Tomorrow night, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee — whom polls have shown as the best-positioned Republican candidate for president in 2012 — is expected to announce whether he will in fact make another run for the White House.
The conventional wisdom, in reports from Washington, D.C., to Georgia, is that the answer will be no. Top campaign staffers from his 2008 GOP primary challenge haven’t heard from Huck, and in many cases have signed up with other candidates.
A particularly scathing account by Andrew DeMillo for the Associated Press explains a likely motivation for bowing out:
Mike Huckabee always had an eye for business opportunities. As governor of Arkansas, he churned out books on topics ranging from youth violence to weight loss to supplement his official salary. As a Republican presidential candidate, he ducked off the campaign trail in 2008 at the height of the race to do paid speeches, including one in the Cayman Islands.
Since he left office, Huckabee has made himself a multitasking, moneymaking conglomerate, with a Fox News Channel show, a nationally syndicated radio program, speaking engagements, book deals, novelty sales and even a newly launched series of children’s videos.
… Huckabee had hinted months ago that he was reluctant to give up his media empire, saying in a February interview: “The day I say, ‘I’m running,’ that’s the day I don’t have an income.“
By the way, you may have heard a little in the past day or two about that “series of children’s videos.” If you haven’t (or even if you have), check out TBogg’s précis on the subject. And also check out the video above by Rachel Maddow, which offers plenty of snarky humor but also some chilling examples of Huckabee & Co. seeking to reshape young viewers’ attitudes regarding history — not just via passing references, like reducing the dark McCarthyite blacklisting era to a glib aside that Ronald Reagan “worked against Communism in Hollywood,” but an explicit instruction that the videos’ content “isn’t always the same as what we read in books or see on TV… but so what? We know the truth, and that’s good enough for us!”
There you have it in a nutshell — the conscious indoctrination of children into shunning any information that isn’t ideologically approved, avoiding the reality-based community in favor of tribal thinking. All of the far right’s adult tactics (lavishly funded think tanks, the war on science and public information, incessantly “working the refs” in the media, unlimited campaign spending) are set up neatly by that simple message to kids.
If Orwell hadn’t been writing so early in the age of television, he undoubtedly would have foreseen something like this. In the meantime, if Rupert Murdoch ever sets up a Fox children’s cartoon network (he hasn’t already, has he?), he’ll have some core programming ready to go.
And until that time comes, Mike Huckabee will be raking in a few bucks here and there from the faithful.
If you listen closely, somewhere out there, Sarah Palin is gnashing her teeth.