As I continue my preview of the contenders for the top spot in the GOP Race for the White House, I will turn my attention to the former Governor of Arkansas, Mike Huckabee. Huckabee has some very strong attributes that will make him formidable in the early GOP Primary elections:
Along with these powerful traits, Huckabee brings a previous run at the GOP nod in 2008, so voters will remember him, and the obligatory FOX News program, which legitimizes him to the Republican faithful. I expect he will either win or do very well in Iowa and South Carolina (where he won a recent Straw Poll), not quite as well in New Hampshire, and middle of the pack or lower in Nevada.
As Governor of Arkansas for two full terms, Huckabee earned the distinct honor of being named one of Judicial Watch’s “Ten Most Wanted Corrupt Politicians” of 2007. He also received 14 ethics complaints during his tenure, left the state with an extra $1 Billion debt burden, and on his way out the door, his Administration destroyed all their computer hard drives. There’s a lot of ammo there for GOP contenders to sift through and take pot shots at Huckabee throughout the campaign, and as an expected frontrunner, I suspect they’ll be doing just that.
Recently, Mike Huckabee pulled off what I think has to be one of the slickest political moves I’ve ever seen. He was able to get Jesus and guns into the same reference. David Barton, an Evangelical Christian preacher who likes to revise American history to make our Founding Fathers out to be theocrats, introduced him to the crowd. Huckabee, in his praise of Barton, said everyone in America should be forced to watch David Barton videos at gunpoint. This is a brilliant strategy statement to bring together Second Amendment advocates and Christian conservatives in a future vision of a nation-wide Christian indoctrination under the watchful gun-toting eye of NRA members.[i]
You see Mike Huckabee is one of what I affectionately call the GOP’s Theocratic Candidates. As an ordained Baptist minister, Huck knows how to fire up a crowd of Christians and get a little God into every speech, as he recently did at the Leesburg Church of the Nazarene:
“My dear friends, we face a spiritual war in this country, and the idea of this wonderful nation built on a Judeo-Christian principle that we are accountable and answerable to a holy God is on the line.”
I expect Mike to keep the brimstone out of his stump speeches, but he’ll work hard to ensure the Evangelical Christian voters know that he’s their man.
Huckabee has also taken lots of shots at the GOP’s persona non grata: Barack Obama. He recently suggested that because the President was raised in Kenya, he just didn’t understand real American values. A staffer later indicated Huckabee had misspoken and meant to say Indonesia. To the GOP faithful, that’s six of one, half a dozen of the other.[ii]
Huckabee carried 8 states during the 2008 GOP Primary run and with the added national exposure his FOX show has given him, I believe he’ll go a little deeper into the 2012 season before ultimately fading when the National GOP Leadership gets behind someone a little less likely to put the fear of God into voters who aren’t quite ready for a Christian Theocracy in the United States.