by Max Brantley
Homestate coverage lauded his "trademark zingers." But, sorry. Our very own former Bro. Gov., the very irreverent Mike Huckabee, was no Mario Cuomo or Barack Obama at the Republican National Convention last night. He's given great speeches in his day. But I thought he mailed this one in, perhaps a sign that, as he said, he'd have much rather been speaking tonight to accept the GOP nomination.
Familar Huck touchstones -- Lava soap, Elvis, complaints about the elite media -- all were reheated soup for anyone who's ever endured The Huckster's Rolling Parable Show. But this was worse:
* There was the tired (and nonsensical -- "half creepy and half incomprehensible" in the words of NY Times) tale about the Joe T. Robinson school room with no desks. James Fallows explains at some length what's so wrong about that missing-desks tale that Huck likes so much.
A minor point, so why mention it: somehow a little portion of each of our brains and souls is zapped away each time a prominent figure says something that is obvious nonsense -- remember, the Nazis had school desks too! -- and knows he can count on a cheer by a closing reference to country and flag.
Our Bob Lancaster roasted Huck on this dumb tale the first time it emerged.
* He was immediately corrected on national TV for two errors of typical Huckabee exaggeration -- 1) saying Sarah Palin had gotten more votes running for mayor of Wasilla than Joe Biden had gotten running for president and 2) saying Abraham Lincoln founded the Republican Party. The latter boner was much discussed.
* Then there was his fiction about John McCain as a POW. McCain did, too, renounce the country as most did or would under torture. But, of course, The Huckster had to improve the record.
* Huckabee also misquoted Honest Abe, attributing a Gerald Ford quote to the great railsplitter.
Given that Hucks' speech was lost in the spotlight on v.p. nominee Sarah Palin, it's probably of little moment. But the speech seemed unlikely to catapult him politically, except back to the cheap seats. Imagine, for a second, if this had been a speech of the Republican presidential nominee. You'd have been cringing.
For those who missed it: The transcript.