Cover Story

The pastor populist

"The pastor populist" Continued...

Issue: "Marathon man," Feb. 17, 2007

Stewart has humiliated humorless conservatives yet Huckabee matched him yuk for yuk, even saying that if he had worked in partisan ways with an overwhelming Democratic legislature, "we couldn't have passed gas in the House chamber." Stewart, who lunches on double-entendres, said in his overly solemn, self-mocking way, "I don't care for that type of humor," and Huckabee responded with a grin, "I noticed." By the end of the interview Stewart was (and perhaps some moderate and younger voters were) practically eating out of the pastor-governor's hand.

Huckabee is far behind better-known Republican contenders-John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney-in the money race, but he insists that "the message has to come before money"-and his message is that "America needs to revive its national optimism." Huckabee is patriotic in his populism: "Thank God we're in a country that people are trying to break into rather than break out of." He is strong in explaining the need to fight terrorists: "We in this country celebrate life. They celebrate the deaths of their own children. . . . This war cannot be lost. . . . They're not interested in the decline of America . . . they want our deaths." He sounds Reaganesque themes: "Our best days are not behind us. They're still ahead."

He's a long shot, but don't count him out. He'll be fighting for the conservative Republican vote against another attractive candidate, Sen. Sam Brownback ("Cellblock campaign," Dec. 23, 2006), and others. And if Huckabee falls short in his presidential quest, he could serve as a ticket balancer on a slate headed by, say, a Giuliani.

Marvin Olasky
Marvin Olasky

Marvin is editor in chief of WORLD News Group and the author of more than 20 books, including The Tragedy of American Compassion. Follow Marvin on Twitter @MarvinOlasky.

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