Bob Franken

Here’s Hoping

November 29, 2007
Here’s Hoping (Bob Franken)
@ 10:48 am

What a shame Barack Obama has already locked up the title. It’s Mike Huckabee, following in Bill Clinton’s footsteps, whose book should be called The Audacity of Hope, Arkansas.

I don’t know what it is about that little town that so prepares people to reinvent themselves, but again we have a candidate from Hope who is having more and more success with his sweet-talkin’ ways.

This time around, it’s not Clinton, but Huckabee, a hardscrabble, conservative, Baptist preacher. He has been able to cast himself as the mainstream common-sense moderate.

He’s pulled that off simply because he seems likable, at least next to the GOP leaders, who are appearing more and more unlikable each day.

In last night’s debate, as we watched the sputtering exchanges between Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney it looked like an argument between Mean Bully and Pompous Phony, with some aimless babbling from the others in the schoolyard. I don’t know what was worse torture, waterboarding, or watching John McCain try to pin down Romney about it.

So Huckabee scored points simply by providing comic relief from the cruel anti-immigrant bigotry and the scarily harsh macho over owning guns. By comparison the YouTube questioners, no matter how weird, showed the most gravitas.

It was as agonizing as watching Hillary, Barack and the others flail at each other in the Democratic debates. Let’s face it: Wherever we turn, it’s really tough to find the candidate in whom we can believe — to be for. We may end up with a choice between voting against someone or some party, or not voting at all. How dreary.

Maybe that’s why there’s still so much interest in the Mike Bloombergs of this world. Whatever the perils of getting in late, he and the others waiting on the sidelines will have a huge advantage. They will not have been diminished by the debates.

The hope is that in this early going, the cream will rise to the top. So far, it hasn’t looked like there is any cream. Not much milk for that matter. Forget half empty or half full; I worry that the glass may be broken.

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