Favorite

Together at last 

What a week for presidential politics.

Mike Huckabee's praises were sung by progressive columnists, from Gail Collins of the New York Times to Jonathan Alter of Newsweek.

The writing was reminiscent of nothing so much as of the coverage of the early days of Huckmania in Arkansas. He's a good speaker. He can be pleasant until criticized. He's a tireless quipster, though given more to barnyard humor than dry wit. He famously called columnist John Brummett “constipated” when he uttered an early criticism.

Huckabee is also a rigid religious conservative. He denied federally required abortion funding for a retarded teen raped by her stepfather. The “pro-life” governor readily signed death warrants. He suppressed condom use. He never met a gun he didn't like. Until this campaign, he was an anti-environmentalist wacko, excoriating environmentalists as tree huggers who worshipped the things God made rather than God. He exercised lamentably bad judgment in the granting of executive clemency and worked tirelessly, without talking to the victim first, to free the serial killer and rapist Wayne Dumond. He expanded government with tax increases, when he wasn't governing by gimmicks like the Tax Me More Fund. He demagogued the original school funding decision as the end of local control, but became a convert to consolidated schools and higher standards and spending. He's an enemy of the public's right to know. He ran a secret administration, particularly when his leaders got caught in boondoggles. (The boondoggles were numerous, including multi-million-dollar mismanagement of computer services and multi-million-dollar favoritism toward the shady operator of religion-infected mental health services for kids.) He shredded computer hard drives. He denied publicly financed press services to critics such as the Arkansas Times and KUAR, the public radio station.

And somehow, the national story line is this: Mike Huckabee — fresh face, funny, nice guy. Since he's called me, among others, a junkyard journalist and the Kevorkian of Arkansas journalism and once reportedly daydreamed aloud about the demise of me and my family in a Godfather-style massacre, note my exception to the “nice” part.

But, funny thing. I have company in my reluctance to see the ethically challenged Huckster rise to president or vice president. And what a posse! John Fund of the Wall Street Journal. Charles Krauthammer. The Christian Broadcasting Network. The American Spectator. The Club for Growth. The National Review.

Closer to home, my old Arkansas Week sparring partner and former Arkansas Business columnist Blant Hurt, former mad-dog Republican state Rep. Randy Minton and the Eagle Forum's Betsy Hagan, along with the majority of the Republicans in the legislature, have been among those telling one and all about Huckabee's unfitness to serve as president.

Such allies are certainly cause for reconsideration on my part. But my reasons to fear a Huckabee administration are unchanged. How long do you think it would take his overloaded lip to provoke an international incident with a quip about a nuclear-equipped Third World zany? Or judge a world crisis with the acuity he brought to Wayne Dumond?

Now that Huckabee has gained ground — thanks to free press from unlikely sources — pushback from Republican opponents has begun. Unfortunately for Huckabee, he's in the wrong party to run as a populist. If national reporters ever get beyond their lazy narrative, they'll also find a record unacceptable to most Democrats, not to mention many swing voters. With the George Bush experience in 2000 as a guide, however, that's a mighty big “if.”

Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

More by Fritz Brantley

  • The incredible shrinking Huckabee

    Plus: COPS!
    • Dec 20, 2007
  • The Week That Was, Dec. 20

    The UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS. After our deadline last week, they landed a football coach, the collegiately successful — but personality-challenged — Bobby Petrino. Petrino fled a losing record with the Atlanta Falcons, who hurled insults at him in his wake.
    • Dec 20, 2007
  • Mike’s humble roots

    James H. Wallis in 1935 wrote a cynical primer for office seekers, which he dedicated to Niccolo Machiavelli. The important first step, he said, was for parents to arrange for the ambitious child to be born in a log cabin or, that failing, the next worst
    • Dec 20, 2007
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Hutchinson pulls Faubus move

    I don't know what if anything might arise or be planned in the future relative to Gov. Asa Hutchinson's order to end Medicaid reimbursement for medical services (not abortion) provided by Planned Parenthood in Arkansas.
    • Aug 20, 2015
  • Neighborliness, in Little Rock and beyond

    I had a parochial topic in mind this week — a surprise plan by Mayor Mark Stodola to address the Arkansas Arts Center's many needs.
    • Nov 19, 2015
  • Bootstraps for me, not thee

    Mean spirit, hypocrisy and misinformation abound among the rump minority threatening to wreck state government rather than allow passage of the state Medicaid appropriation if it continues to include the Obamacare-funded expansion of health insurance coverage for working poor.
    • Apr 14, 2016

Most Shared

Latest in Max Brantley

  • Don't cry for Robert E. Lee

    Congratulations are in order for Governor Hutchinson. He decided this year to devote the weight of his office to end the state's embarrassing dual holiday for slavery defender Robert E. Lee and civil rights hero Martin Luther King Jr.
    • Mar 23, 2017
  • City Board discovers LRSD

    An article in Sunday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reminded me of John Belushi in "Animal House" exhorting frat brothers to rally against a dean's effort to put them out of business. "Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?"
    • Mar 16, 2017
  • Supremely disappointing

    The Arkansas Supreme Court last week delivered a blow to civil rights in Arkansas. It was another results-oriented decision that gives a clue to how far the justices likely will go to appease the legislature.
    • Mar 2, 2017
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

Forest bathing is the Next Big Thing

Forest bathing is the Next Big Thing

Arkansas is the perfect place to try out this new health trend. Read all about the what, why, where and how here.

Event Calendar

« »

March

S M T W T F S
  1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 31  

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Don't cry for Robert E. Lee

    • Thank you Max. Wonderful, pointedly (if that is a word) laying out what is so…

    • on March 25, 2017
  • Re: More on pits

    • Well, aren't we the compassionate one - "own family members" can mean small children -…

    • on March 24, 2017
  • Re: More on pits

    • Of course you don't care. If you cared, you might want to find a solution…

    • on March 24, 2017
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation