Mike Huckabee’s decision to sign on with an entertainment talent agency might suggest he intends to take his act to late-night television, but in the meantime, he’s shoring up his political base.
First, Huckabee’s breathlessly promoted announcement was simply the formation of a PAC—pretty standard stuff for a politician. Likewise, it’s hardly a shock to hear he’s going to be campaigning for John McCain.
But it was a big surprise to see Huckabee grant a very friendly interview to the Club for Growth, an anti-tax attack group that started off early and aggressively running TV ads against Huckabee in Iowa. The candidate bit back over the last year, scandalizing conservative fusionists by calling the group “the Club for Greed.” Now, here he is chatting about vice-presidential picks for a Club for Growth web video.
And he’s scheduled to do a fundraiser for the Family Policy Institute of Washington, a state affiliate of James Dobson’s Focus on the Family. He’ll be appearing alongside Family Research Council President Tony Perkins. Dobson and Perkins were among the Religious Right “political bosses” who Huckabee felt snubbed him in favor of candidates like Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson—in fact, just a few weeks ago, Huckabee was blaming them for sinking his campaign:
Mike Huckabee can’t definitively explain why he couldn’t win the Republican presidential nomination, but he thinks the desire of Christian leaders to be “kingmakers,” media coverage and Mother Nature all had something to do with it.
“Rank-and-file evangelicals supported me strongly, but a lot of the leadership did not,” the former Arkansas governor says. “Let’s face it, if you’re not going to be king, the next best thing is to be the kingmaker. And if the person gets there without you, you become less relevant.”
Huckabee may be looking at another presidential run in 2012, or he may try to parlay his mailing list into a career as a Religious Right “political boss” himself, but in either case, it appears he’s taking a page from McCain’s post-2000 playbook: find your enemies and suck up to them.