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The Huckabee image gets a reality check

If nice folks do indeed finish last, Republican Mike Huckabee might as well end his presidential campaign right now. Assuming, of course, that he truly is, as the Washington Post characterized him in a lengthy feature story on Friday, an "affable, compassionate, good guy."

The Post piece was simply the latest to chime in with the common chord being struck by many when discussing the former Arkansas governor.

Back in mid-June, in a prescient South Carolina newspaper article that tabbed Huckabee as a candidate worth watching in the White House race, the state's GOP chairman, Katon Dawson, termed him one of the "nicest and kindest" politicians he had known. Newsday's James Pinkerton, in a recent column headlined "Huckabee: a Republican who can lead us back home," wrote that the candidate "comes across as a nice guy." Democrat Barack Obama, during his appearance last week on "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," opined that Huckabee seemed "sincere and decent" (you can see the entire segment here).

It's gotten to the point that a Newsweek takeout on him asserted that he's "too nice to be president" (the problem--lots of Republicans fear he's not mean enough to deal with Hillary Clinton in a general election face-off).

We've enjoyed Huckabee's presence in the presidential scrum as much as anyone (if for no other reason than that he's the only candidate who even attempts an impersonation of the Rolling Stones' Keith Richards). But when the chorus of coverage begins singing the same song, it's always good to hear a discordant voice. And one came along this week from John Brummett, a veteran observer of Arkansas politics.

Casting a bemused eye on the national image congealing around Huckabee, Brummett wrote that among those who would be surprised by the adjectives he's invoking is ex-Sen. Dale Bumpers. Huckabee, in unsuccessfully challenging the Democratic incumbent in 1992, aired ads that "characterized Bumpers as a pornographer," based on Senate votes supporting the National Endowment for the Arts, Brummett noted.

And there's also "the editor of the liberal local weekly, the Arkansas Times, which found itself cut off from routine notifications ... by Huckabee's taxpayer-provided press office."

It's a column well-worth reading. And one that shouldn't shock. Given that Huckabee thrived in Arkansas politics (he held the governor's office for more than 10 years), he couldn't have been Mr. Nice Guy all the time.

-- Don Frederick

Comments () | Archives (3)

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Huckabee is anything but a nice guy. He is a whiny cry baby. He's the first Republican that I've ever heard of who hates rich people. Republicans are supposed to like people who work hard for their money & are supposed to believe in the American Dream to succeed. But Huckabee is still jealous that Mitt Romney has EARNED more money than him. Huckabee was upset that Fred Thompson was more famous than him because Thompson was an actor. Huckabee was upset that Palin was prettier than him, because Huckabee was a big fat slob until he got his stomach stapled. Huckabee is a stupid whining no body who should just go away. I don't even think he deserves a memorial service when he dies.

In reference to the first post that states Huckabee was jealous of his running mates, I would argue that it was indeed the opposite.

Mike Huckabee ran an honest campaign unlike Thompson and especially Romney. Mitt Romney showed his sour grapes by refusing to call Huckabee and congratulate him after his win in Iowa - something NO candidate refuses to do. This showed Romney's complete lack of class.

The Wall Street elite and Washington insiders seemed to be in a frenzy to bring Huckabee down, why? I believe there is a lot of snobbery in the party that thought someone like Huckabee from humble beginnings who didn't attend an ivy league school and run in the elite circles had no right to actually run for President.

Something said on Fox News by Margaret Hoover before the Iowa Caucus really struck me. She said 'Romney has the money and the ground game...he WON'T LET Huckabee win' This was unbelievable to me. I guess in her world rich guys like Romney always win. Well, the people of Iowa had the last say and the best man won.

Too bad the best man didn't win the nomination but hopefully Americans will wise up and nominate Huckabee in 2012 if he runs again.

I agree with Tyler and disagree with Michelle. Huckabee was anything but a nice guy and when a person resorts to lies and hatred, he doesn't deserve a phone call of congratulations. It shows more class to keep your integrity by staying quiet than grovel like a sychophant calling on the Godfather of the day for his/her support so that people like you. I was shocked that Romney did not follow the status quo like all politicians such as Hillary and the rest of the Democrats grovelling to Obama when it looked like Hillary and Bill were going to lose.


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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