Huck-a-unbeatable? Shuster Says Mike Would Defeat Any Dem

See Update at Foot: Matthews suggests MSM pushing Mike because he's a sure loser.

Should we call him Mike "Huck-a-unbeatable"?

As noted here, on Monday David Shuster predicted that Mike Huckabee would win the White House if matched up against Hillary Clinton. Appearing on Morning Joe today at 6:05 AM ET, the MSNBC correspondent took his optimism about Huckabee's prospects a quantum leap further, saying the former Arkansas governor would defeat any Dem opponent.

View video here.

Normally a panelist, Willie Geist is hosting the show today in Joe Scarborough's absence.

WILLIE GEIST: David Shuster, you made some waves on this very show on Monday when you predicted not only would Mike Huckabee win the Republican nomination, but if Hillary Clinton were his opponent in the general election, Mike Huckabee would be living in the White House next year.

DAVID SHUSTER: And I would go even further. And that is, if Mike Huckabee is the Republican nominee, he would be the next president regardless of who the Democratic nominee is.

MIKA BRZEZINSKI [incredulously]: What??

GEIST: Wow.

SHUSTER: And here's why: in Iowa they're discovering that Mike Huckabee is more personable, is more engaging, is more well-liked -- nevermind the experience stuff -- is more well-liked than the rest of the field combined. Luckily, voters are thinking about policies and positions, so that's going to be a factor, at least in Iowa.
But the fact of the matter is, if Mike Huckabee is in a general election against Edwards, against Obama, against Hillary, that race will turn into a personality contest and Mike Huckabee will win it hands-down. If the Republican nominee is somebody like John McCain, who's got a sort of an engaging personality but not like Huckabee, then it will be more of an election about policy differences and positions and about the issues.

So, as I wondered Monday, is Shuster speaking sincerely or is he trying to gull Republicans into nominating a vulnerable candidate? I'm tending to think Shuster means what he says -- but might well simply be mistaken. First, when it comes to likability, Obama is certainly no slouch. And any Dem campaign would be devoted to dismantling Huck's likability with a strategy blending the personal and political, along the lines "there's nothing likable about a man who would [fill in the policy position]."

Note: In contrast, Shuster is no Ron Paul fan, repeatedly labelling the libertarian a "crackpot," largely because of his view that Lincoln was wrong to wage the Civil War.

UPDATE | 12-26 10:10 AM ET: Appearing in a later segment, Chris Matthews suggested that Huckabee, far from being a sure winner, is being promoted by the MSM because they believe he'd be easy to beat.

CHRIS MATTHEWS: The establishment media has made him a mascot, and you know that, Willie. The liberal media guys who write for the New Yorker and magazines like that think that have treated him as cute -- and not very dangerous. And you gotta wonder whether it's all a conspiracy . . . and they want him because he's the sterotypical right-winger. You don't believe in evolution, you don't believe in abortion rights. You believe in guns to protect you from the government. This is whack-job. Hey, isn't it great? And then they get him nominated and then they get "anybody get beat Huckabee!"

Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.