The man from Hope 

With the primary only 35 months away, it’s time to talk about Gov. Mike Huckabee’s presidential candidacy. I don’t really joke. Now is the time for a candidate to do some serious networking. On the strength of his national travels and public appear-ances, Huckabee is very serious indeed. He’s quite modest when asked about a potential candidacy by the likes of Tim Russert — “flattered” is a word I’ve heard him use. But he doesn’t deny it. And why should he? National exposure as a potential candidate helps build an employment resume and that’s perhaps the biggest single obstacle Huckabee faces should he run in 2008. When he leaves office in January 2007, he’ll have to support himself. Formula books by former governors aren’t quite as marketable as such books by current governors. The free gubernatorial support network — house, staff, security, nominal state travel for national exposure — that Bill Clinton used throughout his presidential run will no longer be available to Huckabee on account of timing. But he’s found ways to raise money from admirers before (remember Action America?) and he undoubtedly can do so again. A wealthy conservative admirer could underwrite a radio program. Or his alma mater, Ouachita Baptist University, could install him as a political fellow in residence. In the meanwhile, close supporters are prepared to get fitted for snow boots and parkas. One of them tells me, with enthusiasm, that he’ll be in New Hampshire and Iowa if the governor calls. I don’t disagree with this Huckabee backer’s assessment that the governor could get off to a good start. Personal politicking and a winning manner are very useful in small or caucus states. A good finish there and Huckabee could head to Southern primaries with Big Mo. Lord knows (and I do mean the evangelicals’ Lord) Huckabee knows how to rouse the Republican base south of the Mason-Dixon line. By his friend’s telling, it’s not crazy to imagine a nomination victory. Or at least a ticket-balancing No. 2 posi-tion with, say, John McCain. This is just idle speculative fun (or a nightmare) at this point. Huckabee has other obstacles, including better-known opponents. His record is littered with ethical lapses. Will the media ask about them or give him a Bush-style pass? Then there’s Janet Huckabee. Will the press depict her as the dare-anything First Tomboy who puts on few airs, whether living in a trailer mansion or selling siding? Or will they see instead the queru-lous, chip-laden woman whose charm wasn’t sufficient to win more than a single yellow-dog-Republican county in her race against a badly flawed Democratic candidate for secretary of state. In short: Can she be housebroken? Huckabee’s record on the environment is ripe for attack, along with his friendliness to the soft drink and tobacco lobbies. But our governor does a decent impression of a populist because he is one. He’s said stirring things about race, education, the value of the arts and child health. He hasn’t always followed through with effective policies and money, but analyses that illustrate this are likely to be rare and little-read. Political appearances count most and the slimmer governor is a proven performer. Final question: Would Huckabee put his presidential library in his hometown Hope, seat of a county that voted for his opponent, Jimmie Lou Fisher, in 2002?

From the ArkTimes store


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Jared Kushner: Nothing to see here.

    Jared Kushner, Donald Trump's son-in-law, has prepared a statement detailing four meetings with Russians during the 2016 presidential campaign and transition and he asserts nothing improper occurred. I'd rather talk about health care.
    • Jul 24, 2017
  • A night out: Beer and bullets

    A late night shooting in the Fayetteville entertainment district brings a reminder of the legislature's recent expansion of gun law.
    • Jul 24, 2017
  • Sunday and another open line

    Got anything for the open line?
    • Jul 23, 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

  • Football for UA Little Rock

    Andrew Rogerson, the new chancellor at UA Little Rock, has decided to study the cost of starting a major college football team on campus (plus a marching band). Technically, it would be a revival of football, dropped more than 60 years ago when the school was a junior college.
  • Turn to baseball

    When the world threatens to get you down, there is always baseball — an absorbing refuge, an alternate reality entirely unto itself.

Latest in Max Brantley

  • Football for UA Little Rock

    Andrew Rogerson, the new chancellor at UA Little Rock, has decided to study the cost of starting a major college football team on campus (plus a marching band). Technically, it would be a revival of football, dropped more than 60 years ago when the school was a junior college.
    • Jul 20, 2017
  • We're No. 1! in vote suppression

    It's not often that Arkansas can claim national leadership, so give Secretary of State Mark Martin credit for something.

    • Jul 13, 2017
  • Bangin' in LR

    About 2:30 a.m. Saturday, with the Power Ultra Lounge downtown jammed for a rap show by Finese2Tymes (Ricky Hampton of Memphis), gunfire broke out. Before it was over, 25 people had been wounded by gunfire and three others injured in the rush for safety.
    • Jul 6, 2017
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »


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 Viewed

  • Another Jesus

    If you follow the logic of Jason Rapert and his supporters, God is very pleased so many have donated money to rebuild a giant stone slab with some rules on it. A few minutes on Rapert's Facebook page (if he hasn't blocked you yet) also shows his supporters believe that Jesus wants us to lock up more people in prison, close our borders to those in need and let poor Americans fend for themselves for food and health care.
  • Pay attention

    If anyone thinks that a crisis with the Power Ultra Lounge shooting, then he hasn't been paying attention to Little Rock.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Another Jesus

    • IBS, were you there in Benghazi to personally witness all of Hillary's blunders like you…

    • on July 23, 2017
  • Re: Another Jesus

    • If God felt it necessary to replace the ten commandments, he could do it like…

    • on July 23, 2017
  • Re: Football for UA Little Rock

    • He's BSC. Students and tuition-paying parents should be VERY vocal that a football program won't…

    • on July 23, 2017

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