When he first ran for president in 2007-08, Huckabee was praised for his sense of humor — a relatively rare quality among politicians given the potential for negative repercussions. At times during this campaign, we've seen glimpses of the funny Huckabee, on those rare occasions that we've seen any glimpses of Huckabee at all.
But for anyone missing "Funny Huckabee," Tuesday night was more of a wake than a revival.
The problem with zingers, of course, is that, placed into a broader context, they don't make much sense. "You want me to 'take your wife'? Aren't you in a committed, loving relationship with her?" And so it was with Huckabee's tweets.
For example. If this tweet had come from some random conservative jokester, so be it:
But from a presidential candidate? Does Huckabee think that global warming is about sunburn? I mean, I assume not, but ... maybe?
Or this one:
Not to lay out the harshest possible critique, but this is pretty Borowitz-y. "Here is a thing in the news and here is another thing in the news and — presto!" How about, like, "Bernie Sanders's socialist math is as shaky as the ground under his commie Berkeley supporters?" I mean, that ain't great, but it's better than the El Chapo thing.
This one was actually rejected by Henny Youngman for being too out of date.
And then there was this awkward pairing, separated by only four minutes.
Again, Koreans-eat-dogs jokes don't exactly scream "2015" — but one can also make a strong argument that they are racist. Or, if you prefer, "sinful."
I mean, come on:
Huckabee. Turn on the TV, man. Notice that up above I made a "Zayn Malik" joke. I only sort of know who that is, and I recognize that his departure from One Direction is several months old. But for Pete's sake, I'm not over here making Tonya Harding jokes. Once something is featured in 20-year retrospectives on "Dateline," it's safe to assume its expiration date has passed and that it is now swollen with botulism.
Which brings us to the cherry on top.
In 2007, Huckabee surprised audiences by being the functional equivalent of a guy showing up for open-mike night at a brick-walled club and making some solid gags. In 2015, he's the guy who's dipping into old issues of Mad magazine for quips to hand off to his social media team. Or, worse, he's the guy who has a regular gig at a casino in Sparks, Nev., and knows that the audience wants to hear the classics.
Trump's live-tweeting was boring, but it was very much in keeping with who Trump is. Huckabee's tweeting made his 2007-08 sense of humor seem like a fluke. Which is worse.