December 24, 2007

Christmas Eve News Roundup

Today on the MSNBC talk show Morning Joe, news media correspondent David Shuster predicted a general election win for Huckabee. This report from News Busters:

MSNBC correspondent David Shuster has predicted that Mike Huckabee will be the next President of the United States.

DAVID SHUSTER: I'm gonna say that John Edwards is gonna win out in Iowa, but Hillary Clinton is going to pick up some steam afterwards and get the nomination. I think Mike Huckabee wins Iowa pretty cleanly and goes on to get the Republican nomination. Here's my big prediction, though: if it is Hillary Clinton against Mike Huckabee, Mike Huckabee will the the next President of the United States.

From 1994 - 1996, Shuster was a political reporter for ABC-affiliate KATV in Little Rock, and thus had a prime perch from which to view Huckabee in action. In the course of his reporting during this electoral season Shuster has often drawn on that experience to extol Huck's political talent. This morning, for example, Shuster related an anecdote from 14 years ago, when Huckabee was Lt. Governor and Governor Jim Guy Tucker got convicted in a Whitewater-related trial but was refusing to resign from office.

SHUSTER: I witnessed Mike Huckabee go into the newsroom of the station where I was working. He looked into a camera and spoke for 10 minutes, no teleprompter, and gave one of the most dazzling political speeches I've ever seen in which he said "Jim Guy Tucker, you have until noon tomorrow to resign, or we're going to start impeachment proceedings." I mean, this guy had those skills 14 years ago and he's been able to grow ever since.

So struck is Shuster by Huck's skills that he approvingly cited someone who had said "if you consider Ronald Reagan to be the Great Communicator, then Mike Huckabee is the Greatest Communicator."

Pat Buchanan saw Huck as even money to get the Republican nod, with Mitt at 3-2 and McCain at six or seven-to-one. His dark horse: "if you've got two extra bucks, Joe, put 'em on Ron Paul."

Mika Brzezinksi exclaimed "I agree; I second that" to Shuster's prediction of Huck as winner of the nomination, if not the general. Mika fleshed out her thinking a bit later.

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: I just think at this point Mike Huckabee knows what he's doing. The religion thing that he's taken care of here; he's strangling Mitt Romney, he's a break from President Bush and he's also the anti-Giuliani.
Steve Chapman from Real Clear Politics analyzes the presidential race and also concludes that if history repeats itself, Mike Huckabee will be our next president:
Every Christmas morning is a shimmering promise of surprise and delight. You never know what it will bring, and you might just get your heart's fondest desire. But in reality, surprises are not the rule. If you want to know what you'll get this Christmas, your best guide is what you got last Christmas.

Likewise for presidential elections. Every campaign raises a host of possibilities, particularly in the imagination of candidates. They may be forgiven for ignoring all evidence that is unfavorable to their dreams, which is usually abundant. History suggests there are mysterious but inflexible constraints on the outcome of these contests.

We already know it's almost impossible to elect people from certain places -- like Massachusetts, which hasn't produced a president (or even a vice president) since John Kennedy in 1960. Ted Kennedy, Michael Dukakis and John Kerry might want to break the news to Mitt Romney.

Americans also don't elect candidates from New York, even though it has a horde of electoral votes. We used to find presidents there quite often, including Chester Arthur, Grover Cleveland and both Roosevelts. But not since 1944 has someone from the Empire State (Franklin Roosevelt) been elected. The last New Yorker to make a plausible run for his party's nomination was Nelson Rockefeller in 1968, and he didn't come very close.

That's bad news for Rudy Giuliani, who has something else working against him: He used to be a mayor. Only two former mayors have ever reached the White House -- Grover Cleveland and Calvin Coolidge. But both of them went on to serve as governors before seeking the presidency, a step Giuliani has skipped.

Things are even tougher for House members, such as Ron Paul. His patron saint is James Garfield, the last congressman to jump straight to the presidency, back before the invention of the wheel.

Recent history suggests that to win the presidency, you have to be a white male from the South or West, preferably with experience as a governor. That description fits only one candidate in the race -- Mike Huckabee. So by examining the portents of history, we find that he's the only person who can possibly be elected next year.

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