This, from Lauren Collins’ interview with Mike Huckabee in the current New Yorker, is worth pondering:
While some of Huckabee’s gripes come off as rinky-dink—in the book, he admonishes Romney for hogging golf-cart parking spaces during the Iowa straw poll—others are more stinging. Asked about Sarah Palin, he responded, “She, uh, was an appropriate choice, because she put John McCain back in the game.” That was the get-along answer, but a few minutes later the new, aggrieved Huckabee resurfaced. He recalled, “It was funny that all through the primary—I mean literally up until McCain got enough delegates to win—people said, ‘You know, Huckabee’s really running for Vice-President. Gee, Huckabee would be a great Vice-President.’ And from that day forward, when I actually was no longer running for President, nobody ever said, ‘Gee, Huckabee would be a great Vice-President.’ ” Neither was he quite so unperturbed by the Palin pick: “I was scratching my head, saying, ‘Hey, wait a minute. She’s wonderful, but the only difference was she looks better in stilettos than I do, and she has better hair.’ It wasn’t so much a gender issue, but it was like they suddenly decided that everything they disliked about me was O.K. . . . She was given a pass by some of the very people who said I wasn’t prepared.”
We’ve achieved a certain grasp of what got Palin the vice presidential nod: She charmed the pants off those cruising conservative pundits; McCain liked the mavericky cut of her jib; and, yes, the religious righteous elite had her at the top of their lists. But it seems to me that poor ol’ Huck is entitled to scratch his head and wonder how he sank so fast from top veepstakes contender to back of the pack.
My guess is that none of the GOP powers-that-be trusted him to be their Highnesses’ dog at Kew. (“I am His Highness’ dog at Kew/ Pray tell me, sir, whose dog are you?”) He’d called the Club for Growth the Club for Greed, and was never willing to play the government-is-always-the-problem card. He was soft on immigration. He was, or seemed to be, a reluctant culture warrior. He appeared to have no appetite for remaking the world in our image. And his ability of garner votes owed nothing to their support. In a word, he seemed far too independent for a party always in search of the front man, be it Reagan or Quayle or George W. Bush. Under the largely spurious guise of reformer, Palin fit the role perfectly. Sorry, Huck, you didn’t.