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  • What the Huck?


    by Shariq
    7th January, 2008 at 12:37 am    

    Amongst all the Obama hype, its easy to forget that Mike Huckabee winning the Republican caucuses in Iowa is almost as important a story. The reason why Huckabee is important is that for the first time in many years there is a serious Republican Candidate who hasn’t signed up to a laissez-faire economic agenda. Instead he has spoken out against corporate greed and connected with people over their anxieties on things such as outsourcing and inadequate health care.

    In normal circumstances it would have been almost impossible for a Huckabee type candidate to emerge. However with the field being fragmented and more conventional social conservatives such as Romney and Fred Thomson having their own flaws, Huckabee’s strong Christian background and endearing personality has seen him rise to the top.

    In many ways, the rise/need of an economic populist was foreseen by two excellent conservative bloggers, Ross Douthat and Reihan Salam in this article (their book on the same issues is coming out soon). They argued that as the Republican base was becoming more white working class, they needed to come up with more policies which appealed to that demographic such as those which promote the institution of the family and help the less well off, rather than looking after the Republican elite who are more concerned with tax cuts and free trade.

    This is significant as if Huckabee somehow wins the nomination (and I’ve outlined a scenario below), it would probably be a lot easier for the Democratic President to pass legislation on issues such as universal health care. Even if he doesn’t, he’s demonstrated that there is a growing economic insecurity in working class America over outsourcing and income inequality even if the mainstream media doesn’t give it as much attention because it doesn’t really affect them that much.

    On the whole It is still unlikely that Huckabee wins the Republican Nomination. Yet the conventional wisdom on Huckabee having no chance, was that once the candidates were eliminated, the rest of the party would get behind whoever was fighting Huckabee. However there is a scenario in which McCain wins New Hampshire but Romney and Giuliani continue to run thereby splitting the non-evangelical vote.

    If as expected Huckabee wins South Carolina then he would have a real shot of taking Florida which would give him the most momentum going into Super Tuesday. Even if as expected, McCain wins the nomination, I expect Huckabee to have swept much of the South leaving McCain-Huckabee as the only viable ticket. Barring any major gaffes, I have a feeling that Huckabee is here to stay.


                  Post to del.icio.us


    Filed in: Current affairs,United States






    16 Comments below   |  

    Reactions: Twitter, blogs


    1. Rohin — on 7th January, 2008 at 12:56 am  

      I am confused. With the increasing amount about the US elections on PP, does this mean I am supposed to care about them in a more in-depth way than just who the eventual winner is?

      I sure hope it isn’t Huckabee anyway, he hearts Creationism, so I can’t heart him.

    2. Sunny — on 7th January, 2008 at 1:00 am  

      I think the media is playing up McCain a lot… more than he deserves. For a start the guy is very wooden and stale. Secondly, he already has national recognition… so his ratings would have been higher if he had a base. But right now he’s fighting for the Foreign Policy Hawks base with Giuliani, Thompson and Romney.

      I think he’ll get nowhere on Super Duper Tuesday.

    3. shariq — on 7th January, 2008 at 1:16 am  

      Well the above post which I started writing a couple of weeks ago, began with how British politics weren’t really interesting anymore.

      With Obama and Huckabee winning in Iowa that’s even truer than before so I guess if you want to follow politics Amereica’s the place to be. I was following Pakistan but that’s just too depressing right now.

    4. Sunny — on 7th January, 2008 at 1:23 am  

      does this mean I am supposed to care about them in a more in-depth way than…

      yes

      …just who the eventual winner is?

      yes

      YES!!!!

    5. shariq — on 7th January, 2008 at 1:38 am  

      I’m still going to disagree with you about McCain. If he loses New Hampshire he’s out, but if he wins supposedly the republican establishment is going to ditch romney and get behind him.

      Btw is it just me, or does Fred Thomson come across pretty well in the debate? Apparently if he wasn’t a lazy campaigner he would be in strong contention.

    6. Desi Italiana — on 7th January, 2008 at 3:17 am  

      Rohin:

      “With the increasing amount about the US elections on PP, does this mean I am supposed to care about them in a more in-depth way than just who the eventual winner is?”

      Yes, because the President of the United States will be the President of the World.

    7. Desi Italiana — on 7th January, 2008 at 3:18 am  

      “there is a growing economic insecurity in working class America over outsourcing and income inequality even if the mainstream media doesn’t give it as much attention because it doesn’t really affect them that much.”

      I feel the economic insecurity everyday… :(

    8. Letters From A Tory — on 7th January, 2008 at 8:13 am  

      It’s very hard to see anyone securing a clear lead in the Republican nomination. I suspect the battle will get more and more intense, which will make for some epic campaigning. I wonder if any candidate will pull out soon and put their support behind another candidate….

      http://lettersfromatory.wordpress.com

    9. Tim Worstall — on 7th January, 2008 at 11:22 am  

      “for the first time in many years there is a serious Republican Candidate who hasn’t signed up to a laissez-faire economic agenda.”

      My apologies, but if you think that any Republican candidate since Ronald Reagan has been laissez-faire then you’re seriously deluded.

      They’ve all been big government conservatives. Whatever that is, it simply ain’t lassez-faire.

    10. Ravi Naik — on 7th January, 2008 at 12:08 pm  

      One of the news I hope wasn’t buried, is that Fox News decided yesterday to exclude Ron Paul from the Republican debate. Ron Paul is the only conservative who is anti-war, and he is in 3rd place in the polls in NH. It is unbelievable how they can get away with this.

    11. Morgoth — on 7th January, 2008 at 2:05 pm  

      Party Member Paul is a complete and utter fucking loon, another L Ron Hubbard figure with a cult of muddled-headed idiots following him.

      As is Huckabee.

      If it came down to Obama or Clinton vs Huckabee, then I would go for Obama or Clinton. Every time.

      The cretinist issue is a complete deal-breaker for me. To have a wilfully ignorant loon like Huckabee even anywhere near running for President is a complete disgrace.

    12. shariq — on 7th January, 2008 at 3:29 pm  

      Tim,

      I should have been a bit more careful in how I phrased that.

      What I meant to say that Huckabee is a Republican who didn’t come across or portray himself as the candidate of big business or country club Republicans in general.

      Its not even specific policies, but the impression he gives when he talks. (After all his policies are to get rid of all income taxes and replace them with a Slaes tax). In his stump speech he’s got this line where he talks about how he comes across to people as the guy who they work with rather than the guy that lays them off. He’s also incurred the wrath of the Club for Growth which he calls the ‘Club for Greed’, which is almost heresy for elite Republicans.

      I think this is why he threatens a lot of the Republican Establishment, because they see him as trying to break up the coalition between social and economic conservatives by alienating small government business types.

      Hypothetically, if Huckabee won a lot of ‘Blue State’ Republicans would certainly switch their support to an Obama or maybe even a Hillary. What Huckabee’s supporters would say is that a lot of mid-western, unionised democrats would move into his camp causing the realignment to even itself out.

      Btw, if it is Huckabee v Obama then its anybody’s guess who wins as Bloomberg would almost certainly run. Right now, apart from a Hillary comeback Bloomberg is the only guy I see who can stop an Obama presidency.

    13. Sunny — on 8th January, 2008 at 12:11 am  

      I think this is why he threatens a lot of the Republican Establishment, because they see him as trying to break up the coalition between social and economic conservatives by alienating small government business types.

      That’s interesting… I didn’t think of that.

    14. Tim Worstall — on 8th January, 2008 at 10:55 am  

      Shariq,

      Fair enough.

      I will admit that his Fair Tax plan is insane though. Admit? Sorry, insist.

    15. shariq — on 8th January, 2008 at 6:35 pm  

      I agree that the fair tax is pretty insane.

      However, this is post by Reihan Salam is pretty interesting.

      http://theamericanscene.com/2008/01/07/fairertax

    16. Tim Worstall — on 9th January, 2008 at 1:05 pm  

      ‘Tis.

      From my point of view I always oppose such new taxes though. They always turn out to be in addition, not in replacement.

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