How Huckabee Could Stop President Palin

November 22nd, 2010 at 10:22 am David Frum | 57 Comments |

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Mike Huckabee, who knows a thing or two about insurgent campaigns, sees the power of the Palin candidacy. Taegan Goddard links this morning to the Des Moines Register:

Mike Huckabee told the Des Moines Register that Sarah Palin would be a strong contender for president should she decide to run.

Said Huckabee: “No question, she will be a very, very strong presence and force, if she gets in. You know, she may run away with it. And that’s one of those things everyone needs to be prepared for.

Huckabee’s words are more than an observation. They are a warning. And they are a warning especially to be heeded because they come from the one politician who can probably do most to stop Palin, the candidate best positioned to win Iowa.

Huckabee himself is also persona non grata with party leaders, because of his repeated criticism of Wall Street and Wall Street minded GOP insiders.

But Huckabee is a very different cat from Sarah Palin. He’s smart and policy-minded. And while he expresses a strong social conservative message, he does not play the politics of division, disparagement, and resentment in which Palin specializes. In the days of party conventions, the answer to the Palin problem would have been obvious: party leaders would assemble and force the mutually mistrustful Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee onto the same ticket. In modern times, the game is played differently, but the structure of the situation remains the same: an early Huckabee pact with a candidate acceptable to Republican donors (if not Romney, then Tim Pawlenty or even Jeb Bush) would command enough clout to push Palin off the stage. If not, all bets are off. As I think about it, that’s one of the big problems with the candidacies of a Thune, a Daniels or a Barbour: They will need Huckabee as much or more than Romney does. Yet Huckabee is also a re-elected governor, plus he won the second largest haul of delegates last time. Why should he defer to any of the lower-polling governors? And who will make him?

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57 Comments so far ↓

  • nuser

    Irene Flick: You have a problem, don’t take it out on david Frum!

  • sinz54

    tinkerthinker: Frum, you do realize that most of your commenters are liberals don’t you?
    He knows that. He even published a diary about that, last summer I believe it was.

    The real question is, Does Frum ever read any of the comments here?

    Some of us remaining conservatives here have tried to point out to him that he cannot have any effect on conservative Americans if he keeps sniping at conservative heroes–and like it or not, Sarah Palin is a hero to the conservative base. Because that alienates those conservatives and drives them away. That’s why so few of them are here.

    Frum doesn’t seem to get that he has to SELL himself and his ideas back to the conservative base. Otherwise he can remain a “maverick” beloved of the Dems only.

    David Frum is becoming the conservative equivalent of the liberal Juan Williams: He’s now welcome on the opposite side of the fence as a thoughtful maverick.

  • CentristNYer

    sinz: “… like it or not, Sarah Palin is a hero to the conservative base.”

    Just because the lunatics are running the asylum is no reason to join them in their delusions. Frum is wise not to go off the cliff with the rest of the GOP.

    And I challenge the assertion that most of the posters on this site are “liberals.” To the contrary, many or most of us used to be proud conservatives at one point but watched in horror at the rise of the religious right within the movement. Conservatism used to stand for individual responsibility and fiscal sanity. Today it’s identified with religious extremism, endless war, climate change denialism, tax cuts at all costs, hostility to gays and immigrants, and nanny state control of peoples’ lives. We didn’t become liberals — we became realists.

  • Churl

    CentristNYer // Nov 23, 2010 at 10:21 am

    Concern troll?

  • Carney

    Good spot, Churl.

    “Centrist”NYer has yet to identify a single stand he takes that agrees with the contemporary US right and disagrees with the contemporary US left, on an issue in significant contemporary contention between the two, and without playing games re-defining the right and left but accepting consensus identifications of the two sides. In other words, he’s all left, all the time, pretending to be a centrist, in order to make his leftward push more effective to conservatives. In other words, deliberately, knowingly, repeatedly, persistently dishonest.

  • MaryAnn Stuart

    For crying out loud. She said families faced challenges. That applies to the slaves.
    She said families had simple pleasures, and even the slaves did, at least sometimes, same as other people. Don’t even get started on pointing out how hard it was. I know that, and she said that. Most every human faces challenges and has some simple pleasures, to greater or lesser extent. So, quit nit-picking. What? You think Palin never read Uncle Tom’s Cabin or other books about the slaves? You think she suddenly had a brain block about native Americans, which her children half are? And she certainly is very aware that women were also not allowed to vote or act as full citizens and that many white women and children were beaten or mistreated with no laws to help them, either. She was thinking of the GOOD elements that existed, and there were at least a few for most people. I am not trying to say, at this point, that she should win over Huck or vice-versa. I’m just saying that this kind of picking is not going to help anybody! You should follow the example of both of them and try encouraging and pointing out and teaching what is good and right instead of being part of the mud-slinging problem.