Thursday, June 04, 2015

Sincerely Past Tense

"Based on nothing at all except my personal opinion," Kevin Drum handicaps the upcoming GOP presidential race into three categories. Thy are, in his words, "vanity candidates: 0 percent chance of winning;" "not quite 0 percent, could maybe catch on if something really lucky happens;" "legitimate candidates with a real shot at the nomination."

I hate to disagree with a guy who understands more about one issue- crime- than virtually anyone, but placing only two individuals in the last category shorts the group by one.

That one would be the younger fellow from Florida, a conservative not as easily typecast as Scott Walker (the anti-worker guy) nor disliked by as many Repubs as is John Ellis Bush.  The GOP would like to have what it considers an inoffensive minority, especially one whose story as the son of refugees from (Batista's) Cuba can be pumped up as inspiring. The adjective modifying "minority" does not apply to either Ben Carson or to Ted Cruz.

Drum places former Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal in the second category, which gives him way too much credibility.  In the first, "0 percent," group sits Mike Huckabee, which may not give him too little credibility but gives him too little credit.  He concludes

So why are so many running? When guys like Dennis Kucinich or Ron Paul ran, I understood why. They just wanted a chance to present their views to a national audience. But that can't be what's motivating everyone on this list. So what is it? What is it that's somehow convinced so many obvious losers that they actually have a shot at becoming the next president of the United States?

But what is true about Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich may apply also to Mike Huckabee. The other man from Hope was one of the two main challengers to John McCain in 2008. However, he avoided the 2012 race- one he may well have won- either because he figured despaired of defeating an incumbent President or the opportunity to continue making gobs of money as a Fox News host was simply too appealing.

Or at least he probably would have won had  he maintained a more mainstream image than he's currently fashioning for himself.   CNN reports

If he "could have felt like a woman," the Republican former Arkansas governor joked earlier this year, then he could have seen his female classmates without their clothes on.

"Now I wish that someone told me that when I was in high school that I could have felt like a woman when it came time to take showers in PE," Huckabee said.

"I'm pretty sure that I would have found my feminine side and said, 'Coach, I think I'd rather shower with the girls today.' You're laughing because it sounds so ridiculous doesn't it?"

Huckabee's comments came in February at the 2015 National Religious Broadcasters Convention in Nashville, Tennessee. They were uploaded to YouTube over the weekend by World Net Daily and picked up more prominently by BuzzFeed on Tuesday.

Huckabee was commenting months before the Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner controversy.  Now after having made those awkward comments- and in part because he made them- Huckabee has replied "not going there" in response to a question about Jenner.

The Southern Baptist minister knew enough not (as they would have said circa 2013)  to have doubled down.

The damage, though, has been done.  However it might have gone over at a National Religious Broadcasters convention, the GOP of Sheldon Adelson, Charles and David Koch, Richard DeVos, Norman Braman, and the like will not nominate someone who quips "Now I wish that someone told me that when I was in high school that I could have felt like a woman when it came time to take showers in PE." It doesn't sound right to their friends and family, and is just too darned distracting, when concentrating wealth further into the hands of their friends and family is what they're after.

But it's not what Mike Huckabee is after. He's not focused on it, and as with everyone else of the Repub hopefuls, generally favors policies which will have the same impact. Nevertheless, the motivating cause of Reverend Huckabee the man and Reverend Huckabee the politician is opposingr the cultural revolution.  God, guns, grits, and gravy are not mere examples of alliteration to a guy for whom abortion, same-sex marriage, and gender identity are more than red meat to to throw to Repub voters.

He's wrong in most of his opinions, of course, and to his Party's kingmakers, it makes him sound like a Neanderthal, an embarrassing one to fellows who should be (but aren't) embarrassed by a whole lot of other things.   But like the elder Paul, Huckabee has his priorities, and if he can best promote them on the primary circuit, that's where he'll be.

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