Mitt VP – Common Sense Selection…
Posted by Roberto Matos on April 16, 2012
The grueling primary season may have engaged broad swaths of the Republican Party, and the anti-Obama fervor may be steadily approaching its zenith, but enthusiasm for Romney within his own party still remains unacceptably low if he wishes to dethrone the President. A Romney ticket cannot merely appeal to the center, butmust marshal the energy of GOP ranks themselves. All things considered, a Romney-Huckabee ticket seamlessly fulfills this criterion.
First, and most critically, Former governorand minister Huckabee strongly appeals to evangelical voters, who Romney desperately needs animated in a few key swing states in the Midwest and the upper south if he is to carry them safely. Huckabee’s pedigree among religious conservatives was brilliantly displayed in 2008 (Iowa), and his Arkansasgovernorship contributes to his credibility among southern voters and his keen understanding of them, something Romney lacks. At this most critical of junctures,these opening weeks of the 2012 presidential duel, Romney should feel compelled to galvanize those segments of the GOP voting base which still remain skeptical of him, especially Christian evangelicals and southern conservatives. Republicans in South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi, who voted against Romney, will need a persuasive reason, besides staunch opposition to Obama, to get excited about a Romney ticket. The time to secure their confidence has long since passed, and in order to avoid merely tepid support amongthis critical base of the party, he ought to forthrightly reassure them. They’d overlook perceived shortcomings if he did so. Huckabee not only communicates effectively with these voters, but has demonstrated that he can summon their enthusiasm. This will enhance the attractiveness of the ticket among influential religious figures in the social conservative movement.
Second, in an era inwhich voters have demanded more ideologically moderate candidates, Romney’s already restrained and measured tone serves him well in his quest to appeal to independents. Huckabee too, despite occasional episodes of hyperbole, has garnered a reputation for his composed and refined style; in the role of the attack dog, he would not appear vicious, but, rather, insightful. His persuasive and rhetorical skills were cultivated in his 2008 bid, and have been honed in his television show on Fox News since 2009. He is notably articulateon policy details too. Not a bomb-thrower, Huckabee has garnered experience appealing to political independents for years. Furthermore,according to Jim Pinkerton of the New American Foundation, Huckabee would help glean the support of the archetypal struggling white working-class voter inregions like Ohio and other Midwestern states. He, like Santorum, has developed some fluency in articulating the conservative vision to blue collar voters.
Third, Huckabee has already been vetted in the press, and has been granted a virtual platform on Fox News. His audience has justincreased with the recent début of his Huckabee Show which is to serve as a more “respectful” and “calm” “civil alternative” to the explosive Rush Limbaugh. All said, his 2008 campaign experience equipped him uniquely well.
As for weaknesses:
First, Romney and Huckabee, hailing from separate cultural and regional milieus, have a tense and uncomfortablehistory of bitterness. In 2008, Huckabee accused Romney of striking condescension and inauthenticity on social issues such as abortion and gay marriage.Romney charged that Huckabee and McCain were colluding during that primary toundermine his chances. Huckabee, though, has sent signals that he has beenimpressed with Romney’s performance, and he has been eager to defend the former governor from Gingrich and Santorum attacks.
Second, with Romney’s support already suffering among the Hispanic/Latino demographic, it might hurt his credibility even further among this group if he selected Huckabee. The former Arkansas governor has taking an increasingly hardline position on the question of illegal immigration.
Third, despite his generally measured and refined style of delivery, Huckabee has made some controversial and questionable statements, especially over issues of faith and the culturewars. He has a tendency toward use of puzzling hyperbole and analogy.
Despite all this, Huckabee would add urgently needed charm to the ticket, counterbalancing Romney’s robotic nature.