Friday, December 21, 2007

McCain’s starting to look better to than this guy

I am an Evangelical Christian. I have identified with the Religious Right from the late 1970s. I have consistently voted and supported candidates congruent with the aims of the Religious Right AND the Religious Right has heretofore been identified as Conservative in its orientation. I am a Fundamentalist Baptist.

Last year I declared that John McCain is a media hoax and I've thought Mr. McCain's only strength in Republican primary elections came from Democrat crossovers. We saw that in 2000 and we're going to see that again next month, bringing us to Mike Huckabee. I predict Mr. Huckabee will draw a lot of CROSSOVER Democrat votes in the Michigan primary election to throw sand in the works of the Republican presidential selection machinery.

I don't like the Arkansas school of Politics. Today my wife got a push-poll robocall from what seems to be the Huckabee campaign misrepresenting Mr. Thompson's position on abortion. (My phone number is well known to Conservative/Republican databases, and I wasn't surprised by such.) I think it is OK for a politician to truthfully say, "I'm against X and my opponent is for X." This is just truth in advertising, not negative campaigning. You might like X and this information will help you vote for the other guy. It's a completely different thing to apply Arkansas spin: "I'm against abortion and my opponent once helped abortionists!" It's sleazy politics to distort an opponent's record in this fashion. If Mr. Thompson is for abortion, show me his votes, quote his words endorsing the practice. Don't repeat agitprop of the pro-abortion activists who dug this up during opposition research. For heaven's sake, don't lie (or say Clintonian half-truths) about the other guy.

Update: I am told that an independent group supporting Mr. Huckabee is responsible for similar calls in other states (NH, SC) and that Mr. Huckabee's campaign has asked them to stop. I am unaware of Mr. Huckabee doing anything to repair this group's damage to the body politic. Political lies damage more than any one candidate, they sew cynicism through the entire electorate. Mr. Huckabee owes it to the Republican party to denounce Common Sense Issues of Colorado, aka Trust Huckabee.

(All candidates who are pro-life should demonstrate how strongly they support this position by stating their reasons for it. Saying, "I was pro-life before he was," is useless.)

Mr. Huckabee has a record as governor that, though pro-life, does not demonstrate much adherence to Conservative principles. It is good to be pro-life, but pro-life politics is painless when you can say Washington won't let you DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT. The politician can mouth pro-life platitudes to keep the Republican base on board while ruling like a Liberal. If I'm tired of Arkansas politics, I'm dead-tired of the Bush school of politics. Mr. Huckabee seems to capture that infuriate-the-Left plus dishearten-the-Right combination of religious platitudes plus free spending that made me hate Mr. Bush.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, has expressed his disbelief in the Virgin Birth of Christ and other miraculous claims of Christianity. He has every right to to hold and express this opinion. But he has no right to call it Christianity. Similarly, no Republican candidate has any right to redefine Conservatism in his own image. Mr. Huckabee has every right to be a pro-life liberal. If that is who he is, he should embrace that identification.

Several prominent Conservative voices have pointed out that Mr. Huckabee is no Conservative and has less than impressive foreign policy positions. Mr. Huckabee's campaign has interpreted this as a personal attack. Then his campaign gone on to counter-attack with falsehoods. (Did he learn this tactic in the from another Arkansas governor?) When Mr. Huckabee's operatives say that Mr. Rush Limbaugh just repeats the New York-Washington elite's talking-points, they misrepresent Mr. Limbaugh's record in a fashion that no one who listens to Mr. Limbaugh can believe. Did he learn this tactic from Nevada Senator, Harry Reid? Even if you think Mr. Limbaugh is the anti-christ (he's not) this is stupid politics.

Mike Huckabee is to Evangelical Republicans as Jesse Jackson is to Black Democrats. He has played a divisive game of identify politics. Vote for me because you share the color of my skin or my religion is sucky politics. When Mr. Bush nominated Ms. Harriet Miers for the Supreme Court, the White House used identity politics to hide her lack of judicial gravitas and liberal background. Written large between the lines was the message, "You Evangelical rubes should get on board because she's an Evangelical, too." I didn't buy it and the Republican base didn't buy it, either.

I will not get behind the Mike Huckabee campaign for these reasons.

Update: I have recently learned some more things that I don't like about Mr. Huckabee.


Joe Mama said...

If Huckabee wanted to stop those supporters from doing those dirty tactics he would.

If he can't, like he implies, then he's not persuasive enough to be president.

If he can't persuade his supporters to do something, how will he persuade his opponents? He's got all these ideas he's running on, like the (crazy) fair tax. There are some people excited about it, but a lot of people against it. How is he going to bring those people together to accomplish the fair tax? It's not going to happen. What about Social Security? What about traditional marriage?

I seriously can't believe that this guy is getting any traction.

Chris said...

I hate to say it, but none of the GOP's top four candidates are conservatives. The votes just aren't going to be there in the broad electorate after the damage Rove and Co. have done from a PR standpoint. A lot of swing voters from 2000 and 2004 are going to be leaning more towards the middle if not the left. If the Republicans wanted a true conservative, you could get behind Ron Paul. But I think that most everyone knows in the back of their minds that he's just not electable, even if he best represents the party's core beliefs. And most people would rather win than truly vote their consciences.

So, why Huckabee? He is in many ways, at least at face value, the anti-Clinton, a religious and principled counterpart to their shyster-brand of politics, and being from the same state only helps cement that thought in peoples minds. If Huckabee wins the nomination, there's something in me that will gleefully consider this a karmic payoff for 13 years of the empty politics of the GOP being positioned as the "we're not Clinton" camp. Well, you've got someone running now that taps into that vein quite nicely, and just may be able to use it weasel his way to the nomination. I find it a nearly universal truth that, in the end, people tend to become exactly that which they hate. Huckabee fits that bill on a larger scale for the GOP...

The law of unintended consequences bites sometimes, eh?

steve poling said...

I think Thompson is a Conservative and I'll be voting in the Republican Primary for that reason. If you can make a case that he's not Conservative, have at him.

I think Rove & Co. thought that by moving the Republican party leftward, they could seize the center from the Democrats. There's another way to seize the center: and that's by persuasively advancing a Conservative message. Articulating Conservative values has been something nobody in Washington does any more. Mr. Thompson has spoken of reading "Conscience of a Conservative" by Barry Goldwater and reading Russell Kirk. That says a lot more good about him than Mr. Huckabee's anti-Thompson agitprop.

Mr. Paul is better described as a pro-life Libertarian than a Conservative. I think the recent problems with the Republican party are due to its forgetting Libertarian values. Small government Conservatism is consistent with Libertarianism, but big-government Bush-ism is antithetical to Libertarianism.

I think that Mr. Paul is too easily demonized to be a viable general-election candidate. I thought the same about Mr. Reagan, but the Gipper was a small-government Conservatism who could unite the Libertarian and Religious Right components of his coalition and when the Democrats tried to demonize HIM nobody believed it.

I don't think Mr. Huckabee is an anti-Clinton because he seems to have the a history of shady deals as Mr. Clinton and a penchant to personally attack his critics. Monica-gate was not the problem with Mr. Clinton, it was Cattle futures and Whitewater. Mr. Huckabee has been accused of accepting gifts and according favors while being governor of Arkansas. I agree with your thesis that you become what you hate, and thus think Mr. Huckabee has at some levels become very much like Mr. Clinton.

B.T. said...

A good post - many of the same reasons I can't bring myself to like Huck...

Check out my blog for a few more reasons to like Senator McCain.

A belated Merry Christmas...