Sunday, June 10, 2007

Horses and Huckabee

A week ago I made the winding journey from Boston to Francestown, New Hampshire for an intimate afternoon house party with Mike Huckabee. For a sleepy town on a stormy day, the Governor drew a lively gathering of local residents (and a handful of press) at a quaint horse farm. The two dozen or more local residents and supporters that showed up looking to get some face time and talk with the Arkansas man gaining traction little by little in the state parked their cars and pickups on an uneven horse field surrounded by a New England-style fence. And face time we got.

The Governor spoke with all assembled for about fifteen minutes before giving a short but substantive speech and taking a handful of questions that covered everything from the legalization of medical marijuana to foreign policy. Huckabee's most stirring comments came after a question about energy independence and alternative energy technologies. Instead of falling in line with the passive (at best) attitudes of many Republican candidates on the issue of energy and the environment, Huckabee inspired the group by posing the challenge of making America energy-independent and free from the stranglehold that foreign nations have on our economic security. He compared the challenge ahead to our past quest to put a man on the moon—that in ten years the country went from bottle rockets to technological greatness. Such a challenge didn’t seem to worry Huckabee, whose calming attitude of pleasant conversation and peaceful practicality seem a necessary break from seven years of stubborn decision-making from a confrontational President.

It will take a few months to see if Huckabee’s campaign goes anywhere, and with poll numbers creeping up after a series of nationally-televised debates Huckabee’s true test will be to show he’s capable of bringing in the contributions that can inch him ever closer to the top tier in the Republican party.

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