In This Corner…Mike Huckabee

2012 Contender Series: I Huckabee

(Updated: May 14, 2011. Huckabee announced at the end of his Fox show tonight that he would not seek candidacy for President. He cited that while “The external signs…point strongly towards running” that upon meditation he felt it wasn’t the right thing to do.)

One of the more charismatic potential candidates for the 2012 Presidential race is Michael Dale “Mike” Huckabee, the 44th Governor of Arkansas (1996-2007). Most recently, Huckabee ran for President in 2008 with remarkable success, despite the ribbing he got for his funny sounding surname (which is English in origin). He surprised more than a few people when he won the Iowa caucus. He was the last person to exit the primary when it became apparent that John McCain would take Texas and collect the requisite number of delegates for the Republican nomination.

Gov. Mike Huckabee

Huckabee began his career in religion. He is an ordained Baptist Minister with a degree from Ouachita Baptist University. Simultaneously, he also worked in radio and television, primarily Christian broadcasting. He still works as a Fox News Channel commentator and he filled in Paul Harvey’s time slot on ABC radio after Harvey’s death in 2009. He is also a published author as well as an accomplished musician who occasionally still plays with his band Capitol Offense. Expect to see them at the Republican convention.

Huckabee is quite popular amongst Republicans. He is noted for his battle with obesity. He lost a great deal of weight after he assumed the Governorship, although he appeared to have slipped in that battle on a recent guest appearance on The Colbert Report. Recently, his politics have become a bit more radical. He has made outlandish or incorrect statements regarding President Obama’s upbringing and distaste at actress Natalie Portman’s out-of-wedlock pregnancy. While Huckabee claims these are just misstatements, some suggest he is courting the Tea Party faction of the Republican Party.

Maurice Clemmons

There is a black mark on Huckabee’s record that may impede his candidacy. In a manner similar to the Willie Horton event that torpedoed Mike Dukakis’ Presidential hopes against George H. W. Bush, Huckabee granted clemency to a repeat offender that ended in tragedy. Huckabee allowed convicted armed robber Maurice Clemmons to go free when he played the Jesus-Get-Out-of-Jail card. Clemmons was subsequently arrested repeatedly for child molestation and aggravated assault but still remained at large. On November 23, 2009, for reasons still unknown, Clemmons walked into a coffee shop in a suburb of Tacoma, Washington and assassinated police officers Mark Renninger, 39, Tina Griswold, 40, Ronald Owens, 37, and Greg Richards, 42. Clemmons was killed two days later by a Seattle Police officer after a massive manhunt.

Perhaps it is in Huckabee’s Christian nature to be more forgiving. He has granted clemency to twice as many criminals as any of his predecessors. But there are plenty of widows, orphans, and citizens in the Pacific Northwest who won’t be nearly as forgiving at the ballot box.

Capitol Offense plays in Iowa

There are still lots of people who like Mike. Recent polling shows that Huckabee is a favourite for the Republican nomination. Politico has him leading the pack with 25% to Romney’s 21%. Gallup polls indicate the same. Polls in Iowa and New Hampshire, the first caucus and general election states, respectively, show him outperforming the rest of the crowded Republican field. Current polling against President Obama has him running almost even. Some, such as Public Polling Policy, have Huckabee leading by a one percentage point edge for the first time (this was before the Wisconsin dust-up).

Can Huckabee shake the Republican propensity to nominate the next in line (Romney, this time)? Will his down-hominess and radio personality win him a greater following? Will there be enough distance between the Washington State cop killer murders to allow people to forget? Can he get the Tea Party on board while keeping the rest of the Republican party from siding with Romney? It’s still too early to tell, but unless Romney makes a concerted effort to become active in the race, Huckabee remains the Republican’s best chance.

About Mr. Universe

Mr. Universe is a musician/songwriter and an ex-patriot of the south. He currently lives and teaches at a University in the Pacific Northwest. He is a long distance hiker who has hiked the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail. He is also an author and woodworker. An outspoken political voice, he takes a decidedly liberal stance in politics.
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21 Responses to In This Corner…Mike Huckabee

  1. shortchain says:

    I find many of the Huckster’s positions distasteful, but I’ve got to admit that I also find him, without question, the most likeable of the field of GOP contenders. I just can’t help but like the guy. That’s got to be a tremendous asset in his chosen field of bamboozling people into voting for him.

  2. filistro says:

    @sc… I just can’t help but like the guy. That’s got to be a tremendous asset in his chosen field of bamboozling people into voting for him.

    It certainly helped Dubya.

  3. Monotreme says:

    I wouldn’t want to have a beer with him (or with George W. Bush) but I wouldn’t mind some sacramental Welch’s Grape Juice.

  4. filistro says:

    @Treme… I wouldn’t mind some sacramental Welch’s Grape Juice.

    LOL!! Anybody would think you’d spent some time in Utah 🙂

  5. Monotreme says:

    I don’t know what they use in LDS sacrament meetings. I spent a good bit of time as a Texas Baptist (and Texas CofC) young’un and that’s where I encountered Welch’s.

    When my Mom went venue-shopping for a new religion after her divorce, we settled on the Episcopals because they had good wine.

  6. Monotreme says:

    Oh, and Mississippi joke:

    You know the difference between Baptists and Methodists? Methodists wave to each other in the liquor store.

  7. mclever says:

    Methodists are beholden to the sacramental Welch’s, too…

    Prior to Mr. Huckabee’s recent venture into absurdity with regard to Obama’s upbringing (among other things), I considered him one of the more reasonable Republican options. Naturally, I disagree with many of his policy conclusions, but he seemed to be a thoughtful guy who could engage in honest discussions to find practical solutions. He didn’t just repeat the party line verbatim, and appeared to have a few original thoughts rattling around in his noggin. That’s the kind of guy who you can negotiate with if need be, or who you can potentially convince to consider an alternative solution than the one he likes best. His track record as Governor seemed to support that opinion.

    However, I’m gravely disappointed in his recent statements. It’s like spending time on Fox infected him with Glenn Beckian disease or something. He was one who I thought had enough stature and credibility to stand up to the crazies and say, “Knock it off. Obama’s an American. Now, let’s talk about why his policies are wrong for our future…” Instead, he manufactured new crazy fodder with the Mau Mau nonsense and an implausible “misspoke” excuse.

    Despite my disappointment, I still think Huckabee is one of the more palatable Republican options this go-round. Since the convention in 2008, I’ve pretty much assumed that this would be Romney’s year (unless he declines to run). Just like GWB delayed McCain’s “turn” for a round, perhaps Huckabee can do the same to Romney, especially if Mitt decides to sit back and save the heavy artillery for 2016.

  8. GROG says:

    @sc… I just can’t help but like the guy. That’s got to be a tremendous asset in his chosen field of bamboozling people into voting for him.

    It certainly helped Obama.

  9. filistro says:

    @Mac… That raises a question that has perplexed me for some time… why DID he say those things? This is certainly not Huck’s first rodeo, and he’s no dummy. He knew how those remarks would be received by the portion of the country that is not crazy. And he didn’t need to say them to get through a primary, since his overt religiosity is enough to get him past the “values voters”.

    I submit it means he is not planning to run so he didn’t care what damage it might do to his hopes in the general. Huck has a million dollar contract at FOX, and gets to sleep late and schmooze with VIPs. I think he likes the gig, and won’t give it up for a chance to be GOP cannon fodder in 2012.

    So why did he do it? TO SELL BOOKS. He’s on book tour and when you have a new book out, there’s great pressure to shoulder aside the competition and do something… anything… to get the reading public talking about you.

  10. Gator says:

    Spot on, Fili. He isn’t going to run. However, were he to say that now he becomes much less interesting and substantially less likely to sell books. So he needs to leave the impression that he may/will run until a good bit later in the process. The ducats have him in their grasp.

    Political power is ephemeral. Wealth and the power that wealth inures can be much longer lasting. Mikey is going for the gold.

  11. mclever says:

    You may be right, filistro.

    If he’s marketing a book (and not a candidacy), then any publicity is good publicity. Controversy sells almost as well as sex does.

    However, I’m not quite ready to count Huckabee out of the race yet. As Gator notes, political power is ephemeral. But it’s also incredibly enticing. All too often we see someone who already has the gold but can’t quit reaching for that brass ring of power.

  12. Mainer says:

    Not sure this was a good way to sell books. Talk about maybe…….buy his book not so much. Sad actually. I might have considered it up to this rant, now why bother. I’m betting I’m not the only lost sale.

  13. msgkings says:

    Gator wrote:

    “Political power is ephemeral. Wealth and the power that wealth inures can be much longer lasting. Mikey is going for the gold.”

    Proving Mikey is indeed a smart cookie. I’ve always felt you gotta be a little nuts to want to be president, with all it entails getting there and then doing the job.

  14. Gator says:


    The one ‘upside’ is the incredible access to data and knowledge that is only known to a very, very few. I think it also presents an agonizing conundrum… you KNOW that a particular course is the correct one for the country and yet your knowledge and self assurance are based on data that CANNOT be disseminated to virtually ANYONE. And yet you know you must act. And that you will never be in a position to explain or justify your decisions.

  15. msgkings says:

    @ Gator:

    Agreed. The ‘agonizing conundrum’ just adds to my feelings about it. What sane person wants that gig?

  16. GROG says:

    @Mono, Filistro, DC:

    I don’t have much time today but I read and made a few comments (as Mono suggested) on Mono’s March 9th article, “Will Ye Have the Poor Always With You?”

    My commentary is brilliant but is full of my usual misspellings and miswordings. 🙂

  17. Mr. Universe says:

    What I find to be telling is that the office of President is nowadays considered to be a secondary choice because the the salary is chump change next to what you can make in the corporatocracy. Pretending you want to be president is now just a marketing strategy.

    Hmmm, do I want to be President or do I want to be Rupert Murdoch?

    Something fundamentally wrong with this picture.

  18. mclever says:

    Oooh! I wanna be Murdoch when I grow up!

    Good point, Mr. Universe. (as usual)

  19. mclever,

    Oooh! I wanna be Murdoch when I grow up!

    He never exactly grew up, from what I recall of him:

  20. Monotreme says:

    I pity the fool.

  21. mclever says:

    Dwight will always be Lt. Barclay to me.

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