Leader Blues

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

EDITORIAL >>Huck the Entertainer

Mike Huckabee has finally landed the job for which he is perfectly suited. Fox News signed him last week to a one-year contract to provide political commentary.

It is easy and profitable work for which our former governor has been preparing for 25 years, since he developed the television ministry that catapulted him from the pulpit to politics. He has the cool personality that the medium requires and a clever wit when he can control it, and he will finally have a forum where his chance outrageous or foolish remark will hardly be noticed. He can joke about assassinations and no one will expect an apology.

Huckabee cannot match the nightly offenses of Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity. Racist, sexist or simply tasteless utterances get commentators in trouble and occasionally suspensions at other networks, but at Fox the threshold of indecency has not been established.

Huckabee will introduce a measure of balance to the Fox news programming. Not ideological balance — Rupert Murdoch does not believe in that. But in the phalanx of mean-spirited Republican polemicists, Huckabee will seem moderate, tolerant and almost kind. Although he will never criticize Sen. John McCain, he will sometimes say a kind word about the Democrat, Sen. Barack Obama. A few Fox devotees may find that refreshing, if odd.

The Fox contract ends the speculation that McCain will choose Huckabee as his running mate. Joking about the assassination of Obama at the National Rifle Association convention, the last of a string of gaffes, ended any serious consideration of that ticket.

But this is better for everyone: Mike Huckabee, the Republican Party and the citizenry. Entertaining, not governing, is his forte, and we can all celebrate when someone makes the right life choice.