CPAC closed up shop this weekend with a flurry of speeches that saw all the big stars on the right strutting their rhetorical stuff.
Old Brink Brickly & myself take a look at the performances of Governor Mike Huckabee, Ted Cruz, Chris Christie & the gang.
The Brink-ster things that Huck really helped himself in the youthful presidential sweepstakes with his appeal to social conservatives. We chat about Christie’s surprisingly warm sendoff after his remarks & one of us has a cow over his line regarding winning elections and principles.
Then it’s on to Ted Cruz. We note a recent epiphany regarding his wacky biographical similarity to someone who may surprise you. Rick Perry, Bobby Jindal, Rand Paul & more make appearances… as well as – less understandably – old Scottish ballads and Russel Crowe films.
It’s CPAC with an unmitigated General Sense of Well Being…
Today on his radio progrum, Glenn-abus Beck-abus made me happy. He declared former guv Mike Huckabee ‘a progressive’ and aptly summarized, ‘He’s John McCain’. Here’s the audio…
Did you catch that epic aside on Jim Wallis?! Wow!
But I’m so pleased to hear the Huck lampooned on his fiscal record. As FoxNews and most other Conservative outlets continue to let the former gov’s fiscal past completely slide, it’s refreshing to hear someone ask the basic questions and make the logical conclusions. Also great to hear it pointed out that the Huck was a willing and constantly loving companion of McCain’s primary run in 2008. He never missed the opportunity to tweak Romney’s ads against Yosemite Sam as a great crime against an American hero. And in West Virginia the Huckabee and McCain delegates even got together in common cause, simply to deny Romney the victory! Huckabee! You hoser!
If you’ve read GooseRadio for a while, you well may have noticed some snide comments directed toward former Arkansas Governor Michael Huckabee. I’ll be forthcoming – I do not care for that man. Recently, in the Twitter-universe, the noble Dave Clutter (Twin Cities radio DJ & onetime guest on the GooseRadio Podcast) asked me why I didn’t care for the Governor and called for me to explain my fowl self on the matter. In consideration of my esteem for the noble Clutter, and as the Huck continues to make noise about a possible White House bid in 2012 – I hereby offer an explanation…
1. He Claims the High Horse & Takes the Low Road
Throughout his ’08 White House, Huckabee was cast as the affable guy who charmed voters on a shoestring budget. He clearly relished his nice guy rapport and often congratulated himself on what a clean campaign he was running. But all the while, he had little hesitation in lobbing snarky personal barbs at the man who became his bitter rival – Mittens Romney. And he didn’t always let the truth of matters get in the way of his witty put-downs.
This unfortunate Huckabee characteristic (Huckerestic?!) was crystallized perfectly just days before the Iowa Cauceses of 2008. After his meteoric and unexpected rise to the top of Iowa polls late that fall, Romney started playing some hardball with ads knocking Huckabee’s Arkansas record on crime and taxes. The ads started cutting into Huck’s recently gained polling edge. To counter, the Gov decided to go negative as well. He cut a negative ad and called a press conference to unveil it. At this remarkable media event, the Huck declared dramatically that he’d had a change of heart and his moral compass wouldn’t allow him to go ahead with the ad. He wouldn’t run it, he sincerely pledged. Then, he played the spot to the assembled Iowa press corps. Cable news replayed and replayed his spot free of charge – ensuring the message of his ad made it free into Iowa living rooms all week long. The high road indeed.
2. He’s A Class Warrior
The modern Democrat Party isn’t great at a large number of things, but there’s one technique they’ve developed to an art — pitting one group of people against another for maximum political advantage. Whether it be via charges of oppression, greed… or what have you – Democrats convince one slice of people that they’ve been wronged by another. They then promise that, if elected, they will remedy the evils inflicted by the fowl group of miscreants and bring the downtrodden group a new birth of freedom. And pensions. And… various other things.
But the occasional Republican also falls victim to employing this easiest and sleaziest political methodology, and Mike Huckabee has honed it better than most.
The Huck spent most much of his 2008 run reminding the masses that he was so poor he was required to substitute lava rocks for soap in his daily showering ritual. When fiscal Conservatives voiced strong resistance to his record on taxes – Huckabee angrily declared that those who opposed him were part of the ‘Country Club’ faction of the Republican party. They didn’t care about the poor and downtrodden the way he did. Those who opposed his candidacy were the blasted elites who believed in their divine right to rule the Republican Party.
The Huck railed against Mitt Romney’s connections to big business and big money. He parroted Senator Ted Kennedy’s 1994 campaign strategy – casting the businessman as a greedy fatcat who made millions by throwing noble and hardworking folk out of a job.
If all this sound a tad familiar? You’ve probably heard it before… in just about every campaign run by a Democrat for any office anywhere…
3. He’s Got Some Super Thin Skin
We all remember – many of us with no small mount of melancholy – that it was John McCain who eventually emerged victorious in those 2008 primaries. But the Romney/Huckabee throwdown was widely seen as the main event that split Conservatives and allowed McCain to reemerge from the mists. While Romney and Huckabee both withdrew and supported the Arizona Senator – Huckabee clearly nursed a grudge towards the Massachusetts-ite. When Romney endorsed McCain, the Huck mocked the two’s chemistry on stage and declared he would be able to look a good deal more natural. And when McCain was reportedly narrowing down his VP possibilities with Romney on the shortlist of contenders, the Arkansan appeared on FoxNews to bash his fellow Republican as a bad choice. Classy times.
Mike Huckabee stands for a lot of things I believe in when it comes to faith, the family, and the way government ought to run – but I don’t like the guy one bit.
Big profile on The Huck in Politico this week, and the Governor can’t get over why nobody will talk about him…
“I just don’t understand how it is that a person can read these polls day after day and the narrative is constantly everybody but me,”… “Whether I do it or not, the fact is that if one looks at the overall body of information that’s available, nobody would be in a better position to take it all the way to November.”
The piece goes on to detail The Huck’s fascination with the amount of attention people are paying to Parasalin relative to the amount of time people are spending speaking of him. The rest of the piece speaks to the Huckabee’s friends and backers belief that the former Arkansas Gov will indeed make another run in 2012.
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard The Huck complaining. Before, during, and after 2008, he continually informed people that he wasn’t accepted into the Republican holy of holys as it were because he was from the south and he grew up poor – bathing himself with lava rock soap or something to that effect because he couldn’t afford… bar soap?!. He complained that Mitt Romney was distorting his record, that Rush Limbaugh was an elitist, and – just in past weeks – he tweaked the Bushes because they hadn’t supported him in ’08. While Parasalin has certainly been granted more media volume for her complaints than The Huck of late – about everything from the media to ‘the machine’ to ‘the Washington elite’ – Huckabee was Sarah Palin before Sarah Palin was Sarah Palin.
I really enjoyed Karl Rove’s recent response to all the complaining from both of these critters when he was on the radio program of Palin’s fan club secretary Laura Ingraham. Rove said they should both just get into the 2012 race and stop whining. It’s not Presidential, and it doesn’t accomplish anything. It just makes you look foolish. He also mentioned The Huck’s tweak of the Bush’s and drew the comparison between what Huck said, and how Ronaldus Magnus went about his business. Could you ever imagine Reagan saying something like that against George H W Bush (who did run against him in the 1980 primaries)? NO! The man was forward thinking, magnanimous and optimistic! The Huck (and also Parasalin most of the time) is a whiner! Stop complaining about the wealthy, the well connected, and the machine Michael! Don’t bust out the politics of victim-hood! Go sell your children’s Christmas book in peace, man!
As Pelosi, Reid, and Obama brace for the defeat that is rapidly approaching in the November mid-terms, minds can’t help but stray a bit further down the road. Conservatives will make many gains in less than 2 months – barring an epic national mood swing – but what are their odds of wresting away the Oval Office from the Libs in ’12? There’s no question that a whole lot depends on who they put forward to oppose the bringer of hope and change. And who will that creature be??? As of today, here are the top 5 prospects…
#5 – “Fig Newton” Gingrich
All good lists need 5 people, so Newt gets to hang out. The former speaker of the house and architect of the 1994 Republican revival has long been making the rounds as a political prognosticator, speaker, and author. But his comments recently that he’s again considering a Presidential run have garnered the obligatory buzz about his chances.
His public statements have recently been taking on more of a barbed nature. He opined that the President has a “Kenyan, Anti-Colonialist” view on life! Epic! I actually think that’s a perspective with no small amount of merit, but an interesting one coming from Gingrich – who at times tries to be the public face of calm moderation in the GOP.
There’s a tremendous amount of good will for what the man has accomplished and the good ideas he continues to have, but for Gingrich to gain the nod would require epic stumbles from the frontrunners in the opinion of this fowl.
#4 – “The Huckster” Huckabee
The Huck has continued to steadily make more Americans aware of his folksy existence since his loss in 2008. Along with his weekend variety show on FoxNews, he’s also taken up Paul Harvey’s old radio musing slot. Not only that, he’s now doing another weekday tv variety show that the Fox parent network is testing in select markets.
While Huckabee continues to enjoy enormous goodwill in much of the party, there’s a good bit of suspicion that he’s happy with his budding media career and won’t make a run. If he does decide to wade into the grandeur of the contest, he would have a strong base in Iowa after his 1st place finish last time. However, a Palin run would prove the most prickly for the Huck. The Social Conservatives in the GOP are the strongest base of both their support – and if each ran the resulting split may just make things much easier for Mittens or the Mittens-alternative.
#3 – “T-Paw” Pawlenty
The Minnesota Governor still isn’t well known outside of the Great White North, but he’s been by far the most relentless in festooning his person upon the early voters in Iowa in New Hampshire. He’s aggressively endorsing statewide candidates across the fruited plain, and has a pretty swell web presence after the hope & change model.
Pawlenty has an interesting personal story – something about being lifted from poverty by the great game of hockey, Sam’s Club, and a pseudo-Mullet. He’s also gaining some important friends in high places within the party. He’s also done a bang-up job as his state’s chief executive – compiling a very nice record on budget battles and social issues. If enough Republican big-whigs come to the belief that Romney should not be the man – Pawlenty may well be positioned to become what ParaSalin would call ‘The Establishment’s’ choice.
#2 – “ParaSalin” Palin
Mom to the newest cast member of Dancing with The Stars – ParaSalin remains the most talked about woman in the Western World. Her recent exploits include a spat with the Governator, the creation of Christine O’Donnell, and lots and lots of endorsements and FoxNews appearances.
She continues to display the innate ability to galvanize a large segment of the Right in a way that no one else on this list can. We simply identify with her apparently. She can draw a crowd like no other, and she can certainly stick to her message. But her judgment, her perceived lack of policy know-how, and her circus-like personal life haven’t changed a smidgen.
The woman is like a carnival ride at the fair. You have absolutely no idea where you’re going or if you’ll survive, but the experience is unforgettable. She’ll never be President, but that may not stop her supporters from seeing her nominated.
#1 – “Mittens” Romney
The Rom-Bot has an enormous early (insanely early, to be sure) lead in New Hampshire polling, and has been spending an awful lot of time there of late. He’s steadily at or near the top of opinion polling nationally on who the GOP wants in 2012. Lately, he’s running around to 25 states in a matter of weeks to endorse everyone within site.
Romney has emerged as the sensible choice – with his economic background seemingly a perfect fit to the times. But will a ‘sensible’ choice be able to garner enough support in a party where seemingly every conventional wisdom on who should win and who should lose has been turned on its head? Will Tea Party activists be able to reconcile a vote for Romney with his healthcare plan and his Mormon faith?
He’s got challenges aplenty, but Mittens still has the most plausible path to being the top dog in 2012.
Of late, many of the intelligent folks were dismissing the Presidential possibilities of one Mike Huckabee. After the tragic incident in recent months involving a criminal he pardoned as Governor of Arkansas, it was thought that pardon problems would be a pickle in primary season. But even more than that, one just didn’t get the sense that the Huckster was interested in running again. He has national tv and radio gigs now, and he just seems to be enjoying the heck out of himself.
But this past week is raising some eyebrows to the effect that old Mike might still have a hankering for the nation’s top job. A fascinating and lengthy profile of the ex-Arkansanian Governor appeared in the New Yorker. Then Huckabee cracked a drug joke at the expense of Parah Salin…
‘Is Palin inhalin?’! Gotta be one of the more humorous things said in recent memory.
But the most interesting of all these potential signs of a Huck-return came on Sunday, when Huckabee appeared with Chris Wallace on Foxnews Sunday. Skip to about 5 minutes in on this video and watch what the Huckster says about a potential run.
It is indeed too soon to tell if Huckabee will make a second effort at the White House. But it sure looks more likely than it did just a couple months ago.
The Huckster appearing with Greta Van Sustren on FoxNews there.
Logic would dictate that the former Arkansan executive ought not use the phrase ‘likely the beginning of the reelection of BO‘, if he was intent on gearing up for a run at said BO in a couple years. I think we might have caught a candid window into the Huck’s thought process there. And lived to tell the tale.
There was already a good deal of scuttlebutt to the effect that Huckabee was enjoying his media ventures too much to want to get back into politics. In addition to his Fox News venture, he produces a daily radio commentary for ABC Radio. Also fueling speculation he’d stay away from the race was the recent tragedy in Seattle where a former Arkansas prisoner whose sentence was commuted by the former Governor murdered police officers in the line of duty.
If indeed Huckabee stays out of the fray, one of the key wild cards in the ’12 GOP primary will doubtless be his endorsement. The gravitas he commands in the evangelical movement could be a potent asset for the lucky candidate he selects (if he chooses to). Here’s guessing that nod goes to a hopeful not hailing from Massachusetts, and not named Mitt Romney.
In a non-Arkansan, non-political note… I’d like to offer warm and heartfelt congratulations to our friends at the blog Faith and Geekery as they celebrate their 1 year anniversary of existence this week! The collection of contributors there offers a great window into the intersection of Christian faith and technology, media, and all thinks geeky.
We’ve been pleased to feature FG editor Aaron White in the “Geek Beat” segment of the TWG Podcast and look forward to more of his audio appearances. Happy birthday, noble geeks.