Politico reports that Mike Huckabee is lining up campaign staff for his personal rebranding refreshment campaign that will encompass a perfunctory bid for the Republican presidential nomination.
It reports that the lieutenant governor of Arkansas, a veteran Karl Rove-trained political operative named Tim Griffin, will be a paid campaign operative for the Huckster.
Griffin comes close to confirming that this morning to the Democrat-Gazette.
Now, please understand, as I have written previously, that there is ample precedent for the Arkansas lieutenant governor, having nothing to do in a government capacity and getting relatively modest pay, to take outside work – which, in fact, is expressly permitted for that office by law.
And there has been no actual conflict because there was never any real public duty or accountability for the lieutenant governor with which to pose a conflict.
In Griffin’s case, he recently got appointed by his apparently adoring benefactor, Gov. Asa Hutchinson, to head yet another of Asa’s ad nauseum task forces – this one to gather facts and make recommendations on what if anything the state should do to get out of, or revise somehow, the federal Common Care standards for public schools.
In fact, the task force meets today.
So that’s a real job.
Meantime, this Huckabee character for whom Griffin apparently will toil in a paid campaign operative role started out years ago embracing Common Core, but has since peeled back that support because he needs to champion the right-wing evangelical religious fringe in order to refresh his brand.
And the right-wing evangelical religious fringe has decided amid raging insanity that Common Core is a godless socialist takeover of local public schools by the godless socialist administration of the godless socialist Kenyan who tragically holds the office of American president.
Common Core is a set of uniform goals that schools would endeavor to meet in terms of what kids know at a certain grade level so that a youngster could be moved, say, from Massachusetts to Arkansas and enroll in school in a more or less seamless experience.
Common Core does not presume to tell state and local educators how to achieve those goals. Nor does it permit the federal government to swoop in and start doing any local educating – godless or otherwise.
So is there a conflict there for Griffin in objectively executing a public policy assignment for Hutchinson to assess Common Core while he also works in a political advocacy role for an active presidential candidate whose interest is in distancing himself from, and indeed demonizing, Common Core?
Why, sure, there is. In one role he’s to be objective. In the other he’s to be advocating. Those roles are …. like …. way different. One is to serve the government of all of us. The other is to serve the personal rebranding refreshment interests of an active political candidate.
Unless, that is, Griffin has two faces and two sides his mouth out of which to talk.
UPDATE: I am now reliably advised that Griffin will not be paid by the Huckabee campaign for whatever service it is that he will provide. I am further advised that his role, whatever it will be, will not be remunerated indirectly through the consulting firm with which he has associated. If that’s the case, then the above blog post falls somewhere between “well, that’s less egregious for sure” and “never mind.”