This will drive some folks in the blogosphere nuts.
Ever since he dropped out of the 2008 race, most people have said Mitt Romney was the “next Reagan,” drawing a parallel between Ronald Reagan’s first failed run for the nomination against Gerald Ford in 1976. Romney has the look of a President, plus the economic and business background to help deliver us from a failed Jimmy Carter presidency.
But what if it isn’t Romney who fulfills the “Ronald Reagan” role in the upcoming Presidential elections? What if there’s another former Governor who is making all the same moves as Reagan did, albeit without as much as the coverage? The American Thinker makes the case that there is someone, and he’s just a small town boy from a place called Hope. Mike Huckabee.
Before the hatemail and flaming starts, the man does make a good point…
Reagan, like Huckabee, was the governor of a large state who ran for president shortly after finishing up his term of office (Sarah Palin obviously decided to not follow this path). Reagan ran in 1976 as a true conservative against an incumbent Gerald Ford, who was neither a conservative nor a formidable candidate; Ford emerged as the Republican nominee for President but ultimately was defeated by Jimmy Carter, who would go on to distinguish himself as one of the biggest disasters ever to set foot in the Oval Office.
As we all know, Mike Huckabee, after losing his 2008 presidential bid, looked like he might just become another talking head on other people’s shows (like the Hannity and O’Reilly programs). But then Huckabee, like Reagan, chose another path — one that would give him a forum where he could air his own commentary in any way he saw fit: He created a weekly Fox News television show that was different from the typical shock-jock or “info-tainment” political-battle format. He decided to have a program that was described as a weekly “town hall meeting.” If you’ve seen the show (which is rated #1 in its time slot), then you know Huckabee gives short commentary about his views on things in a folksy sort of way. Then he dialogues with guests of all political persuasions. He also makes speeches and writes columns from time to time, but his television show is his bread and butter. One paragraph in the Reagan book seems to foreshadow exactly what Huckabee is trying to do:
The personal campaign machine that Reagan built and ran from 1975 to 1979 was his pathway to the presidency. His speeches and columns were important and necessary, but his radio commentaries were the driving force. The radio program gave Reagan a national platform that no other politician had at the time. Reagan had a large audience for his radio show, and, according to Reagan’s Path to Victory, he “cast a wide net in looking for sources and subjects of his radio commentaries.” Moreover, “Reagan sometimes used his airtime to advocate causes he thought exemplified American values.” The same can be said of Huckabee.
There is one small point people forget aboot, and that’s that Ronald Reagan made it all the way to the convention in 1976, so the country was pretty split between him and Gerald Ford. Both Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney were pretty soundly defeated in 2008.
Another difference is that Reagan was able to unite the country, picking up I believe 40 states when he ran against Jimmy Carter. I can’t imagine Huckabee winning any more than traditional pre-Obama red states, while Romney has a shot at Michigan and New Hampshire.
All that said, the author did make an interesting case for Huck. Hmmm….