The Real Deal

by digby

Greenwald catalogs all the media's frenzied premature proclamations of Huckabee's demise noting that despite a series of gaffes the gasbags assumed were fatal, Huck had no problem with his voters.

I think that's because Huckabee's voters don't give a damn what Chris Matthews and Joe Klein think about anything --- if they even know who they are (and why should they?) This means Huckabee has a unique opportunity to escape the kewl kidz because his support comes from people who do not look to the kewl kidz for guidance or even information. It's a great strength in a race like this.

The Republican establishment obviously has no idea what to do about him. He's a creature of the monster they created when they empowered the "low information" rural evangelical base. I suspect they will try to get to the preachers and turn them against him, but they can't afford to go after him too hard or too obviously or they will suffer hugely in the down ticket races in the fall if the evangelicals stay home. And the alternative who seems to be emerging is John McCain, someone who is loathed by the same evangelicals. It's a problem.

What we are seeing is the three wings of the conservative movement fighting for supremacy: Romney from the money wing, McCain (or Rudy) from the hawk wing and Huck from the God wing. The first two are part of the political establishment and rely on it for guidance. Up until now, the God wing did too. But now they have one of their own and they really don't need the permission of the money boyz or the hawks to vote for him. And they sure don't care what the pointy headed TV gasbags think about it.

Huckabee won big last night with no money and no organization. Maybe he can't replicate it anywhere else. But I think he might. The religious right is the biggest single voting bloc in the GOP --- the people they cultivated and trained to vote en masse for the Republicans. They have a very specific agenda of social issues that they care about and understand very well. They are true believers. And they are the only constituency in the party who actually likes their candidate and feels inspired by him. He's one of them. I think he can win it and win it in spite of the many unforced errors he's bound to make. His followers just don't care about stuff like that. Unless he suddenly goes soft on abortion or gay rights or one of their other signature issues, he's got them.

They've been voting for religious phonies for a couple of decades now in the hopes that he would advance their religious agenda and represent their values. This time they have the real thing and they know it. And they could not care less what moneyed elites like Chris Matthews and Joe Klein --- or Rush Limbaugh --- think about it.

If the Republican establishment goes full out to destroy him they are going to risk suppressing that religious right in the general election. Which means they'd better hope they can get McCain (or ?) to draw heavily from the independents to make up for it. What a difficult spot they are in.

This could be their 1972.


From Townhall's Patrick Ruffini:

"Huckabee won women 40-26% (and men just 29-26%). He won voters under $30,000 by about 2 to 1. Cross those two, take away the Republican filter, and you're talking about a general election constituency that is at least 2-to-1 Democratic. These are not people that conventional primary campaigns are designed to reach. These are the Republican voters the furthest away from National Review, other elite conservative media, and websites like this one. It's easy to see just how the analysts missed the boat on this one."