In a year littered with 2-loss teams aspiring to college football's throne, it's only appropriate that the Presidential primary field is filled with flawed pretenders. In an attempt to make this approachable for you blog-reading Neanderthals, we give you The CWATCF Primary Voter's Guide, comparing each wannabe-Reagan to one of this season's college football teams.
Go here for links to all of the candidates.
Eight months ago, you didn't know their name -- literally. In April of last year, Huckabee actually polled at 0% in a CNN survey. South Florida drew a whopping 26 votes in the USA Today preseason poll. This is remarkable in that Notre Dame more than tripled the Bulls' vote total (despite having no winnable games scheduled before October). Needless to say, expectations in both camps were not high.
And why would they have been? South Florida had never attained a top-25 ranking, and Huckabee was a hick-state governor whose claim to fame was that he used to resemble Rosie O'Donnell.
But then something started to happen: a few successful appearances on television garnered them a bit of national attention, the supposed frontrunners looked like hell, and then came the first real test. For Huckabee it was the Iowa caucuses; for USF a national spotlight game against West Virginia. Against bigger, better, better-funded opponents, both USF and Huckabee somehow managed to win and make it not look like an upset. #2 in the country? Republican frontrunner?
Sigh. At times the sports media (and fans) get so caught up in the thrill of optimism that we forget the primary characteristics of the world we live in: despair, defeat, and ugly reality. South Florida thudded back to earth with three straight losses to middling Big East teams, and people started to take a closer look at that West Virginia win. Pat White left in the second quarter? Slaton turned into Fumbles McGee? Hmmm ... perhaps that narrow victory wasn't so impressive after all. Pretty soon, we all realized that USF might not even be as lovable as we thought -- turns out their academic standards make the SEC look like the Ivies, and that they've been taking institutional control lessons from Mr. Bowden. Now we're beginning to see them for what they actually are -- a solid, up-and-coming program that's just getting its cheating sea legs, but NOT a national title contender.
And Huckabee? Well, it hasn't happened yet, but the implosion is coming. Sure, he beat Romney in Iowa ... but did people underestimate the Mormon thing (answer: probably)? Forget that Giuliani, the national front runner, didn't bother competing? Or just fail to realize that the Republican field was, um, piss-poor? In short, Iowa = overrated.
So Huckabee's the cute candidate at the moment -- he's got a lovely story (the man from Hope part deux, used to be a lardass), he's charming, funny, and his background is wholly unknown. He's Chuck Norris approved. Oh, and did we mention that he's the one candidate who evangelicals don't hate? A ticket headed by Giuliani or Romney -- both of whom have questionable conservative social credentials -- could effectively end the Republican voting coalition as we know it. On the other hand, there's no questioning that Huck hates the gays, loves the fetuses, and owns guns. If he's the headliner, the Southern Bible-thumpers will turn out in droves.
But will anyone else? Huck is hands down the most polarizing candidate for national office since Jesse Jackson. Will the average fiscally conservative Reaganite really vote for a candidate who spends like a big-government liberal and uses evangelical code words in his political speeches? Or runs TV ads with giant crosses in the background? If you're a secular independent, is there a chance in hell that you pull the lever for Huckabee? We almost forgot to mention that he's a petty, vindictive asshole, has corruption problems, and thinks he's going to replace the IRS with a 30% sales tax. I'm guessing the word that springs to mind is not "electable."
The fatal blow to his candidacy, however, may lie in his efforts while Governor to release serial rapist (and born-again evangelical) Wayne Dumond. Dumond had become something of a cause celebre for right-wing fanatics, as his latest victim had been a distant Clinton cousin. This led to some sort of bizarre conspiracy claim of unjust prosecution and imprisonment by those evil Clintons, and Huckabee pressured the parole board for Dumond's early release. It was granted, and less than a year later Dumond
Anyway, we're talking serious bust potential here -- we can't see him winning the primaries, but crazier things have happened. If he somehow makes it to the general, we'll have a stomping of epic proportions, and an unsavory race (if his opponent is Clinton) that'll remind you of the Starr hearings.
And what did David Huckabee do? Well, for starters ... while working as a Boy Scout counselor, he caught a stray dog and hung it by the neck from a tree. Apparently, that wasn't sociopathic enough, so Lil' Huck then slit the dog's throat and stoned it to death.
Daddy Huck then allegedly had his lawyers lean on the appropriate parties to stamp out the investigation, even firing the head of the state police. David wasn't so lucky in 2007 when he was caught trying to bring a Glock onto a plane in his carry-on luggage. Until you elect him president, of course, Mike Huckabee can't fire the head of the TSA.
The test is South Carolina -- if Huckabee is going to remain a national player, he's got to win the evangelical strongholds. While he's led for a while, recent polls in SC (and other states) show the Huckabee lead dwindling -- or nonexistent. We're not sure we fully buy the recent surge of McCain support, but polls show that something is happening. Our forecast is a narrow loss in SC followed by a hardcore crash and burn.