Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Huckster

While driving to work this morning, my wife called me on the cell phone. She wanted to know if I had herad Mike Huckabee's interview on NPR just then. I had caught the end of it while flipping stations. The portion I heard involved Huckabee decrying the damage done by 527 organizations to the candidate they are intended to help. My lovely partner was impressed with how he not only talked sense but just how genial and nice he came across. I agreed, of course. Not only because she is right 95% of the time but because Huckabee is very charming in an interview.

Rewind to Christmas 2007. Mike Huckabee's famous reason-for-the-season ad and the bookcase. Some pointed out that the lit portions of the bookcase in the background were intended to not-so-subtly superimpose a cross with the candidates image. On MSNBC's Morning Joe program, Huckabee laughed it off claiming that he was also blinking a secret message to Evangelicals in Morse Code. He was very witty, charming and earnest through it all.

It was during that interview that my highly attuned Manipulation Alarm (patent pending) started going off. Yes, Mike Huckabee is cute and probably a sincere and nice guy. Bowling anyone? That said, it is apparent that he is also a skilled speaker and has honed his ability to disarm critics over his whole life. No one is this glib by accident. Even if unconsciously (he's no Romney), Mike Huckabee has probably learned that he will be more successful if he can lull people into a less defensive posture by appearing witty and charming. He bumps up against the line of Slick so tightly that you can barely see daylight through the gap.

Okay. So I am pathologically sensitive to being manipulated. I am too sensitive. Perhaps, but I refuse to believe that his campaign staff was so obtuse and unprofessional that they did not notice a giant glowing cross in their Xmas video. I also point you to his squirrelly Fair Tax plan of replacing the income tax with a 25%+ national sales tax and monthly rebate checks to every citizen while claiming that the current system is too bureaucratic and susceptible to fraud.

Finally I draw your attention to the item below. Even if your are not scared shitless by the prospect of amending the U.S. Constitution to bring it in line with Washington's view of God's Will, the fact that Huckabee is tossing this red meat to his theocratic supporters ought to expose his aw-shucks farm boy routine for the act that it is. Huckabee is a politician and play acting in a politician, while common, is no virtue.

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