Skip to comments.Iím your huckleberry: Romney/Ryan ticket starts a showdown (Remember this Tombstone video?)
Posted on 08/12/2012 7:31:27 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
I was trying to put together my feelings about the Rep. Paul Ryan pick for VP this morning, and this came to mind.
(My friend, Sonny Bunch, who is a walking IMDB whom you should read frequently, thought of the same movie, foiling my originality but confirming the metaphor is valid.)
With the Ryan pick, Romney signaled he welcomes a showdown on the biggest issues of our time even when discussing them can be politically daunting. President Obama’s latest, dippy, face-to-the-camera ad in Virginia says the choice between his leadership and Romney’s couldn’t be bigger, and Romney has now gamely agreed with the president, showing he believes the contrast works in his favor. The man who walked into the sun in Norfolk, Va. today is not the one Obama expected to face.
The last line of that Obama ad is, “Sometimes politics can seem very small. But the choice you face, it couldnt be bigger.” I predict we have no idea just how small politics can seem until Team Obama goes to demagoguing Ryan, but the Romney bet is that Ryan has what it takes to counteract it. A well-known Romney surrogate told me a couple weeks before the VP pick that Romney never put Ryan in the category of “risky” pick, as conventional wisdom did. Romney wanted a guy he knew could step into the arena on day one, hit the stump and every Sunday show, and come out clean. Through that lens, Ryan became a safe pick, not a risky one.
He’s young, good-looking, fresh-faced, and smarter than arguably anyone else on budget issues. It’s hard to make the small-town Wisconsin boy into an evil administrator of death to the elderly, though Democrats will certainly try. In fact, as I was trying to put my thoughts together on the Ryan pick, after “Tombstone,” this is what went through my head.
The fact he’s already got an Internet meme to commemorate his dreaminess is certainly not a strike against him.
Liberals are positively gleeful that Romney has picked someone whose positions they can gleefully demagogue. But there’s another sense, even among national political reporters, that Team Obama should be careful what it wishes for.
Howard Fineman tweeted shortly after the news broke, “My sense is that Dems should be careful what they wish for. Yes Ryan budget cuts Medicare. But he is best upbeat conserv since RR [Ronald Reagan] and Kemp. Also Ryan is nice family guy from what we know, Catholic conservative with a folksy touch. You can’t win without majority of Catholics.” Marc Ambinder described him generously as “[y]oung, dynamic, Midwestern, fluent in wonk-speak, conveys a sense of urgency about problems facing America, not scary, base energizing.”
These plaudits from the press will likely last no longer than a day, but I think they speak to a truth about liberals, who are so quick to assume everyone will evaluate Ryan the same way they do they’re in danger of not seriously considering this showdown. And, some polls suggest Ryan’s plan isn’t quite as easy a target as they think.
The political press and President Obama alike claim they want a campaign about big ideas, an adult debate about policy differences. Now they’ve got it in spite of, not because of, Barack Obama. With Ryan on the ticket, the debate should no longer be about contraception and the deferred cancer-causing capabilities of Bain investments. It will be about the budget and the $16-trillion debt, the unsustainable trajectory of the federal government and the promises it’s already breaking to generations to come. It will be about Simpson-Bowles and a federal government that hasn’t even bothered to pass a budget since before the iPad existed. It will be about how four years of grossly increased spending has stimulated us into the worst recovery in American history, unless you happen to be an Obama donor or crony. It will be about how creating new entitlement programs cannot possibly fix the ones that are already broken. And, it will be about whether we value an ever more dependent society or an ever more successful one.
As Ryan said this morning, it will be about, “what kind of country we want to be” and “what kind of people we want to be.” Romney and Ryan have signaled their faith in the American people to be brave, smart, and yes, hopeful enough to deal with the tough choices and real changes President Obama has spent four years evading and exacerbating.
It is not without risk. Their bet is that the wisdom of the American people is still one of the best bets you can make. I hope they’re right. The thing about taking this risk is the choice is clear. If you lose, you go down fighting. If you win, you really win.
And, as Doc Holliday might say, Ryan and Obama have unfinished business. All right, let’s do it.
Gird yourselves for the fight, folks.
(Yes, there is a long-standing debate about whether Val Kilmer says “I’m your huckleberry” or “I’m your hucklebearer,” but I went with the more widely recognized interpretation. And, for the hand-wringers out there, none of this post, of course, should be taken to suggest I endorse an actual shoot-out over federal spending.)
For those who are curious as to the origin of the phrase: “I’m your huckleberry...”
To be ones huckleberry usually as the phrase Im your huckleberry is to be just the right person for a given job, or a willing executor of some commission. Where it comes from needs a bit more explaining.
First a bit of botanical history. When European settlers arrived in the New World, they found several plants that provided small, dark-coloured sweet berries. They reminded them of the English bilberry and similar fruits and they gave them one of the dialect terms they knew for them, hurtleberry, whose origin is unknown (though some say it has something to do with hurt, from the bruised colour of the berries; a related British dialect form is whortleberry).
Very early on at the latest 1670 this was corrupted to huckleberry.
As huckleberries are small, dark and rather insignificant, in the early part of the nineteenth century the word became a synonym for something humble or minor, or a tiny amount. An example from 1832: He was within a huckleberry of being smothered to death. Later on it came to mean somebody inconsequential. Mark Twain borrowed some aspects of these ideas to name his famous character, Huckleberry Finn. His idea, as he told an interviewer in 1895, was to establish that he was a boy of lower extraction or degree than Tom Sawyer.
Also around the 1830s, we see the same idea of something small being elaborated and bombasted in the way so typical of the period to make the comparison a huckleberry to a persimmon, the persimmon being so much larger that it immediately establishes the image of something tiny against something substantial.
Theres also a huckleberry over ones persimmon, something just a little bit beyond ones reach or abilities; an example is in David Crockett: His Life and Adventures by John S C Abbott, of 1874: This was a hard business on me, for I could just barely write my own name. But to do this, and write the warrants too, was at least a huckleberry over my persimmon.
Quite how Im your huckleberry came out of all that with the sense of the man for the job isnt obvious. It seems that the word came to be given as a mark of affection or comradeship to ones partner or sidekick. There is often an identification of oneself as a willing helper or assistant about it, as here in True to Himself, by Edward Stratemeyer, dated 1900: I will pay you for whatever you do for me. Then Im your huckleberry. Who are you and what do you want to know? . Despite the obvious associations, it doesnt seem to derive directly from Mark Twains books.
I thought it was “I’m here, huckleberry.”. Or rather, “uhm heeyah, huckleberry.”
Most interesting post I have read in a long time from anyone.
Thanks for the info, I did wonder about the origin of the phrase.
Val Kilmer and Micheal Biehn - two of the best looking men in Hollywood in the 90’s. That is STILL one of my all time favorite movies. (Kurt Russell gets better with age)
Some GREAT one liners!
I thought it came from the movie “Bladerunner”.
just kidding, of course.
It was his best part ever. That movie was phenomenal.
it is one of the few I own.
Please. Romney is no Doc Holiday. More llke Blazing Saddle’s Howard Johnson. A rasberry, not a huckleberry.
“are you gonna do something, or just stand there and bleed?”
A Latin lesson from the movie TOMBSTONE (1993)
Doc Holliday (acting careless, drunk, and not looking very well):
“That’s the rumor.”
“You retired too?”
“Not me. I’m in my prime.”
Johnny Ringo (sarcastically):
“Yeah, you look it.”
“And you must be Ringo. Look, darling, it’s Johnny Ringo. The deadliest pistoleer since Wild Bill, they say. What do you think, darling? Should I hate him?”
“You don’t even know him.”
“Yes, but there’s just something about him.
Something around the eyes, I don’t know, reminds me of ... me. No. I’m sure of it. I hate him.”
Wyatt Earp (to Curly Bill and Johnny, holding up his hands in a peace-making gesture):
Doc Holliday (taking another drink from his tin cup):
“In vino veritas.”
[ a Roman proverb that translates to “In wine, is the truth” ]
“Age quod agis.”
[ literally translates to: “do what you are doing” meaning: “Pay attention to what you are doing” or “You’d better be careful” or “Watch what you say” ]
“Credat Iudaeus Apella, non ego.
[ a phrase from a work by Horace, literally: “Let Apella believe it; not I.” meaning: “I don’t believe you” or in this case “I do not fear you.” ]
Johnny Ringo (patting his revolver):
“Luventus stultorum magister.”
[ “Youth is the teacher of fools” or “fools must be taught by experience.” ]
Doc Holliday (half-whispering and with a heightened intensity):
“In pace requiescatum.”
[ “Rest in peace”. ]
Tombstone Marshal Fred White:
“Come on boys. We don’t want any trouble in here. Not in any language.”
“Evidently Mr. Ringo’s an educated man. Now I really hate him.”
Yes that was a great scene. Dualing shot cups, crazy eyes.
I have the DVD, I think that I will watch it this afternoon.
I love the pick, and I’m upbeat. But let me caution everyone to remember how excited we were when Palin was named, and many people had the same platitudes about her and her impact on the campaign. But there is always pushback, and we haven’t begun to see the Ryan pushback, the gaffes that EVERYONE makes (especially Zero)-—but which the press will dwell on. Just be prepared. I don’t think a lot of people here were prepared for the Palin blowback. They thought because she was young and attractive well-spoken conservative she would automatically avoid some of the attacks. Same comments I hear about Ryan, how he’s so young and attractive (true) but let’s not be fooled. The enemy is preparing right now the assault.
w, s ping....
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