Friday, October 19, 2007

David Brooks on Mike Huckabee

I consider the NYT's David Brooks to be one of our most astute cultural and political critics, so I think this article is a significant development in Mike Huckabee's candidacy for the presidency:
The first thing you notice about Mike Huckabee is that he has a Mayberry name and a Jim Nabors face. But it’s quickly clear that Huckabee is as good a campaigner as anybody running for president this year. And before too long it becomes easy to come up with reasons why he might have a realistic shot at winning the Republican nomination:

1. Republican voters here and in Iowa are restless. That means that there will be sharp movements during the last 30 days toward whoever seems fresh and hot.

2. Each of the top-tier candidates makes certain parts of the party uncomfortable. Huckabee is the one candidate acceptable to all factions.

3. Huckabee is the most normal person running for president (a trait that might come in handy in a race against Hillary Clinton). . . .

4. He is part of the new generation of evangelical leaders. . . .

5. Though you wouldn’t know it from the past few years, the white working class is the backbone of the G.O.P. Huckabee is most in tune with these voters.

6. He’s a former governor. He talks about issues in a down-to-earth way that other candidates can’t match.

7. He’s a collaborative conservative.
Read the whole thing. Conclusion:

Huckabee has some significant flaws as a candidate. His foreign policy thinking is thin. Some of his policy ideas seem to come off the top of his head (he vows, absurdly, to make the U.S. energy independent within eight years).

But Huckabee is something that the party needs. He is a solid conservative who is both temperamentally and substantively different from the conservatives who have led the country over the past few years.

He’s rising in the polls, especially in Iowa. His popularity with the press corps suggests he could catch a free media wave that would put him in the top tier. He deserves to be there.