Saturday, February 09, 2008

What's the Matter with Kansas?

I believe the answer might lie in the book of the same title, which I look forward to reading.

The Kansas caucuses were held today and the winner by a resounding margin was Mike Huckabee. Please note though that the AP article linked to above contains a major error, in that it refers to the Iowa Caucuses having been won by John McCain, when in fact it was Huckabee who was the winner in Iowa. Major faux pas there Associated Press!

Several weeks ago, in the wake of his loss in the South Carolina primary, I had pretty much written Huckabee off in this post. In the comments section, I allowed for the possibility that Huckabee might win one or two Bible Belt states, but he has clearly won more than that. That being said, what I meant was that South Carolina was fatal to his campaign in winning the presidential nomination.

I guess I did not realize the extent to which social conservatives vilified John McCain. And with Mitt Romney now out of the race, Huckabee is the only remaining choice for them. But why does Huckabee soldier on when he cannot win the nomination? Does he have something else in mind?

The horrifying though occurred to me the other day in the wake of Super Tuesday. What if Mike Huckabee is running to become John McCain's vice presidential nominee? By sewing up most of the Bible Belt states, Huckabee could be trying to send a message to McCain, "You are going to need to win these states in the general election, and they best way to do that is to have me on your ticket." Given McCain's age and health, it is doubtful that he will serve more than one term if he should win, and his vice president would likely become the presumptive heir.

Pam Spaulding has a post up at Pandagon about this frightening prospect. Whatever his flaws, McCain has shown a willingness to buck his own party on some hot button issues, and if it were a choice between him and Hillary Clinton, I might have considered pulling the lever for him. However, should McCain pick Huckabee to be his vice-presidential candidate, not only will I vote for the Democratic candidate, but I will also actively campaign on behalf of either Clinton or Obama.


Danny Boy, FCD said...

What if Mike Huckabee is running to become John McCain's vice presidential nominee?

Yep, that seems to be what the pundits are speculating. Huck would get the VP nomination, and would hope for "divine intervention" that McCain not finish his term.

vjack said...

I think you will really like the book. I read it awhile back and enjoyed it.

Spanish Inquisitor said...

Ditto vjack.

Stardust said...

Gawd I hope McCain doesn't pick Huck. Wouldn't that hurt McCain in north where he had won? People who voted for him may not want a fundamentalist in office and vote Dem in November, or stay home.

Anonymous said...

I have to second what vjack and SI said. It was so refreshing to read a book by a gifted wordsmith who stays on topic and rigorously adheres to the rules of logic. It's the first polemic I've read in a long time that doesn't either suffer from catastrophically poor style (Chomsky), drift aimlessly (Vidal), or collapse under the weight of its own absurdity (Hartmann).

My major criticism is that Frank cavalierly dismisses the racial aspect of the phenomenon he describes: working and middle class white Kansans voting against their own economic interests.

Still, he does a very good job of explaining how identity politics worked its way in to the unlikeliest of places: suburban middle America.

And I think it's unlikely that McCain will go with Huckleberry. From what I've heard, he and his advisers don't feel as though they owe the religious right any favors, and they think that the groups they have to target are independent and centrist voters. I would think he'd take Joe Lieberman before he'd take Huck.