Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Mitt, McCain, the Huck ... and Paul Broun

It appears that Mitt Romney has taken first place in the Michigan Republican primary, with John McCain placing second and Mike Huckabee coming in third. Of course, Romney is something of a “favorite son” in Michigan (if you will), and McCain won the state’s primary in 2000, so Huckabee’s showing may not be so bad. Now, the stage shifts more to states that hold “closed” primaries and caucuses, so we shall see what happens.

I will use that point as a seque to this one. I came across this
article, “Huckabee calls himself a threat to GOP elites” by Rick Pearson of the Chicago Tribune (by way of Sid over at Cracker Squire). You can read it for yourselves, but the gist is that Huckabee is consciously appealing to the rank and file of the Republican Party rather than the party’s insiders.

What intrigues me is the fact that the same dynamic played out in last year’s 10th congressional district race between Jim Whitehead and Paul Broun (in both the special election and the subsequent runoff). Whitehead was easily the establish choice, possessing commanding advantages in funding, staff, endorsements, and the support of the state’s Republican movers and shakers. The good doctor, on the other hand, possessed nothing of the sort. Broun won as an outsider, an avowed strict constructionist, small government conservative (and, yes, the fact that he was not Jim Whitehead).

This is not to say that Huckabee and Broun advocate the same policies across the board; obviously they do not. Of course, some will argue that the GOP elite is correct to oppose Huckabee on policy grounds - but that another matter. Even so, perhaps the Republican leadership at the national level should take note of the outsider who turned the tables on the establishment.

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4 comments:

Anonymous said...

By your argument here, it's Ron Paul who should win; Broun is basically a Ron Paul clone. Huckabee, on the other hand, holds to almost NONE of the positions that Broun and Paul hold, so he's much more "establishment" than they are. Yes?

james said...

I was fully expecting a retort concerning Ron Paul (and that is okay).

The article prompting my comments dealt with Huckabee, whom I support for the Republican presidential nomination, not Ron Paul, whom I do not. Hence, my observation.

Even so, I have no problem extending my advice to the national GOP leadership, namely that of listening to what the non-establishment types have to say, to include the congressman from Texas. I freely admit that Paul has many good ideas that the national GOP leadership would do well to heed.

Be that as it may, my emphasis was on the outsider quality that Huckabee is cultivating as a campaign tactic (as did Broun), not the specifics of policy positions among Huckabee, Broun, and/or Paul.

Xon said...

Anonymous already brought up what I wanted to point out. Your response is reasonable, James. I understand that you are a Huckabee supporter--sigh--that's just the way it is. And so obviously you are picking up on the 'outsider' angle as it relates to your chosen candidate. But it is odd, isn't it, how Huckabee has more than any other candidate started 'borrowing' certain rhetoric and posturing from Paul? He is, like that other "man from Hope", a brilliant politician. He latched onto the Fair Tax when he realized that no other GOP candidate was backing it unequivocally (Thompson seems the closest to backing it after Huck). That also allows him to go around saying "I hate the IRS," which steals some of Ron Paul's thunder (even though Ron Paul's proposal is far more radical than the FairTax). He also pulled that weird "repeal birthright citizenship" thing last week, etc.

One clarification about Broun. He is something of a 'Ron Paul Republican' (and he actually ran that way in the summer election, didn't he?). But he differs with Paul starkly on the war in Iraq. Oh well, nobody's perfect.

james said...

Indeed. I started to mention the difference between Broun and Paul on such issues - but since I was deliberately deemphasizing policy, I rethought that approach as just opening a can or worms.