Huckabee: The GOP's Obama?

Rich: Huck's 'politics of joy' temporarily trumping his rivals' 'Nixonian gloom'
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 9, 2007 1:51 PM CST
Republican presidential hopeful, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, waves to supporters in Asheville, N.C., Saturday, Dec. 8, 2007.(AP Photo/Alan Marler)   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – What explains Mike Huckabee’s sudden transformation from long-shot hopeful to polling contender nipping at Giuliani’s heels? It’s not just tardy rallying of the religious right behind the Baptist preacher, argues the New York Times' Frank Rich, but Huck’s Obama-esque rejection of the Rudy-Romney “calling cards of fear, torture, and nativism” and gentle, non-partisan approach to politics.

Rich reminds us that Huck’s rise followed CNN’s GOP YouTube debate, where he shut down Romney’s barb over Huck’s support for a program aiding illegal immigrants' children by saying: “we’re a better country than to punish children.” Huck, with no money and obvious flaws, may ultimately be doomed, but his success so far “shows just how in sync his benign style is with the cultural moment.”