Top 10 political upsets of 2008
What’s the first story they open with?:
Mike Huckabee (Iowa Republican caucus): By the time Iowans went to their caucus locations in January, it was clear that former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee was surging. After a series of strong debate performances and some offbeat advertising featuring martial arts expert Chuck Norris, buzz was building around the GOP longshot’s candidacy.
Huckabee wasn’t supposed to be able to compete with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s money and organization, yet he trounced Romney by nine points, changing the course of the Republican nominating contest and establishing the former preacher as a national player.
Look, there is little question that Huckabee’s breakout in the primaries constitutes one of the top political stories of the year, and it was an upset. However, to cover it in this fashion without acknowledging the “how” – especially when that “how” was tainted to say the least, and when there is a knife fight going on for the chairmanship of the RNC and some of that fight centers on the very questionable tactics Huckabee used in his upset (see our comments on Chip Saltsman from yesterday) – is to grant that upset a legitimacy it simply does not deserve.
Huckabee’s upset is an amazing political story, but in accomplishing it, Huckabee grossly coarsened American political debate. Prior to the elections the name “Mitt Romney” could not appear in the press anywhere without the word “Mormon” appearing somewhere in the same sentence. Yet now people seem to be able to write about the whole thing without ever mentioning it?
Mike Huckabee’s victory in Iowa was based almost purely on religious bias. Mitt Romney achieved exactly the turnout he wanted there. What Huckabee did was bring a whole new group of voters to the table. They were heavily regionalized, the were heavily “evangelical” and they were religiously discriminatory. It is that plainly simple. The Iowa results robbed Romney of the momentum he needed going forward. Huckabee barely tried afterIowa, and what he did completely abandoned the bigoted tactics that were used there – only illustrating the illegitimate nature of those tactics.
The Huckabee victory in Iowa is the lead to one of the top political upset stories of 2008, but the real story is that in an election cycle that saw the final crashing of one of the biggest discriminatory barriers in our nation’s history, one thought long down was erected anew. In the rush to congratulate ourselves for electing an African-American president, we would do well to remember that discrimnation is not dead in this nation.
And I, for one, am not at all convinced that swapping discriminations represents any genuine progress.
Later in the day addition:
Religion’s Big and Unprecedented Role in ’08 Politics
and nowhere, absolutely nowhere, in the story is there a mention of Mitt Romney, and the word “Mormon” only in reference to the FLDS arrests -it does not evencome up in relationship to Prop8 – which isn’t mentioned at all.
I am truly aghast. The political story of the primary, from its primordial infancy right up to Super Tuesday was “Can Mitt Romney, the Mormon, get elected.?” And now, in retrospect, nothing? Give me a break!