Great Harry Potter Reference

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Sean at myelectionanalysis makes great use of a Harry Potter reference in his reflection on the Ames, Iowa strall poll, speaking of Sam Brownback's taking third place and Mike Huckabee's coming in second:

I know a lot of people think that his third place showing is enough to keep him in the race. I’m not so sure. He threw everything he had into Ames, and still came up short. I think donors who are considering Brownback are going to look long and hard at him, then turn to Huckabee. One of them needs to exit quickly though, as neither can live while the other survives.

This is such a nice appropriation of pop culture that I had to mention it here, but I think it's accurate too. Huckabee and Brownback are marketing themselves to those who because of some intellectual vice (ignorance, too comfortable accepting lies without checking them, inconsistency in who to trust) see Romney as a pretender to the pro-life label. Huckabee could be a contender, but if Brownback is taking much of his support he's not going to have a chance. Brownback doesn't have much of a chance if Huckabee steps out, but the same is not true in reverse. So on the assumptions of those who wrongly fail to recognize that Romney is the best pro-life candidate (which is all that's driving the Brownback campaign at this point), Brownback ought to get out.


Stating that Huckabee offers nothing but guaranteed pro-life status is a bit misleading. Folks who are populist or Fair-Taxers would logically prefer him over Romney.

I can never figure out what populism is, but isn't Fred Thompson advocating the so-called Fair Tax too? I would expect whoever these populists might like him too from what I've heard about them, but they're also supposed to like John Edwards and Pat Buchanan, so I don't know who they shouldn't like.

Jeremy, as far as I know FDT isn't running. If he were plenty of voters may have issues with certain elements of his record.

I'm not surprised that populism is a difficult concept for you. For many Americans it's a non sequitur. Populism is a feature of the left and the right (much like libertarianism) that can be used by niche candidates (Perot, Buchanan, Edwards) when large numbers of people feel things are seriously wrong with the nation (now, 1992). A good indicator of this is the "right track, wrong track" poll.

Thompson is planning to announce his candidacy Labor Day weekend, according to lots of people close to his campaign. He is running. He's just bungling his campaign massively. Once he appears in the debates and is universally in the polls, I think he'll have his chance to be a serious frontrunner. He's already been doing better than anyone but Giuliani, and that's without even announcing. But it's mostly mystique and poorly-understood summaries of his positions, without as much of a serious grasp of his history on abortion, his closeness to John McCain (which , and his not exactly "family" lifestyle (until recently, anyway). I don't know if socially conservative supporters will all like some of those things.

I think pro-lifers should have issues with his abortion views, but they seem not to have them the way they do with Romney, even though Romney has been unequivocal in his current stance on the issue.

Populism as you describe it isn't a view. It's mere dissatisfaction, but it doesn't seem to be dissatisfaction with anything in particular. I don't know how that can be a remotely useful category.

As far as FDT running: I've heard the rumors but until he's in I'm not taking it for granted.

Populism is (as the word implies) an ideology of "the people". Now that's a murky ideology in comparison to the systems we get in conservatism or liberalism. Populism arises in times of dissatisfaction when the natural reaction is to find a group to blame (the powerful in business or govt) and hold to a type of idealized community of "the people".

It's an ideology that instructs govt be run for the good of "the people".

The historical problem with populism has been defining who "the people" are. In the 1960's this meant "white people" for many Southern populists. In the 1890's "the people" meant "farmers and laborers". In our hyper-individualistic times I don't see how you can make a compelling identity that unifies more than a fringe. It seems to me we're simply too divided and disconnected to establish real powerful community identities.

Huckabee is an adroit public speaker. He communicates his message in life-like, cogent terms, with compelling examples like the story he told (at the Ames Straw Poll) of what his then-11-yo daughter entered into the "Comments" section of a Visitors Book after visiting the Yad Vashem holocaust museum: “Why didn't somebody do something?”

Very effective. Huckabee is all about calling his listeners to "do something," to awaken them to their own empowerment, and summon them to action in order that "Main Street," and not "Wall Street," will prevail in guarding the values and beliefs upon which the Republic was founded. Huckabee puts his listeners at ease, and reassures them, articulating clear concepts in a natural, easy style (no doubt something well-cultivated as a pastor). He’s not angry or demanding, like a Ron Paul, nor is he as “rigidly-scripted” as Romney, and his large brown eyes peer through a humble demeanor, drawing a striking contrast to a somewhat mechanical-squinty Brownback. One can easily imagine sitting comfortably with this man over a cup of coffee at the Main Street Cafe.

Most importantly, Huckabee convinces many that he is ONE with the FairTax grassroots movement. While many - like Romney, and others, who are invested in the current income tax system - seek to demagog ( ) the well-researched FairTax plan, its acceptance in the professional / academic community ( ) continues to grow. Renown economist Laurence Kotlikoff believes that failure to enact the FairTax - choosing instead to try to "flatten" what he deems to be a non-flattenable income tax system - will eventuate into an irrevocable economic meltdown ( ) because of the hidden aspects of the current system that make political accountability impossible. Romney's recent WEAK response to FairTax questioning on “This Week with Geo. Stephanopoulos ( )” drew a sharp contrast between Huckabee and all other presidential front-runners who will not embrace it. Huckabee understands that what's wrong with the income tax can't be fixed with "a tap of the hammer, nor a twist of the screwdriver." That his opponents cling to the destructive Tax Code, the IRS, preserving political power of granting tax favors at continued cost to - and misery of - American families, invigorates his campaign's raison d'etre.

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