The Washington Post's political blogger got a sit-down with The Huckster when he took the taxpayers' plane to Washington to enhance his run for president. Time well spent. The Fix blogger is impressed. He thinks the Huckster is making strides in moving himself into the first rank of potential Republican candidates in 2008, someone with more to recommend him than merely weight loss.
Like, hold your hat, "A COMMITMENT TO ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION [our emphasis]"
This is the man whose pollution permission commission has been a reliable friend to polluters. The man who gave the Farm Bureau the famous "environmental wackos" speech and proceeded to trot out every hoary myth about how tree-huggers stand in the way of honest bidnessmen.
But the lengthy article gives Huckabee some credit he's due, in health care, education and a more moderate stance on immigration. Also, the third-way philsophy pioneered by former (current?) adviser Dick Morris is evident throughout. There's a transcript attached that we haven't been able to plow through just yet. But, says the blogger:
That rhetoric, coupled with Huckabee's evangelical background, could make him an appealing choice for conservative voters who tend to assess candidates through a religious lens, especially in the Iowa caucuses where that type of voter predominates. Of the current top-tier candidates in the 2008 Republican race -- McCain, Sen. George Allen (Va.) and Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney -- none has a resumé to match Huckabee's when it comes to courting voters whose first voting priorities are abortion and gay marriage. And another fun fact -- three of the last five U.S. presidents (including the current president) were committed evangelical Christians and governors from the South.
Huckabee's political philosophy is not simply a parroting of positions favored by social conservatives; rather, it is an attempt to fuse social and fiscal concerns. "There are a lot of people in the Republican Party who think there is this total disconnect between fiscal responsibility and social responsiblity," said Huckabee. "I've never matched it up quite like that."