Favorite

Huck's bucks 

I have some sympathy for Mike Huckabee. Money isn’t the only way to compare presidential candidacies.

In Iowa last week, the Des Moines Register quoted the former Arkansas governor: “I look at some of these guys ... how much they spend. Do you want someone in charge of the federal treasury who has spent the kind of money some of these guys have spent just to get to July a year and half before the election?”

The obvious follow-up question is — given the choice — would he prefer to have less money or more? Nobody asked, so he was allowed to make a positive of his paltry fund-raising.

In the first six months, Huckabee has raised $1.4 million, less than every other still-active Republican save Tommy Thompson. By comparison, Hillary Clinton has raised $63 million. Huckabee did win a round in the expectations game by raising more in the second quarter — $765,000 — than the first.

But how broad is his support? Huckabee reported about 800 itemized contributions in the second quarter. Clinton, to name one, had 21,000. Sam Brownback, a key rival to Huckabee for conservative votes in Iowa, reported more than 1,800 itemized contributions on the way to $1.4 million in the quarter and $3.3 million for the year.

Huckabee can only play the exceeded-expectations game so long. He was quoted over the weekend as saying if he finishes fourth or worse in the straw poll Aug. 11 at the Iowa State Fair, he’s probably through. Well, duh.

Candidates lay out money to bring supporters to the straw poll. Rudy Giuliani and John McCain have said they don’t intend to participate. Romney will spend big. That leaves Huckabee, Brownback and a slew of national non-entities – Thompson, Duncan Hunter, Ron Paul, Tom Tancredo. If he can’t slide into third in this group, it is indeed time to head back to North Little Rock to wait for a running mate call.

Huckabee has become cable TV’s favorite presidential jester, with a quip for every occasion. But his wisecracks haven’t translated into much excitement among the electorate, in part because he lacks the money to broadcast his message widely.

Also, what is his message, beyond a nutty national sales tax? Huckabee simply seems a candidate better suited for the relatively moderate atmosphere of an Arkansas general election than a Republican primary. To his credit, for example, he’s not shrill enough on immigration for primary voters. He declines to refer to undocumented immigrants as aliens. “Well, ‘alien’ sounds like they are from outer space,” Huckabee told the Des Moines Register. “They are fellow human beings.”

Seemingly anxious not to offend, he disappears into the woodwork when he says he’s willing to give the surge in Iraq more time. Polls show 75 percent of the country think the war is going badly. But about half of Republicans think the war is going well (I kid you not), so Huckabee sits on the fence. You’d think a long-shot challenger might be bolder, given John McCain’s experience. McCain, the strongest advocate of Bush’s war, has seen his poll numbers plummet. McCain is also a good example of the emptiness of political wisdom on another count. He’s raised $23 million, but pundits have written off his candidacy.

Maybe this suggests a strategy for Huckabee. Make campaign poverty a virtue and oppose the war. The latter would earn plenty of free press.

Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Marking 60 years since the school crisis

    The 60th anniversary of desegregation of Little Rock Central High School was lavishly recalled this morning with a ceremony featuring the eight surviving members of the Little Rock Nine, former President Bill Clinton, Gov. Asa Hutchinson, Mayor Mark Stodola and many other speakers.
    • Sep 25, 2017
  • Security tightens at Little Rock airport

    Security procedures will tighten at Clinton National Airport this week as the Transportation Security Administration requires separate screening of all electronic devices larger than a cell phone.
    • Sep 25, 2017
  • Central High at 60: Seize the day mayor. Stand up for LR schools.

    The conversion of a national debate on race is an apt commentary for the 60th anniversary of the Little Rock school crisis and the city's effort to sell it as an occasion to laud progress. Progress would be someone talking about the elephant in the room — the white establishment's takeover of the majority black Little Rock School District.
    • Sep 25, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • 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
  • Trump: The Obama of 2016?

    Conner Eldridge, the Democratic challenger to incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. John Boozman, launched an assault on Boozman Monday morning rich with irony and opportunity.
    • May 5, 2016
  • Double-talk

    A couple of instances of doublespeak cropped up in Little Rock over the weekend.
    • Jun 29, 2017

Most Shared

  • Bad health care bill, again

    Wait! Postpone tax reform and everything else for a while longer because the Senate is going to try to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act one more time before September ends and while it can do it with the votes of only 50 senators.
  • Sex on campus

    Look, the Great Campus Rape Crisis was mainly hype all along. What Vice President Joe Biden described as an epidemic of sexual violence sweeping American college campuses in 2011 was vastly overstated.
  • The inadequate legacy of Brown

    LRSD continues to abdicate its responsibility to educate poor black students.

Latest in Max Brantley

  • Aid politics

    The still-unfolding catastrophe in Houston is, first, a human tragedy. But when politicians try to tell you that a time of enormous human tragedy is not a time to talk about politics, it likely means the politics are embarrassing to them.
    • Aug 31, 2017
  • Save the statues!

    The Democratic Party of Arkansas has called for relocation of Confederate monuments from public places, such as courthouse squares and the Capitol lawn, to history museums or private grounds.
    • Aug 24, 2017
  • Charter secret

    These are hard times for those who believe in traditional public schools, run by democratically elected representatives, open to all on equal terms.
    • Aug 17, 2017
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »

September

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

Most Viewed

  • Sex on campus

    Look, the Great Campus Rape Crisis was mainly hype all along. What Vice President Joe Biden described as an epidemic of sexual violence sweeping American college campuses in 2011 was vastly overstated.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Sex on campus

    • I'm in my 50's. I don't think I know a single woman who HASN'T been…

    • on September 25, 2017
  • Re: Sex on campus

    • Here we see a "social scientist" who begins with an ad hominem argument, and then…

    • on September 24, 2017
  • Re: Sex on campus

    • Once again commentators blame the victim. Social scientists, of whom I am one, regularly find…

    • on September 22, 2017
 

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