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Huckabee’s gambit

Mike Huckabee has blasted Karl Rove and the “Republican Party establishment” for the “elitism” and “country club attitude” that he claims has driven Republican criticism of Christine O’Donnell. Huckabee says that he too was the victim of the such elitism when he ran for president. In Huckabee’s view, both he and O’Donnell suffer because they “didn’t go to the right school and [attend] the proper cocktail parties on the D.C. social circuit.”
This expression of self-pity is beyond stupid. Karl Rove and other mainstays of the “Republican establishment” are unreservedly supporting candidates all over the country who haven’t attended any D.C. cocktail parties. What schools they went to, I cannot say and neither, I’m sure, can Rove.
The problem that some in the Republican establishment (and some of outside it) have with O’Donnell begins with the fact that she has very little chance of being elected, and her nomination seems destined to cost the Republicans a pick-up in the Senate in a year when majority status is a possibility. The problem extends to concerns about O’Donnell’s flakiness and seeming inability responsibly to handle her own financial affairs, among other things.
As to Huckabee’s 2008 presidential run, reservations did not center on his social status and educational background. Rather, they focused on his time as governor, during which he was hardly a paragon of small government, low tax conservatism or of sound judgment. During the campaign, moreover, Huckabee displayed disturbing Carteresque tendencies when it came to foreign policy.
But Huckabee’s attack on Rove shouldn’t be understood as a serious argument. Like most of what Huckabee says, it is better understood as a means of advancing his interests – in this case, his interest in currying favor with the Tea Party movement in advance of a possible (and I would think probable) run for the presidency.
Given Huckabee’s mixed record on taxing and spending, he doesn’t seem like a strong candidate for Tea Party support. And the limited amount of relevant available polling data suggests that he is not a Tea Party favorite. But that’s all the more reason for him to rally to Ö’Donnell’s defense and to take a cheap shot at Rove in the process.

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