Mitt Romney

Surrender to Huckabee!

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Rock 'em sock 'em populist Democrat David Sirota is worried about Mike Huckabee's presidential campaign. While the rest of the GOP are running as archetypical pro-business CEOs, Huckabee is running as an economic populist: More of a populist than frontrunning Democrat Hillary Clinton, even.

Huckabee… is differentiating himself not because he's funny, as lazy Washington reporters would have us believe, but because he sounds like a mainstream American on economic issues. (Sidenote: The only national beat reporter covering the '08 race that has actually done any real reporting on the substance of Huckabee's campaign is M.E. Sprengelmeyer at the Rocky Mountain News who astutely notes that Huckabee tells audiences he is not a "wholly owned subsidiary" of Wall Street, and uses "a populist pitch" revolving around talk about how "the Republican Party being in danger of being kept out of power for a generation if it's viewed as fighting for corporate interests, not the interests of real people.")

Unlike other leading Republican candidates who say more regressive tax cuts can fix bridges or who say Corporate America needs even more and bigger tax breaks, Huckabee is actually talking about the issues of corporate power and inequality that most people in the country understand is central to the challenges America faces.

Sirota is right, and I've seen Huckabee win over skeptical rooms from Mitt Romney (and I've heard friends talk of him doing the same to Fred Thompson) with his populism. The frontrunning candidate will make some noise about tax cuts and bash Hillary: Huckabee will talk about "main street" and "family-friendly" tax reform. Voters are irrational, after all.

The laissez faire side of the GOP is definitely worried about Huckabee. Some evidence: This Club for Growth ad running against him.

As much as I like the Club, the paradox is that Huckabee's policies are more popular than their policies. It's easier to imagine a backslapping, economically squishy Huckabee/Tim Pawlenty ticket holding the presidency for the GOP than is to imagine a win by Romney, who's absorbing all the Bush administration's aloofness and unpopular policies.

(Headline explained here.)

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  1. I finally realized why I dislike Mitt Romney so much – he looks almost exactly like Tony Snow.

    Huckabee is a crowd-pleaser. He uses a lot of alliteration in his speeches, and is genuinely a nice guy.

  2. Caption Contest!

    “Who does number two work for?”

  3. Huckabee is actually talking about the issues of corporate power and inequality that most people in the country understand is central to the challenges America faces.

    Change “understand” to “incorrectly believe.”

  4. I think I’ll just call Huckabee “moobs” from now on.

  5. Trying hard now.
    It’s so hard now.
    Trying hard now.

    Getting strong now.
    Won’t be long now.
    Getting strong now.

    Gonna fly now!
    Flying high now!
    Gonna fly, fly, fly. . . .

  6. Interesting, but his spin job strikes me as off the mark.

    If anything, the GOP has done a brilliant job of pretending it *isn’t* interested in corporate America, and instead fooling all the Johnny Punchclocks out there into actually believing it gives a shit about supporting them, promoting their favorite religion, and the wrongfulness of abortion, immigrants and the gays.

  7. The most populist anti-buisness people in my area[Belpre,Ohio] work for Shell,G.E. and DuPont.All making high wages and all with stock 401K’s.

  8. Or, perhaps the solution is to combine both: the laissez faire free market Wall Street candidate from the Northeast Rudy Giuliani, with the economic Southern populist Mike Huckabee?

  9. x,y, there are some problems with the current state of corporate oversight in the US. In many instances, corporations are over regulated in areas that require little oversight, i.e. financial reporting to investors (the market will rapidly sort out which corporations are lying swindlers), and under regulating them in areas where oversight is necessary (protection from externalities like pollution that the market does not). I think it is a valid point that there are some “issues of corporate power and inequality” that are fairly central to American challenges.

    If corporations were a little less inclined to lobby the government for favorable legislation there would likely be much less cronyism and corruption. That is a problem that we are currently facing with the burgeoning military industrial industries and the current administration. This is directly a problem of corporate power.

    Now, I do not think that it is the governments roll to limit how much an executive is paid, that is distinctly a role for the market. The minute a mining company (W.R. Grace and Co), turns an entire town (Libby MT)into a superfund site, leaves the country and declares bankruptcy, and returns later so they avoid lawsuits, that is a case for increased governmental involvement. Taxpayers are now paying to clean that mess up.

  10. When you watch a phenomenon enough, you learn to recognize patterns.

    When someone calls for government intervention on behalf of the little guy, there are a million comments about how the government has made large corporations more powerful.

    When someone complains about how powerful large corporations are, there are a million comments like x,y’s, about how the perception of corporate power is delusional.

  11. Huckabee rose his hand as someone who doesn’t believe in evolution. So, I guess he is funny.

  12. Dr. Decent, don’t you mean evilution?

  13. Why does he continue to lose weight? Doesn’t he know that God DESIGNED him to be fat?!?

  14. Or, perhaps the solution is to combine both: the laissez faire free market Wall Street candidate from the Northeast Rudy Giuliani, with the economic Southern populist Mike Huckabee?

    Is this the real Dondero or another spoof. It sounds like a spoof. If Rudy actually were laissez faire free market, this would be his only redeeming quality. Why water it down with dumbass economic populism ala Mike Dobbs, or Lou Huckabee, or whatever his name is?

  15. He’s the Republican Jimmy Carter.

  16. x,y, there are some problems with the current state of corporate oversight in the US. In many instances, corporations are over regulated in areas that require little oversight, i.e. financial reporting to investors (the market will rapidly sort out which corporations are lying swindlers), and under regulating them in areas where oversight is necessary (protection from externalities like pollution that the market does not). I think it is a valid point that there are some “issues of corporate power and inequality” that are fairly central to American challenges.

    Absolutely. There is a problem with the balance of power between corporations and regular folk in the U.S., and I wish libertarians would not ignore it so often. Companies with political connections benefit handsomely from a steady stream of subsidies, protectionist legislation, government contracts, etc. at the expense of the little guy aka taxpayer. That shit’s not cool, and we ought to be working *with* the liberals to stop it, instead of poo-pooing their concerns.

    I think it’s safe to say that most libertarians prefer to solve it by taking away legislators’ ability to grant favors, rather than adding additional layers of regulation like the liberals. But, I don’t hear many libertarians articulating that view. Instead, most of what I hear is pro-corporation talk.

  17. Derrick,

    When liberals call attention to those problems, the corporatists yell at them for being anti-corporate, socialist class warriors.

    You know who complains about corporate welfare? That Women’s Studies professor who gave you a C on your paper about how oppressed white males are, that’s who! Which side are you on, anyway?

  18. Other than his fundamentalism, what makes this guy a Republican? Its a sad day indeed if Republican crowds are receptive to crap like populism. Not to mention the health mandates this guy would likely propose.

  19. I think it’s safe to say that most libertarians prefer to solve it by taking away legislators’ ability to grant favors, rather than adding additional layers of regulation like the liberals. But, I don’t hear many libertarians articulating that view.

    That view is articulated all day long by multiple commenters on H&R. Articulated in the media? No, but then libertarians don’t get much “shelf space” in the media.

  20. Huckabee is a crowd-pleaser. He uses a lot of alliteration in his speeches, and is genuinely a nice guy.

    I worked for seven years in a legislature full of “genuinely nice guys” who smiled at you while picking your pocket and passing anti-business regulations. I’ll take an openly mean bastard who wants government to leave us alone over a smiling, glad-handing kleptocrat any day.

  21. yeah, I know i doesn’t make him a good person to have power. I was just saying, from the public’s perspective, he’s a nice dude.

  22. “It’s easier to imagine a backslapping, economically squishy Huckabee/Tim Pawlenty ticket holding the presidency for the GOP than is to imagine a win by Romney, who’s absorbing all the Bush administration’s aloofness and unpopular policies.”

    My ass squirts blood.

  23. Huckabee is…genuinely a nice guy.

    Wayne Dumond agrees.

  24. DONDEROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

  25. I believe in a place called Hope.

    I believe that with a couple battalions of Marines, some rock salt, and a combine, we could eliminate the threat entirely, for us and our grandchildren.

    I believe that children are the future. Except the ones from Hope, Arkansas.

    We just can’t take the chance.

  26. joe, once again you fail to show sufficient dedication.

    We need to nuke them from space, it’s the only way to be sure.

  27. I’m betting on Romney / Huckabee as the GOPs ticket.

  28. real Dondero. Not a spoof.

  29. As much as I like the Club, the paradox is that Huckabee’s policies are more popular than their policies.

    Yeah cuz we all know tax cuts are unpopular.

    Plus i like how aloof bush allowed Woodward into the white house. Don’t recall any president before him ever giving that kind of access.

  30. Democrats now poll 10 points higher than Republicans on taxes.

  31. “Democrats now poll 10 points higher than Republicans on taxes.”

    How dumb are the public that they would choose the Democrats over the Republicans on taxes?

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