The poetry of Mike Huckabee

I appreciated Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee’s candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination.

Remember the bleak winter of 2007-2008? That was when Rudy Giuliani, Warlord of the New York Marches, was the party’s crown prince, destined to face off against Her Royal Highness the Queen Consort (also of New York). Barack Obama and John McCain were a couple of no-chance long shots.

It was a grim, joyless time, and Huckabee’s aw-shucks populism, which so plainly got on the nerves of his party’s junta grande, was about the only touch of humanity in the race. My state is both needy and knee-jerk Republican, and I thought Huckabee might at least give us a way to, you know, “send a message.”

And that’s what we did, although by the time we voted, Huckabee was on the way out and Obama was steaming ahead. When I canvassed for the Obama campaign (in Condoleezza Rice’s old neighborhood, as it happened), my canvass partner, an African American soldier just back from Iraq, told me his dream ticket would list Obama for president, with Huckabee as his running mate.

Anyway, there’s a story going around about Huckabee and a poem he just posted on his blog. It’s about Nancy Pelosi.

Here’s a story about a lady named Nancy
A ruthless politician, but dressed very fancy
Very ambitious, she got herself elected Speaker
But as for keeping secrets, she proved quite a “leaker.”

Now that’s embarrassing.

It reminds me of the guy in Florida, standing in front of his motor home, who cornered my vacationing friends and me until he’d finished reciting all the sing-song verse he’d written for his wife over the years. Imagine the Ancient Mariner as a guy who wrote rhymes for Hallmark. It was like that.

Compared to Huckabee, though, that guy was Robert Frost. Give that ex-governor a J. Gordon Coogler Prize.

To be fair, not every line of Huckabee’s verse is all that bad. Some of it approaches the level of Ogden Nash’s more mundane verse — which is to say it lacks the eccentricity that makes Nash interesting.

Huckabee is clearly trying to be funny. Maybe he should borrow a few tricks from Nash’s bag. He ended his Pelosi poem with this mishmash:

I say it here and I say it rather clear-
It’s time for Nancy Pelosi to resign and get out of here.

W.W.O.N.D.? Well, maybe something like:

I say it here, and I say it rather clear—
It’s time for Nancy Pelosi to step down, pack her bags, take a powder, hit the road, and sashay out of here.

It could work. Anyway, if you’re going to talk about something as far-fetched as persuading a Speaker of the House to resign, you might as well do it in eccentric verse.

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