by Max Brantley
Mike Huckabee truly was a different person during his presidential campaign. He curbed his proven ability to lacerate with a sharp tongue. The muzzle is off in his new book "Do the Right Thing," according to Time magazine. It's a campaign memoir, a roadmap for his political future and it is "full of sharp words for fellow Republicans who frustrated his bid for his party's nomination." Mitt Romney, the Jackson T. Stephens Jr.-financed Club for Growth, social conservatives and the press all get a few jabs. It sounds like a patented rendition of Huck's poor-pitiful-me routine. You don't feel much sympathy when you read about some of those who scorned him.
He calls out Pat Robertson, the Virginia-based televangelist, and Dr. Bob Jones III, chancellor of Bob Jones University in South Carolina, for endorsing Rudy Giuliani and Romney, respectively. He also has words for the Texas-based Rev. John Hagee, who endorsed the more moderate John McCain in the primaries, as someone who was drawn to the eventual Republican nominee because of the lure of power. Huckabee speaks to Hagee by phone before the McCain endorsement, while the former Arkansas Governor is preparing for a spot on Saturday Night Live. "I asked if he had prayed about this and believed this was what the Lord wanted him to do," Huckabee writes of his conversation with Hagee. "I didn't get a straight answer." Months later, McCain rejected Hagee's endorsement because of controversial remarks the pastor had made about biblical interpretations.
As ever, turning the other cheek remains the lost passage in Huck's bible of political behavior.
UPDATE: A libertarian site weighs in.
UPDATE II: Romney responds.
“This type of pettiness is beneath Mike Huckabee,” said Romneny spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom. “If we’re going to move the party forward, we need to offer more than personal recriminations. Unfortunately, in this book, Mike Huckabee is consumed with presumed slights, and he seems more interested in settling scores than in bringing people together.”
Pettiness? Beneath Mike Huckabee? It's his essence.
UPDATE III: Christian Broadcasting says "my goodness"
UPDATE IV: Wonkette says: "Huckabee writes whiny book about how awful everyone else is" And adds that Huck was "much jollier as a fat ass."
UPDATE V: Hot air just nails him.
Kudos to Time for a choice selection of representative quotes: Waging low-grade class warfare by sneering at Romney’s wealth and appealing to evangelicals to vote along religious lines is Huck to a T. As is the bit about “government-driven solutions,” of course — this is a guy who once endorsed a federal ban on smoking in workplaces, remember — although that’s qualified by the fact that he’s been a loud and, for most conservatives, righteous opponent of the bailout. Whether that’s because he knows an unpopular issue when he sees one or because an extraordinary intervention in extraordinary circumstances crossed some sort of statist threshold in his mind that ordinary interventions in ordinary circumstances wouldn’t, only he knows.
UPDATE VI: Iowa Independent recalls an episode that is SOOO Mike Huckabee. Covetous and resentful of others.
Many thought of Romney as the GOP presidential frontrunner until Huckabee’s surprising Iowa victory upended his candidacy. The two traded barbs in the press throughout the campaign, although since its completion Huckabee has been the one lobbing criticism. At the Republican Party of Iowa’s convention in July, Huckabee told the delegates about a man who thought he recognized Huckabee at an airport.
“I know who you are,” Huckabee said the man told him, “You’re Mitt Romney.”
Huckaee’s response – “Dude, if I were Mitt Romney I wouldn’t be riding in coach right now.”
UPDATE VII: American Spectator unimpressed.
UPDATE VIII: He alibis and explains on Town Hall.