usatoday.com: Huckabee could have ‘spirit of Ronald Reagan’

“At a time when GOP candidates are falling all over themselves to rekindle the spirit of Ronald Reagan in their party,” our Gannett colleague David Yepsen of the Des Moines Register writes in his column today, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee is “coming as close as anyone.”

David, who holds the unofficial title “dean of Iowa political correspondents,” says that:

It’s time to “concentrate on (Huckabee’s) message. It is a positive, inclusive, good-humored one. As Republicans seek to rebuild from their defeat of 2006 and try to stave off a similar loss in 2008, they might study the Book of Huckabee.”

He thinks it’s too soon to conclude from recent polls that Huckabee is likely to overtake Mitt Romney and win the all-important Iowa GOP caucuses on Jan. 3. But, David writes, “Huckabee’s in a good position to win second.”

David also comes at the recent news about Huckabee and the conservative base from a different angle than The Politico‘s Roger Simon (who as we noted earlier writes this morning about the criticism Huckabee is getting from some conservatives for allegedly not being committed to low taxes).

Unlike Romney, David writes, on key social issues “Huckabee … has been consistent, and GOP stalwarts are noticing that difference between the two men. Huckabee’s rallied enough social conservatives to force (Sen.) Sam Brownback out of the race.”

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