A recent incident in Greenville, SC reminds me why it's unlikely that Mike Huckabee will make it to the nomination. (Though a liberal can always hope.) As Mike Crowley explained last month, when the GOP establishment dislikes an insurgent candidate--and they haven't liked one since Ronald Reagan--they use legendarily vicious smear tactics to kill his candidacy in South Carolina.
When Mike wrote his piece, South Carolina looked like a toss-up because the Republican establishment was about evenly divided between Romney, Giuliani, Thompson, and McCain. But now, even though the establishment hasn't decided who to rally behind, there is one candidate who fits the bill as an insurgent: Mike Huckabee. It looks like GOP smear-artists are already prepping for his arrival.
Mysterious fliers attempting to paint Huckabee as too liberal for Republican primary voters were left on car windshields outside of a campaign event in Greenville on Saturday.
Under the banner, "Mike Huckabee - a 'True' Conservative?," the flier blasts Huckabee on immigration and taxes, and accuses the former Arkansas governor of "lying" about his role in the Wayne Dumond parole controversy.
It quotes a 2005 Arkansas News article that paraphrased Huckabee as saying, "Arkansas needs to make the transition from a traditional Southern state to one that recognizes and cherishes diversity and culture."
"Is something wrong with our Southern Christian culture?," the flier asks.
With so few resources to deploy outside Iowa and New Hampshire, Huckabee will have a hard time fighting back--as is already the case, he'll be heavily dependent on his personal charm. Given the nature of South Carolina politics, though, he'll probably need a lot more than charm to make it to the nomination.