The Huckabee Void


On a Christmas Eve CNBC broadcast that I'm sure nobody watched, John Fund and I wound up agreeing that there was something remarkably vacuous to Mike Huckabee's economic populism. It doesn't even rise to the level of a lie the way George W. Bush's "different kind of Republican" schtick did in 2000 -- there's just nothing there. Earlier on the same show, John Harwood had interviewed Huckabee, went over Huckabee's dislike for outlandish CEO pay and the outsourcing of jobs, then asked Huckabee what he planned to do about it as president. Well, the answer turned out to be nothing.

At any rate, via Ambinder, the governor explains that he doesn't need policy proposals to be a worthwhile presidential candidate: "I can hire people, once I raise the money, who can come up with all kinds of proposals. That's fine. That's good. But the real question is: Am I going to be able to be a leader? You know there is a difference between a leader and a manager." But no. Leadership is, yes, an important part of the job of being president. But there's no such thing as generic "leadership" people need to know what sort of thing you want to do. That doesn't mean detailed legislative language on every aspect of your agenda, but you need to say something about what your top priorities are and what general direction you want to move in.