The Pinkerton Factor


To the best of my knowledge, Jim Pinkerton is America's tallest political pundit by a pretty wide margin, big enough to be an NBA swingman, in my judgment (no idea about his game, don't actually know the guy, but have been in an elevator with him). He's also hopping aboard Mike Huckabee's presidential campaign where he's supposed to add some policy substance to the folksy populism and stuff about Chuck Norris:

A Newsday columnist and Fox News contributor, Pinkerton worked in both the Reagan and Bush 41 White Houses as well as the presidential campaigns of each. As a respected voice among right-leaning pundits, he'll bring instant credibility to a campaign that has drawn scorn from the conservative establishment.

Maybe. But depending on how you look at it, Pinkerton is some combination of too interesting, too honest, and too wacky to really add credibility to a GOP primary campaign. Consider his April 2004 column slamming George W. Bush for failing to react more forcefully to the CIA's summer 2001 warnings about the likelihood of an al-Qaeda attack. The base has gotten disillusioned with Bush, but I still don't think they're ready to hear that the hero of 9/11's incompetence played a role in leaving the country so vulnerable to attack.

He's a member of the "Futurists Board" of the Lifeboat Foundation, an organization that advocates for "effective nanotechnological defensive strategies, and even self-sustaining space colonies in case the other defensive strategies fail." He's a contributing editor at The American Conservative, the paleocon magazine, and recently has been waxing orthodox with a heavy emphasis on his anti-immigration views. But back in 2005, he wrote a column titled "Slaughter of Sunni Foes is Inevitable" which made some arguments that are rather at odds with the current logic of the Awakening strategy:

When will the anti-American violence in Iraq end? It will end when we unleash the Shia Arab Muslims and the Kurds to finish the job, all the way to the bloody extreme. We're not ready for such unleashing just yet, but we're getting close.

Advocacy of genocide as a counterinsurgency strategy aside, hiring Pinkerton is a big step forward for Huckabee. He's a smart guy with a lot of ideas. But he's a very unorthodox thinker many of whose ideas are at odds with the prevailing CW in the conservative camp (sometimes in a good way, other times, as with the aforementioned counterinsurgency-by-genocide in not so good ways) and it strikes me as unlikely that this will really endear Huckabee to institutional conservatism.