David Brooks of the New York Times has discovered the former Arkansas governor in his column today.
“He is a solid conservative who is both temperamentally and substantively different from the conservatives who have led the country over the past few years,” Brooks writes. “He’s rising in the polls, especially in Iowa. His popularity with the press corps suggests he could catch a free media wave that would put him in the top tier. He deserves to be there.”
Brooks may be right, although there are few signs that the Conservative Establishment is ready to embrace him for qualities that many non-Republicans respect. In the unlikely event that they do, another question arises: Could he be another Jimmy Carter?
In the wake of Nixon’s traumatic tenure, voters turned to a sincere man of faith who promised “I will never lie to you” and then proved to be too naïve to deal with the complexities of international affairs.
Carter floundered during the Mariel boatlift when Castro sent criminals and mental cases to us along with legitimate political refugees, and he was at a loss when Iranian militants stormed the U.S. embassy in Tehran and held 70 Americans hostage for more than a year. He ended up puzzling over a “national malaise.”
Now Brooks notes about Huckabee, “His foreign policy thinking is thin. Some of his policy ideas seem to come off the top of his head.”
In the relief to be rid of Bush and escape the likes of Giuliani, Thompson and Romney, it’s possible that Republicans may turn to someone as apparently sane and sensible as Huckabee, but if they do, the rest of us will have to look very closely about what lies under that attractive surface.