Why I Like Mike
It seems Mike Huckabee is for real. In recent weeks, his support has skyrocketed. In the latest Rasmussen poll, he ranks third, four points behind Thompson and eleven behind Giuliani. He is currently in a close second place in Iowa. He is still a long shot to get the nomination, but his shot is getting shorter.
It is pretty clear that Huckabee isn't a strong conservative. He is against free trade, sympathetic to illegal immigration, and has an awful fiscal record. He has been called a "protectionist compassionate conservative", combining the worst ideas of George Bush and Pat Buchanan.
So why does he gather support? Quite simply, it is a testament to the failures of the non-Rudy candidates to make even the most basic overtures to conservatives- and not just social conservatives, but also anti-immigrant and pro-gun ones.
Romney has all the right positions. Unfortunately, he seems to run his campaign the same way he might run a company- get a good product out there (in this case, conservatism), tell people about it, and watch them go for it. It looks like someone forgot to tell him that he is part of the product. During the debates and his TV appearances, he seems content to mouth conservative positions with little passion. He just doesn't seem to care.
Fred Thompson seemed to be the great conservative hope during the spring. It is easy to forget given his lackluster campaign, but he ran a nearly perfect campaign until he jumped into race. His radio commentaries were great, he was outstanding during his talk radio appearances, and he seemed energized and ready to take down Giuliani, then Clinton. Now he seems bored.
Even though he wasn't exciting anyone, he still kept many voters- until his Meet the Press interview this Sunday. For some odd and inexplicable reason, he stated that he was against the pro-life plank in the parties platform! Huh? I'm surprised he didn't send Romney and Huckabee cards saying "Take the pro-life vote".
Mike Huckabee is getting votes because he actually seems to care about winning, unlike Thompson and Romney, who act like they could take it or leave it. Huckabee may not be the best ideological choice. But his articulateness and passion will win him a large number of votes, possibly, just barely possibly, mine.