Despite his current standing in the polls, Mike Huckabee remains an under-funded and chronically disorganized long-shot when it comes to actually winning the GOP Presidential nomination. While easily the most gifted TV communicator in the field, the former Arkansas governor displays some serious vulnerabilities as a candidate for the White House and his innumerable critics and rivals have attacked these weaknesses with gleeful ferocity.
Even if he fails to win a place on the national ticket, however, Huckabee’s startlingly strong campaign provides potent benefits for both his party and his country. In the two weeks remaining before the Iowa Caucuses it’s worth considering how the Man from Hope 2.0 has already strengthened the GOP.
1. HUCKABEE’S COMPETITIVE STATUS PROVES THAT MONEY ALONE CAN’T BUY A PRESIDENTIAL NOMINATION. In Iowa, Huckabee enjoys a substantial lead (over Mitt Romney) while national polls show him virtually tied for first place with Rudy Giuliani. He’s achieved this success – so far—despite the fact that Romney outspent him in Iowa by a ludicrous ratio of at least 20 to 1, and his national fundraising has lagged far, far behind Romney, Rudy, Thompson, McCain and even Ron Paul and Tom Tancredo. There’s simply no modern precedent for a candidate with so few financial resources making himself such a major factor in the primary process. Even those who dislike or distrust Huckabee, ought to acknowledge that his vigorous campaign helps the cause of wide-open, participatory democracy.
Countless cynical citizens say they won’t take part in politics because it’s all dominated by corporate interests and big money contributors. Huckabee, however, manages to compete for the prize despite a total absence of major corporate support and pathetically limited funding. If nothing else, his serious race to the White House ought to destroy the myth that a “little guy” can’t compete with “the big boys” when it comes to a national campaign.