With Rich Lowry’s scathing “Huckacide” column in National Review today and two Huck-bashing pieces in the Post, doesn’t it feel like the backlash against Huckabee has reached a critical saturation point? Does this start to show up in the polls? ~Eve Fairbanks
I think not. It’s a fair question to ask, but I think it overestimates the power of conservative pundits, especially those who, like Krauthammer and Gerson, are not exactly speaking the language that current Huckabee supporters will understand or accept. It also misses one of the reasons why Huckabee is doing so well. He is most definitely not the establishment’s preferred candidate, and he is making the establishment go crazy. Many of the criticisms against him are completely sound, but when his flaws are compared to the flaws of his rivals you begin to see that the establishment hostility to Huckabee is disproportionately great. This image of Huckabee as the populist and the anti-Washington candidate, which he is cultivating assiduously, is one that I think is helping him tremendously, so every Washington and New York-based pundit who attacks him is contributing to that image. (Incidentally, if Obama were in any danger of radically changing anything in Washington, I think you would see a much more concerted backlash against his candidacy.) Huckabee’s support may start to weaken as his lack of organisation and money bring him back to earth, but I don’t think it will be because the pundits have rejected him.