One of the things that helped former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee stand out in the 2008 Republican presidential primaries was that he had a sense of humor and — more remarkably for a politician — he was willing to deploy it. The New Yorker’s Hendrik Hertzberg described Huckabee’s first campaign ad as “an unusually entertaining spot — or, rather, meta-spot, the subtext of which is its own absurdity and, by extension, that of the whole genre.” That’s Newyorkerian for “funny.”

There’s a lot of overlap between politician humor and dad humor, probably because a lot of politicians are dads. Each is a subset of “corny,” and Hertzberg seemed to suggest that Huckabee was moving a bit outside of that boundary. If that were the case, though, the magic is gone. As has happened to so many people with access to Twitter before, Huckabee’s quips are now usually dropped off in 140 characters or fewer, and the jokes have not benefited from the brevity. In theory, it seems as though it would be nice to have someone of prominence actively engaged in politics who makes jokes on Twitter all the time; in practice, it’s not that good.

But who are we to judge? We are not humor experts. We have not been featured in a major motion picture as a humor expert. So perhaps we should reserve judgment of our own and instead enlist the help of someone known for his ability to use humor as a communications device.

Someone like Pat Haggerty.

Who’s Pat Haggerty? This is Pat Haggerty.

That’s not all Pat Haggerty is, of course, any more than any of Borat’s victims are best defined by their interactions with Sacha Baron Cohen’s characters. Haggerty is also — helpfully for our purposes — a professional speaker who focuses on politics and the value of grass-roots advocacy. The ideal person, in other words, to pitch in and tell us how well Huckabee is doing.

We sent Haggerty 15 of Huckabee’s tweets. They’re presented below in the order in which they were tweeted, and Haggerty’s thoughts are included (with some light editing).


Haggerty’s verdict: Bad. “Makes little sense, what is the point, what is the punchline?” [Ed. — We don’t know.]

Haggerty’s verdict:Mildly funny, if he tweeted the day Trump claimed he could have won the popular vote too. The Russian references makes it a twofer, he jokes about the Russian involvement and the popular vote. Again, only mildly funny.”

Haggerty’s verdict: “This is funny, also a twofer. He talks about 53 Democratic members of Congress not making a difference at both the Inauguration and how powerless Democrats will be now in the House and Senate.”

Haggerty’s verdict: “This is funny, it plays on the fact that the Saudis treat women as second-class citizens and it is timely.”

Haggerty’s verdict:Funny also, I’ve known Chuck Schemer for years and he can be whiny and an absolute camera hog. I assume you know the joke that the most dangerous place in the U.S. Senate is to stand between Schemer and a TV camera.” [Ed. — “Schemer” is probably not an accidental misspelling.]

Haggerty’s verdict:Funny, takes a nice shot at [NFL Commissioner] Goodell who had to smile and ‘make nice’ with [Tom] Brady and Bob Kraft at the Super Bowl when the whole world knows Brady got hosed. There were no rules or chain of custody protocols at the time. Not only no protocols as the time, Brady had no due process, Goodell ruled by fiat.”

Haggerty’s verdict:Funny, Huck is a conservative and this takes a shot at liberals. It is a version of the old joke: Liberals become conservatives right after they get mugged.”

Haggerty’s verdict:Very funny, a play off of the fact that some of the moderator’s questions were given to candidates in advance.”

Haggerty’s verdict:Very funny if you are a conservative, as I assume Huck’s Twitter followers are. Not funny if you are a liberal, can’t believe Hillary [Clinton] lost and don’t know why she lost. The reason she lost is that voters were fed up with eight years of Bush and eight years of Obama and Trump is the only alternative. As I said in my speech last week: On November 8th, America had its Bastille day, but nobody got hurt.”

Haggerty’s verdict:Pretty weak. The one-finger-salute is a very old joke. Maybe he’s talking about the fact that Portland is very blue and he is a conservative, again, playing to his base.”

Haggerty’s verdict: Bad. “I avoid scatological humor. It is just like profanity, it is not cute or clever and can offend some. I speak for honoraria, therefore, I work to offend no one. Huck is not being paid and, again, playing to his base. So this works for his followers, but not for me.”

Haggerty’s verdict: Bad. “What is the point? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and so is choice of meat preparation.”

Haggerty’s verdict: “Just plain stupid. What is the point? What is the Penney’s reference?” [Ed. — We don’t know this, either.]

Haggerty’s verdict:Funny!”

Haggerty’s verdict: “Also funny. Again, playing to his base — and this will be very rough four years for Democrats.”

The final tally? More than half of Huckabee’s jokes were “funny” or “very funny.”

Apparently, he’s still got it.

That doesn’t mean he’s on his way to the White House, though. In fact, on one key presidential qualifying metric, Haggerty’s got him beat: proximity to Sacha Baron Cohen.