by Max Brantley
Stephens Media offers a big windup on Mike Huckabee's expected announcement of his presidential candidacy. Some politicos offer opinions -- that money will be an issue, that he possesses some interesting ideas, that he hopes to catch fire with a focus on early nominating states such as Iowa, friendly to religious conservatives such as him. Iowa also has an important August straw poll that can forecast the caucus outcome.
There's also this tidbit. Among the e-mail we couldn't respond to on account of our absence yesterday afternoon was an offer of a comment from the Club for Growth on the Huckabee candidacy. The conservative group, which coalesces around a low tax message, has been pot-shotting Huckabee for months for his big-government tendencies in Arkansas -- tax increases, increase in government payroll, increase in education spending, health insurance programs (things, we confess, that make him marginally more palatable from our point of view.)
The club's chief executive said Friday that Huckabee will have a hard time generating support from the club's constituency of anti-tax and limited government advocates.
"He's going to have some real problems explaining some of the tax increases and anti-growth policies like support for a minimum wage increase," said former Rep. Pat Toomey, R-Pa. "Those kinds of positions really don't rest well with this rather large bloc of Republican voters."
Also on the presidential front, Brummett ponders Arkansas's sudden significance. Hillary likely will emerge on the Democratic side, but she must do well in our early (Feb. 5) primary to avoid a stumble. And then there's Mike Huckabee, who, should he still be standing then, might have to buff off the tarnish of his final days for a sparkling showing. Might Arkansas Republicans prefer McCain? Or Giuliani? We must wait only a year to find out.