Sunday, January 06, 2008

"As a Communicator [Huckabee] Ties Ronald Reagan"

By Tom Roeser ::
Personal Asides:

Posted: 04 Jan 2008 06:02 AM CST

Iowa II: The Republicans.

The strong likelihood (to me at least) that Barack Obama will capture the heart of the left-leaning Democratic party, duplicating the dance of death they had with George McGovern, is the best news John McCain could ever hope to receive. Obama's likely nomination really means that he should be countered with the very strongest amalgam of heroism and experience possible to concoct. You will remember that I am and will probably always be a Mitt Romney man. But were I back in the business I once had of calculating the averages, I would say that the Republican party's best choice would be to nominate John McCain-because for no other reason than Obama will be the likely Democratic nominee. The second spot on the ticket should by all logic go to Romney (even though McCain and he intensely dislike each other). In a year of severe financial hardship for Republican fund-raisers, the vice presidential nominee worth $600 million will be able to take a tremendous financial load off the shoulders of the party.

You will wonder why I don't mention Huckabee first because by all odds his is a wonder story-someone very like Obama except in one particular: he was not favored with the money Obama has had in his campaign and still has done very well to unseat the best a multi-millionaire can offer. I don't think Huckabee will be going very much farther than this despite the fact that he is as much a natural politician as there has been in my lifetime. In a sense as a communicator he ties Ronald Reagan. Their styles are different: Reagan often a lower key speaker, Huckabee a more colorful and vivid personality (yes, that's right!).

Huckabee's great strength is not his being a Baptist minister who is supported by evangelicals. His great strength is that he has mastered the difference between a Pat Robertson who crusaded as a pulpit guy with Calvinistic values, and a man Huckabee is: a man's man, a brilliant story teller, one who doesn't mind descending into raw joke telling that shucks the ministerial somber aura. Take for instance his comment on Leno that he and Bill Clinton come from the same town-but that Clinton lived in Hope, Arkansas for only six years. "He always referred to himself as The Man from Hope," said Huckabee to Leno's very secular audience, "although he moved early in life to Hot Springs. You know, he's very smart deciding not to be known as the man from Hot Springs."

The secular crowd erupted. This is why Huckabee is so much better than just a Baptist minister. He's a Baptist minister who can go down-and-dirty with the best of `em. But there are serious things that will prevent, I think, Huckabee's nomination for president. His Fair Tax plan is as zany as the people who crafted it in the first place-the Church of Scientology, the residential church of Tom Cruise. I have reported elsewhere its derelictions. That tax plan cannot be tolerated by a Republican party that is at all sophisticated on economics as the business party is portends. If... and this is a big if... McCain wants to run with Huckabee with Huckabee the vice president, well okay. The tax plan will be subordinated to whatever plan McCain endorses anyhow. Then Huckabee could be an asset. His view on trade which is not my view is needed to be retained for the pragmatic purpose of binding in, no, not just evangelicals, but working people. Mike Huckabee is the best composite of blue collar America it is possible to find. He would have wide appeal as a veep candidate to non-union, working class people. He has infinite capacity for communication. In fact he is a communicating genius. In that sense... and only that sense... would I allow him on the ticket-with the proviso that he junks the Fair Tax.

Beginning a Series: Republican Presidential Candidates and Their Quirks.

One need not even mention that John McCain is a patriot because it is super-evident. Not just because of his noble experience but due to his sturdy reliance on winning the Iraq War, statements made when the War was being lost and could have dragged him under. He didn't care; he gained great admiration in my book for that. In his earlier days he was a lecher and kind of womanizing tramp who forsook his wife because she lost her looks in an automobile accident that happened when he was held captive. Disgusting episode. He married a super-rich looker of a woman and moved to her state where he could benefit immeasurably from her money and family power, the decision paying off by his being elected Senator. You think that's not a character impoverishment? He then got involved with the Keating Five which misused senatorial power to gross effect. To clean his skirts he became a reformer-but a reformer that did not cast askance at the First Amendment and with the flare of a carnival barker hooted the McCain-Feingold bill to passage, intimidating a sadly erring George Bush to sign it, Bush hoping the Supremes would invalidate it.

For a time McCain let his petty anger at Bush for beating him in South Carolina and derailing his presidential hopes get the best of him. This canard that Bush pushed the idea of McCain fathering a black baby is wrong: some far-right nut not in touch with the Bush people did it... and I know who it was. McCain then allowed himself to be turned overnight into a liberal press icon: crusading for a number of liberal programs, berating evangelical Christian leaders-the worst kind of demagoguery which gained him plaudits in the liberal press. This ended with his opposition to so-called water-boarding of terrorist captives which set the tiny pulses of the liberal news empire pounding with joy.

But here is the good luck of living long, in furtherance of 2008 ambition he has returned to his natural bent and is very likely the best thing to happen to the United States at this present time. His career in a testimonial to the crazy tilt-a-whirl ride politics is. Had he died at age 70 he would be regarded as a Vietnam hero and later politician-that's all. He has a good possibility of becoming the best thing that ever happened to the United States of America as a presidential candidate, possibly the only one (now that Rudy has torpedoed of his own excesses) who can beat either Hillary or Obama who will benefit from the U. S. voter desperately wanting to scrub the GOP. Already McCain has coined the most telling epigram of the campaign and maybe of all modern campaigns. After Hillary introduced the appropriation rider for federal money to preserve the glories of the hippie peacenik park which glorified in drugs, long-hair and carnality performed to the staccato of rock drums, McCain commented that he did not attend that concert at Woodstock because "I was tied up at the time." Glorious.

As to old misgivings, I can never forgive McCain for teaming with Feingold but McCain-Feingold has been satisfactorily trimmed somewhat by the Supreme Court anyhow, which is not to Bush's great prestige nor McCain's. But showing that redemption comes even to heroes turned carny hustlers, McCain returned to his highest pinnacle in support of winning the war in Iraq... even higher than his prisoner-of-war experienced since as almost the sole Senate leader touting victory, he was doing it at a very precarious price. He is Exhibit A as an exemplar that conservatives should never write off late blooming Republican liberals (among whom I list South Carolina's Lindsay Graham (noted for his far-sighted support of Harriet Miers by telling her conservative critics to, in his beguiling cracker twang "shaddup" The best thing that happened to Bush's juridical legacy is that they did not).

. McCain's day of moving back to the right may well be coming. For the first time in many years, I could really get enthused about the spectacle of McCain running against Obama. Or Hillary. But particularly Obama who is a Hollywood producer's dream cum nightmare. This Obama guy is just another Jimmy Carter but without the grits or even semblance of grit.


Post a Comment

<< Home