by Max Brantley
I don't check the Arkansas Leader editorials often enough. There's always rich material there. Such as this commentary on Mike Huckabee's supposed "break-out" on the strength of a typically silly and mean-spirited joke at the expense of John Edwards.
But if Huckabee manages to break out of the herd of single-digit candidates, he has set a precedent that may serve him badly. His own official past provides rich material for precisely the kind of jibes that he loves, and he has invited it. They could popularize some of the Huckabee weaknesses that no one so far has exploited because he is not a serious factor in the race.
For instance, an opponent might crack that someone was “as excited as Mike Huckabee in a rich man’s haberdashery,” recalling the $23,032 worth of clothing Huckabee acquired in 1999 on Jennings Osborne’s clothing account. It was that year the governor sucked in $112,366 worth of gifts. Huckabee’s famous penchant for freebies, including the establishment of wedding registries for going-away gifts for the first couple last December, furnishes a limitless supply of thigh-slappers. Here is another: “I would sign that bill as fast as Mike Huckabee getting a rapist out of prison.”
This is not a game that offers long-term promise for our man. Huckabee should remember that scolds and jesters never get to rule.