Michael makes many of the right points about this Sarah Posner Prospect article on Huckabee, but there is more wrong with it than he says.

There is this:

While George W. Bush successfully garnered the support of the entire base by cravenly marketing himself as a “compassionate conservative,” Huckabee’s policy decisions that could actually be construed as compassionate are savaged by his conservative opposition as un-American, anti-family, and — cue the B-monster movie music — liberal. 

This contrast is not nearly as helpful to Huckabee as Posner seems to think it is.  Some of us said many of the same things when Bush was running in 1999-2000, and some conservatives were wary of the “compassion” language and the policy proposals advanced in the name of “compassion.”  Bush did not “garner the entire base” because of his “compassion” nonsense, but very much in spite of it.  It was seen by many conservatives as a necessary compromise to win the general election, but one most would have liked not to make.  When Bush began his campaign with a criticism of the House GOP for “balancing the budget on the backs of the poor,” conservatives were generally appalled, and it was only when Bush realised that he had to run right to outmaneuver McCain in the primaries that he began to sound at least a little less objectionable.  The difference was that conservatives were willing to accept the early follies of Gersonism in their desire to capture the White House, while now, in the wake of six years of “compassionate conservative” disaster, conservatives are much more willing to insist on certain standards.  In short, conservatives swallowed the tripe that Bush was a conservative for years and found themselves in 2007 having lost both power and principled positions on policy, and most are in no mood to repeat the experience.  Above all, the party base will not abide another Bush when it comes to immigration policy, and Huckabee has all the makings of one. 

Then consider part of her concluding paragraph:

It’s still to early to say whether Huckabee is truly dedicated to unraveling the conservative effort to roll Christianity, corporate sponsorship, and nativism into one package.

It’s not hard to spot the flaws in this sentence.  First of all, assuming that this is an accurate description of the Republican coalition, Huckabee wouldn’t want to unravel it, but to take control of it.  Also, “the conservative effort” can either be to bring in the “corporate sponsorship,” as she calls it, or it can be to promote so-called “nativism,” but there are hardly any conservative voters who are equally enthusiastic about both.  On the whole, the more concerned about illegal immigration you are, the more anti-corporate of a conservative you tend to be, while pro-corporate Republicans are indifferent to or in favour of illegal immigration.  Huckabee is the strangest combintion of all: a (rhetorically) anti-corporate populist who supports regressive taxation and providing governnment funding for illegal immigrants.  It is actually quite strange that anyone should find his candidacy so attractive.  His tax revisions would harm the workers about whom he supposedly cares so much, while he tries to bribe working-class voters with protectionism to cover for his support of the mass importation of cheap labour.  Almost worse than his Gersonism is the incoherence of his several policies put together.   

P.S. Here is Dave Weigel’s view on Huckabee’s appeal.