What started out as a tempest in a teapot is now threatening to blow next week’s Republican convention way off course. I am not talking about Tropical Storm Isaac, but a furious gale headed down the East Coast and scheduled to arrive about the time of Monday’s keynote speech, namely “Hurricane Huckabee.” Though nicknamed “Mighty Mike”, it is not likely to make a direct hit on center stage but rather only a glancing blow. Damage, if any, is yet to be determined.
Governor Huckabee’s appearance, even if not on national TV, will likely steer the direction of the USS GOP towards discussions about abortion, whether she likes it or not. This speech could have an impact not seen since the so-called “culture wars” speech by Pat Buchanan in 1992.
Seriously, this is a storm the Republicans could have avoided. But in their panicked rush to get Todd Akin to remove his name from November’s ballot race for the Missouri Senate seat, they agitated and agitated until they awakened the ire of usually calm, congenial Mike Huckabee. Huckabee, who had endorsed Romney only after his nomination was assured, sat back while Romney’s campaign continually stabbed social conservatives in the back by doubling down on support for killing the children of criminals (the so-called rape exception), his view that homosexuals should serve as Boy Scout leaders, and his failure to side with the owner of Chick Fil-A.
Now I suspect Governor Huckabee’s speech will be gracious, and he will not attempt to steal the show from nominee, Mitt Romney. It will be the press, the Democrats and many Republican leaders themselves who will be tempted to continue this inter-party battle in public over abortion and other moral issues. If they have any short-term party interest, they should drop the whole Akin thing. I don’t expect they will restore funding to his campaign, but they can just keep their thoughts to themselves.
Akin is not going away and neither is Governor Huckabee. For that the Republican leadership should be prepared, no matter what the weather.
UPDATE (8/25/2012): Speaking of weather, Tropical Storm Isaac has forced the cancellation of Monday night’s convention schedule. It remains to be seen if and when Huckabee’s speech will be rescheduled.