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Anorak | The Secret of Mike Huckabees’s Success

The Secret of Mike Huckabees’s Success

by | 21st, December 2007

THE Secret of Mike Huckabees’s success:

The miracle birth of the Republican candidate with the four-word name — Mike Huckabee Iowa Front-runner — has as much to do with social class as religion. There is nothing subtle about Huckabee’s celebration of his humble roots: He gleefully told 150 supporters (some more accurately described as acolytes) in Marshalltown Thursday morning that a “Republican muckety-muck” had recently declared that Huckabee was unelectable because he had a “hick last name.”

Then, a few minutes later, Huckabee returned to his obsession with the name game. “I didn’t grow up with a name that opened a lot of doors or had a Rolodex,” he boasted, harking back to his childhood in Hope, Ark. Then, the candidate suddenly switched to a twangy version of an upper-class lockjaw accent as he recalled, “Nobody said, ‘Oh, he’s a Huckabee, let him in.'” After the laughter died down, Huckabee added, “I often say that for my family, summer was never a verb. We summered in hay fields and chicken yards and all kinds of stuff.”

Of course, Huckabee is laying it on thick, but the candidate is peddling his common-man persona more than any specific set of policies. This time around, Romney (the governor’s son) and McCain (the son of an admiral) lack convincing hard-scrabble stories from their early years. And the Bush family is not exactly the embodiment of portraits in populism. Huckabee, in fact, stole a joke that Jim Hightower famously used to ridicule the elder George Bush at the 1988 Democratic Convention. “Many of you work hard,” Huckabee said, as he looked out at the breakfast crowd (not a tie or a dress-for-success outfit in view) at the Best Western in Marshalltown. “That’s what America’s always been about. It’s not about folks who were born on third base and think they hit a triple.”

Does Gordon Bown’s accent change when he’s in Scotland?

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Posted: 21st, December 2007 | In: Reviews Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink