Fire from the right | Arkansas Blog

Monday, January 29, 2007

Fire from the right

Posted By on Mon, Jan 29, 2007 at 5:24 AM

When Bill Clinton ran for president, the conservative American Spectator, fueled by Richard Mellon Scaife's millions, was home to the Arkansas Project to rip Clinton. If this article is any indication, it's not too enamored of the other man from Hope, Mike Huckabee. On his announcement of a "long-shot" candidacy, one of its writers said:

Huckabee starts in a hole that he seems ill equipped to dig out of. His strategy thus far seems to be to deflect serious questions with folksy charm (not to mention malapropism; Huckabee seems to think that "emulate" means "venerate"). A former pastor, Huckabee peppers his speech with ministerial alliteration that can border on the absurd, as when he calls for a "flatter, fairer, finite, family-friendly" tax system. His endorsement of a flat income tax seems calibrated to deflect criticism of his record as governor, which has earned him low marks from the Cato Institute and the Club for Growth. It's a cost-free gambit, given that a flat tax is unlikely to pass any Congress in the immediate future. Both on Meet the Press and in a press conference following his NRI speech, Huckabee declined to promise, as Mitt Romney and Sam Brownback have, to never raise taxes.

Nor does he show much evidence of deep foreign policy thought. When I asked him when, if ever, he'd contemplate military action against Iran, he didn't mention anything about the Iranians' progress toward going nuclear, instead taking the opportunity to emphasize diplomacy and coalition-building in the Middle East. Another reporter asked who he'd be taking foreign policy advice from; he didn't have any names at hand.

By the by: Huckabee has rebranded his Hope for America PAC as an exploratory committee website with this address.

Also, NY Times coverage (link fixed) was perfunctory. Washington Post put him on Page 4A (which may have been better than the D-G did for Hillary Clinton's announcement.) The LA Times has more or less the same roundup of key points -- Huckabee is a religious conservative, supports Bush on war, lost a lot of weight. The Post, meanwhile, is hard at work pushing the Beltway narrative -- fueled lo these many years by Republicans -- that Clinton is unelectable.

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