling on the war effort. But he's NO executive experience; he's too cozy with a media that hates conservatives and everything they stand for, and lastly, the guy has often confused cutting deals with Ed Kennedy for exercises in political "leadership," {and by the by, those deals are usually written by Kennedy staffers}.

So NO, McCain DOESN'T warrant a reevaluation. There's NOTHING about McCain that we didn't know 6 months ago, 16 months ago, SIX YEARS ago. He's a known commodity, and he's been sticking it to us for years now and loving the adulation from the media that enjoys reporting on our discomfiture.


You're in fine form and I appreciate what you're saying, especially about McCain's lack of executive experience. His prudence is an issue, but so is Rudy's. Thanks!


That said, I certainly think that McCain has done a service (though he might have done it better if he'd been more on his game from the beginning) in this campaign. I think he deserves a place of prominence in any Republican administration--preferably in something related to the war. But with the way things are going, that may not be an issue . . .

Duh! Contrary to the lightweight analysis by the anti-Huckabee segment, Huck's supporters are the most dedicated and conservative of the GOP. Business and academic types keep hoping that Huck is a fad; fat chance. He'll be on the ticket-likely on the top.

He's a known commodity, and he's been sticking it to us for years now and loving the adulation from the media that enjoys reporting on our discomfiture.

Much like Giuliani then.

Rudy Giuliani didn't enjoy media love prior to 9/11. Take a look at Giuliani's polling numbers prior to 9/11. Rudy was portrayed as a NAZI, things like the brutalities meted out to that Amidala fella, {sp?} were laid at his door.

The reason that Rudy has enjoyed that change in coverage was how he handled himself after 9/11, and also the results that became more and more self-evident, from all of his efforts to clean up his city.

The media can't help but contrast his record of real achievement with a guy like Romney for example

Rudy has the best resume of anyone seeking the GOP nomination for a long, long time.

Rudy was portrayed as a NAZI, things like the brutalities meted out to that Amidala fella, {sp?} were laid at his door.

Correctly, of course.

In his first term Giuliani received favorable treatment from the media. That he received bad treatment later was entirely due to a whole series of gaffes and blunders on his part. Thats something people thinking of supporting him should consider. He has a solid history of making trouble for himself.

The Patrick Dorismond incident is Exibit A in this regard. Maybe you don't know anything about it now, but if he gets the nomination, you will.

Oh I'm sure that such things will be trotted out. But they'll only serve to remind people that Giuliani has a genuine record of toughness on crime. Americans will conclude that if he was tough on crime in The Big Apple, he'll be reliable on national security matters. Just because the nation loathes this President, rightfully so by the way, it doesn't mean they've all morphed into a pack of bleeding heart liberals. Giuliani's toughness on crime resonates with a majority of voters. It won't blemish his record. Giuliani defended his cops, who were cleaning up his city, if they were carried away in the performance of their task, people who aren't Al Sharpton types won't hold that against him. And most Americans don't have much sympathy for Al Sharpton, or Al Sharpton agitating types. People don't get worked up about police brutality stories. The media however will surely make a story of it, but the story won't gain traction for the Democrat candidate, who will probably be Hillary of Borg.

Giuliani is in a rather enviable position, for just about anything that calls attention to his resume, to his record of achievement, advances his cause. Some stories such as his handling of illegals is a bit dicey, and he needs to remind Republicans more that the late 90s weren't like today. He should say he didn't envision a Republican President proclaiming an open border, and allowing the number of illegals to balloon to insane levels. Who would gainsay him. Which of us thought that Bush would go nuts on the issue? Which of us thought that Bush aspired to be remembered in history as the great Hispanic emancipator.

Bush yielded to an unwise, unhinged and unhealthy enthusiasm.

Rudy should play it smart and distance himself from Bush on the issue.

Contrary to the lightweight analysis by the anti-Huckabee segment, Huck's supporters are the most dedicated and conservative of the GOP.

Clint, if you think Huckabee's supporters are more dedicated or conservative than Ron Paul's you are mistaken. There are no pure libertarians that I know of in my Ron Paul Meet-Up group. They are mostly Constitutionalist and political purists (vs. pragmatists). I know Huck's supporters are not more conservative because they keep calling me an extremist. The idea of Constitutionalism is totally lost on most of them.

BTW, how is your Huckabe Meet-Up group going? Oh, that's right. He doesn't have any.

Huck doesn't need special "meet-ups" so that fellow supporters can find each other. You just start talking about Huck with people and find supporters and people who like him. They have meet-ups on their website, but why bother when most of my friends, and a plurality of the people I know are supporting Huckabee-I don't need to reach across the state to find support.

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