Duncan Hunter, who actually opposes free trade and illegal immigration, has endorsed Mike Huckabee, who wants you to think that he does. My one-time, quite ludicrous prediction that Duncan Hunter would be the Republican nominee (based once again on the implausibility of all of the alternatives) was informed partly by the idea that Hunter’s protectionist and border security credentials would help the GOP this cycle with those states that they must win. One of the crucial flaws with this is that I assumed voters would want the experienced legislator who knew what he was talking about, rather than the artful showman who does not. Nonetheless, the Huckabee phenomenon shows that there is some response among Republicans to the themes Hunter has articulated–they just needed someone a bit smoother and more glib to gesture towards them very generally before they would get excited.
P.S. Hunter’s endorsement statement is here. It clearly helps Huckabee’s reputation on border security and national security that one of the leading restrictionists and former Chairman of the Armed Forces Committee has endorsed him. It’s an interesting split of the two also-rans: Tancredo went for Romney, which was frankly more bizarre than this, and Hunter has backed Huckabee. As recent and cynical as Huckabee’s shift on immigration has been, the Hunter endorsement doesn’t strike me as being nearly as odd as Tancredo’s support for Romney. The latter is just wrong on so many levels.