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Mike Huckabee hates Mitt Romney. But Huckabee also hates Rick Perry. Which grudge takes precedence? You have to check the Huckabee Grudge Calculator.
Huckabee and Romney have a history of mutual hatred
since they both ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008, but the really flaming zings have come from Huckabee's side. Huckabee called Romney a poseur -- a faux hunting enthusiast who didn't own a hunting license and didn't even know how to eat fried chicken right -- and said his economic policy was "Let them eat stocks
!" The former Arkansas governor even took a shot at Romney's religion. It was clearly a pretty big beef. But right now, it's no match for Huckabee's Perry beef.
The Washington Post
's Aaron Blake
details the many shots Huckabee has taken at Perry:
In recent months, Huckabee has cast Perry as a convert
to "hyper-conservatism," attacked his stance on Social Security, criticized the timing
of his presidential announcement, which came on the same day as the Ames Straw Poll, said Democrats will be able to make Perry into the next coming of George W. Bush
, and called Romney the more electable candidate.
In fairness, Huckabee has still been critical of Romney... but that criticism has been notably more muted than the attacks Huckabee has lodged against Perry.
That's because the Perry-inflicted wounds are fresher than those caused by Romney, right? Wrong. The feud with Perry also goes back to 2008, when Perry endorsed Rudy Giuliani over Huckabee, making the governor "very upset," a source told the Post. The snub stung all the more when Giuliani dropped out and Perry endorsed John McCain instead.
So why is Huckabee favoring one three-year-old grudge over another? Expressed as a formula, we'd say the importance of a grudge would go something like this:
Huckabee Grudge Intensity = (Degree of Snub + Current Popularity of Snubber) x Swipe Vulnerability
It's not surprising Huckabee doesn't like Perry just as everyone is talking about Perry and no one is talking about Huckabee. But Huckabee can hurt Perry a lot -- more than he can hurt Romney. As Blake explains, Huckabee is "one of the -- if not the
-- most respected voices in the social conservative community," and he "pulls from a lot of the same constituencies as Perry." Social conservatives don't like
Romney much anyway, so it wouldn't matter if one of their leaders criticized him. So with Perry currently being more popular than Romney as well as more vulnerable to Huckabee's attacks, the Perry grudge is the clear winner. For now.
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is the former politics editor for The Wire