Ross Douthat finds Huckabee unprepared to become president and considers his foreign policy amateurish:
When I interviewed Mike Huckabee last month, the most amusing detail of the whole experience came when his (lone) aide murmured to me, apologetically, that the governor was running late to the interview because he needed to iron his own suit for a speech that afternoon. Everything in Zev Chafets’ profile of the governor for the Times Magazine confirms the importance of that detail, and the larger truth it represents – that Huckabee has come this far despite being woefully unprepared, whether organizationally or financially or policy-wise, for “what it takes” to win the Presidency. The Times piece has been getting scads of attention for Huckabee's comment about Mormonism's teaching that Jesus and Lucifer are spirit brothers, and understandably so. But I think he's actually getting off easy if that's what people remember about the profile, instead of, say, this:Daniel Drezner looks at Huckabee's essay, "America's Priorities in the War on Terror: Islamists, Iraq, , and Pakistan," which appears in the January/February 2008 edition of Foreign Affairs:At lunch, when I asked him who influences his thinking on foreign affairs, he mentioned Thomas Friedman, the New York Times columnist, and Frank Gaffney, a neoconservative and the founder of a research group called the Center for Security Policy. This is like taking travel advice from Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf, but the governor seemed unaware of the incongruity. When I pressed him, he mentioned he had once ‘‘visited’’ with Richard Haass, the middle-of-the-road president of the Council on Foreign Relations.
The essay is a great symbol of Huckabee's campaign -- there are feints in interesting directions, but in the end it's just a grab-bag of contradictory ideas.Mitt Romney blasted Huckabee for the already infamous "bunker mentality" quote:
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Huckabee's Foreign Affairs essay really is an attempt to mix these two together in some kind of unholy alchemy. Take this paragraph:American foreign policy needs to change its tone and attitude, open up, and reach out. The Bush administration's arrogant bunker mentality has been counterproductive at home and abroad. My administration will recognize that the United States' main fight today does not pit us against the world but pits the world against the terrorists. At the same time, my administration will never surrender any of our sovereignty, which is why I was the first presidential candidate to oppose ratification of the Law of the Sea Treaty, which would endanger both our national security and our economic interests.Really, you just have to stand back and marvel at the contradiction of sentiments contained in that paragraph. It's endemic to the entire essay -- for someone who claims he wants to get rid of the bunker mentality, Huckabee offers no concrete ideas for how to do that, and a lot of policies (rejecting the Law of the Sea Treaty, using force in Pakistan, boosting defense spending by 50%) that will ensure anti-Americanism for years to come.
"I can't believe he'd say that. I'm afraid he's running from the wrong party," Romney said to a gathering of about 100 supporters in a restaurant here. "I had to look again — did this come from Barack Obama or from Hillary Clinton? Did it come from John Edwards? No, it was Governor Huckabee."On NBC's "Meet the Press," Romney called on Huckabee to apologize:
Dr. James Joyner takes apart Huckabee's foreign policy essay piece by piece and wonders whether Huckabee's foreign policy would be substantially different from that of Democrats Obama, Richardson, or Edwards.
I remain puzzled by the so-called Huckaboom. The more I learn about Huckabee, the less I like him as a presidential candidate. I never thought Huckabee would be more than a distraction in this campaign and I still expect him to fade as quickly as he surged.