After months of being really discouraged about the Republican choices for the Presidency, after wondering whether I'd even be able to bring myself to vote for the nominee come the general election in November, I have to admit: I'm starting to like this guy.
Ideologically speaking, I'm closer to the unicorn than the lion, except that I distrust libertarianism at its philosophical core. But I'm starting to like the lion after all, if for no other reason than that he's beginning to cause the sheep to have fits.
Keeping track of the various bleatings (and doing a bang-up job of it) has been Rod Dreher; here's a link he shares to a post by Glenn Greenwald who keeps track of how out-of-touch the professional pundits have been about Huckabee's chances in this contest.
There's a lot to like about Huckabee: his pro-life stance, his willingness to explore alternative taxation (though I admit to being unconvinced that a national sales tax is the way to go), his ability to connect with the average voter. Those who dislike him tend to attack him as being pro-big-government, to which my tendency is to respond, "As opposed to whom?" Let's face it: the only small-government candidate running is the unicorn Ron Paul, and as much as I like what he says and how he thinks, I've had to accept the fact that barring some huge and unpredictable upset, Dr. Paul will be more influential for simply having raised the issues he has raised than by being elected to the presidency.
I would like to know more about Huckabee's ties to the education establishment, particularly the teachers' unions. But I think that these details will be forthcoming, and in particular I think homeschoolers will get the word out if there are any signs of danger from Huckabee.
The truth is, I'm really just delighted that the one candidate who has so far won a caucus isn't the sort of Republican I was describing in this post, the Giuliani/Romney sort. I'm still dizzy with the notion that there may, after all, be a chance that the Republican nominee won't end up being the kind of person with the personality of warm lint, inspiring all the passion I usually feel while folding laundry: vague frustration, the understanding of the necessity, but the overwhelming desire just to get it over with. I may not yet be ready to wear a political button with a lion rampant and the words "I like Mike" on it, but for the first time since this unbelievably dreary contest began I'm noticing something stirring from what I thought were bottomless depths of cynical apathy: the faint glimmerings of a level of interest, that might or might not be tinged almost with the elusive glitter of enthusiasm.