One of the Bush administration’s toughest critics from the right has been Jim Pinkerton. Pinkerton is a friend, a New America Foundation colleague, a prolific opinion journalist, a Fox News commentator, and one of the most intelligent thinkers in Washington — but he’s just thrown me a bit of a curve ball.
Jim Pinkerton, in a note sent collectively to a head of a conservative DC think tank as well as to a former senior DoD official and me — he disclosed that he was now officially “Senior Adviser” to the campaign of Mike Huckabee and that he hoped he could continue to work with us.
I will always work with Pinkerton. He may be the only top tier rationalist in Huckabee’s firmament — and I’ll work with anyone to try and get the country on a better policy course. Pinkerton is not shy about the decision and believes in Huckabee — though I sensed just a tiny bit of “don’t be shocked that I am doing this. . .” in his note.
But Pinkerton’s news reinforces my view that the debate about candidates ought not to be about ethereal characterizations of gut and identity — but we should be debating proposals, debating the views and intentions of advisers, and debating past behavior and experience — because these candidates are not individuals but rather “franchises” of often competing and internally discordant interests.
And in Pinkerton’s case, he has just broadened the franchise of Mike Huckabee, and Huckabee hopefully knows the value of who he has just brought on board as Pinkerton enhances the policy heft of Huckabee’s outfit perhaps more than one would have thought possible until this news.
— Steve Clemons