Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee has been all over late night TV like a starlet promoting her first film - just not as dignified. At first I assumed my aversion to his appearances had to do with my distaste for his views but that's not it. I watch the debates, read coverage of them, watch the news shows - I've heard Huck the Schmuck spout his crap a million times. I take it in and continue to feel comfortable with who I plan to vote for.
What's buggin' me is the aura that's beginning to surround Huck on his journey toward stardom. And to think I was worried about Thompson's acting skills - such as they are. Huck is taking on such a folksy character - pictures of him before he lost 100 pounds, stories about how he lived in a trailer while the Arkansas governor's mansion was under renovation - he tells a joke about rush hour commuters "being late for work cause they were stuck behind the governor's mansion" Yucka Yucka Huck - you should be on Hee Haw!
In an interview about the Oscars and red carpet mania Craig Ferguson described show business as "high school with money" Is the presidential race a high school popularity contest with the fate of the world at stake!?
Late night TV is a dangerous arena - viewers are relaxed and entertained - and often sleepy. They watch likable candidates deliver one-liners into the grinning face of likable hosts. Even if one of them, usually David Letterman, asks a hard or pointed question it's quickly covered up by the next one-liner or the totally off topic story of how the candidate saved a puppy from drowning. Ahhh - the sleepy, laughing voter says - how sweet, what a nice guy, I think I like him.
Months ago Huckabee appeared on Jon Stewart's show and I liked him. He was open to Jon's questions - although Jon was soft that night. He talked about caring about children and was just so homey and comforting. I quickly forgot his name until he started popping up in the polls. I did some research - I wasn't prepared to hate him just for being a Republican - I really want that crap to stop. Took me about 30 minutes to be appalled by the guy and just about everything he stands for.
So here's what sends shivers up my spine. How many Americans do their homework? How many watch the debates? The actual debate - not the spin their favorite pundit puts on it. Am I worried that Americans are gullible? Yes! Am I sorry to say that many are lazy? Yes! Do I think too many will vote for the guy who they remember as being so folksy and funny on The Tonight Show? Yes!
And that scares me big time. It's fun to see the candidates play the instrument they took in high school or show up to be fake embarrassed by the pictures of them that Mom sent in. Shows another side of them - and that's fine. As long as that side has nothing to do with deciding if they can run a country and be the most powerful person in the world.
It's entertainment - and entertainment ain't real life.