On the improbability of the Huck candidacy, I was in a cab today listening to Rush (my cabbie: "I like to listen to Rush because sometimes I like to clean my ear passages out with hot air") and he played the following Huck soundbite from yesterday's debate:
HUCKABEE: The first priority of the next president is to be a president of all the United States. We are right now a very polarized country, and that polarized country has led to a paralyzed government. We've got Democrats who fight Republicans, liberals fighting conservatives. The left fights the right. Who's fighting for this country again? And somehow we gotta quit fighting among ourselves as conservatives and as Republicans and start putting the better interests of this nation.
Rush had this to say:
I know you Hucksters are out there. This bothers me. This sounds like Brokaw. "I don't care what the solution is, liberal or conservative, I don't care." I do! Liberal solutions are destroying the fabric of this country. And as such, conservatives fighting liberals is what this election is about! The left being defeated is what this election is about. That is fighting for the country. Bad answer.
I don't quite understand why Huckabee is doing so well given his conspicuous lack of the kind of manly harrumphing conservatives love -- on the war on terror, on the need to crush Hillary, on the danger of creeping liberalism, etc. I thought talking about wanting to end "polarization" was merely seductive on the left and in the middle. For the right, anti-polarization chatter -- well, that's Fairness Doctrine crap! (When I interviewed Duncan Hunter for a recent story, he inadvertently uttered the word "civility," then fell all over himself to deny the idea that civility is any kind of political virtue, lest that word show up in a quote with his name beside it -- a felony offense for his followers.)
I can think of three explanations for why Huckabee's let's-play-nice theme hasn't hurt him yet: 1) It will, and this Rush segment is the harbinger; 2) David Brooks is right that this is a "postwar" election, where voters desire a return to normalcy and a break from fear-mongering; or 3) conservatives are so desperate for a savior this cycle that enjoying Keith Richards is adequate to secure one's manly credentials.