15 May 2011
Huckabee chickens out
Mike Huckabee claims that his decision not to run for President next year has nothing to do with any lack of confidence in his ability to win the Republican nomination or the general election. Instead, he claims that his heart would not be in the race. Why not? I can understand the feeling that a campaign that would have to have begun today would be an ordeal for anyone, but I'd also presume that victory would make up for whatever Huckabee might have suffered -- and we know from 2008 that he would suffer some, at least -- especially if the Arkansan believed himself the indispensable man of the moment. Apparently Huckabee doesn't think himself indispensable; he has been quick to praise other potential Republican candidates and has said dutifully that any of them would be a better President than the current chief executive. If so, then he's better off not running. While it's bad form for any American politician to think himself indispensable, a candidate presumably does believe that the country needs to go in a certain direction that only he or she can see at a particular moment. American politicians arguably distinguish themselves from their authoritarian counterparts in other countries and cultures by not believing that indispensable leadership is an innate trait that qualifies some special person for indefinite rule. Our politicos see themselves as problem-solvers, not visionaries -- and in a sense Huckabee has declared himself both too visionary and not visionary enough. He said this weekend that "Being president is a job that takes one to the limit of his or her human capacity. For me, to do it apart from the inner confidence that I was undertaking it without God’s full blessing is simply unthinkable." For some of us, the idea that he might have undertaken it with the inner confidence of God's full blessing would have been even more unthinkable. The fact that he felt he needed a blessing that many Americans think could never come may have been his conclusive confession of unfitness for the Presidency.