Jay Reding.com

The Huckabee Record

The Washington Times has a blistering piece about Mike Huckabee’s record in Arkansas and the way in which he left the Arkansas GOP divided and bruised:

Jake Files was a newly elected representative when all two dozen Arkansas House Republicans met for their first caucus in 1999. They had doubled their numbers in elections two months earlier, and were ready to join Republican Gov. Mike Huckabee in pushing for conservative government.

That was when Brenda Turner, the governor’s chief of staff, entered.

“Just walked in, shut the door and said, ‘There’s two kinds of people in the world: those who are for Mike Huckabee and those who are against Mike Huckabee. I’ll do everything I can to help the first group. I’ll do everything I can to hurt the second,’ ” said Mr. Files, who left the legislature after two terms.

And that’s the way it was.

There have been plenty of rumors along the campaign trial from former Arkansas figures about a Mike Huckabee that was very different from his public persona. In public, Mike Huckabee is laid-back, affable and solidly conservative. In private, there have been tales of a Huckabee’s who is petty, vindictive and anything but conservative. While these are merely rumors, their sheer number is hard to ignore.

Thankfully, Huckabee’s campaign is sagging after its win Iowa. If Huckabee’s running well behind the other candidates in Florida, and hasn’t gotten much traction in other states. His appeal is in his particular brand of evangelical identity politics—but that’s only working with a plurality of evangelicals. It isn’t enough to merely play identity politics and use the right language: many evangelical voters are looking at Huckabee’s substance and finding it lacking. It seems highly unlikely that Huckabee would be able to defeat Romney then surge ahead to take down McCain. His appeal is skin deep, and that isn’t enough.

Huckabee’s legacy in Arkansas is one of a party that had been left divided and weakened—which should give Republicans good reason to avoid his candidacy as the leader of the national party.

5 responses to “The Huckabee Record”

  1. Josh Trevino says:

    Jay, your last sentence doesn’t hold water. How are the Republican Parties of NYC and Massachusetts doing these days? Worse than the Arkansan GOP, for sure: so are we therefore going to disqualify Rudy and Romney on those grounds?

  2. Jay Reding says:

    Jay, your last sentence doesn’t hold water. How are the Republican Parties of NYC and Massachusetts doing these days? Worse than the Arkansan GOP, for sure: so are we therefore going to disqualify Rudy and Romney on those grounds?

    My counterargument there is that the GOP in NY and MA were already weak parties, and Rudy and Romney arguably left them in no worse position than they were before.

  3. Mark says:

    Jay, you are afflicted with Huckabee Derangement Syndrome….and you need help! Quickly! Josh Trevino’s spot-on reply to your comment shows what an opportunistic fraud you are on all things Huckabee-related.

    Much as it pains me to say it, it appears as though, when it comes to Huckabee’s ability to be the anti-McCain, YOU MAY HAVE ACTUALLY GOTTEN IT RIGHT (!!!!!!) after a solid year of your every prediction turning out to be the antithesis of real-world outcomes in this campaign. Of course, Huckabee’s falling star can almost exclusively be connected to the fact that his campaign is broke while Willard is able to self-finance his way back into contention.

    “In private, there have been tales of a Huckabee’s who is petty, vindictive and anything but conservative. While these are merely rumors, their sheer number is hard to ignore.”

    You seem to be the only Republican unable to notice that every other Republican in the race also has a serious split personality disorder, in every case worse than Huckabee’s.

    Despite his “straight-talkin’ good guy” reputation, John McCain’s greatest liability heading into a pressure cooker nine-month general election campaign is a history of expletive-laced tirades directed towards those who get under his skin. How likely is it McCain will be able to last throughout 2008 without spiraling into a derogatory purple-faced rage that makes Howard Dean’s “Yarrrrgh!” meltdown of 2004 seem downright Presidential by comparison?

    Rudy Giuliani’s public record as a thug joined at the hip with gangsters, and personal history so slimy that even morally flexible New Yorkers cringed, has helped seal his status as a politician unable to rise above New York City Hall.

    And Willard’s slippery unprincipled public service background puts his credentials as “the most conservative guy in the room” deeply in question….far more than Huckabee.

    Bottom line is this….after more than seven years of ridiculing liberals for, in your mind, irrational attacks against anything related to George W. Bush, you’re proving yourself just as petty as any Bush-basher as you cherry-pick criticisms against your political enemies. In other words, yer a big ol’ phony!

  4. Mark says:

    “My counterargument there is that the GOP in NY and MA were already weak parties, and Rudy and Romney arguably left them in no worse position than they were before.”

    The Republican Party in Arkansas is almost as microscopic as the Republican Party of New York and Massachusetts, Jay.

  5. Jay Reding says:

    Bottom line is this….after more than seven years of ridiculing liberals for, in your mind, irrational attacks against anything related to George W. Bush, you’re proving yourself just as petty as any Bush-basher as you cherry-pick criticisms against your political enemies. In other words, yer a big ol’ phony!

    You just convince yourself of that. My critique of Huckabee is substantive: he’s unprepared for the Office of the President and he did a poor job of party-building in Arkansas. The critiques of Bush are truly deranged.

    Not to mention how the left suddenly has realized that the Clintons are amoral scoundrels after decades of covering for them… the irony of that is glorious…