Monday, 7 January 2008

Mike Huckabee - message vs. narrative (and symbols)

This article from the Wall Street Journal backgrounds the novel, “pro-faith and pro-government” platform that former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee is running on and how if would represent a paradigm shift for the Republican Party.
But it confuses Huckabee’s message with his narrative – the stories and anecdotes about himself and his family that he is using, very effectively, to sell to explain what he stands for. These stories have been explained very well by Dan Balz of the Washington Post. Says Balz:

“Some were tender and touching . . . others reflected less positively on his family . . . but all of them conveyed an underlying message of morality and responsibility that underscored why Huckabee's rise has been fueled by a desire on the part of Republican voters for a candidate who is both socially conservative and personally authentic.”

I am not signing up to the religious Right (anyway, for various reasons, they wouldn’t have me), nor am I asking you to. I am putting these articles up as illustrations of how political narratives work.

Also – you just have to watch this campaign spot, which I can only describe as awesome (!), to see how Huckabee is using uniquely American symbols.

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