Power and Politics - I am Not the Yellow Peril

The life and times of an Asian American activist who tells all the truth (and dishes news and analysis) but with a leftwards slant.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Iowa and its portents

Ok, I admit it, that gnawing feeling is back. The gnawing, anxious, and incredibly tense feeling I had in the days when no one knew Huckabee's name but I could see him gathering steam like some Hammer of God cloud. Because I had seen him work his magic on Colbert, seen him out folksy Colbert's persona, and draw me in. I liked him. I couldn't help it. God help me, I still like the guy. Even knowing that he's a complete crackup and none too bright. He communicates and he empathizes with a doe-eyed sincerity and Southern charm that probably exceeds that of Clinton. Because Huckabee didn't wind up becoming a Rhodes scholar but he did do something more impressive to the general public - he lost 160 pounds. It's the Everyman's dream.

So are we ready for an Obama-Huckabee match up? Huckabee seems to be, based on his Leno interview the other night (which probably didn't hurt a bit. Man is no Les Paul, but he's also not my wonderful, if musically un-enhanced younger brother.) Huckabee had practically no organization, and very little money, and blew past Mitt Romney, the mega-self-funded Bain Capital partner. And he blew past him by almost a 10 point spread. Not too shabby, but definitely cause for concern.

Here's the scariest thing - Huckabee like Obama is a practioner of the coy jab, the "I don't say bad things about people, but I want to point out that some people do this" crowd. If it weren't presidential politics and it was your friends fighting, you'd be inclined to call them passive aggressive. And you'd be right. Because hell, Huckabee got massive airtime out of 2 ads in the past 2 weeks - 1 ad he paid for and aired (Cross my heart, I never meant to focus on religion) and 1 ad he NEVER EVEN AIRED.

Huckabee's coming hard and strong, and I've always said he would be devastating in a general election. Never mind that he says things, and they don't make sense. He sticks to his values, even if he says that AIDS is easily catchable. Why is and has Huckabee been the real stealth GOPer all along? Because he unites the Christian base like never before. And he will say things that make little sense, but you find yourself nodding along to his cadence, the soft gentleness in his eyes. Read comments like Malacandra's in a favorable dkos review of his Leno performance:
Leggy Starlitz: Imagine, he was pushing the same national sales tax that Gravel gets consigned to the looney bin for around here, and made it sound PLAUSIBLE. He was relaxed, funny, and very likable.That show settled it for me... Huckabee is HANDS DOWN the most dangerous candidate the GOP has right now. And not just dangerous to us... he's dangerous to the entrenched powers that be within his own party. They've pulled out all the stops to destroy him, and if they fail, he'll be after their asses as the nominee (and possibly as president).

Malacandra: He's the one I really thought we had to fear, so his recent surge is my waking nightmare.
The only potentially good thing is that Huckabee's crazy Christianness might drive away some of the big money players in the GOP who are more sane. If they actually listen to what he is saying, and not HOW he is saying it, then the people who are Republican if only for the money, might find themselves increasingly dissuaded. But as we all know for 2000 and 2004, the GOP army isn't the wealthy. It's the Christian conservatives. This is the dread I have had all along. Someone who can really unify their base at a time when it's falling apart. I think the entrenched Washington interests on the GOP side might try to stop the Huck, but are going to have to fall in line. They created a monster in the religious right, and now they can't stop it...

Oh yeah, I am also excited that Obama won Iowa and Edwards seems to be coming in second, with Hillary a very close third. I am just more concerned about what Huckabee's able to do with so little money. Oh please, please please Ron Paul, enter the race as a third partier.

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