STOP! in the Name of Huck

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Reason emigre Jeremy Lott has read Mike Huckabee's campaign tome and finds it as slim and unattractive as the former Arkansas governor's aerobicized thighs.

His policy proposals on most issues are a mix of conservative rhetoric and liberal hand-wringing. On education, he proposes testing and administrative reforms, promotes charter schools and insists that states should fully fund arts and music programs. School choice is conspicuous by its absence.

On Social Security, he wants to convince Baby Boomers to work longer and continue paying into the system. Those who can afford it should be given the option to will a tax-free deferred payout to their children or grandchildren. No mention is made of private accounts for those grandchildren.

The former governor wants to position himself as someone who is "right" on the issues important to conservative activists (abortion, God, taxes, guns) but who won't turn off non-ideological voters. In other words, he's running for vice president.

He's certainly not running for that other job. Markos Moulitsas, who "used to think Huckabee was the sleeper candidate of 2008," notes that he raised about 2 percent as much as fellow Arkansan Hillary Clinton.

I don't expect Huckabee to stick in the presidential race past August or so, but the attention he's garnering for his bid is representative of a bizarre metric political journalists use for gauging "serious candidates." Huckabee does not win headlines because he's a former governor: He wins them because he used to be obese but he lost over 100 pounds. This is is vaguely interesting if you're interested in celebrity/human interest stories, completely uninteresting if you're interested in policy. But the human interest stories matter more than the policies. Thus, "former fatty Mike Huckabee" is a more buzzed-about candidate than "massively influential Gov. Tommy Thompson." John Edwards, the crusading trial lawyer with a sick wife, laps most of the Democratic field even though you could fit a list of his political achievements on a post-it note.

NEXT: McCain's Potemkin Baghdad

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  1. Ah, the new Kemp. It all makes sense now.

  2. At least Kemp had great hair and he used to be football player. What’s Huckabee got? “I lost weight!”

  3. Doesn’t he also own a chain of restaurants?

  4. Didn’t I like Kemp? I thought I did at one point. Wasn’t he quasi-libertarianesque, sorta kinda? Why can’t I remember? I should be able to remember this. He did the HUD thing, I remember that part.

  5. Doesn’t he also own a chain of restaurants?

    Huckabees – eatin’ macrobiotic in the neighborhood!

  6. I always think it’s a sad state of affairs when it seems that people think “Hey! That guy should be the leader of the free world!” “Why?” “His wife has cancer!”

  7. Could be worse. People could vote for someone simply because he or she is related to someone who held office once before.

  8. Also, let’s not forget those droll and delightful Huckabee Hound cartoons from the ’60s.

    “Oh my darlin’, Oh my darlin’, oh my darlin’ Clementieeeene…”

  9. I’ll take either of those over, “Hey! I’m voting for this guy because he’s promising me big fat entitlement checks!” At least with the cancer-wife or former-fatty votes, there’s at least a *chance* the guy who gets elected won’t be a complete socialist asshole.

    Only a chance, mind you.

  10. I’ll take either of those over, “Hey! I’m voting for this guy because he’s promising me big fat entitlement checks!” At least with the cancer-wife or former-fatty votes, there’s at least a *chance* the guy who gets elected won’t be a complete socialist asshole

    Sure, but take away “socialist” and…

  11. I think what we’re seeing now is the silliness inherent in a presidential race in its early stages.

    That said, the current crop on both sides is bizarre on both sides. A bunch of senators (many of recent vintage), a few flyweight governors, and The Rudy. Can you feel the excitement?

  12. Any Republican that gets on the Hair Club For Growth shitlist will face some tough slogging in the fundraising arena.

    I’d forgotten that he is / was a Southern Baptist minister. You’d think would attract some attention from the base.

    I predict that come convention time next summer, I will have the same number of delegates as Huckabee, Thompson (Tommy), Tancredo, Paul, Richardson, Kucinich, Biden, and Brownback.

  13. You know, maybe strange women lying in ponds and distributing swords is a good basis for government. It’s a damned sight better than the current situation.

  14. Hillary is an Arkansasan? I thought she was from, well, you know, Indiana. Or was that Iowa? I know she went to school in Connecticut….

  15. She’s from Chicago. Yet she’s been seen eating thin-crust pizza. I’d say she’s lost the Illinois vote right there.

  16. You know, maybe strange women lying in ponds and distributing swords is a good basis for government.

    As long as you keep the magic-wielding bastard sons at bay.

  17. PL,

    We just reviewed the whole thin crust/deep dish misunderstanding last week. Don’t perpetuate it. You’ve lived here. You know the truth.

  18. Actually, Hillary lost the Illinois vote (Cubs, Sox and Cardinals fans, the latter in Southern Illinois) when she was seen rooting for the evil, evil Yankees. Sadly, while that should be true it isn’t. Illinois is now solidly Democratic, so much so it would vote for a yellow dog if the Democrats nominated it. Of course, a yellow dog would do less harm than Hillary.

  19. It’s cooler by the lake, you know.

    Naturally, I meant NY-style thin crust, not the alternative Chicago version.

  20. “Pro Libertate | April 3, 2007, 3:43pm | #
    It’s cooler by the lake, you know.”

    it also looks nice today! 🙂

    KBO’R:

    “hated yankees”?? why care about the AL at all?

    she’s lost the sox and cards fans for sure. Cubbies fans are all traders and trixies, anyways, so they’d vote (R). 🙂

  21. I think “Huckabee” is something you should try to do immediately if you ever accidentally swallow a bee.

  22. …maybe strange women lying in ponds and distributing swords is a good basis for government.

    Perhaps, but if I hear Carmina Burana one more time, I’m going to flip out.

  23. BakedPenguin,

    I take it that you take particular exception to “O Fortuna”? That’s in Excalibur, not Holy Grail, if it makes you feel any better. I rather like it, myself, though it has been a mite over-used.

  24. Reason should take another look at “Huck”. They might find he’s got a lot to offer!

    For instance, he’s a santimonious supporter of IllegalImmigration, a strong supporter of corrupt ChickenProcessors that receive massive government subsidies, and even a supporter of the IllegalImmigration-supporting racial power group LeagueOfUnitedLatinAmericanCitizens.

    I’ll bet a little more research could make Reason do a whole Huck 180.

  25. “TLB,”

    I don’t plan to go to your website, but I am curious – who is your candidate?

  26. “please step slowly away from the donut.”

  27. Holy Mother of Biscuits! It’s Lou Costello!

  28. highnumber: I’m sorry you don’t want to learn.

    As for the question: HillaryClinton. While I’ve been a strong critic of her and Bill, and I hate everyone associated with them, I just can’t help myself. The nearest I can figure out, my transformation happened somewhere in New Mexico around Alomoogordo; one day I was driving along then suddenly the next day I became a big fan of hers. Everything around that moment in time is a bit hazy, so I don’t know exactly how it happened. But, that’s who I intend to vote for, since if I don’t the pain will start.

    Anywhoo, feel free to visit my site if you’d like to learn something.

  29. “[H]is fellow Arkansan Hillary Clinton”???

    That damn yankee is no Arkansan. She was born in Chicago and reared in Park Ridge, a suburb of Chicago. She presently resides in Chappaqua, New York and Washington, D.C.

    No one who heard Mrs. Clinton declare, “Ahh ain’t no way tard” would confuse her with an Arkansan, nor with any other Southerner.

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