Dickie Cronkite
Someone who has more "theme park experience."

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You guessed it - Huckabee.

Spent about twenty minutes of face time with the Huckster on Tuesday. So allow me a few Sullivan/Yglesias-esque observations:

  • Geez, Huckabee sure can work a crowd. Likeable, disarming in that "aw shucks" sorta way - reminiscent of his upbeat Iowa victory speech. It dawned on me that he was, in some ways, the uplifting Obama-type of the Republican presidential field. But their side went with the "experience" guy over feel-good candidate. So of course I posed my insta-theory to Huckabee during the interview. I don't exactly think he bought it, nor was he thrilled to be the "speech guy." Woops.

  • Huck says he buys the "Dems are tearing themselves apart and helping McCain" theory over the "Dems are helping themselves with all these new registered voters" theory. And you're not gonna believe this, but he thinks Hillary should stay in the race.

  • Yes, that's really cynical of me. Actually, I felt there was a part of him that truly did empathize with her. He's the only other American who knows what it's like to come in second in this race. (Or at least, finish second-to-last, right?) I asked him about his mindset in those last couple of weeks when it was basically over - and you could tell it was a still a bit too soon. You could see a lingering trace of disappointment in his eyes. That, to me, was the most interesting and revealing part of the talk.

  • Remember, he lost 110 pounds after doctors diagnosed him with type-2 diabetes and healthcare is one of, if not thee top Huckabee issue. Start stressing the importance of diet and exercise to kids - show just how unhealthy junk and fast food is - really make this a shift in culture like we've done to help ostracize smoking. The costs to treat chronic disease later in life will plummet and that'll go a long way to solving the health care crisis. I never thought I'd say this, but I totally agree with Mike Huckabee.

  • But sadly, there we part ways: He uses that thinking to reject universal healthcare. There's no incentive, he said, for people to live healthier if they're not personally affected by the added health costs. Makes logical sense, I guess, but still not based on Planet Reality. Americans can't afford the initial $300 bill as it is, let alone the $30,000 bill when their health takes a real dive. And being able to afford an initial checkup seems just as important as a healthier lifestyle. (Trust me, I'm a doctor.)

  • Also, he doesn't think government should play a big role in this culture change for healthier lifestyles. Who, then? The parents you're trying to override? I asked him, and "marketing" was the best vague answer he came up with. I kinda expected more; then again, John McCain still doesn't know the difference between Shiite militias and Al Qaeda.

  • Now whenever Nameless argues that Hillary should stay in the race I can yell "No! Mike Huckabee told me so!" If that doesn't shoot down her argument, nothing will.

  • I wanted to ask, "How hard, exactly, does Chuck Norris kick ass?" but decided against it. That will forever remain my principal regret in life.

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