Thursday, July 17, 2008

Huckabubba as VP?

I've written privately to friends before that the Democrats cannot afford to be dismissive of the religious right. Blogger Five Thirty Eight speculates about the Republican candidate choosing Mike Huckabee as his VP in a much broader piece about the election. The conventional wisdom is that the fundies are the "organizing engine" of the GOP. I don't disagree, but the Dems have learned this year and they have a lot of money.

I say it's a great choice for McSame. Let him run with the Christianists, right into the ground. We have all seen the eroding of support for fundamentalism since 2006, and we saw how fast Huckabee's popularity sank after his shocking win in Iowa. He may have won a few southern primaries along the way -- which in large part was expected -- but the Republicans cannot mount a southern strategy this time and expect to win. The so-called swing states like Ohio and Florida are leaning towards Obama, and states once thought to be solidly on the red side, like Virginia, have a Democratic Governor, former Governor, and Senator who are all very popular.

Huckabee exhibits likeability in many ways: he's a good communicator, he's forthright, and he's a musician (always a plus in my book). The 538 article speculates that Huckabee's radical positions won't alter the landscape all that much if he's second on the ticket:
Huckabee may have a few gaffes here and there, and he may be wildly out of the American mainstream for some of his views once those views reach sunlight, but I simply don’t think those views are going to capture enough voter attention nor be meaningfully damaging enough (as merely the VP) to outweigh the benefits Huckabee would bring the ticket. If McCain isn’t able to get any oxygen in the narrative (good or bad), how much scrutiny will his VP choice really get? Would a perceived base pander pick truly hurt McCain with the undecideds in a way that has any staying power?

I think McSame will be dragged into a most unflattering spotlight -- at least in the blogosphere -- if he chooses the radical right agenda as his "wing man." And he looks primed to do something that stupid. He's already fully embraced the neocon notion of a permanent presence in Iraq. He's already sounding more and more like Bush III than the "maverick" he was eight years ago. By embracing the religious right, his rebranding as the second coming of George W. Bush would be complete. And transforming oneself into the heir apparent of one of the nation's worst and most unpopular presidents is just fine with this progressive blogger.

For more on McSame's war position, click here. Money quote:

McCain gets a demerit for resorting to a "tried and true" cop-out. He says he will name an "Afghanistan czar"—a "highly respected national security leader, based in the White House and reporting directly to the president." He'll also appoint "a special presidential envoy to address disputes between Afghanistan and its neighbors."

A czar and an envoy—two classic enablers of executive evasion for the same war!

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