Key aspirants to the GOP presidential nomination must put aside differences and work together as a cohesive team following the lead of an agreed principal spokesperson and message coordinator if the party hopes to take over at least the House with a long shot at the Senate next year. After 2010, they can square off in the battle for the nomination.
Last column, I suggested Newt Gingrich and a new "Contract With America." Newt isn’t the only leadership possibility but definitely would be a major asset for the team whoever else might be chosen to lead. Several have other areas of expertise or specific followings.
Today let’s explore former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who ran for the nomination that went to John McCain, and was considered for the vice presidency that eventually went to Sarah Palin. A Baptist minister, he’s a favorite in the Bible Belt, especially strong here in Georgia.
While I personally don’t think he’d be the best presidential candidate, ranking fifth at best on my list, he might be an effective coordinator for the 2010 elections
Economics may be his weakest point, but a coordinator can assign that area to someone like former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney or Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, who is running for the Senate and won’t be profiled as a coordinator.
During Huckabee’s bid for the nomination last year, I thought his stance on the war on terror was off base. He may have changed his mind by now. Even President Barack Obama has changed his after occupying the office, deeply troubling his liberal base.
Obama is like a rock star in popularity on the international stage but is floundering badly in dealing with traditional allies. They like him but aren’t buying his initiatives. Even Hillary Clinton hasn’t been able to get him on track.
Effective foreign policy should be a red meat opportunity for the GOP to educate voters on the many shortcomings. Team specialists on this topic don’t have to be a presidential aspirant. Huckabee could recruit any number of experts in this field.
I suspect Huckabee’s biggest contribution as leading spokesman and team coordinator would be in team management with spokesman a minor role. He might enlist George W. Bush as a leading fundraiser and even campaigner in carefully selected districts for the congressional general election. It does take lots of money to run competitive districtwide and statewide campaigns. Given the state of the economy, money is short.
I don’t think Huckabee would be the most effective spokesman and coordinator, but I do strongly believe he has a base following, a certain expertise, assets the GOP needs to put to work to capitalize on an opportunity to take the house and reduce the Senate majority.
Ted Oglesby is retired associate and opinion editor of The Times. You may reach him at P.O. 663, Gainesville, GA 30503. His column appears on alternate Tuesdays.