Robert Novak

Huckabee clearly departs from the mainstream of the conservative movement in his confusion of "growth" with "greed." Such ad hominem attacks are part of his intuitive response to criticism from the Club for Growth and the libertarian Cato Institute for his record as governor. On Fox News Sunday Nov. 18, he called the "tactics" of the Club for Growth "some of the most despicable in politics today. It's why I love to call them the Club for Greed because they won't tell you who gave their money." In fact, all contributors to the organization's political action committee (which produces campaign ads) are publicly revealed, as are most donors financing issue ads.

Quin Hillyer, a former Arkansas journalist writing in the conservative American Spectator, called Huckabee "a guy with a thin skin, a nasty vindictive streak." Huckabee's retort was to attack Hillyer's journalistic procedures, fitting a mean-spirited image when he responds to conservative criticism.

Nevertheless, he is getting remarkably warm reviews in the news media as the most humorous, entertaining and interesting GOP presidential hopeful. Contrary to descriptions by old associates, he is now called "jovial" or "good-natured." Any Republican who does not sound much like a Republican is bound to benefit from friendly media support, as Sen. John McCain did in 2000 but not today with his return to being more like a conventional Republican.

An uncompromising foe of abortion can never enjoy full media backing. But Mike Huckabee is getting enough favorable buzz that, when combined with his evangelical base, it makes real conservatives shudder.


Robert Novak

Robert Novak (1931-2009) was a syndicated columnist and editor of the Evans-Novak Political Report.
 

 
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