by Max Brantley
Add the conservative David Sanders (who once worked for Mike Huckabee) to the list of those who say Mike Huckabee is mostly about, well, Mike Huckabee.
He longs for the spotlight. He loves to entertain and is less concerned with the substance of what he says than with the impression he leaves. He loves a gimmick and is a master marketer, but would rather leave the details to someone else, and it really doesn't matter who.
He launched his campaign for the White House by going on a book tour and touting his 100-pound weight loss. When that ran its course, he became the other man from Hope, Ark.
His nice-guy image is carrying him now, which makes sense because he is a nice guy. As the narrative goes, he is a different kind of conservative, one who isn't mad all the time. (I first heard this line in the summer of 2006 when Frank Page was elected to lead the Southern Baptist Convention, much to the chagrin of the denomination's fundamentalist elements.)
Huckabee added to the narrative: He is a quasi-rock star, band and all, who earns headlines attacking those in his own party and defying conventional wisdom by taking the other side's policies and making them his own.
He is a modern-day populist who delights in the sowing-and-reaping praise of others, especially those from the left, but for what, to advance some sort of ideological cause? No, it's about advancing Mike Huckabee.