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.

Never Tell People How Old They Look

Age discrimination affects us all. Who cares about youth? James Hamblin turns to his colleague Jeffrey Goldberg for advice.

Join the Discussion

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

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Never Tell People How Old They Look

Age discrimination affects us all. James Hamblin turns to a colleague for advice.

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

Video

Pittsburgh: 'Better Than You Thought'

How Steel City became a bikeable, walkable paradise

Video

A Four-Dimensional Tour of Boston

In this groundbreaking video, time moves at multiple speeds within a single frame.

Video

Who Made Pop Music So Repetitive? You Did.

If pop music is too homogenous, that's because listeners want it that way.

More in Politics

Just In