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Opinion – Doug Thompson

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One at a time
By Doug Thompson

Mike Huckabee’s is hurting Barack Obama where it hurts the most. The former Arkansas governor is outshining the Illinois senator’s ability to make news.
I’ve been pretty hard on Obama in this space and elsewhere. It’s not his fault he’s a media darling. However, he is one, and that’s important to his remaining longshot chances against Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y.
Obama might win the Jan. 3 Democratic Caucus in Iowa, but not by much. Even that victory would come at the cost of Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C. The rivals of Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., will dwindle, whatever happens.
Clinton has more money, big leads everywhere else but Iowa, a better organization and a keener, more ruthless mind — either her own or Bill’s.
The only thing Obama has going for him is good self-marketing and strident attempted wish fulfillment by a press corps desperate for a race.
Well, there is a race. It’s over on the Republican side.
Huckabee is a better story than Obama was on his best day. He will win in Iowa, or at least come close. He will have done this with little money — outspent by margins that make Obama look lavish — and little press notice until after his rise began. Compared to the media attention poured on Obama, Huckabee still looks ignored.
Assume Obama wins in Iowa. It will not derail Clinton. Huckabee just has to come close to Mitt Romney, however, to destroy his chances for president. Romney was clearly hoping for early wins. He won’t get Iowa.
Huckabee will be a giant killer on the night of the Iowa Caucus. Even the presidential race press corps can’t ignore relevance like that.
While it might not seem like it at times, there’s only so much space on the front of major newspapers and magazines and only 24 hours in a day for people to watch political talk shows. New media darlings cut into the time of old ones.
Huckabee is going to take Obama’s headlines, which is the worst thing anybody can do to Obama.
Now, as for Huckabee himself, I can’t resist pointing out that the GOP is obviously hoping for a miracle here.
Joking aside, there is a tendency to overanalyze things. The explanation for Huckabee’s meteoric rise, in hindsight, is simple.
There are a whole lot of Republican voters who aren’t hypocrites. They believe the party’s nominee should live up to their definition of righteousness. “Righteousness” is a word frequently misunderstood. You don’t have to be a saint to be righteous. You just have to “live right,” according to somebody’s definition of living right.
In other words, they believe the party’s nominee should be one of them.
You have to show faith for a very large segment of Republican voters to believe in you.
What bothers me is obvious: I’m very sure that George W. Bush prayed nightly for guidance. Self-evidently, it doesn’t work.
I wish more evangelical GOP primary voters would take the Book of James to heart. Faith without works is dead. At some point, folks, you have to consider whether your candidate can do the job.
Mike Huckabee, for all his talents and qualities, is not the man to take charge of a war.
When I go into a voting booth next year to make my presidential choices, I will have exactly four things on my mind: The war, the people fighting the war, the people those people left behind and the reason for which this war is being fought — the right to live free.
I won’t care about health care, education, “righteousness,” the environment, deficits or anything else.
I submit that most of my fellow independents will not care that much about righteousness, either.
Still, the GOP is staying true to its principles. I don’t think conservative Christian voters have decided to support Huckabee and keep control of the party, writing this election off to keep control of the GOP. I think that they can do no other, so help them God.
Amen.

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