The veep sweeps

In: Mike Huckabee. The former Arkansas governor finished second in an otherwise meaningless Iowa straw poll, surpassing expectations. The signifigance? Huckabee spent virtually no money (as opposed to the millions spent by the Anchorman, who won the poll), showing that his message has some resonance. And what is that message? I’m a nice guy, and I’m a social conservative. The former is winning over the media, according to The Plank, while the latter appeals to the likeminded who don’t trust Rudy, McCain or Thompson and can’t stomach a flip-flopping Mormon.

I doubt Huckabee can win (he lacks money and organization), but he’s certainly emerging from that second tier, and if, say, Rudy wins the nomination, Huckabee could supply some necessary conservative bona fides. Romney, meanwhile, could use a non-automaton on his ticket. Say this for Huckabee: he’s engaging and candid, regardless of what you think of his politics.

Out: Bill Richardson, who has proven reliably inept in his bid for the White House.

(excerpted from the HRC/LOGO debate:)

MS. ETHERIDGE: Thank you. Do you think homosexuality is a choice, or is it biological?

GOV. RICHARDSON: It’s a choice. It’s –

MS. ETHERIDGE: I don’t know if you understand the question. (Soft laughter.) Do you think I — a homosexual is born that way, or do you think that around seventh grade we go, “Ooh, I want to be gay”?

GOV. RICHARDSON: Well, I — I’m not a scientist. It’s — you know, I don’t see this as an issue of science or definition. I see gays and lesbians as people as a matter of human decency. I see it as a matter of love and companionship and people loving each other. You know I don’t like to categorize people. I don’t like to, like, answer definitions like that that, you know, perhaps are grounded in science or something else that I don’t understand.

At first considered the moderate alternative to Hillary and Obama, Richardson has disqualified himself from any serious consideration for a presidential ticket. He might’ve even ruined his shot at a high-profile Cabinet position. He best withdraw before embarrassing himself any further.

She gets it

As usual, Cynthia Tucker is spot on in diagnosing the faults of black advocacy groups. Likewise, she offers a tonic that would curb the growing irrelevancy of organizations such as the SCLC and the NAACP:

Racism is certainly not dead, but it is a shadow of its former self. A black woman is secretary of state. A black man is a prominent contender for the Democratic nomination for president. Black Americans are CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, presidents of elite colleges and partners at prestigious law firms. Oprah Winfrey is arguably the most influential woman on the planet. And Vick, for his part, has earned more money than most people on the planet and can certainly take care of himself. Among his dream team of attorneys is Billy Martin, who is one of the nation’s best-known criminal defense lawyers and who also happens to be black. …

If the SCLC and its counterparts are still interested in rescuing black America, the worsening plight of young black men is clearly the place to begin. It’s no simple matter — no easy call to action against the benighted forces of white racism.

But there is no more important work to be done.

Speaking of Vick, it should be noted that — while race is again proving to be a divider — not every prominent African-American is jumping to his defense.

“I said, ‘Stay on point. The convention is bigger than a particular man.’ There are a lot of young people who need our help. Michael Vick is not one of them. … What has he ever done except throw a football, run a football? I don’t think he has done anything to deserve any special recognition.”

— State Rep. Tyrone Brooks (D-Atlanta) to the AJC on why he counseled the Southern Christian Leadership Conference not to honor Vick at its convention this week (via Fresh Loaf).

And in today’s AJC, Terence Moore speaks out against Vick’s “blind loyalists”:

Let’s consider a few indisputable facts about Vick. For one, he gets paid more than any player in the NFL. For another, his position of quarterback is the most visible in his sport. Plus, until recently, he was part of more than a few national and local advertising campaigns.

So nobody is “picking” on somebody like that, to use a favorite word of his blind loyalists. If you’re Martha Stewart, Scooter Libby or anybody else of high profile, and if you put yourself in a criminal situation, you’re naturally going to get scrutinized in this era of endless news cycles.

“They were always her pictures. That’s all she wanted to see”

Classic films, classic scenes:

Joe Gillis (played by William Holden, the sexiest man who ever lived) endures the advances of Gloria Swanson (Nora Desmond) — watch here.

Atlantans, take note: “Sunset Boulevard” will be screened Tuesday night at the Plaza on Ponce. I’ll be there, and so should you. Revival cinema needs your support.