Huckabee or Romney?

One of the most interesting things about the Huck’n’Chuck rally two nights ago was the presence of the "FairTax" bus. The "FairTax" plan was never a part of Huckabee’s platform before he started his presidential run, but with Tom DeLay out of Congress the FairTax folks were a group without an advocate. Likewise, Huckabee was a candidate without money or organization. They found each other some time before the Iowa Straw Poll, and suddenly — busses and tickets for the straw poll materialized, paid for by FairTax on behalf of Huckabee. They had themselves a spokesman to put their issue on the front burner, and Huckabee beat Brownback out for second place.

But all these months later, Huckabee has frontrunner status but still neither the money nor the organization one would expect, certainly nothing like Romney has been able to mobilize. Romney events are run with precision by clean cut, businesslike enthusiasts who have no shortage of resources. They are doing it on behalf of a candidate who could bore the paint off the walls. I went to a "watch football with Mitt" event in West Des Moines on new year’s day, and he was robotic and awkward in a way that was painful to watch. He’s also somewhat message confused (see video where he thanks Bush for "getting us off of foreign oil").

If it were an election purely based on charisma, Huckabee would win it hands down. But does he have the resources to get out the vote? Hard to say. He has the evangelicals behind him, who could organize quickly on his behalf, but it’s hard to gauge how effective they will be within the "make it up as you go along" gameplan that Huckabee’s surge has occasioned.

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