The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

02 January 2008

Huckabee Ties To 'Morning Joe' Scarborough Questioned


Attack Rush, Embrace Joe: What's Behind Huck's Strategy?

Almost as bizarre as his late, come- from- behind surge in the polls, Mike Huckabee's subsequent campaign strategy has proven a real head- scratcher.

First, the Hucksters seemed to believe attacking or demeaning Rush Limbaugh would prove an effective way to win the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary. Other than leading to a backlash by Rush fans, bloggers and others, it's hard to understand how this could have boosted his popularity.

Now, Team I- Hucked- Up has apparently decided that linking up with "Morning Joe" Scarborough of MSNBC will steer supporters to his camp. From Inside Cable:

The Dallas Morning News’ David Levinthal writes about Mike Huckabee at an Iowa rally. There’s one small part in it that raised a big red flag…

Then Mr. Huckabee showed up with a bass guitar. And a band, with MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough on rhythm guitar. And they started playing “Sweet Home Alabama.” Mr. Norris stood to the side, hands in bluejeans pockets, bopping to the beat. The scene would be like a bad acid trip for a diehard Democrat.

What is Scarborough doing anywhere near a Huckabee rally in what can only be observed as an advocacy position? This morning Huckabee was on Morning Joe. I can just see people asking themselves whether Scarborough’s appearance with Huckabee had any bearing on Huckabee’s appearance on “Morning Joe”. It probably didn’t. But that’s not the point. The point is it gives the appearance of a quid pro quo even if none exists.

Aside from any ethical considerations, let's look at this from a numerical perspective: in the weird world of Huckabee mathematics, Rush Limbaugh's 20 million listeners are a liability and therefore expendable, while Morning Joe's miniscule MSNBC viewership, a tiny fraction of Rush's, is a top priority.

Is this really a winning strategy?

As for Scarborough, if public credibility matters at all, he might care to study why Rush and other hosts generally avoid making primary endorsements. It's nearly all risk with little reward, as you're tying yourself to a candidate that could implode at any moment. In addition, key fans may needlessly be alienated by your choice.

At the same time, Morning Joe has his own peculiar history, one which has given him a loose- cannon reputation. How does this help Huckabee?

During what could prove to be a series of photo finishes in the upcoming primaries, voters will likely be taking a look at the character of candidates asking for their support. Will the company they keep (or attack) factor into their decision- making?

A MUST READ: Top 40 Obnoxious Quotes of 2007!

CAP'N ED talks to Huck

RUSH'S full rundown of the Huck flap

FOR New England regional talk radio updates, see our other site. New: Must We Look Back On 2007?

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Hucked Up: NY Post


  • Not to be a jerk but it's "minuscule" not "miniscule" despite what some spell checkers say. Sorry, it's a pet peeve...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 02 January, 2008 19:27  

  • Well considering Huckabee was given air time early on by Joe and that is a large part of how he got into the limelight and that they are both from the federalist wing of the Republican party I am not too surprised. I noticed it too though.

    But when Matt Drudge is giving Romney all the help he can get I wouldn't make to big of a deal out of a small player like Joe.

    And Rush lashed out at a Huckabee supporter online and used it as an excuse to attack Huck. Rush has been immature to say the least. Huckabee I am sure does not want to alienate him and has stood up for him back when the "fake soldier" thing was going on.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 02 January, 2008 20:54  

  • I agree with chukmaty. Its actually kind of humorous to go to Drudge and watch how he is trying to prop up Romney.

    There are a lot of Replicans like me that actually like Joe. I enjoy Rush to, but I'm not a Limbot either. I personally think Rush made a mistake in taking a hit at Huckabee and McCain when he had originally promised he would stay out of the fray. It seemed kind of childish.

    For all of attacks by the MSM on conservatives, it is kind of fascinating to watch the "elite" of the conservative media appear to be marching in lockstep to take shots at Huckabee and McCain. If anything its made my support grow more intense. I don't like being told what to think or do, even if it is coming from my party.

    I'm a moderate Republican and with the big tent that is the Republican party, the more outgoing conservative wing of the party shouldn't be surprised that a large number of us are pro-Huckabee. And in Iowa, it only takes a minority of us to win (say roughly 35%).

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 03 January, 2008 01:49  

  • Huckabee is about as federalist as Clinton. How does advocating education benefits and higher taxes while similarly advocating a power grab similar to Bush constitute 'federalism'?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 03 January, 2008 02:26  

  • Brian does not know why he is attacking Schmuckabee, he is just following Limbaugh's orders. Maloney is not a Republican, he is a fanboy for Limbaugh.

    Why is nobody questioning Guiliani's affiliation with Sean Hannity? Or the entire RNC radio crew, going to the White House for talking points??

    no conflict there?

    By Blogger Minister of Propaganda, at 03 January, 2008 13:11  

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