Sunday, August 19, 2007

David Broder Joins GMP1, Warms To Huckabee's Chances (UPDATED)

Granted, Broder speaks to a slightly larger audience than we do.

While outside-the-beltway and on the ground in New Hampshire the UL's Jennifer Depaul has (some of) the details of Huck's latest Granite State trip.


(Updated) Time's Joe Klein weighs in on Broder's Huckabee column, calling it "Interesting, But Wrong".

The AP's Phil Elliott also wrote a piece last week which seems to throw water on Huckmentum in New Hampshire.

Klein/Elliott Crib Notes: Huck, a southern social/cultural conservative, will be unable to mobilize support in (newly) left-leaning and (sorta newly) white collar-leaning New Hampshire.

We disagree with Klein/Elliott's "Huckabee in New Hampshire" skepticism.

First, we "know" all about New England Republicans. GreenMountainPolitics1 is as "squishy conservative" as you will find.

We're from V-E-R-M-O-N-T for goodness sakes.

We also "know" all about Huckabee on the New Hampshire stump. We've probably spent more time watching Huck on the trail in New Hampshire than any other person save Huckabee's campaign staff and his super-volunteers.

And not once have we heard Huckabee say something about abortion or homosexuals or God or guns or the French that made our "squishy" skin crawl and made us want to vote against Huck. Not once.

And on every one of those issues, save the French, our position is the opposite of Huck's position.

We think that this says something about Huckabee's demeanor. And the chance that his southern conservative values will automatically alienate "New England Republicans".

But more importantly than Huckabee not automatically alienating New England Republicans is the fact that we think Huckabee will actually appeal to New England Republicans with his message.

To put it another way, we think that Huck will do better than "break even" with New Hampshire voters.

There is no question that in front of certain audiences in New Hampshire (at house parties in particular) Huckabee, the former Baptist Minister, talks at length about his faith and God - that "social/cultural conservative stuff" that squishes like us just don't understand (but "stuff" that a good chunk of NH GOP voters most certainly understand).

But on the "general" New Hampshire campaign trail, Huckabee is just as at ease talking about "kitchen table issues", particularly health care, taxes and America's wealth gap.

And these three issues resonate strongly with New England "everybody".

It doesn't matter if you work in an office park or a body shop, go to church on Sunday or stay home to wash your VW Bug, New Hampshire voters of all stripes pay attention when a candidate talks health care, taxes and why folks have to work so hard just to make ends meet.

And Huck's been talking about those issues - talking and talking and talking.

And, in our humble opinion, the guy sounds darn credible.

Finally, we think that it's worth mentioning (although we can't believe that this isn't self-evident already) that the only New Hampshire voters that Huck cares about are "likely GOP Primary voters".

So we're not really sure why Klein's argument against Huckabee's chances in New Hampshire includes New Hampshire being a "baby blue state, now heading towards a deeper hue".

So what? So less folks will vote in the NH GOP Primary in 2008 than did in 2000. And that means what to the GOP candidates?

Not much of anything.

Huckabee has been saying for 8 months that he is going to win the New Hampshire Primary. We haven't seen anything yet that makes us believe that he can't.

And we've seen several things that make us believe that he can.