New Huckabee book rips Mitt, Fred, evangelical leaders, pretty much everyone; Update: Romney camp fires back

A desperately needed fix of campaign drama during this post-election interregnum detox. Just give me a little hit of score-settling to get me through the day, bro. Just one hit.

Ah, that’s the stuff:

Mitt Romney, Huckabee’s principal rival in Iowa, comes in for the roughest treatment. Huckabee writes that the former Massachusetts governor’s record was “anything but conservative until he changed the light bulbs in his chandelier in time to run for president.” He notes that Romney declined to make a phone call of congratulations after Huckabee beat the oddsmakers to win the Iowa caucuses, “which we took as a sign of total disrespect.” He mocks Romney for suggesting, during one debate, more investment in high-yield stocks as a solution to economic woes. “Let them eat stocks!” Huckabee jokes…

He calls out Pat Robertson, the Virginia-based televangelist, and Dr. Bob Jones III, chancellor of Bob Jones University in South Carolina, for endorsing Rudy Giuliani and Romney, respectively. He also has words for the Texas-based Rev. John Hagee, who endorsed the more moderate John McCain in the primaries, as someone who was drawn to the eventual Republican nominee because of the lure of power. Huckabee speaks to Hagee by phone before the McCain endorsement, while the former Arkansas governor is preparing for a spot on Saturday Night Live. “I asked if he had prayed about this and believed this was what the Lord wanted him to do,” Huckabee writes of his conversation with Hagee. “I didn’t get a straight answer.” Months later, McCain rejected Hagee’s endorsement because of controversial remarks the pastor had made about biblical interpretations.

In a chapter titled “Faux-Cons: Worse than Liberalism,” Huckabee identifies what he calls the “real threat” to the Republican Party: “libertarianism masked as conservatism.” He is not so much concerned with the libertarian candidate Ron Paul’s Republican supporters as he is with a strain of mainstream fiscal conservative thought that demands ideological purity, seeing any tax increase as apostasy and leaving little room for government-driven solutions to people’s problems.

Kudos to Time for a choice selection of representative quotes: Waging low-grade class warfare by sneering at Romney’s wealth and appealing to evangelicals to vote along religious lines is Huck to a T. As is the bit about “government-driven solutions,” of course — this is a guy who once endorsed a federal ban on smoking in workplaces, remember — although that’s qualified by the fact that he’s been a loud and, for most conservatives, righteous opponent of the bailout. Whether that’s because he knows an unpopular issue when he sees one or because an extraordinary intervention in extraordinary circumstances crossed some sort of statist threshold in his mind that ordinary interventions in ordinary circumstances wouldn’t, only he knows. We’ll learn more circa 2010, I imagine.

InstaGlenn will interview him later this week; I eagerly await their exchange on the merits of libertarianism. Exit question: In a Huck/Palin primary showdown, who escapes with the lion’s share of the Christian vote? Don’t answer too hastily. Guilt is, potentially, a factor here.

Update: Another hit on the drama pipe. Mmmmm yeah.

Asked to respond, Romney spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom said Huckabee was acting small.

“This type of pettiness is beneath Mike Huckabee,” Fehrnstrom. “If we’re going to move the party forward, we need to offer more than personal recriminations. Unfortunately, in this book, Mike Huckabee is consumed with presumed slights, and he seems more interested in settling scores than in bringing people together.”