Tim Russert Asks Mike Huckabee About Eating Squirrels

This morning on “Meet The Press” Tim Russert asked Mike Huckabee, the GOP White House hopeful, about the days when he and the good ol’ boys would fry up a mess of squirrel in a popcorn popper in the college dorms.  I can’t see dead squirrels as a way to lure girls into a college dorm, but those squirrels seemed to be a real hoot for the local boys.

MR. RUSSERT:  All right.  Before you go, I have to ask you about this comment on…

GOV. HUCKABEE:  All right.

MR. RUSSERT:  “Morning Joe”‘s program back in January.

GOV. HUCKABEE:  OK.

MR. RUSSERT:  “When I was in college, we used to take a popcorn popper–because that was the only thing” many of us–“they would let us use in the dorms”…

GOV. HUCKABEE:  Yeah.

MR. RUSSERT:  …”and we would fry squirrel in the popcorn poppers in the dorm room.”

GOV. HUCKABEE:  Yeah.  Yeah.  We really did that.  We really did.

MR. RUSSERT:  Did you eat them?

GOV. HUCKABEE:  Well, of course you–we ate them.

MR. RUSSERT:  What does it taste like?

GOV. HUCKABEE:  I should say it tastes a lot like chicken, but it doesn’t.

MR. RUSSERT:  What’s it taste like?

GOV. HUCKABEE:  It, it tastes like squirrel.  It’s not the best thing in the world but, you know, when you go squirrel hunting, you got to do something with those things.  And part of it was just to say we could do it.  I mean, it was a college thing.  I mean, but fried squirrel is a Southern delicacy.  You got to know that.

MR. RUSSERT:  But you’re off the squirrel now?

GOV. HUCKABEE:  I haven’t eaten fried squirrel I think since college.  Thank the Lord.  I don’t…

MR. RUSSERT:  This may help you in Virginia.

GOV. HUCKABEE:  It may kill me up–in other states, however.

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Make Sunday Serial Part Of Your Lazy Afternoon

A couple of years ago the New York Times added “The Funny Pages” to the famed Sunday magazine section.  Since then I have been a reader of the Sunday Serial, one of the new additions that I strongly encourage you to consider as a part of your Sunday.   Well known authors write multi-chapter new works of fiction, and it has found its way into many Americans lazy Sunday afternoon routines.  Currently Benjamin Black, also known as John Banville, is writing a great read “The Lemur.’  Today is the fifth chapter of the story, and it is so good that I post here for interested readers the link for the first four chapters.   Scroll to the bottom of the page for the Sunday Serial.

Benjamin Black is John Banville. Black is the author of the novels “The Silver Swan” and “Christine Falls.” Banville has written 14 novels, including, most recently, “The Sea,” which won the Man Booker Prize in 2005.

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Best Paragraphs In Sunday’s Newspaper

This past week was a joy to watch.  Radio entertainer Rush Limbaugh was given the middle finger in state, after state, after state.  He found, along with others of his stripe that howl and rant on the public airwaves, a very limited impact on the real Republican voters.

Today the press has a wonderful read.

The failure of conservative voters to fall in line behind Mr. Limbaugh, Laura Ingraham and Sean Hannity, among others, reflects a deeper problem for the movement’s leadership. With their inflexibility, grudge-holding and eagerness to evict heretics rather than seek converts, too many of conservatism’s leaders sound like the custodians of a dwindling religious denomination or a politically correct English department at a fading liberal-arts college.

Or like yesterday’s Democratic Party. The tribunes of the American right have fallen into the same bad habits that doomed their liberal rivals to years of political failure.

In spite of his record as a maverick, John McCain has become the presumptive nominee by running a classic Republican campaign, emphasizing strength abroad and limited government at home, with nods to his pro-life record. His opponents in the conservative movement, by contrast, have behaved like caricatures of liberals, emphasizing a host of small-bore litmus tests that matter more to Beltway insiders than to the right-winger on the street.

Republican primary voters who turned to Mr. Limbaugh for their marching orders were asked to believe that Mr. McCain’s consistently hawkish record — on Iraq, Iran, the size of the military and any other issue you care to name — mattered less to his standing as a conservative than his views on waterboarding. Or that his extensive record as a free-trader, a tax-cutter and an opponent of pork-barrel spending wasn’t sufficient to qualify him as an economic conservative, because he had opposed a particular set of upper-bracket tax cuts in 2001.

Precisely because the right has won so many battles — on taxes, welfare, crime and the cold war — in the decades since it squared off against Gerald Ford and Jacob Javits, the greatest danger facing the contemporary Republican Party is ideological sclerosis, rather than insufficient orthodoxy.

Conservative voters seem to understand that.

Too bad their leaders don’t.