Former Gov. Mike Huckabee kicked off his second presidential campaign on Tuesday, May 5, in his hometown of Hope. A seasoned and popular Baptist preacher, and political television and radio personality, Huckabee delivered a speech peppered with conservative crowd pleasers declaring war on the “evil forces of radical Islam” and ridding “America of (that bully) the IRS.”
Huckabee attempted to draw a stark contrast between himself and the “Washington to Wall Street corridor of power.” He attacked radical Islam and jihadists. Government should be local and limited, and prosperity should be for all, he said. Subtle and not so subtle digs were taken at other announced and potential presidential candidates with references to billionaire funders, a global foundation, family dynasty, taxpayer-funded jobs and blue blood.
Sounds like a made-for-television movie about a presidential candidate. Who better to play the role than Mike Huckabee? It also looked like a scene out of a TV political drama. The studio, I mean the stage, was professionally lit and advanced — a camera-ready site with a huge American flag gently blowing in the wind (on a jumbo screen), behind a strategically placed backdrop with the campaign’s website positioned just so, and a podium wrapped in the campaign’s signature blue flanked by two teleprompter screens. Very tele-presidential, right?
I am probably being too harsh. Campaign announcements are created for the media, for the post-event images and video, not for complicated, in-depth policy platforms. That will come. I am surprised the event was indoors; the weather was outdoor-rally perfect. I was not there so I cannot comment on the level of chemistry and excitement in the room. But how exciting can an auditorium be?
There’s a reason Hillary Clinton launched her 2016 campaign with an upbeat, and hopeful, video. Gov. Huckabee, keep hoping for that higher ground.