Can Huckabee win? Can a guy with no money and skeletal organization and the pooled power of the not only the rest of the Republican field actually win?
The answer isn’t no and that is a big deal.
Earlier today I had a discussion with a former governor who knew Huckabee from his days in office. This governor is supporting another of the Republican candidates. He dismissed Huckabee as “not very conservative.” “In fact,” he said, “he’s so liberal he might as well be Giuliani.”
I offered that he was rather conservative on the social issues conservative Christians value so highly. Huckabee is, after all, avowedly pro-life, anti-gay marriage, and pro-Jesus.
“Well, yeah, on those issues he’s ok,” the person sniffed, “but not on immigration.”
One of the reasons Huckabee is so popular is that he doesn’t represent the kind of conservatism this person thinks is so essential for victory. He isn’t just a tax-cutting, immigrant-baiting, government-slashing, business-embracing conservative. He is, to reclaim a phrase, “a conservative with a purpose.”
And people like that.
Yes he is going to be hit with the nastiest stuff imaginable in the coming weeks. I have this sense though that this Arkansas politician knows enough verbal and political karate to throw it right back at his attackers. They will look desperate. He will look like a statesman.
All this said, he lacks two things that are still important in politics – organization and money. It is easy for someone to answer a pollster’s question and say that they like him. It is something else to turn out the voters needed to win a caucus or a primary. And he is going to need to get on TV to counter the barrage of ads that will be slung at him. He better be out there ringing a bell for coins. He’s going to need them.