Sunday, December 9, 2007

Forward Thinking Political Analyst For Immediate Hire

It is nice to see that after years of studying politics and providing analysis, all my hard work is finally being rewarded. Oh, not financially of course (at least not yet). But the surge of Mike Huckabee and Barack Obama, which has confounded traditional experts, is actually playing out just as I predicted. Of course, there is a long way to go and anything can happen, but I am personally pleased (and maybe even a little bit relieved) that all the unpaid effort I have put in over the years has not been a waste of time. At least I am gaining an understanding of things.

Now that Mike Huckabee is getting closer the position of Republican front runner, he is becoming a huge target by political opponents. A couple of issues from his past have resurfaced recently. First, the fact that a man he helped release from jail, raped and murdered again. It's a tragic case, and one that he had more responsibility for than he first admitted. However, it really doesn't sound like something, in my opinion, that SHOULD stop his Presidential prospects. I remember the Wille Horton ads and thought it was dishonest for Bush I to suggest that it showed a flaw in the character of Michael Dukaksis. The same goes for Huck. Yes, it was a tragic mistake. But I am convinced that he has learned from it. What else can you ask of someone?

The next issue is with AIDS. In 1992 Huck said that AIDS patients should be quarantined and that funding should be held back because of the moral issues involved with this disease. He now says that he was wrong and excuses himself by saying that knowledge of the disease was much less then than it is now. This doesn't really make sense to me. After all, this was 1992 -not 1982! There was more than enough information out there for Huckabee to have avoided such ridiculous comments. Clearly he was pandering to the GOP base at the time without doing his research. Bad Huck!

It is important to remember that even though Huckabee is the best in his group, he is still a Republican. I'm sorry to say that modern Republicanism is grounded either in (intentionally disseminated) misinformation or a complete ignorance of facts. Huckabee certainly was no exception in the 1990's. He bought into all that "movement conservative" denial of reality stuff. But, here is the difference I see with Mike Huckabee - rather than stay set in his ways and continue to ignore reality, Huckabee educated himself and adjusted his positions and policies (including AIDS) based on what he learned. For a party which seems hell bent of forcing the world to adjust to their backward policy positions, it is nice to see at least one candidate in the GOP actually adjust his positions based on the facts on the ground. For a modern Republican that is groundbreaking stuff and I am hopeful that voters in their primary will continue to see the need to purge their party of ideologues and keep Huckabee on top for their party's nomination. It would do this country a lot of good to have someone from the GOP that, if not completely grounded in reality, at least is familiar with the concept.

As far as Obama is concerned I remain optimistic. He represents change and I just don't see the supporters of Edwards, Richardson or any of the other going to anyone but Obama. Barack should do well in Iowa and New Hampshire (probably win both) and the 2nd tier candidates will begin falling off. This will only strengthen Obama and should send him on his way to the nomination.

Enough of all that. Lets return to my favorite hobby of self congratulatory back patting. (I have learned that if you wait for others to notice you are doing a good job - you will probably never get what you deserve. Sad but true.) Below is an opinion piece by NY Times columnist Frank Rich. He is one of the best in the business and has penned a piece today that echos what I have been saying for months now. He is as right now as I was when I said it months ago. (P.S. Yes, this is all a thinly disguised attempt for anyone out there who might want to hire a political analyst and commentator that is often is well ahead of the curve. Contact me by e mail - I am available for immediate employment!)

Here's some of Rich's column:
COULD 2008 actually end up being a showdown between the author of “The Audacity of Hope” and the new Man from Hope, Ark.? It sounds preposterous, but Washington’s shock over Mike Huckabee’s sudden rise in the polls — he “came from nowhere,” Robert Novak huffed last week — makes you wonder. Having failed to anticipate so much else, including the Barack Obama polling surge of days earlier, the press pack has proved an unreliable guide to election 2008. What the Beltway calls unthinkable today keeps turning out to be front-page news tomorrow.

What really may be going on here is a mirror image of the phenomenon that has upended Hillary Clinton’s “inevitability” among Democrats. Like Senator Obama, Mr. Huckabee is the youngest in his party’s field. (At 52, he’s also younger than every Democratic contender except Mr. Obama, who is 46.) Both men have a history of speaking across party and racial lines. Both men possess that rarest of commodities in American public life: wit. Most important, both men aspire (not always successfully) to avoid the hyper-partisanship of the Clinton-Bush era.

The fact to remember about Mr. Huckabee’s polling spike is that it occurred just after the G.O.P. YouTube debate on CNN, where Mr. Romney and Rudy Giuliani vied to spray the most spittle at illegal immigrants. Congressman Tom Tancredo of Colorado, the fringe candidate whose most recent ads accuse the invading hordes of “pushing drugs, raping kids, destroying lives,” accurately accused his opponents of trying to “out-Tancredo Tancredo.”

Next to this mean-spiritedness, Mr. Huckabee’s tone leapt off the screen. Attacked by Mr. Romney for supporting an Arkansas program aiding the children of illegal immigrants, he replied, “In all due respect, we’re a better country than to punish children for what their parents did.” It was a winning moment, politically as well as morally. And a no-brainer at that. Given that Mr. Tancredo polls at 4 percent among Iowan Republicans and zero nationally, it’s hard to see why Rudy-Romney thought it was smart to try to out-Tancredo Tancredo.

The real reason for Mr. Huckabee’s ascendance may be that his message is simply more uplifting — and, in the ethical rather than theological sense, more Christian — than that of rivals whose main calling cards of fear, torture and nativism have become more strident with every debate. The fresh-faced politics of joy may be trumping the five-o’clock-shadow of Nixonian gloom and paranoia favored by the entire G.O.P. field with the sometime exception of John McCain.

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