The essay is a great symbol of Huckabee’s campaign — there are feints in interesting directions, but in the end it’s just a grab-bag of contradictory ideas.
In a New York Times Magazine profile, Huckabee mentions columnist Thomas Friedman and new sovereigntist Frank Gaffney as his foreign policy influences. Those in the know might believe this to be impossible, but Huckabee’s Foreign Affairs essay really is an attempt to mix these two together in some kind of unholy alchemy.
The more one looks at Huckabee the less substance there seems to be. If this guy gets the nomination, it’s lights out for the GOP’s chances in 2008. No wonder the Democrats are pushing for him—he’s the one candidate that makes Obama seem prepared. (A Huckabee-Obama race would be the most vapid Presidential contest in recent history.) His appeal is that he’s a good-old-boy Evangelical, which is enough for about 25% of the GOP electorate, but not enough to win the White House. It won’t even be close.
Thankfully, I don’t think Huck will make it through the nomination process. He’s peaked too early, and now people are asking questions about his record. The Wayne DuMond pardon is just the tip of the iceberg for Huckabee. You can’t be a governor of Arkansas without a few skeletons in your closet, and Huckabee is no exception to that rule.
Huckabee is not Presidential material. He may be a nice guy, he may be a devout Christian, and he may be the sort of person you’d like to have a beer with, but that doesn’t make him someone who could face down Ahmadinejad or work with Congress on solving our Social Security problems. Republican primary voters need to think about which candidate can actually use the bully pulpit of the Presidency to advance conservative ideas—and that will mean working with a hostile Congress and trying to advance American values in an increasingly hostile world. Huckabee’s vapid piece in Foreign Policy demonstrates that not only is Huckabee unprepared, but he possesses a naïvete that is downright dangerous. The GOP can do better than that, and hopefully they will.
UPDATE: Even Andrew Sullivan gets in on the act. He’s right, though. Huckabee’s statement basically consisted of throwing out the names of two foreign policy theorists that Huckabee could recall off the top of his head, not even realizing that the two stand for essentially opposite concepts of American foreign policy.