The GOP’s Glass Jaw

He takes the stage with that Kevin Spacey smile, and when he talks, you can almost hear the rhythmic cadences hearkening back to the days when his title was Reverend instead of Governor.  I think I was one of the few who were not among those ready to write Mike Huckabee early on in the race.  Perhaps it was that quality about him of being conservative but not mad about it, or it was the novel idea that he planned on winning the old fashioned way, one vote at a time.  Maybe it was both.

One thing was certain, from the very first debate Huckabee stood out form a crowd of mostly angry white man trying desperately to sing the same tune.

Huck’s rise to glory is by now well known.  The very concept of his campaign made him amenable to the ever important Religious Right, his lack of star power proving to be the only obstacle.  Yet, in virtually every debate of the early primary season, he slowly and methodically rectified that, consistantly turning in strong performances and earning himself second glances from a party not particularly thrilled with the big three that presumably represented their only real choices.

The Iowa straw poll followed by a values voter straw poll further boosted Huckabee’s standing in the field, and while the leadership of the Religious Right may have split up among varying nominees, it seems that Huck is being made the darling of the parish.

But while Huckabee’s stock may be rising within the party, the story on the other side of the aisle is something different.  According to Drudge, the DNC has declared a hands-off approach to the rising candidate, and for good reason.

According to a recent CNN poll, Huck trails behind all of the Democratic candidates by double digits.  Now some of this is going to be because Huckabee still doesn’t have the strength of his name to buoy a general election bid, but on the other hand, there is the fact that he is just a little bit nuts.

For the kind demeanor and aw shucks charm, one would be loathe to forget that this is still a guy swinging from the far right, in some cases, further right than many of his other competitors.

Personally, if Huckabee gets the nod, I’m going to have to dig around and find the clip of him claiming that an Angel guided his bullet on a hunting trip and play it about once a week.

The other thing to think about when we talk about Huck being the glass jaw of the party is that here is a guy who would cede far too much ground on the one issue that Republicans depended upon in the last few election cycles; foreign policy.  Recent weeks have shown that the governor from Arkansas has a tendency to stumble when it comes to talking about things of foreign policy and national security.

Compared to the current field of Democrats who have time and again shown that they can articulate the complexity of the global landscape we find ourselves, Huck runs the risk of appearing bumbling at best.

I’ve always appreciated Huckabee’s campaign at least a little.  I respect the man for not having to appear pissed off at every turn, and I remain impressed by the way he pulled himself up by the bootstraps in this contest.  But he’s not the guy.

It’s hard to imagine which Republican could be the guy.  Giuliani’s a walking scandal when he’s not a running joke, Fred Thompson is the political equivalent of sleeping pills, and Ron Paul has the whole cult of personality sans the personality thing going on.  That leaves McCain and Romney, neither of which are exactly exciting from either side of the aisle.

But it’s important to know that McCain can still garner respect across the aisle, this primary contest not withstanding, and while it may seem as though Romney is too easily labeled as a flip flopper, this could be turned into a strength.

Here, Romney suffers from having switched away from more liberal policies, presumably to attract the Republican base.  Another carefully choreographed flip, or at least a properly dropped whisper campaign could see Romney picking up moderates in the GE.

In the end, I still say Romney is the man to beat, and provides at least a somewhat substantial threat to the Democratic candidate in the general election.  But if Huck does pull off the upset…  I can work with that.

2 Responses to “The GOP’s Glass Jaw”

  1. Kevin Hayden says:

    you realize the liberal Kevin Spacey will now have to kill you, don’t you? You should have gone with Alan Arkin.

  2. Oh come on, the two could be brothers!

    You think Spacey would take the role if asked to play Huck in a movie?

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