Thursday, December 13, 2007

Mike Hukabee seems ... democratic!

This New York Times Magazine profile of Mike Huckabee has been understandably causing a buzz, although, as Ross points out, for all the wrong reasons. And yet, and yet, I have to admit that reading the profile caused me, in a strange way, to warm to Huckabee, if only because, the guy is so ... democratic.

Let me explain. The 2008 US election is populated with candidates, who have huge amounts of funds at their disposal (Romney, Clinton), who have a well-oiled political machinery at their disposal (Clinton), who were born, so to speak, with silver spoons in their mouths (Romney) and all of them radiate a kind of confidence that they can chart choppy political maneuvering (dealing with lobbyists, big business, unions, big donors, what-have-you) with ease. From a democratic standpoint, this is as it should be -- yet to someone like me, far away from Washington insiderism (like most people, I suspect) it is also a forbidding world, a world that I, for instance, were I to decide to stand for office tomorrow, would be utterly at sea in.

And this is Mike Huckabee's strongest point. He seems to have achieved his lead in the Republican nomination (at least in Iowa) despite being the complete opposite of what a Washington insider should be. The guy travels commercially, has no advisers, no funds, no well-oiled machinery, seems to have had no success in getting endorsements, and isn't walled off behind a battery of people who claim to speak for him. And he's leading the Republican nomination! I don't know about you, but I find that strangely appealing -- very... there's no other word I can think of ... democratic.

That doesn't mean that, like all pretentious people who think they understand policy, I don't wince when Huckabee talks and I agree in principle that the last thing America needs is another undisciplined, uninformed President. But there's a substantial difference between George W. and Huckabee. For one, Huckabee doesn't seem to project that sense of entitlement that is so infuriating about George W; more than that, like most self-made men, he seems very aware of his own inadequacies, again, unlike, George W (check out Huckabee's answer to what portfolios he is most qualified for). Most important, he has the right idea that a good President needs to surround himself with good advisors (only problem: he doesn't have any advisers yet!).

No comments: