by Max Brantley
Roger Simon at Politico writes about Mike Huckabee: "No more Mr. Nice Guy." He's become a slasher, responding to cues from the base as he, one analyst speculates, looks to revive the Reagan coalition of conservatives and angry southern whites. Of course, anybody who thought Huckabee never had a mean streak or a penchant for over-the-top rhetoric previously wasn't paying close attention.
Happily, still more commentators are noting the nonsense that issues forth so freely from The Huckster. Such as Ezra Klein in the Washington Post, who makes great sport of this utterance by The Huckster.
I want to see improvements in health care, too. But I think a better way to honor Ted Kennedy would be to ensure that every American has access to the latest private health care, as good as what senators receive.
Or, as Klein put, "to socialize and bankrupt the United States."
And here's another roundup on the "new, scary" Huck.
... right now, likely ’12 Republican primary voters want mindless anti-Obama vitriol, and lots of it. All that ’07 talk from Huckabee about good education, safe neighborhoods, and health care? Forget it.
This was probably inevitable. After all, the Huckabee of ’07 was an unknown and ill-defined figure, new to the national stage. His preacher-man status gave him credibility with much of the party’s base, but his warm, folksy persona is what really sold him. But when he became a serious threat to win the nomination, the Club for Growth crowd had a field day with his economic populism.
He’s not going to let that happen again—especially now that he faces a new threat on the right, from Sarah Palin, who will not be saddled with the burden of Romney’s Mormonism in ’12. Huckabee has a decent shot at being the next G.O.P. presidential nominee, and he’s modified his behavior accordingly.
It’s too bad. For three decades, Christian conservatism in America was defined by the ugly divisiveness of Falwell, Robertson and their ilk. Huckabee’s ’08 campaign did much to alter this image, prompting some non-fundamentalists to think that, yeah, maybe we can find some common ground with these folks.
This was no small achievement—one that Huckabee is now merrily flushing down the toilet.