Did you catch the great showdown this past week? No, not Super Tuesday. But the late night television comedian battle over who discovered and “made” GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee?
While Republicans and Democrats were slugging it out at the polls, three kingpins of comedy were in chortle combat for the rights as creator of the GOP contender and his surge in this election race. Even they are somewhat surprised this 12-year Arkansas governor outlasted candidates like Giuliani, Thompson and now Romney, to be among the finalists for the GOP nomination.
Their sardonic segments about Huckabee on each of their shows are so popular that polls are now popping up in pursuit of the public’s opinion to the question, “Who made Huckabee?”
Bring in the clowns
It all started weeks ago when Conan O’Brien, from “Late Night with Conan O’Brien,” sarcastically claimed that I was responsible for Huckabee’s surge. Then he followed that claim with another far-fetched assertion: Since he “resurrected” my career through his “‘Walker, Texas Ranger’ lever” (a regular comedy bit that would highlight an unintentionally funny clip from the series), Conan alone possesses pre-eminence and proprietorship to the Huckabee-Huckaboom swell.
Stephen Colbert (from the “Colbert Report”) rebutted Conan’s claims by saying that Colbert’s “bump” and Huckabee’s appearances on his shows actually gave rise to Mike’s campaign success.
Not to be outdone, Jon Stewart (from “The Daily Show”) stepped into that same political-comedy ring arguing that he created O’Brien (and therefore Huckabee too), based upon a dated MTV clip of Jon first introducing the freshman late-night host.
The three well-known comedian hosts escalated this hilarious Huckabee feud by repeatedly appearing on one another’s shows in slapstick moments that marveled three stooges’ wit and jesting. As one commentator wrote, “An increasingly ridiculous rivalry broke out between O’Brien and Colbert, later dragging Stewart into the mix. The result was some of the funniest late-night sketches in years as the personalities duked it out.”
The battle seemed to be called to an inconclusive draw after an old fashioned fist-n-bat brawl between all three – until Colbert revealed one more trick up his sleeve: the revelation of Huckabee himself.
Here comes the judge
Mike is one of the most genuinely concerned and capable leaders I’ve ever met. He’s also a unique soul who hasn’t lost touch with humanity and that Americans love to laugh – and sometimes have to remember to do so, even in difficult times. So when he was invited to enter the fray of this late night comedy war over his origins this past week, Mike welcomed the opportunity, even in the midst of a serious run for GOP nomination and a torn conservative party.
Appearing by satellite, Mike settled the debate with a bit of sardonic humor at the end as well, “Let’s be clear: None of these guys made me. This great nation made me. So vote for me. God bless America, and forget these three idiots.”
He finished the week making a surprise appearance on “The Colbert Report,” reaffirming he’s still in the race and playing air hockey (with Texas!) to settle the issue.
As another commentator noted, “Mike has shown an extraordinary amount of good humor for a national politician.”
What’s not funny
What’s not humorous in this presidential race (to Mike or any of us) is that conservativism is in a fight for its very life. And we have three contenders (not comedians) left in the ring: John McCain, Mike Huckabee and Ron Paul.
Mike’s not down, nor out – now second in delegates. He was a born fighter and is not a quitter. Even McCain himself said about him last Friday, “Gov. Huckabee is still in this race, and he is a viable candidate, and I’m sure will continue to show strength and that’s why we’re moving forward with our campaigning.”
Despite projections or placements, Mike is not among those who do not persevere. He’s out to win, and he’s not afraid to fail. As he said this past week, “I’ve spent my whole life fighting from the bottom. I’ve never been at the top. I’ve always started from the bottom. I know what its like to be the underdog. I still believe in the impossible. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be in this race.”
That’s what I’ve always liked about Mike – he’s one of us. That’s also another reason I call him “The peoples’ president” – he came out from among us.
As I’ve said on many occasions, I helped light the spark for Mike’s campaign, but a spark will go out if it doesn’t have a catalyst behind it. Mike’s character and message turned that spark into a raging fire. And I challenge anyone who hasn’t to examine his platform carefully for themselves – for in it awaits the discovery of a full-fledged conservative.
Despite media and critics’ distortions of Mike’s record, there’s a reason that “Focus on the Family’s” Dr. James Dobson also came out and endorsed Huckabee a few days ago – Mike’s a conservative to the core. And he has committed to fight for conservative principles, values and beliefs throughout his presidency.
A warning to Conan, Colbert and Stewart
Incidentally, as far as the three late night comedians using my life at the center of their scornful and cynical mocking to justify their positions in creating the Huckaboom, I have something lastly to say.
I suppose if I believed all those “Chuck Norris Facts” still circulating on the Internet, I’d have to believe the one today that says, “There is no theory of evolution; just a list of creatures Chuck Norris has allowed to live.”
Ergo (as Conan has said), one can rightfully conclude, it is I (Chuck Norris) who actually made Conan, Colbert and Stewart – or at least still allow them to live.
And just like God might be saying to conservatives even now, I also say to them: Don’t make me come down there.
(Chuck’s column now runs in syndication through Creators Syndicate. Subscriptions can be obtained by contacting Creators Syndicate. To check out some of his non-political articles, see Chuck’s WND archives.)