Suffice it to say that conservative pundits really, really, really don’t care for Mike Huckabee. Here, for example, is Mark Hemingway no longer able to restrain himself:
I had (largely) refrained from piling on Huckabee because I wanted to give him a fair shake. I’ve now read his last two books (you can read my piece about them on NRO today) and am here to tell you they were terribly written and totally insubstantial. Thought his Foreign Affairs piece was bad? Read his chapter in From Hope to Higher Ground on how to “STOP the Loss of America’s Prestige at Home and Abroad.” His relentless use of folksy aphorisms and corny rhetorical sleight of hand provokes visceral objections — but the criticism isn’t merely superficial. In the TNR I piece I linked to yesterday a member of the Arkansas press corps observed, “He thinks and speaks in metaphors. And, often, they’re not right.” That, well, hits the nail on the head. […] I don’t think I’m being uncharitable when I say that’s disturbingly authoritarian. Huckabee should probably start answering some critics instead of dismissing this all as “The Establishment” trying to keep a good ol’ boy down.
This all raises the interesting issue of what would happen in the event that the establishment is somehow unable to beat back his insurgency. Presumably, the right-wing punditocracy would walk back a lot of this anti-Huckabee rhetoric. But it seems to me that you couldn’t walk it all the way back. And I feel like a move in either direction would prompt something of a crisis in the relationship between the conservative press and its audience.