Friday, December 24, 2010

Elephant Dung #7: Huckabee calls out Palin over FLOTUS food flap

Tracking the GOP Civil War

By R.K. Barry

(For an explanation of this ongoing series, see here. For previous entries, see here.) 

You may have noticed that former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee took a little shot at Sarah Palin for her bogus claim that Michelle Obama doesn't want Americans to eat dessert – or some such nonsense. All of this was in the context of the First Lady talking about combating childhood obesity in America and the need to encourage children to consider healthier eating choices.

This is what Huckabee had to say:

With all due respect to my colleague and friend Sarah Palin, I think she's misunderstood what Michelle Obama is trying to do. Michelle Obama's not trying to tell people what to eat or force government's desires on people. She's stating the obvious: that we have an obesity crisis in this country. 

Palin was doing what she always does, which is to fire up her base by pointing to what she would consider an instance of government telling people what to do. In contrast, Huckabee was presenting himself as the voice of reason in defending Ms. Obama who was only suggesting the obvious point that public education about healthier food choices for our children is a good idea.

Okay. But what I found interesting is that this little flare-up, such as it was, comes only a few weeks after new polling indicated that Huckabee would give Palin a run for her money for the Republican presidential nomination and would appeal potentially to much of the same constituency, but also perhaps to much-needed voters beyond the base.

A Quinnipac poll on November 22 showed Huckabee in a statistical dead heat with Obama and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney. In a Marist College poll on November 24, Huckabee and Palin were virtually tied in popularity among Republicans who were not college graduates. But Huckabee pulled ahead significantly -- 18 percent to Palin's nine percent -- among respondents with college degrees. Huckabee came in second to Romney, who registered 25 percent among college-educated Republicans.

According to Janine Parry, director of the Arkansas Poll at the University of Arkansas, Huckabee is in a good position to separate himself from the rest of the pack.

His unfavorable numbers are significantly lower, he's penetrated the mainstream culture without becoming clownish, and he's demonstrated a willingness – even eagerness – to be a practical, truly bipartisan leader. In this environment and in a general election at least, those seem like substantial assets. 

Maybe this dessert flap is nothing. But it could be an early attempt by Huckabee to stake out some territory that takes in not only the conservative base but also independent voters, while Palin continues to say and do stupid things that appeal only to the same narrow constituency. 

I noticed a particularly idiotic comment on the Fox Nation website by an unnamed poster in response to Huckabee's statement, which said it all for me. It read: 

Governor, with your inability to see through to the real motives of the Obama's agenda to destroy freedom and America, you have lost my vote. 

There you have it. Taking away our freedom one double-chocolate raspberry cheesecake at a time.

The smarter types in the Republican Party understand full well that the road to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue does not go through Crazy Town.

Mike Huckabee seems to get this. Sarah Palin, and those who hang on her every word, not so much.

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  • Mr. Huckabee is also an advocate for obesity control since he famously went through a weight loss regimen of his own and writing a book about it. So he knows whereof he speaks, whereas Ms. Palin does not.

    By Blogger Mustang Bobby, at 10:11 AM  

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