The Electable Huckabee

The trouble with having Bill Kristol as a New York Times columnist is not just that he's prone to saying substantive things about the issues that I disagree with. He's also the kind of guy who when he goes out on a weird limb and says Mike Huckabee would have a good chance of winning in a general election, you immediately start wondering why he's saying that.

"Because he believes it" doesn't tend to rank very high on the list. That's his rep, and based on his record it seems like a deserved rep. But when you read your morning paper and find yourself wondering why, exactly, its authors are trying to mislead you, then your morning paper is suddenly not so useful.

But if we entertain the premise that Kristol does think Huckabee would make a good general election candidate, then what he's doing is conflating the fact that Huckabee is the most appealing natural politician in the Republican field with the idea that the actually existing Huckabee would do well. Someone like Huckabee -- someone with something comparable to his ability to connect with people -- could be a very successful figure in American politics. Someone like Huckabee could be Bill Clinton. But Huckabee is Huckabee, not a Huckabee-like substitute; a niche product, a white evangelical identity politics candidate.

Presented by

Matthew Yglesias is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.

How a Psychedelic Masterpiece Is Made

A short documentary about Bruce Riley, an artist who paints abstract wonders with poured resin

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How a Psychedelic Masterpiece Is Made

A short documentary about Bruce Riley, an artist who paints abstract wonders with poured resin

Videos

Why Is Google Making Skin?

Hidden away on Google’s campus, doctors are changing the way people think about health.

Video

How to Build a Tornado

A Canadian inventor believes his tornado machine could solve the world's energy crisis.

Video

A New York City Minute, Frozen in Time

This short film takes you on a whirling tour of the Big Apple

Video

What Happened to the Milky Way?

Light pollution has taken away our ability to see the stars. Can we save the night sky?

More in Politics

Just In