Friday, December 21, 2007

Nailing Huckabee To The Cross

Like others, I've written about Mike Huckabee playing the religion card and the fact that I think as a presidential candidate he will “scare the living daylights” out of moderates and independents. I even wrote about Huckabee's warm and fuzzy Christmas greeting.

But no one has nailed Hukabee to the cross like Peggy Noonan:

I didn't see the famous floating cross. What I saw when I watched Mike Huckabee's Christmas commercial was a nice man in a sweater sitting next to a brightly lit tree. He had easy warmth and big brown puppy-dog eyes, and he talked about taking a break from politics to remember the peace and joy of the season. Sounds good to me.

Only on second look did I see the white lines of the warmly lit bookcase, which formed a glowing cross. Someone had bothered to remove the books from that bookcase, or bothered not to put them in. Maybe they would have dulled the lines.

Is there a word for "This is nice" and "This is creepy"? For that is what I felt. This is so sweet-appalling.

I love the cross. The sight of it, the fact of it, saves me, literally and figuratively. But there is a kind of democratic politesse in America, and it has served us well, in which we are happy to profess our faith but don't really hit people over the head with its symbols in an explicitly political setting, such as a campaign commercial, which is what Mr. Huckabee's ad was.

I wound up thinking this: That guy is using the cross so I'll like him. That doesn't tell me what he thinks of Jesus, but it does tell me what he thinks of me. He thinks I'm dim. He thinks I will associate my savior with his candidacy. Bleh.

The ad was shrewd. The caucus is coming, the TV is on, people are home putting up the tree, and the other candidates are all over the tube advancing themselves and attacking someone else. Mr. Huckabee thinks, I'll break through the clutter by being the guy who reminds us of the reason for the season, in a way that helps underscore that I'm the Christian candidate and those other fellas aren't. As a break from the nattering argument, as a message that highlights something bigger than politics, it was refreshing.

Was the cross an accident? Please. It was as accidental as Mr. Huckabee's witty response, when he accused those of questioning the ad of paranoia, was spontaneous. "Actually I will confess this, if you play this spot backwards it says 'Paul is dead, Paul is dead, Paul is dead,' " he said. As Bill Safire used to say of clever moves, "That's good stuff!"

Ken Mehlman, the former Republican chairman, once bragged in my presence that in every ad he did he put in something wrong--something that went too far, something debatable. TV producers, ever hungry for new controversy, would play the commercial over and over as pundits on the panel deliberated over its meaning. This got the commercial played free all over the news.

Ali A. Akbar predicts that Huckabee's downfall will come at the hands of Southern Baptists:
Huckabee is the dream candidate for the democrats and although Novak cites Huckabee’s “surge” as “real” and in the same breath calls Thompson the “X Factor” in Iowa, I don’t believe people will be so easily influenced to vote for Huckabee in the primary.

[. . .]

Expect many Southern Baptists to come out of the wood work. I predicted this over a month ago and wrote about it on the third of this month. We have a tradition of ending our own when it’s time. It is time.
I still think the Huckabee campaign will implode.


simjamlmx said...

They're getting really afraid of Ron Paul aren't they. You can tell. he's raising more money than any of those fake conservative republican candidates he's up against. They're attacking him which usually means that he's doing well. I hope ron paul wins the primaries i really do. He's a good guy. He's the only candidate that has a scrap of respect for the consitution and that includes those democrat candidates too.

Anonymous said...

You aren't thinking this through. The Southern Baptist supported a Methodist in Bush they can support Huckabee....
John Fund brought it better than her.
People are tired of the "gasbags"