Prodigal Son

Is the wayward Republican Mike Huckabee now his party’s best hope?

  1. Sun was bouncing off the miles of Jerusalem stone and the black hats of the Hasidim on the afternoon when Mike Huckabee went to visit the Wailing Wall, earlier this year. Huckabee—the former governor of Arkansas, the host of a Fox News show, and, according to the most recent Rasmussen poll, the top pick among likely Republican primary voters for President in 2012—was making his fourteenth trip to Israel. This time, he was leading a group of a hundred and sixty evangelicals on a tour of Christian holy sites with the singer Pat Boone. Huckabee wore mirrored Ray-Bans and a polka-dot shirt with gold cufflinks in the shape of Arkansas. Boone, who is seventy-six and still keeps his hair strawberry blond, was in a light-blue leisure suit and white bucks. Both men were wearing yarmulkes. “I think what I should do is convert,” Huckabee said, squinting in the sunshine. “This covers my bald spot completely.”

    Huckabee was a Baptist minister before he went into politics, but, like Boone and most of the other people in their group, he is crazy about Israel and extremely enthusiastic about Jews. “I worship a Jew!” Huckabee said. “I have a lot of Jewish friends, and they’re kind of, like, ‘You evangelicals love Israel more than we do.’ I’m, like, ‘Do you not get it? If there weren’t a Jewish faith, there wouldn’t be a Christian faith!’ ” In recent weeks, Huckabee has defended the Israeli attack on a Turkish flotilla headed for Gaza, in which nine people were killed. He does not support a tw...