Let’s dive right in…
Mike Huckabee Made an Announcement…
…he’s not running. He’s “following his heart.” (More likely his pocketbook, but I’ll cease to wisecrack now.) Not really that shocking and while there has been analysis piled quite deep, no need to bother. He’s gone – that’s all that matters – well, that and the fact that Mitt Romney has a lot more class than I do.
Mormon Talk Picks Up…
…seriously. Huntsman’s apparent seriousness about running has created a huge uptick in the amount of talk on “Mormon.” I honestly think it was invited by LDS spokesman Michael Otterson writing about a “Mormon Moment” at WaPo’s “On Faith” area. Not to mention Deseret News got into it. Folks, if LDS sources are going to have the discussion, you can bet the media will follow quickly.
So the left thinks the Mormons will save the party from the rabid Religious Right. USAToday tries to figure out which of the two is the more Mormon Mormon. (The fact that they are so different ought to be a reason to stop talking about Mormon, since they clearly will not block vote – but no it’s just another angle.)
But the worst of the worst was the usually reliable Chris Cillizza, with a video that gets into gossip of a Huntsman/Romney family fued. He seems to intimate that Huntsman wants to play spoiler by dividing the Mormon vote. I don’t think the Mormon vote is significant enough on a national scale to make a difference, and since it is western it is not strategic enough for the primaries. It’s just gossipy, not newsy.
So with that let’s talk about…
He’s trying to do the usual, but is having a hard time. There are questions about his tenure as ambassador to China and the propriety of campaign preparations. Of course, there are questions concerning his Republican “authenticity” after working for Obama. Some asked if he was a “traitor? He tried to make room for himself, but the Dems may have played their hand prematurely. (Think about it….)
Reaction to his health care speech continues. The White House was quick to double down on the death hug and their willing allies at the NYTimes echoed. There started to be meta-coverage of the negative reaction in blogs and news. But some more positive coverage began to emerge as well.
AP covered it as “tough choices.” For what has to be the first time in living memory, the NYTimes gave it more reasonable coverage the the WSJ. FOX managed to find the real take away from the speech:
Michael Barone points out there is no true frontrunner, but the piece is from Friday and includes Huckabee in the analysis, not to mention Trump and Palin. Huckabee is now gone, Palin is not going to run, and Trump is a bad joke. My guess is that most of the votes aimed at those three will, if they do not go to Romney, not bother to go to anyone. Huckabee’s withdrawal should leave Romney a clear cut front runner. It’s still a steep uphill slog for him, especially given the bitterness that came out last Thursday, but to say he is not a front runner is far more difficult than it was last Friday.
He actually got in officially last week, but Romney’s speech and Huckabee’s withdrawal robbed him of all but a single news cycle – and he did not penetrate that too much. There was a bit of worthwhile analysis concerning Newt, but all-in-all, it was another lead balloon for “Mr. Speaker.”
So his wife made a public appearance which set everybody all atwitter – given that most know it is her and the marriage that is the reason for Daniels hesitancy to enter the race. Some of the right people seem to like him.
But the NYTimes basically slapped his face with a glove. Daniels and his wife have divorced and gotten back together and the Times dares Daniels to run so they can rip into the story. This story has not been a secret, but it has not been discussed much either simply out of respect for the couple and in an effort to help things work out for them. Some say they don’t care about it.
I care that the NYTimes would be this nasty.
Why are we still talking about this man? Well, we’re not really, save in the Evangelical ghetto. There is just something wrong with that – very wrong. UPDATE 5/16/11 at 4:30 PDT – Trump is NOT running. Not surprising. Now please, everybody, let’s get back somewhere close to seriousness. BACK TO ORIGINAL POST.
Just for fun…
Microfinanacing, an interesting trend.
My point here isn’t that Daniels is the obvious person conservatives should support for president, in the event he decides to run. He may not be. At this stage it’s impossible to know which candidates will acquit themselves well and which will not. That’s what primaries are for.
The observations I want to make are separate and apart from the merits of a Daniels candidacy, and it starts with this one. The very purity test that Marr wants to impose on Daniels would have disqualified Reagan. That fact alone should give a moment’s pause to Marr and others who think like him.
My concern is that conservatives, at least the variety that Marr represents, become increasingly anti-empirical and even anti-intellectual. In judging a candidate they subordinate, or almost entirely overlook or even misrepresent, the substantive record of public officials in favor of the style they prefer, which is fierce, confrontational, in-your-face.