Like the late comic Rodney Dangerfield, Mike Huckabee is complaining that he doesn't get any respect. Except the former Arkansas Governor doesn't have a funny punchline. Instead, he blames Sarah Palin, at least in part, for stealing his thunder:
“I just don’t understand how it is that a person can read these polls day after day and the narrative is constantly everybody but me,” he told POLITICO. “Whether I do it or not, the fact is that if one looks at the overall body of information that’s available, nobody would be in a better position to take it all the way to November.”Though he connects well with many people in flyover country, Mike Huckabee doesn't do so on the same level or to the greater extent that Gov. Palin does, and it obviously bothers him. He needs to figure out why that is so before he throws his hat in the ring.
Yet he gets only a fraction of the attention Palin enjoys — something that plainly chafes him.
“She’s brought an enormous amount of energy to the party. As to why she seemingly draws ten times the attention, I don’t know,” he said, touting recent book signings of his that had drawn up to 1,400 people, with no note in the media.
“You’re never going to read that. I’m never going to be breaking news because I made a comment on Twitter and Facebook. Why is that? I don’t know,” he said.
Though we're obviously biased in Gov. Palin's favor, your editor did live in Arkansas during much of Huckabee's term as governor, so we do have some insight into the question. Fact is, one of his most admirable qualities may ironically be his biggest political liability. As would be expected of a former Baptist minister, Huckabee genuinely cares about people. But he doesn't temper his caring with the kind of tough love that would be expected of a common sense conservative.
Two prime examples: Though he now denies it, as governor of Arkansas Huckabee supported in-state tuition for some children of illegal immigrants. Also as governor, he commuted the lengthy prison sentence of habitual criminal Maurice Clemmons, who later murdered four Seattle police officers.
This is the kind of "compassionate conservatism" which caused George W. Bush to lose respect in the eyes of millions of conservatives, and in our opinion, it would be Mike Huckabee's undoing should he enter the race for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination. A candidate does need to have his or her heart in the right place, but equally important is having one's head in the right place. For there are times when the head has to just say "no" to the heart.