A new Des Moines Register poll, conducted November 25-28 of 500 likely Iowa GOP Iowa caucus participants and 500 likely Iowa Democrat caucus participants, now exactly one month away, showed new presidential candidate leaders for both parties:


Democrat strategist Susan Estrich says Huckabee’s rise is due to GOP weakness. I wouldn’t be sure how that translates had I not read Robert Novak’s column last week, which I’ll excerpt next….

huckabee%20lat.jpgEstrich says Huckabee’s appeal to “right tail of the right tail of the Republican party” will be out of step with mainstream America in the general. She uses Huckabee’s support of a flat tax and privatizing Social Security as examples.
I disagree. Steve Forbes and President Bush began the ripening process on these issues. I’d say they’re ripe, if Huckabee has the ability to overcome Democrat fear-mongering and get through to the people
Estrich, understandably, overlooked Huckabee’s two true weak spots. As a liberal she’s pro-illegal immigration and pro-tax-and-spend, so she either doesn’t get that America is anti-both, or she’s trying to ignore it. As governor Huckabee supported in-state college tuition credits to illegals and “increased the Arkansas tax burden by 47%” during his 10-1/2 year tenure, according to Novak. (On the latter it helps that he has signed the ATR tax pledge.) He also supported the recent Democrat-driven SCHIP funding increase, clearly a back door attempt to increase socialist health care in the U.S.
Excerpt from Novak column, November 26:

The rise of evangelical Christians as the motive force that blasted the GOP out of minority status during the past generation always contained an inherent danger if these new Republican acolytes supported not merely a conventional conservative but one of their own. That has happened now with Huckabee, a former Baptist minister educated at Ouachita Baptist University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. The danger is a serious contender for the nomination who passes the litmus test of social conservatives on abortion, gay marriage and gun control but is far removed from the conservative-libertarian model of Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan.

Obama%20kissing%20a%20baby.jpgA couple other interesting asides….
Here’s a CBS story on Mike Huckabee’s friendship with Dick Morris, which has been and may be a working relationship, according to Politico. Although Morris has noted Huckabee’s rise, I thought he was a Giuliani guy.
And Andrew Sullivan thinks Obama and Huckabee’s surges are related:

What do they have in common? Huckabee is a conservative whose character appeals to liberals; Obama is a liberal whose temperament appeals to conservatives.

I think Sullivan’s got it wrong. As for conservatives, we’re eager for a fighter who will buck the status quo.
I think both candidates are appealing to the base of their party as well as to the all-important moderates/independents who are either left- or right-leaning and who don’t like animus.
Also, for all their political quirks, both Huckabee and Obama appear genuine. This is where a match-up would prove Huckabee a winner. He is. Obama is a poser.
[Photo credits: Huckabee playing bass at an October Iowa fundraiser, Los Angeles Times; Obama playing with a baby he would have rather seen killed several months prior, Scott Morgan/Getty]

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