Jasper Smith

Commentary on politics, economics, culture and sports.

Could Huck win the general election?

with one comment

Over at Ezra’s place, Neil ponders the possibilities for Mike Huckabee, should the ex-Arkansas governor prevail in the primaries:

For a long time, I’ve regarded him as the most dangerous general election opponent. Like most Democrats, I remember how easily a red-state Republican cast himself as a ‘compassionate conservative’ in 2000, and I’m worried about seeing it again. But the more I think about Huckabee, the less I worry. I think people underestimate the extent to which his brand of social conservatism is a real liability in a general election. Bush’s success doesn’t have any positive implications for Huckabee, as Bush always blurred the lines on social issues before elections.

I agree with Neil about Huckabee’s vulnerabilities in a general election, although I think Huckabee’s weakness is mostly just a sign of the changing political environment. I believe events of the past eight years — especially Iraq and Katrina — combined with the shitty economy of 2008 — translate into real problems for the GOP. I think they’re especially in trouble in places like Ohio and Florida.  The country is suffering from major league Bush Fatigue Syndrome. The “Conservative Republican” brand has been terribly weakened. And I think that means the GOP needs to nominate someone who at least can be spun as a moderate who can take the country in a different direction. So that means McCain (a media darling who condemns torture), Rudy (used to live with gay guys and provided sanctuary to immigrants) or Romney (used to run the most liberal state in the country). Not that I think any of these three would likely prevail in a general election — I really do think it’s the Democrats’ to lose — but I can at least imagine a plausible strategy being put together for one of them to run to the center in a general election (much as the eventual Democratic nominee will do the same). And who knows, maybe the economy is stronger next year than I think it will be, and it ends up being a tight race.

But I just don’t see how the GOP possibly wins with a guy who thinks the Flinstones is a documentary. Sure, he’s a nice, personable southern gentlemen who lost a lot of weight. He’s just too much of a socialcon to be plausibly marketed to the disaffected, war-weary, Bush-fatigued, economically vulnerable purple state voters who want change, and who will decide this election. But hey, the Huckster will be certain to give the GOP great margins in holding down Idaho!

Bottom line: Huck is too much like Bush. And the last thing this country wants is another Bush.


Written by Jasper

December 8, 2007 at 8:43 pm

One Response

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  1. Good assessment; your bottom line is very likely correct. This from a nice southern gentlemen who also lost a lot of weight; unlike Huckabee, I don’t want to use the governemt to force people to live healthy.

    Huckabee this week has committed 3 months work of Bush-style faux pax. He might do well initially in the primaries, but odds are that Guiliani will pull it out. Then- since the 843 ‘super-delegates’ on the Dem side means Hillary is a lock- we can look forward to a nasty gender-based shadow campaign of ‘wronged woman vs. cheating man’ on one side and ‘pragmatic executive vs. hypocritical, scheming witch’ on the other. Issues will get lost in this sad soap opera.


    December 8, 2007 at 9:34 pm

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