The Electable Huckabee

More

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.

Jump to comments
Presented by

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

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

CrossFit Versus Yoga: Choose a Side

How a workout becomes a social identity


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

CrossFit Versus Yoga: Choose a Side

How a workout becomes a social identity

Video

Is Technology Making Us Better Storytellers?

The minds behind House of Cards and The Moth weigh in.

Video

A Short Film That Skewers Hollywood

A studio executive concocts an animated blockbuster. Who cares about the story?

Video

In Online Dating, Everyone's a Little Bit Racist

The co-founder of OKCupid shares findings from his analysis of millions of users' data.

Video

What Is a Sandwich?

We're overthinking sandwiches, so you don't have to.

Video

Let's Talk About Not Smoking

Why does smoking maintain its allure? James Hamblin seeks the wisdom of a cool person.

Writers

Up
Down

More in Politics

Just In