At this point, Rolling Stone writer Matt Taibbi’s aping of P.J. O’Rourke and Hunter S. Thompson has moved beyond annoying to being comfortably numbing white noise–like listening to Muzak on morphine. But occasionally he delivers. In his latest piece, the traditionally left-leaning rock mag finds itself dangerously close to endorsing Republican Mike Huckabee. “Hey, this guy doesn’t seem like a total dickhead,” writes Taibbi.” I can almost see him as president. … Huckabee is that good.” Taibbi deadpans: “Make no mistake, Huckabee can win this thing.” It’s definitely cool Huck pardoned Keef Richards and Ronnie Wood for an old reckless driving misdemeanor — if you were driving through Arkansas in 1975, wouldn’t you drive like a bat out of hell? — but when did Rolling Stone start backing Republicans?
The profile opens with this exchange between the candidate and writer:
“I’m glad you’re here,” he told me. “I finally get to tell someone who cares about Keith Richards.”
“Before I could respond, Huckabee plowed into a long and very entertaining story — one that included a surprisingly dead-on Pirates of the Caribbean-esque impersonation — about how Richards and Ron Wood got pulled over for reckless driving while on tour in Fordyce, Arkansas, a million and a half years ago, in 1975. Richards ended up getting a misdemeanor conviction — an injustice that stood for thirty-one years, until Huckabee, a would-be rock musician himself, stepped in and pardoned Richards last year.
“It’s a long process, pardoning,” Huckabee said, placing a hand on my shoulder. “It takes a lot of paperwork. And the funny thing is, people said to me afterwards, ‘Governor, you’ll do that for Keith Richards, but you wouldn’t do that for an ordinary person.’ And my answer to that is always, ‘Hey, if you can play guitar like Keith Richards, I’ll consider pardoning you, too.”
“After the Richards tale, he went on to tell me about the band he plays bass for, and how he has jammed with the likes of Percy Sledge and Grand Funk Railroad, and how he prefers John Entwistle to Flea’s slap-and-pop style of bass-playing. Ten minutes later, driving away from the fund-raiser, I caught myself thinking: Hey, this guy doesn’t seem like a total dickhead. I can almost see him as president…
“Then I woke up and did some homework that changed my mind. But I confess: It took a little while. Huckabee is that good.
Much of the profile is decent, but occasionally Taibbi slips into what Matt Taibbi think. And honestly, who gives a shit? He’s at his best when telling the story, serving up facts and twisting it up into tight truths. Like how Huck allows the occasional peek into his own strange and terrifying world.
“Huckabee gave an even more damning glimpse into his inner batshit self in a recent appearance at the Prestonwood Baptist Church near Dallas, where he told audiences that Christians are sitting in the pole position of the race to Armageddon. “If you’re with Jesus Christ, we know how it turns out in the final moment,” he said. “I’ve read the last chapter in the book, and we do end up winning.”
Winning? I ask Huckabee when, exactly, he thinks victory will arrive. “When I was eighteen, I thought I had it pretty well figured out,” he says. “I thought the end of the world was coming at any moment.” But when I ask how his views have changed, he says only that he is “less adamant now.” Huckabee, with the wisdom of age, apparently believes we have at least a day or two left until the end of the world.”
When Huckabee talks like this, Taibbi writes, he sounds like what he is — the Howard Dean of the Republican party.
Now on to Washington, DC to take back the White House. Yeah!!!
Matt Taibbi on Mike Huckabee, Our Favorite Right-Wing Nut Job [Rolling Stone]
Illustration credit: Rolling Stone