Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Politco Clairvoynce On Huckabee

The Politico's Jonathan Martin has a new story today about Governor Huckabee. Typically for a political analyst, Martin includes a lot of extrasensory perception about motivations and intentions in his perception of Huckabee’s campaign and graciously avails the reader of the fruit of his extraordinary gift. Martin’s article is about Huckabee finally going “on the attack.” Now, if you follow Huckabee closely, you know that he has overtly renounced a campaign focused on negatives about rivals for the Republican nomination, rather than on communicating his beliefs and ambitions.

This sentence in the article may be the most stark manifestation of Martin’s mind-reading skills which, to be fair are pretty much expected of political comment. If you don’t pick up on Huckabee’s relative coherence, this seems a clear distinction between he and Sam Brownback...am I “on the attack, too? Is directing attention to elements of the campaign like Brownback’s well-known comments and calls questioning other’s pro-life and foreign policy credentials, or Huckabee recognizing the obvious fact that his campaign has not been built and succeeded on the expenditure of tens of millions of dollars, even months before the first binding vote is cast, really “going on the attack?”

Again, such cynical divination is taken for granted from political analysts. Martin males vague reference to Huckabee’s heretofore positive inclination, followed by, “But now, with his comments aimed squarely, if obliquely, at Romney, Huckabee’s “aw shucks” populism appears to be taking on a sharper edge.”

Now, I will offer my best conjecture (I wish political analysts would at least describe their interpretations as “conjecture”) of what Martin is talking about. But, ordinary language connotes “…with his comments aimed squarely, if obliquely, at Romney…” as a direct contradiction: “squarely” means directly,” and “obliquely” means at an angle or logically indirect. We can let his awkward diction slide, assuming the intention that Huckabee’s intent was directly at Romney while his language was general about campaigning methods.

But Huckabee’s point was about campaigning methods, Romney has spent the most money in the early states, and he is not the only one dropping many millions of dollars: McCain has spent at a red pace demanding a scale-back, and Giuliani has overtly strategized to survive the early retail politicking states and focus on the big media-expensive states.

Martin’s article is nothing like an “attack” on Huckabee.. It’s just a look at Huckabee’s task and a mildly cynical look at his strategy. Maybe, Martin should be glad his words aren’t being interpreted by a political analyst.


Stephen R. Maloney said...

Aside from Ron Paul, an egomaniac residing mainly in an earlier age, and Sam Brownback, the Republican candidates (the real ones, Giuliani, Huckabee, McCain, and Romney) have refrained from childish personal attacks on one another. At times, I wish Mike would focus more on the Democrats, but he has conducted himself as a gentleman, and that is part of his appeal to the many Republicans who support him. Frankly, it's hard to develop a coherent strategy when the various states keep changing their primary dates, as Michigan is doing this week. The debate format (and frequency) are causing problems in people getting their message across. There are too many candidates and too many "debates" (of the kind that don't encourage meaningful debate). Some of the questions bloggers (including this one) have been raising about how to sharpen the appeal of the Republican Party to various groups never get asked. Instead, we get questions about evolution and the fate of America's "snowmen." For the one time in my life I agree with Obama -- on his desire to skip the debates and get out among people who vote. I urge people to read David Shribman's colum in the Forum section of this past Sunday's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. It's about the candidate trying to establish a "narrative" about themselves and their campaigns. It suggests what candidate should really be doing rather than participating in food fights. I'll put a link to the "Forum" on my blogroll.


Anonymous said...

What do you make of the recent buzz about GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee?

1. Much ado about nothing;

2. A result of the lack of conservative candidates;

3. A promising boost to a potentially successful campaign; or

4. The beginning of Huckabee's rise to the White House