Jens 'n' Frens
Idle thoughts of a relatively libertarian Republican in Cambridge, MA, and whomever he invites. Mostly political.

"A strong conviction that something must be done is the parent of many bad measures."
  -- Daniel Webster

Tuesday, December 18, 2007 :::

Mind if I say something positive about Huckabee? Or is that a sign of the end-times? Perhaps the Governor could tell me.

When I saw the headline "Why Huckabee Might Be Helping Romney", I didn't expect it to be horse-racey so much as something along the lines of the second paragraph of this - i.e., Huckabee is forcing Romney to change his message in a way that makes him a better candidate. Part of what Huckabee is tapping into is that a lot of people prefer simple answers to good ones. But another part is that people do have economic concerns that haven't been addressed all that well by most of the Republican candidates. The candidates say that the economy is in good shape, which it mostly is, but that doesn't mean that there aren't pockets of concern, some of them even rational. The unemployment rate is below 5%, but some sectors are in decline and always will be. Inflation is generally under control, but people notice the things that are getting more expensive - health care and energy topping the list.

I know at least Romney and Giuliani have offered health care proposals, and I assume Thompson and McCain have, too, and that any would be an improvement on the status quo, but none of them really talk about them. Huckabee has the wrong answers, but he's answering a lot of the right questions.

Since I don't see more than two horsemen outside the window, I'll keep going: I like his Christmas message (Ron Paul's, too). It is, of course, a political ad, and there's no mystery behind his choosing to air it in Iowa and New Hampshire in 2007 rather than in (for example) Arizona in 2006. But even if it were completely insincere, I generally prefer insincere pleasantries to sincere unpleasantries. And I wouldn't really call it insincere - no more so, anyway, than the Christmas cards I send to people I haven't communicated with since last year's card, or the "have a good day" I offer the bus driver when I get off.

As to its being unduly manipulative in its language, I think Stuttaford (an agnostic, I believe) gets it right:
As for the "birth of Christ", Jonah, it's a sad reflection of our times that that's a statement that could potentially be controversial. I haven't been to a Christmas church service since, if I recall correctly, some point in the 1960s, but I've never had any doubt that December 25th is a celebration of Jesus' birthday (when that birthday actually took place is an entirely different, and largely uninteresting, discussion)...
I think the fact that his bookshelf looks kind of like a cross in the first part of the ad is insignificant, and I like Huckabee's response to the question. Byron York has the story behind the making of the ad, if you care to read.

Anyway, Governor Huckabee, I'm not going to vote for you, but Merry Christmas to you, too.


::: posted by Steven at 11:08 PM

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Idle thoughts of a relatively libertarian Republican in Cambridge, MA, and whomever he invites. Mostly political.

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