Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Huckabee's Legacy

Mike Huckabee's campaign ended last night, but not before a 14-month journey that bucked expectations, surprised doubters and challenged portions of the Republican party.

On this day after, the Washington Post writes that Huckabee's consolation prize is "the face of a new, nicer Republicanism."
But the Post also notes, Huckabee's greatest strength ultimately became his downfall: his dependence on Evangelical voters. "Support from born-again Christians, who hold considerable sway in the GOP base, propelled him to victory in Iowa and helped push him to second place in South Carolina. At the same time, that support made it seem Huckabee appealed exclusively to religious conservatives," the Post writes.

A formidable campaigner with a folksy, good-natured style, Huckabee will most likely get a prime speaking slot at the Republican convention this summer, and possibly position himself as the heir to the G.O.P. throne in 2012 if John McCain either loses in November, or decides on a single term.
From a personal standpoint, he was one of those people who was hard not to like to cover. We followed him for three days through Iowa last April, and though his crowds were small then, his enthusiasm was always high. He seemed to embrace the media and the microphone, which is always helpful to us. He was always polite and gracious with this time. And with his guitar in hand, he sure knew how to put on a show.
An ABC reporter in Iowa called him "The White Obama," referring to his favorable press coverage. That's probably fairly accurate. But Huckabee had a hand in that himself, because in my experience, when you asked him a question, he seemed to truly try to answer it.
If John McCain and the Republican Party are smart, they will use Huck to their advantage this election cycle, if not on the ticket, then on the campaign trail throughout the south and midwest.
And never too far from a guitar and a stage.

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