Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Huckabee phenomenon

Frank Rich at The New York Times has a different idea of why Mike Huckabee is surging in the polls. The general media refrain is that this is the reasserting of the evangelical vote. They've found their guy.

The problem with that story is that Huckabee has been out there for some time and Romney's Mormonism hasn't been a secret. Likewise Rudy's filanderings and liberal views on gay rights and gun control likewise haven't been a secret. Rich sees Huckabee as the Barack Obama of the GOP: a hopeful and even somewhat bipartisan politician who is looking toward the future rather than fighting the battles of the past. Of course Huckabee lacks foreign policy cred and his denial of evolution is also perplexing.

To understand why he can’t be completely dismissed, consider last month’s Wall Street Journal-NBC News poll. Peter Hart, the Democratic half of the bipartisan team that conducts the survey, told me in an interview last week that an overwhelming majority of voters of both parties not only want change but also regard “reducing the partisan fighting in government” as high on their agenda. To his surprise, Mr. Hart found that there’s even a majority (59 percent) seeking a president who would help America in “regaining respect around the world.”

Most interesting is the parallel drawn by Rich between the 2008 election and 1960, Kennedy vs. Nixon. People are looking for real leadership as opposed to the cynical ideologies of the past seven years. The candidate that delivers that forward-looking leadership should be our next president. This gets me more jazzed about Obama.

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