According to Max Emanuel Donner’s glowing report, former Arkansas Governor and likely 2012 presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, won the hearts of potential supporters in Yerba Buena, California on Sunday night.
“The admiring crowd and frequent photo ops with the Presidential aura of this Presidential landmark are ideally suited to politics in the age of social networking. Hundreds of enthusiastic fans had their pictures taken with Huckabee smiling with Presidential memorabilia in the background.
This enthusiasm was quite genuine, inspired mainly by Huckabee’s own likeability and approachability. Visitor Charles Rhee came to the Nixon Library for the first time, saying “I’m here because Huckabee represents my views.” Huckabee spent most of the evening meeting with visitors personally as they lined up to have him sign their copy of his Christmas themed book “Can’t Wait ‘Til Christmas.” If you have ever attended a book signing at a large bookstore, you would notice an important difference. This looked a lot more like a market research survey, with Huckabee taking the time to listen to candid conversations from hundreds of Americans about what they would like America’s future to look like. This highly personal approach to test driving a possible presidential campaign was a good match for the content of Huckabee’s book, which shares lessons about the importance of patience (emphasis mine).”
And patience may be just what pays off for Huckabee in the next year. He has been quietly winning over the masses. He is easily the most well liked of all presidential candidates as reported in the National Review. And you won’t win, if you are not liked. He seems equally comfortable around Country Music celebrities, and the high-falutin’ women on The View. He seems to relate well to both evangelicals and Catholics, blacks and Latinos.
And it isn’t a listening tour like Jeb Bush, Eric Cantor, and Mitt Romney held in 2009 to find out what they believed. That was derided by Rush Limbaugh because he said that Republicans needed to teach, not listen. But Huckabee criticized the tour back then because these candidates weren’t listening when they supported TARP over the will of the people. No, Huckabee is showing that the political instincts of the American people can be good, when given the facts. It is an opportunity to show he is listening and that he has many of the answers to the questions they are asking.
One group of Republicans who still seem determined to try and stop Huckabee are the talk-show and pundit classes. Don’t look for many of them to jump on board unless he becomes a sure thing in the spring of 2012. They will mostly ignore him (at their peril of their own credibility).