Romney vs. Huck: Part Deux

One of the great “B” stories of the 2008 Presidential campaign was the dog fight between Former Massachussets Governor Mitt Romney and Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. Both candidates had their own place in the race: Romney had a good fiscal and economic record, but his “Road to Des Moines” conversion on abortion issues and former peddling to LGBT interests was too much for many social conservatives to handle. Meanwhile, Huckabee has a poor record on fiscal issues, having supported a number of tax increases as Governor, but the former Baptist minister simply could not be questioned on values issues. The end result? An extended fight between the two for conservative voters in which Huckabee eventually prevailed but was left too wounded to make a serious challenge to McCain in the final primaries (in retrospect, Virginia was the Huckster’s last stand).

Now, both are back in the running for the nomination in 2012. Romney is already generating buzz amongst establishment types, and he continues to maintain a high media profile. However, right now it would appear that his reputation amongst Republicans is declining. From Hot Air comes a PPP poll showing Mitt below 50%. Their take:

He’s at 48 percent this month after having hit 63 percent in June, before the fade began. Even PPP doesn’t have any explanation for it. I’ll give you two possibilities. One: Huck and Palin are in the public eye these days much more than Mitt is, even if it is for the wrong reasons. Romney had better be careful that he doesn’t become an afterthought and end up being seen as a “minor candidate.” Two: With Huck and Palin natural rivals for the religious conservative vote, the perception may be building that Romney’s the RINO in the race by default. He’s always had that rep to some extent, of course, but being the odd man out among the big three only cements it.

As I’ve said many, many times here, it’s very early. Romney still has a chance in this thing. I see his roadmap to victory being becoming a solid voice on conservative issues in the media and then surviving the aformentioned Palin/Huck fight. His big place to shine? Venues like CPAC, and by cozying up to Fox News as their “legit” commentator over Huck’s more showbiz orientation.

However, the big problem with that strategy is that right now it would appear that it is the moment for the confrontational conservative. Huck is drawing big ratings, and Sarah is dominating pretty much every media outlet from the blogs to Fox News, from People to Newsweek (they say that no publicity is bad publicity). The Chicago Tribune has a great article up about Huck and Sarah’s tours and the draws they’re bringing in.

“Team Huck” rolls into the bookstore like a NASCAR pit crew, red uniform shirts adorned with the corporate logos of Mike Huckabee’s website, his speaker’s bureau, his publisher, and “Huck” emblazoned on their epaulets.

They strip the protective wrappings off a large, heavy object — a podium they install at all such appearances. Mike Huckabee doesn’t sit at tables. He stands, as a president would, even to sign books.

And sign he does. And sign and sign and sign. As many as 600 copies of “A Simple Christmas” an hour with sales to match, and no time lost to opening remarks.

The contrast between Huck and Palin (subtle but important) would indicate that their fight is where the action is. However, as I said, Romney’s slow but steady effort has merit–if he can stick to it. As Palin and Huckabee have found, celebrity can be intoxicating.

  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: