Political Gymnastics

backflip2Senator Norm Coleman, in possession of a narrow electoral lead the day after Election Day, November 6, 2008:

“I would step back (from challenging election results). I just think the need for the healing process is so important.”

Former Senator Norm Coleman’s attorney, facing a narrow deficit after a recount, January 5, 2008:

“I have no reason at this time … to believe we aren’t going to be contesting this thing if we’re down at the end of the day.”

– Loveland

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Huckabee’s Running While Strumming and Smiling

God help me, I’m watching Fox.

I’m an addictive cable news channel flipper, like many of you, and one of the places where my remote rests is “Huckabee” on Fox News on Sunday night, 10 p.m. Here I can see the 2012 campaign under way. Look out, Sarah, Mike’s gonna out-folks ya.

huckabee_bioFormer Arkansas Governor and Iowa caucus winner Mike Huckabee has an interview show that is relatively thoughtful, mostly enjoyable — and there’s no yelling. The show has some wonderful charm — Huckabee has a band scratched together from Fox employees with day jobs — from the woman who runs the Fox health club to the chief religion correspondent. How cool — folks from the office getting to play tunes on TV. They’re called The Little Rockers (great name, Mike) and they’re pretty good.

huck_audience_90x70This all sounds like faint praise — “relatively thoughtful,” “pretty good.” Huckabee ain’t no Bill Moyers (one of Fox fraud Bill O’Reilly’s favorite punching bags — yeah, like O’Reilly could even carry Moyers’s bags). Huck’s  interviewing style is respectful, his questions go about one level below the surface, and while you don’t learn much that’s going to change your life, I find myself watching.  I saw him interview Dan Rather and guitar player Jim Burton, who played with Elvis and Sinatra. Huckabee has a humble warmth — or at least projects that — and seems genuinely interested in his guests, not using them only as launching pads for his own brilliant commentary.  During the campaign he was one of the few candidates who seemed like a human being.

And he doesn’t seem mad or vindictive or doctrinaire. As with another former Arkansas governor, there’s a little taint of the too-practiced to Mike — his smile flashes broad and automatic sometimes, but that might be his preacher background where he had to smile through receiving lines. He also doesn’t seem overly partisan. In the new world of Obama, where voters don’t want someone who’s too wrapped up in party politics, Huckabee’s smooth oil-on-the-water feel might make him just the ticket for 2012.

Huckabee’s building a base on Fox News. It’s a small base, a million people if he’s lucky. And they are likely indeed base conservative Republicans. But then there are people like me watching — at least I doubt I’m the only furry liberal tuned in. If his show picks up some steam, it could be a good platform for Mike Huckabee to show himself off as a moderate conservative who actually has a personality and a life.

In a party with too many prickly and depressing people like Mitch McConnell, John Boehner and probably Sarah Palin, who will tell you what’s wrong with everyone else, Mike Huckabee seems to be a guy you could stand to spend time with. And maybe pick up a simple insight or two. The Little Rockers sang Sunday night about federal bailouts, to the tune of Elvis’s Jailhouse Rock: “Congress has sold us a crock, now we’re doin’ the bail-house rock.” What a treat — humor from the right, instead of self-righteous bitchy lectures.

And while he hangs around to see what turns up, Huckabee gets to play his bass in public. Not a bad gig.

— Bruce Benidt unsecured business loans nice