Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Nation's Article on Huckabee

Here's an article I found on the Web today. (Emphasis mine)

The Nation - Hunting for Votes
Matthew Blake

At Friday's National Rifle Association "Celebration of American Values" convention in Washington, while former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani was being tepidly received, it was former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, a back-of-the-pack GOP presiential wannabe, who stole the show. And this raised a question: is it at all possible that Huckabee's appeal to the party's base can make him a viable candidate?

Unlike Giuliani, Mitt Romney, John McCain or even supposed conservative darling Fred Thompson, Huckabee had no flaws or inconvenient positions to defend before the powerful gun lobby. He delivered a funny, relaxed speech that was more like a commencement address than a pandering lecture on gun rights. He won over the crowd with down-home anecdotes about entering antelope hunting contests and shooting ducks in the Ozarks.

Huckabee, a former minister, spoke of taking his son hunting to "teach him the rules about conservation and the rules of the world." And he opened fire on the latest NRA bogeyman: a U.N. law putting restrictions on gun ownership. "We should never ever think we should be under obligation to follow laws other than our own," Huckabee said to thunderous applause.

Huckabee is certainly facing an uphill battle for the nomination. He is currently polling fifth and remains unmentioned in stories about the Republican presidential race. And he will have a hard time trumping Thompson in the folksy category. Thompson also received a warm welcome from the crowd, and referring to his wife Jeri, Thompson told the NRAers, "I think she would be a much better first lady than Bill Clinton." The audience ate it up.

Thompson does face the ire of conservative groups for supporting the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform, which the NRA despises--and obviously McCain faces the same problem. Huckabee, meanwhile, has nowhere to go but up among voters celebrating NRA values.

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