Now former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee has announced that he too is running for president. The former Baptist minister has impeccable credentials for social conservatives, though financial conservatives will never forgive him for once raising taxes. But what sets Huckabee apart from the crowd is that he is also a populist, championing the cause of working-class Americans.
He had perhaps the best line of the last presidential primary election, saying that he reminds people of the guy they work with, whereas Mitt Romney reminds them of the guy who lays them off. Political reporter Chris Cillizza says, after the jump, that Republicans should be glad Huckabee is in the race because he is one of the few candidates who can credibly reach blue collar voters.
Would he be a good president? Does he have a chance?
From Chris Cillizza, Why the Republican Party really needs Mike Huckabee right now – The Washington Post:
Every Republican who wants to win back the White House in 2016 — and beyond — should have stood to applaud Mike Huckabee’s announcement Tuesday in Hope, Ark., that he was running for president again.
Why? Because even though Huckabee remains outside of the top tier of candidates, he is, by far, the Republicans’ best messenger to the middle and lower-middle classes — economic brackets that the party has struggled to win in recent elections.
Huckabee’s southern populism, which he played to great effect during his 2008 campaign, was front and center during his announcement today. He talked about growing up with people who worked so hard they “sweated through their clothes.” He reminisced about a childhood spent with “fishing poles” and “firearms.” And, in the speech’s rousing conclusion, Huckabee delivered a double-barreled assault on elites; “I don’t come from a family dynasty, but from a working family,” he said. “I grew up blue collar, not blue blood.”
Coming from Huckabee, those messages sound genuine — whether it’s his southern twang, his skills at plain-spokenness or, perhaps most simply, because they are true. (And, yes, I am aware that Huckabee is no longer middle class or anything close to it.) And, boy oh boy, does the Republican party need a messenger who can talk to working people without it feeling about as authentic as George H.W. Bush using a grocery scanner at a supermarket.