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Annotated Huckabee Round-Up, plus Daily Kos!

October 20th, 2007 | 4 min read

By Matthew Lee Anderson

I was curious what others were saying about Huck's speech today, so I thought I would throw together a brief annotated round-up of quotes. Read to the bottom for the Kos stuff.

Erick from RedState: "Thompson and Romney should be worried. We have reached the crowd favorite." He also has a write up of a rather interesting exchange between Huckabee and Max Blumenthal.

Bryan York from NRO: "But if ovations at the Value Voters Summit determined who would be the Republican candidate, Mike Huckabee would win."

Pro-life blogger extraordinaire Jill Stanek: "Huckabee is hitting a home run."

JP Freire at Polipundit: "But it wasn't just the religiosity. It was the passion with which he spoke -- he knew how to deliver a line and rile up an audience. The question is whether he can do that without resorting to religious argument. And I think that's what's going to be the difference between his ability to go from the second tier to the first tier, and in particular, his ability to go up against a democratic candidate."

Dan at Faith and Public Life: "No matter what he said, the audience cheered and cheered."

Melinda at STR: "He clearly speaking to the audience as Christians, not primarily conservative voters, because he said that he doesn’t spell G-O-D, G-O-P. I agree. This sounded more like a sermon rather than a political speech and it got one of the biggest reactions of the weekend." (More on this below).

Nathan Bradfield at Church and State: After his speech, Huckabee gave a private Q & A for bloggers and one for the media. The only candidate, by the way, to do so at this conference...His most memorable statement was comparing his campaign to the Colonial army. Not as much money, ragged uniforms, and outnumbered, we continue to make progress and produce better-than-expected results in straw polls.

David Weigel at Reason: "Overall, a successful speech. But Mike Huckabee scoring a Roy Hobbs home run with this crowd is less impressive than Rudy Giuliani hitting a double."

Jonathan Stein at Mother Jones: "The crowd ate it up. Can Giuliani win this nomination without the evangelical vote? Can Huckabee win it without anything else?"

Philip Klein at the American Spectator:  "To say that Huckabee knocked it out of the ballpark here at the Values Voter Summit would be to understate his performance." 

Soren Dayton from Eyeon08:  "There is way more energy in this room than there was for anyone else I’ve seen.

There are several reasons not to vote for Mike Huckabee.  His fiscal policy might be one of them.  His alleged softness on national defense might be another.  His "big government" policy is definitely a sticking point for me.  But here's the thing--what if those things make him (oddly) electable in 2008?  This is the question "The Wonder Moron" posed at Daily Kos (yes, the extremely partisan left-wing website) posed yesterday:

For the electorate, Huckabee might be very compelling. Bush fatigue is attached to Clinton fatigue. The electorate might want to get out of the Bush Clinton double helix that the country has been in for two decades. It seems to me that if he were to get nominated, he could be a very compelling choice for the electorate.

IF Huckabee appears to be a more reasonable person than Hillary on: being able to admit a mistake, building a consensus, helping the working class, health insurance for all, getting the U.S. out of Iraq,etc.... All very big IFs, would you vote for him over Clinton?

The fact that Daily Kos sees him as a threat is itself interesting.  More from Kos.

On May 31st, 2006 Markos himself said:

You want to know who the strongest GOP candidate would be, the one that would make me lose sleep at night?

Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

The guy is a scary good politician and the more Republican voters see him around the country, the more support he'll get.

From "juliewolf" on October 18th, 2007:

There's only one Republican candidate whom I think would be a dangerous opponent in a national election.  If Brownback bows out, it makes a Huckabee nomination more of a possibility and a lot more of a danger to the rest of us.

From dam2 on August 5th, 2007:

Well, at least WE told you.  Many of us have said that the candidate to watch is Mike Huckabee.  The polls right now are almost pointless because very few people are paying attention.  And when they do start paying attention and really get to know the candidates, the one to emerge will be Huckabee.

Will Huckabee be able to tone down the religious language and appeal to a non-religious audience?  Almost certainly.  Huckabee knows how to talk with his people and he certainly felt at home this weekend, but after watching him interact with press today, he knows how to make an argument without talking about Jesus.  And if he manages to do that, he just may prove DailyKos prophets.

Matthew Lee Anderson

Matthew Lee Anderson is an Associate Professor of Ethics and Theology in Baylor University's Honors College. He has a D.Phil. in Christian Ethics from Oxford University, and is a Perpetual Member of Biola University's Torrey Honors College. In 2005, he founded Mere Orthodoxy.