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Fox News' Mike Huckabee: Won't someone cast him in a remake of 'Face in the Crowd?'

Mike_huckabee If you've never seen Elia Kazan's riveting 1957 film, "A Face in the Crowd," you should make time soon. It's more timely than ever. The film, written by Budd Schulberg, is about Larry (Lonesome) Rhodes, a hobo turned country singer whose folksy humor and personal charm helps catapult him to TV stardom and national political influence. The movie is a cautionary tale about how, in America, cynics use idealism to promote their own personal agenda, which should already look pretty familiar to anyone who spends any time watching Fox News.

If any current political figure bears a striking resemblance to "Face in the Crowd's" Rhodes, it's Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor and current Fox News host who, if you believe the latest popularity polls, is the leading 2012 presidential candidate among Republican voters. Huckabee, who's been out promoting a new book, has certainly been acting like a GOP presidential aspirant, selling himself as an alternative to President Obama. Huckabee makes no bones about opposing Obama's healthcare plan and bashing unions in their fight for collective bargaining in Wisconsin, but he couches his rhetoric in the affable, unassuming manner of someone who runs a local hardware store.

Still, the more you watch him, the more he looks like Lonesome Rhodes. That dark side was never more in evidence than when Huckabee went on "The O'Reilly Factor" this week to walk back some nasty remarks he'd made earlier in the week about Obama on a right-wing talk radio show. Huckabee stated (erroneously) that Obama grew up in Kenya, arguing that the president had a negative opinion of the British because from "his perspective growing up in Kenya with a Kenyan father and grandfather, their view of the Mau Mau revolution in Kenya is very different than ours." 

Huckabee says he misspoke, claiming he meant to say that Obama was from Indonesia, not Kenya (even though Obama actually spent the majority of his youth growing up in Hawaii). But it seems clear from the Mau Mau reference that Huckabee's real point was to paint Obama as a radical outsider. As if to make the point clear, in the course of apologizing for his "verbal gaffe," Huckabee told O'Reilly that his real point about Obama being raised in a different country was to say "that it creates a different world view. This is not a kid who grew up going to Boy Scout meetings and playing Little League baseball in a small town." 

So in the course of supposedly apologizing for unfairly painting Obama as a radical outsider, Huckabee cannily once again painted him as an suspicious outsider who didn't play Little League baseball or go to Boy Scout meetings. That was another whopper, since its pretty well known to anyone who followed Obama's path to the presidency that he played basketball on his high school team in Hawaii. But it was classic Lonesome Rhodes, using a folksy image of Americana to paint a dark portrait of a political opponent.

Obama wasn't Huckabee's only target this week. He also went after Natalie Portman on "The Michael Medved Show" because the visibly pregnant Portman thanked her fiance during her tearful best actress acceptance speech at the Academy Awards, saying he had given her "my most important role of my life," referring to motherhood. After making a point of proudly saying that he didn't watch the Oscars (it's apparently political suicide for any Republican candidate to show any interest in any movies made in Hollywood or music that doesn't come out of Nashville), Huckabee said he found it "troubling" to see a Hollywood starlet like Portman "who boasts of, 'Hey, look, you know, we're having children, we're not married, but were having these children, and they're doing just fine.' "

Of course, that wasn't Portman's message at all. If Huckabee had actually been watching, he would have seen a radiant woman, looking forward to raising a family with someone she loved. It was a classic Lonesome Rhodes moment from Huckabee. If you want to see why his view of the world is so troubling, watch "A Face in the Crowd," which reminds us that the people who are often the most vociferous advocates for homespun family values are often the people who don't practice what they preach.  

--Patrick Goldstein

Photo: Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, center, with Dick Boak, left, a National Assn. of Music Merchants board member, and Def Leppard guitarist Phil Collen, right, at the Winter NAMM convention in Anaheim earlier this year. Credit: Steve C. Mitchell/European Pressphoto Agency 


Comments () | Archives (10)

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Mike Huckabee would be a much stronger president than Obama. We need to cut spending, reduce the size of government and allow those who work for a living to keep more of the money they earn. Isn't that why we went to war with England back in the 1700s?

Huckabee's comment about Obama "not being a kid who grew up going to Boy Scout meetings" is particularly ironic, seeing how Huckabee's son was dismissed as a Boy Scout camp counselor for torturing a dog to death at the camp. See

According to the Associated Press, on NBC's Meet The Press on December 31, 2007, Huckabee "stood by" a 1998 comment in which he said, "I hope we answer the alarm clock and take this nation back for Christ. When people say, 'We ought to separate politics from religion,' I say to separate the two is absolutely impossible".

Mr. Huckabee might have a problem after reading the US constitution.

Brilliant. The huckster is clearly taking notes from Rhodes -- I never made that connection, but it is just perfect.

The comparison to "A face in the crowd" is incorrect, Rhodes gets caught on a microphone during the closing of his show talking about how stupid his fans are and how he can make them do anything he says. Whats-his-face is saying stuff out in the open and not hiding, Plus he really is a hick? But from reading the article this is just another red vs blue or green or whatever the latest device to keep people fighting against each other. How is this any different than when Obama starts talking like he's from the hood in front of Black Audiences? Politicians are all phonies!

I guess this is just another hit at a possible Republican Candidate on an Entertainment and Media page no less, there are going to be many, many, many more.

Bet you can't write an article explaining Obama's Energy policy or explain what Obama's criteria for victory in Afghanistan. But you can tick of every flaw or misspoken word Palin or Beck have ever made.

Whats that song " A tired song is playing on a tired radio"? Think about it? Try write an article without using the words "Fox News, Beck and Palin" it also seems you guys watch an awful lot of Fox News to catch all this crap! They are in your head messing with your mind!

Mmm. . . has he forgotten about Bristol Palin who "glorifies" (as he stated with Natalie Portman) single motherhood by reaping the benefits of Hollywood. What example has she set? Hypocrite!

So uber-liberal mouthpiece Patrick G. is now getting on his high horse to proclaim out of wedlock pregnancies noble? It's Orwellian "right is wrong" speech at its finest. Patrick G. is a genius at it.
Weak comparison too. Huckabee made a mistake.
Lonesome Rhoades knew he was a phony and became a malicious
megalomaniac. You can do better, P.G.!

Mike Huckabee , like most would-be Republican presidential candidates, is about as electable as his cartoon counterpart Huckleberry Hound.

Bingo--you got it--he DOES look like 'ol Lonesome, don't he? You can almost smell the snake oil along with all the guitar strummin' by the cracker barrel. All we need now is a scorned Patricia Neal type to speak truth to power, "pump up the volume" (THAT was a great scene, wasn't it?) and once and for all reveal Huckabee for the one dimensional, low rent, lightweight, corn pone, bigoted phony that he is.

What ever happend to Gomer Pyle?


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