David Stokes

Against the backdrop of the current trend of roller-coaster/whiplash politics, I venture a few thoughts making a case that it really aint over until the formerly fat guy sings.

Mike Huckabee should resist any pressure, subtle or not so much, suggesting that he follow the lead of Mitt Romney and suspend his campaign. Of course, there is no indication whatsoever that he plans to do anything other than forge ahead, but this political season has been full of surprises and high drama.

In case you hadn’t noticed, it’s still a long time until the Republican National Convention, which doesn’t convene until Labor Day (September 1st) in Minneapolis. This will be the latest any major party convention has ever been held. The Democrats will meet in Denver the week before.

Mr. Huckabee’s continued campaign is actually very healthy for the party and the process, calls for stop-the-race unity notwithstanding. First, though Romney suggested that a protracted campaign would delay a party-wide national campaign, it’s actually more likely that any such national unity campaign, with the nomination being a done deal, would compete poorly for media attention as compared to the apparent fight to the finish of the other gal and guy.

The Democrats will have high drama while the Republicans could become the victims of the political equivalent of writer’s strike-driven viewer apathy. There simply will be no news there. Shadow boxing seldom draws the crowd a real match does – even a seemingly uneven one.

Then there is the personality thing. Mike Huckabee has one. John McCain is a great American, but he is not a great communicator. As people look for the “Reagan-factor” these days, I think it must be acknowledged that he was a president known first and foremost as The Great Communicator. And, if Barack Obama is the Democratic candidate in the fall, Mr. McCain will make many people long for the witty charm of Bob Dole.

Governor Huckabee is a dynamic and charismatic communicator who could go toe to toe with Obama in the war of words that a presidential campaign essentially becomes. His preacher training would serve him well.

And, temperament is part of personality. In the past Democrats had to scramble to deal with bimbo eruptions. Well, Republicans may soon find themselves having to handle anger eruptions on the part of their leader. This is being downplayed right now as we hear the call for unity, but it’s a very real potential problem.

Mr. Reagan had a temper, by the way – his microphone seizing indignation in New Hampshire (1980) is a famous example. But, few would suggest that his capacity for ire was a defining or dominant trait. Can the same be said of the Senator from Arizona?


David Stokes

David R. Stokes is a best-selling author, pastor, columnist, and broadcaster. His latest book is a novel: CAPITOL LIMITED: A Story about John Kennedy and Richard Nixon. Based on a true story, it's about a unique moment in 1947, when Kennedy and Nixon shared