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.