The morning Huck | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The morning Huck

Posted By on Wed, Nov 19, 2008 at 6:40 AM


I reinstitute the Morning Huck feature briefly for Mike Huckabee's book tour in support of "Do the Right Thing." Why? Because he wants to run for president again in 2012. Why? Because his book has laid bare -- and national writer after national writer gets it -- a side of the former governor that he generally kept hidden in his campaign. He's an acid-tongued and resentful sort when not running with the tide.

Boston Globe: "But once and perhaps future GOP rival Mike Huckabee has an elephant's memory - and a penchant for nursing a grudge." Yep.

Philadelphia Bulletin: "Mr. Huckabee, however, could not resist the temptation to look back to the primary and pick at the scabs of his electoral losses." Surprise.

David Sanders, a former Huckabee employee, for Stephens Media:

Seriously, I had hoped that Mike Huckabee had put it behind him, but apparently the prospect of getting paid for pettiness was too much to overcome.

In his new book, curiously named "Do the Right Thing," the former Arkansas governor's vindictiveness is on full display as he systematically calls out those who campaigned against his quest to become the GOP's presidential nominee.

This isn't the first time Huckabee had contemplated such a tome. Former aides claim that after winning his second full term as governor in 2002, he flirted with the idea of writing a book taking Arkansas' news media to task for its perceived bias toward his losing opponent.

But this time, Huckabee came up short and he wants payback.

Someone very close to Huckabee wrote me yesterday complaining about the emphasis on The Huckster's critical remarks in the book and suggesting more attention to different passages. Says Sanders on that point:

It's hard to read the other parts of the book, in which he tries to copy Ronald Reagan's hopeful optimism, after spending so many pages emulating Richard Nixon's paranoia and vindictiveness.

Instead of using his book to mend fences with those who didn't support him, Huckabee's pettiness has put him on a destructive bridge-burning crusade. That's not a smart strategy for someone who may be planning another White House run down the road.

David Sanders and I. Together at last.

The Arkansas Project has a slightly different take -- that Huck will get the last laugh with big book sales .

So to summarize: Mike Huckabee writes a book; sprinkles in a few score-settling passages to sex it up and goose media interest and sales (reserving his toughest hits for Mitt Romney, a guy who’s going exactly nowhere in U.S. presidential politics); conducts an 18-state tour in a bus with his picture on the side; receives millions of dollars in free TV, radio and print coverage; and has all us low-rent scrubs talking about him for days on end. By 2012, all of the controversy will be long forgotten, of course.

And HE’S the dummy? No, I don’t think it works quite like that.

Acute analysis. But I don't fully share it. I still think the narrative is the thing. Huck's whining won't have much carryover with voters, true. But the reporters who write the campaign narratives -- and who generally saw Huck as an amiable sort in 2008 -- now have documentary evidence of a side of Huck Arkies have long been familiar with. Plus, those he's newly aggrieved have memories, too. I stick with Sanders on long-run political impact. But money? I hope he's jumping in a swimming pool full of it, a la Scrooge McDuck. It might discourage him from further desires to take a pay cut to govern me.

Arkansas Leader: "When a buck is to be made, nobody is going to beat our former governor to the throttle." And: "Doing the right thing, it turns out, is settling scores with your opponents and those who should have supported you but backed someone else. Turning the other cheek is not an impulse that often moves the former evangelist."

Speaking of analysis: I didn't watch enough of The Huckster on The View  yesterday. Though he made a tossed-off comment about a seeming belief that gay people shouldn't be discriminated against in the workplace, he went on to make it clear where his heart is -- gay people can't claim civil rights, at least not until enough of them are battered, stoned and fire-hosed. This is the Right's new wedge -- comparative suffering -- to steer black people into their camp. Gay people haven't suffered enough to deserve civil rights. I hope the Right miscalculates the hearts and souls of a people who, unlike Huck, truly do understand the invidious damage of even non-violent violation of civil rights. What schmucks. But Huck, speaking of violence: heard of Matthew Shepherd?


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