To the People

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or TO THE PEOPLE.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Huck's Thin Skin

Immigration, crime, spending, taxes, scandal. Plenty of core Republican issues for Huckabee's fellow candidates to attack him on. As Huckabee soars to a 22% lead in Iowa, and pulling closer to Giuliani in the national polls, the mud is beginning to fly -- and rightfully so. Today Romney released a TV spot in Iowa attacking Huckabee's immigration record as governor. We all know Iowans are notoriously anti-negative ads, so it might not play well in that state, but it should have an impact on the national scene especially if Romney hopes to pull away any Huckabee voters in other early primary states.

Huckabee's role in the granting of clemency to convicted rapist Wayne Dumond is beginning to work it's way to the surface, now clearly in the sights of the MSM. Thanks to conservative journalist who have been pushing this story since the summer (see Byron York's piece in National Review some months back) and continue to do so now with the help of folks like Tom Edsall, et al (see the main page of the Huffington Post as of 10:00am).

Clemency, or excessive pardons along with immigration are the two easiest attack routes on Huckabee from within the GOP. Taxes and spending attacks go nowhere in a party that lacks the constituency that cares enough about limited government (at least as of now). That's not say that more Club for Growth type attacks won't still be mounted; it's just I don't think it's a winning strategy for a Rudy or a Mitt to use on Huckabee. Stay with immigration (even if the candidate lobbing the mud is suspect himself on immigration) and the easy soundbites like he "released a rapist from prison to murder". How does that not work?

What I find interesting -- or what I think will become the deciding factor in whether Huckabee can make anything of this surge -- has to be his thin-skin in the political arena. Huckabee can't take criticism, from any side. In Arkansas he was terrible at dealing with journalist, using a slash and burn technique when he would have been much better off ignoring the publication or individual journalist. How will this personal characteristic work for him in national politics? Presidential politics? Not too well I think, but time will tell.

As Huckabee says, people are scared of him. The Washington establishment is scared of him, Wall Street is scared of him, normal Americans should be scared of him. He is a religious zealot/economic populist. Anti-free trade, tax and spend, nanny-stater. It's hard to find one thing, besides his fundamentalism, that matches, or should match up with the Republican Party. It's not a healthy thing for our country when Ron Paul pulls 2-5% nationally, and a candidate like Huckabee pulls 19%. Anyone who sees hope in a cash-rich, and semi-popular Paul candidacy should have that hope soundly smashed when we see Huckabee surging to become a viable candidate.

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