by Max Brantley
If political endorsements by former governors count, Beth Anne Rankin will be the Republican nominee for Congress from the 4th Congressional District.
Former Gov. Mike Huckabee's video endorsement of his former aide is going out to his extensive mailing list. It is more than an endorsement of Rankin. I'd urge the national commentators who are emoting over "nice guy" Huckabee as a successor to Rush Limbaugh to give a listen. The Huckster can stick in the knife and twist and he's done so here against Rankin's better-financed opponent, Tom Cotton.
The Rankin endorsement doesn't mention Cotton by name. He's the Dardanelle native who went off to Harvard, military service and work in the well-heeled consulting circles in Washington and who's much loved — and bankrolled — by D.C. and eastern Republican establishment types. He moved back to Arkansas a year or so ago to run for Congress.
Rankin, notes Huckabee, "lived her whole life here." She was educated in Arkansas, he notes (not at that snooty Ivy League school, in other words.) Rankin, said Huckabee, is "not somebody who just parachuted into the district because she was looking for a way to get to Washington."
Ouch. Huckabee, of course, was not talking about John Cowart, the third Republican candidate, a Texarkana cop who also has military service on resume.
I've always had some doubts about the value of endorsements. Bill Clinton's swings for some Democratic candidates haven't always been followed by victories. Huckabee hasn't been an Arkansas resident for years, speaking of residency. But if endorsements do count, this was an unqualified and pointed one, designed to discourage Cotton picking.