NYT profiles Huckamania

We’re formally changing our name to “Huck Air” later this afternoon.

Nah, just thought this deserved its own post since the most extended treatment of our new frontrunner’s campaign that I’ve seen thus far. It’s long but reads fast, emphasizing how Huck’s turned a very few political loaves and fishes — no money, no organization, but the right religious credentials and a few superb debate performances — into a political feast for multitudes of social cons. The quote about Mormons supposedly believing Jesus and Satan are brother comes from this piece but it’s less interesting than a few others. I’ll give you two and then you’re on your own.

At lunch, when I asked him who influences his thinking on foreign affairs, he mentioned Thomas Friedman, the New York Times columnist, and Frank Gaffney, a neoconservative and the founder of a research group called the Center for Security Policy. This is like taking travel advice from Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf, but the governor seemed unaware of the incongruity.

There’s one. Here’s two:

Governor Huckabee promises that this [Fair Tax, i.e. national sales tax,] plan would be ‘‘like waving a magic wand, releasing us from pain and unfairness.’’ Some reputable economists think the scheme is practicable. Many others regard it as fanciful. (For starters, it would require repealing the 16th Amendment to the Constitution.) In any case, the Fair Tax proposal is based on extremely complex projections.

Huckabee does not have an impressive grasp of its details. When I suggested, for example, that consumers might evade the tax simply by acquiring goods and services for cash on the black market, he seemed genuinely surprised.

The guy’s a lightweight, albeit a charismatic one. Pity Romney, who’s pretty universally recognized as an exceptionally able manager and businessman, trying to impress his competence upon voters who, per the Times piece, are voting the way they are because “Huckabee’s a moral man. He’s a preacher. And he lost a hundred pounds.”

If you’re strapped for time, scroll down to not quite the halfway point and read about Huck’s frustration with evangelical leaders like Richard Land and Dobson for not endorsing him. The Times’s theory, that they’re reluctant to elevate a fellow minister to a position of greater authority than they themselves have, seems unpersuasive. I think they’re still worried that he can’t win, but if he takes Iowa and then surprises in Michigan, they’ll have no choice but to come around; they don’t want to get on the wrong side of their own followers, which, like I said yesterday, is probably also why Rush and Hannity aren’t pushing hard for anyone. Nothing proves one’s lack of clout than to issue a purported kingmaking endorsement and have it politely ignored.

Exit quotation from Huck, commenting on his disappointment with the lack of Christian endorsements: “They make ‘electability’ their criterion. But I am a true soldier for the cause. If my own abandon me on the battlefield, it will have a chilling effect.” For more on that chilling effect, whether real or rhetorical, see the end of this morning’s post.