"I don't want to see our food come from China, our oil come from Saudi Arabia and our manufacturing come from Europe and Asia," he said in his Washington speech. There is so much foolishness in that one sentence it is hard to unpack: We import a mere 3.3 percent of our food from China; we're not going to be independent of foreign oil in 10 years as Huckabee promises; and foreign manufactured goods, by keeping prices low, are a boon to the middle class that Huckabee champions.
Lines like this are just part of Huckabee's act -- an act not in the sense of being inauthentic, but in the sense of being literally a rhetorical roadshow. Pundits now say that Huckabee has made the Republican contest a "five man" race. This is overkill. Without organization, money or an agenda, Huckabee is very unlikely to win the nomination. A presidential candidate has to be more than a performer. As one top social conservative says, "He's not running for Toastmasters."
But he could be running for vice president. He's a natural fit for Rudy Giuliani. If Huckabee wins an upset in Iowa, he will deal a potentially mortal blow to Giuliani competitor Mitt Romney. If Giuliani becomes the nominee, he will have to shore up the social-conservative base. A vice-presidential nominee with impeccable social-conservative credentials will be a must, and one like Huckabee -- an incredibly talented communicator with crossover appeal to the media -- will be a plus.
As for Huckabee's presidential campaign, it's a blast. Enjoy it while it lasts.
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