Mike Huckabee

What Ever Happened to Mike Huckabee?

His campaign hasn't been proceeding according to plan.


If Barack Obama is Jerry Lewis, does that mean Joe Biden is Dean Martin?

"It is so naive that [Barack Obama] would trust the Iranians," Mike Huckabee told Breitbart on Saturday. "By doing so, he will take the Israelis and march them to the door of the oven."

According to the informal rulebook that governs press coverage of second-tier presidential candidates, a Holocaust comparison is good for at least a day of headlines. If the comment casts a sitting president as the title character in The Day the Clown Cried, you can probably extend the fuss a little longer. And so Huckabee's apocalyptic remarks have won him some attention at a time when Donald Trump was sucking not just all the oxygen out of the room, but all the nitrogen, argon, and CO2 too. That's a minor victory for Huckabee, I suppose, though the fact that he only managed to stand out among Trump's rivals by saying something Trumpish is a little sad, as though The New York Times decided to chase Web traffic by giving everything an Upworthy-style headline.

Actually, pretty much everything about Huckabee's campaign so far has been a little sad. The former Arkansas governor, who is currently averaging about 6 percent in the polls, entered the race planning to stress economic issues in a way that might appeal to blue-collar populists—a candidate for socially conservative voters who aren't comfortable with the business wing of the Republican Party. As a strategy for standing out, this made a certain amount of sense, though it faced the obstacle that rival candidate Rick Santorum intended to do the exact same thing. But Santorum has been even less visible than Huckabee has, so that hasn't been Huckabee's problem.

Have I told you my idea for a one-act play where Mike Huckabee and Bernie Sanders meet in 1973?
Baptist Trumpet

The problem is that since he officially joined the race, the press hasn't paid any attention to Huckabee's ideas about entitlements and the like. The candidate has been pigeonholed as the social conservative's social conservative, and almost all the attention he has gotten has involved him playing that role. Sometimes he has gone looking for that sort of coverage. (When the U.S. Supreme Court recognized same-sex marriage as a constitutional right, it was inevitable that Huckabee was going to have a strong reaction.) But a lot of the time, perhaps most of the time, the role has caught him unexpected. When his weird joke about transgender bathrooms made the news in June, for example, it wasn't because he decided to make transgender bathrooms a campaign issue; it's because reporters dug up some comments he'd made in a speech way back in February. And I think it's safe to say Huckabee didn't expect to spend any time fending off suggestions that he was hypocritical or worse for his relationship with the scandal-tainted Duggar family. But the Duggars may represent the most media attention that Huckabee has gotten since he announced his candidacy. The minor miracle of his Iran comments is that he's getting coverage for something that isn't directly connected to social issues.

The presidential race has barely started, and the upcoming GOP debate may give Huckabee a chance to reorient his public persona on his own terms. But it's just as likely that he'll end up being just another foil onstage at the Donald Trump Show. Or worse yet, a candidate so inessential that the Donald doesn't even bother to attack him.

NEXT: John Oliver Slams Mandatory Minimums

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  1. Mike Huckabee is my worst nightmare: socially conservative, fiscally liberal, and super religious. So pleased his campaign isn’t getting the traction he enjoyed last time around.

    1. That recipe got Dumbya elected twice.

      1. This shows how stupid you are Shriek. SoCons didn’t much care for Bush Jr. because he wasn’t a staunch defender of their modern crusade. He was more interested in talking the economy than SoCon issues.

        1. Bullshit. Anti-choice, anti-gay marriage, and “faith based” spending were always front and center of the Bush administration.

        2. I got to side with PB on this one. Bush II was very into the SoCon agenda. Probably not as much as Huckabee… but I’m not sure how much that’s saying.

  2. Second Alt-Text: Jesse Walker longs to be a master of compelling political slashfic.

    1. Third Alt-Text: I picked the wrong day to quit huffing paint!

  3. His problem is that there are million gop candidates and nearly everyone is infinitely more interesting than the huckster and his guitar.

    1. Worst. Bass player. EVAR.

      1. Worse than Sid Vicious? Close call, I’d say…

        1. Sid Vicious at least played in a band whose music I want to hear on occasion.

          They Huckster? He’s an embarrassment to actual musicians everywhere.

  4. Re: the second alt-text: i would totally go see that play.

  5. And the sad thing is, Huckabee is doing just as well as Paul is in the polls currently. Obviously it’s too early for the polls to mean anything definitively, but Rand faces a tough uphill challenge in separating himself from the pack of stragglers behind the top tier that, at the moment, consists of Trump, Bush, and Walker. I hope he can do it, but my skepticism of the GOP and the political system in general causes me to be pessimistic.

    1. I’m coming around on Trump. I think it is time to dispense with the silly notion that the presidency is a position of dignity.

      1. If Trump was just as much a jackass in terms of how he acts publicly, but had good views on the issues, I’d be willing to consider supporting him. The problem is his stances are terrible and he is completely untrustworthy. Or are you saying you’re coming around to him for the purpose of destroying the credibility of the presidency, not because you agree with him?

        1. Or are you saying you’re coming around to him for the purpose of destroying the credibility of the presidency, not because you agree with him?

          That’s how I interpreted it. I also think it might be worth the lulz. Imagine Trump debating Hillary. It would be an epic trainwreck and might produce the first instance of a presidential candidate calling their opponent a “fucking cunt”. I could see either of them doing it.

            1. Got it.

          1. “… the first instance of a presidential candidate calling their opponent a “fucking cunt”.”

            Well if she does say this to Trump, she’ll win in a landslide.

    2. the top tier that, at the moment, consists of Trump, Bush, and Walker


      Out of those three the only one that’s tolerable is Walker. Although compared to Trump, Bush looks pretty good.

      1. I’m not saying I like any of those three. Walker is the best and I would still never vote for the guy. I’m just saying that right now they are clearly ahead of the pack in terms of polling and media attention.

  6. Like my Daddy said, ya can’t sink a turd, they just keep bobbing back up…

    1. +1 Baby Ruth bar in the pool

  7. “The Day the Clown Cried” is a reference to this unreleased Jerry Lewis film. Damn.

  8. Give him a break. He was just trying to Godwin the 2016 presidential election for everybody’s benefit.

    1. You know who else Godwined, like EVERYTHING….

      1. Mike Godwin?


        2. HyR commenters?

          sorry, I couldn’t stop

  9. Actually, pretty much everything about Huckabee’s campaign so far has been a little sad.

    Oh yeah, Huckabee. I actually forgot he was running.

  10. A better question would be “Who cares?”

  11. I used to think he was an OK but misguided guy. Now, I think he is batshit looney masked by that benign exterior persona.

  12. Social conservative, fiscally liberal, religious. Almost sounds to me like he’s taking a run at the black (particularly southern) vote. I’m not sure how that would work out for him, but he at least comes across as slightly sincere.

    Rand Paul is probably the only Republican I think is okay. I want to like Scott Walker, but I just don’t agree with him on a few key areas.

    So it looks like Gary Johnson, for the second time in a row.

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