Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Imitation really is the most sincere form of flattery

Much press coverage has been focused on former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee's surprising 2nd place showing in the Iowa GOP "straw poll." Most of the coverage has been focused on Gov. Huckabee's shoestring budget, and the fact that he received more votes than the number of tickets his campaign purchased, meaning that either Huckabee supports paid the $35 a person fee to get into the straw poll on their own, or that participants who received other campaign's tickets to get in the poll ended up choosing Gov. Huckabee.

However, there's been very little coverage (except from some bloggers) on just how Gov. Huckabee achieved this remarkable showing. So how did he do it?

In short, by becoming the Republican version of Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio).

Last year, the Ohio GOP establishment insisted that Sherrod Brown's constant harping on trade issues, health care, and the disappearing middle class was "out of the mainstream" and showed just how liberal he was. Sherrod Brown took this so-called out of the mainstream message to every corner of our state, conceding nothing, and walked away with a 12-point trouncing of two-term Republican incumbent Sen. Mike DeWine.

Now Senator Brown is being looked at by the 2008 presidential candidates as a model for how to carry the Mother of All Swing States, Ohio, as stated in this Cleveland Plain Dealer article. In the spotlight of this attention, Sen. Brown has dismissed the DLC as a "special interest, corporate influence on the Democratic Party."

At least one Republican candidate is also looking to Sen. Brown for inspiration on how to win. Don't believe me? Here's some of Gov. Huckabee's comments from the campaign trail in Iowa:

"The most important thing a president needs to do is to make it clear that we’re not going to continue to see jobs shipped overseas, jobs that are lost by American workers, many in their 50s who for 20 and 30 years have worked to make a company rich, and then watch as a CEO takes a $100 million bonus to jettison those American jobs somewhere else. And the worker not only loses his job, but he loses his pension. That’s criminal. It’s wrong."

"I am not interested in being the candidate of Wall Street but of Main Street. Wealthy CEOs get paid 500 times what the average worker does, but they are not necessarily 500 times smarter or harder working and that is wrong."

"If somebody in the presidency doesn’t begin to understand that we can’t have free trade if it’s not fair trade, we’re going to continually see people who have worked for 20 and 30 years for companies one day walk in and get the pink slip and told ‘I’m sorry but everything you spent your life working for is no longer here.’...I’d like to prove that this presidency is not going to be just up for sale. If that’s the case, let’s just put it on eBay and be done with it. I’d like to think it’s going to be more about our principles, not just our pockets."

"If you want to know how to fix it [Health Care], I've got a solution," Huckabee said at the Republican debate. "Either give every American the same kind of health care that Congress has or make Congress have the same kind of health care that every American has."

As the Rocky Mountain News notes in this article, Gov. Huckabee has taken to telling audiences that he is "not a wholly owned subsidiary of Wall Street." and the Republican party risks being kept out of power if the People think that they work for the interests of big corporations and not ordinary Americans. What a concept!!

The above comments look like they could have come directly from Sen. Brown's campaign last year. That they are playing so well in front of Republican primary voters is surprising, but maybe it just goes to show how out of touch the supply-siders and free-traders in the Washington think tanks are with the Republican base. In any case, Sen. Brown should be flattered that a Republican presidential candidate rose to a surprising 2nd place showing in the Iowa GOP straw poll by copying his campaign themes from last year. Imitation remains the most sincere form of flattery.

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