At Saturday night’s Republican debate, Mike Huckabee used a word he emphasizes quite a bit: “vertical.”
“I think we also ought to recognize that what Senator Obama has done is to touch at the core of something Americans want,” Huckabee said. “They are so tired of everything being horizontal — left, right, liberal, conservative, Democrat, Republican. They’re looking for vertical leadership that leads up, not down. He has excited a lot of voters in this country. Let’s pay respect for that. He’s a likable person who has excited people about wanting to vote who have not voted in the past.”
A few hours earlier, Josh Marshall noted that “vertical” is a Huckabee favorite, with the former governor’s website arguing, “I think the country is looking for somebody who is vertical.”
Can anyone explain what the hell that means? Vertical? I guess if you’re main opponent was Fred Thompson you might push the fact that you spend most of your time standing up. But seriously, is there something I’m missing here? Or is this the weirdest campaign I’ve ever heard?
I mean, at a minimum it’s setting the bar for his presidency pretty low, right?
What’s more, by way of James Joyner, there’s apparently an entire “vertical politics” section on Huckabee’s website, in which he touts something called “Vertical Day,” though it’s not quite clear what that means.
So, is this just some slightly-awkward campaign catch-phrase? Perhaps, but more likely, it looks like there are dog-whistle implications.