Have you seen Mike Huckabee's weekly show on Fox yet? If you haven't, you needn't bother; it's mostly a painful exercise in talk-show amateurism. It has the feel of a local-studio talk show minus the clown used-car salesman.
Last night we instead got the clown wingnut, Ann Coulter. It actually was a highly amusing exchange, in large part because Coulter had said so many cruel things about Huckabee during the campaign and he replayed several of them. It was worth it just to see Coulter squirm at having her phoniness on such brilliant display.
In particular it was worth it to see a conservative finally notice that Coulter has a problem with keeping her facts straight. In truth, this is something that other people have noticed before. Unfortunately, the extent of Huckabee's awareness of Coulter's afactuality reached only to her reportage on him; otherwise, he thoroughly commended her new book as a fine piece of research, even though it too is so error-riddled that it would be an embarrassment to anyone besides a peroxidized right-wing hustler.
But there was also a revealing exchange midway through it all that made clear that Huckabee was actually trying desperately to earn Coulter's approval:
Huckabee: But let me mention a couple of the -- You said that I am against school choice. I am not. You said I was bad on immigration, and yet it was Jim Gilchrist of the Minutemen who endorsed me and traveled with me.
Coulter: You did say that you think illegal immigration is our chance to make up for slavery in America.
Huckabee: Not illegal immigration. I did not say that. What I said was that the manner in which we treat people is a way in which we can show our civility and a compassion in a way that we did not show --
Coulter: And I think you wanted in-state tuition for illegals.
Huckabee: No, here's what I wanted. I wanted for kids in my state who have met --
Coulter: [Giggles] Are you running again? Because you're clarifying a lot of points for me.
Huckabee: Well, I want to clarify, because -- here's the deal. If I ever do run again, I want, Ann --
Coulter: You'll run more as a conservative.
Huckabee: No, I'll run as I am, which is a conservative, because that's what I've always been. But I want to make sure that the next time you write about me, we get all this stuff straight.
Coulter: Ye-e-e-e-s, well, a little more conservative and you would've had my vote.
Of course. Because the essence of being a right-wing politician these days is to earn the Blessing of the Brownshirt Barbie. One can't expect to win as a Republican, evidently, unless you pass the Ann Coulter Wingnut Ideological Purity Examination (which indeed has a family resemblance to a colonoscopy).
But notice the issues she's making him scramble to curry her favor on -- especially immigration. Huckabee even touts his endorsement by Jim Gilchrist of the Minutemen -- who has since then been largely exposed as a scam artist -- as evidence of his tough stance on illegal immigration.
Indeed, I think we can count on a hard nativist-style stance on immigration to be one of the signature positions of the brand of conservatism that will emerge from the ashes of 2008. We keep hearing conservatives tell themselves that the reason they lost last year was that they weren't "true to conservative values," and this will be one of the issues that they will use to define "true conservatives" (as Coulter does here).