June 3, 2023

Huck Fin

Mike Huckabee says “I major in miracles, not math”. If he’s got Jesus on his speed dial, he’d best be placing that call today, because with John McCain within striking distance as the polls open in Washington D.C., Virginia, and Maryland, there’s a better chance that Michael Jackson will land a show on “Nickelodeon” than Mike Huckabee will be making a Thursday night speech this summer in St. Paul.

Huckabee was the lovable underdog and everyone’s favorite story in the GOP race, as long as he was nabbing second-place finishes and causing an untold-number of Mitt Romney tantrums behind closed doors as he continued to pile up the Christian and conservative votes that Romney was supposed to get. Of course, no one loved that more than John McCain, watching as Mitt Romney threw tens of millions of dollars at the evangelicals and Southern conservatives, only to have Mike Huckabee walk in like a little boy trying to buy candy at the corner store, pulling a handful of change out of his pocket, flashing his doe-eyes to the grocer and holding his hand out, “I’ve got this much, mister. Is it enough?”, and skipping on his way with a pocketful of chocolate bars.

Yes, it was all very cute–then. It was a little less cute when Huckabee won five states on Super Tuesday, but that was still okay because it took out another few tires on Romney’s battered and heavily-depleted armored van, which he finally packed up and drove back to Massachusetts on Thursday. McCain didn’t need Huckabee to run interference on his right flank anymore. Thanks for your help, Mike. You’re on the short-list for Veep, and if nothing else I’ll toss you a Cabinet post. If you want to send any of your staff my way, feel free, and you can have a couple of my people to help close your offices if you want. So….good luck, you ran a heckuva campaign, and don’t be a stranger!

Not so fast. Then came this past weekend and Huckabee victories in Kansas, Louisiana, and a tight race in Washington that the once unfailingly-amiable Huckabee threatened to lawyer up for. Keith Olbermann noted last night that, to many in the party, “Mike Huckabee isn’t as funny as he was a week ago.”

Meh. Sure, McCain would like to get on with it. But Huckabee didn’t think he was even going to be invited to this party, and he’s having the time of his life. He doesn’t want to leave yet–but that doesn’t mean he’s going to still be there in the morning. Give him another drink, let him look through your DVDs and play with the cat, and be politely unengaging with him as you go about cleaning up the house, and he’ll eventually get the message and leave.

Truth be told, though, your muscles atrophy if you don’t use them, especially at John McCain’s age. He isn’t going to have a confirmed opponent for months, and a sparring partner or two would do him good. Mike Huckabee is getting a few unexpected punches in, but there’s no way he’s going to knock out the new champ (no matter how tepidly he’s been anointed).

Meanwhile, no one’s noticed poor Ron Paul in all of this, even as he polled 21% in the Washington caucuses this past Saturday. His faithful are still lining up on the freeway overpasses with their “Google Ron Paul!” banners, but the surly, bomb-throwing former optometrist is still there, but fizzling like a wet fuse.

If there’s any doubt that Huck’s journey might really done, one need only look to the unfortunate portent that one of the campaign’s press vans ran out of gas this morning and another had a flat tire.