Friday, December 21, 2007

Huckabee Resorts to Identity Politics

Peggy Noonan analyzes Huckabee's recent campaigning.

Mr. Huckabee is clever. He puts forth his policies, such as they are, based on a faith-based understanding of public policy, and if you disagree with his policies, or take a hard shot at them, or at him, he suggests the reason is that you look down on evangelicals. This creates a new fissure in a party already riven by fissures. He has been accused by some in the conservative press of tearing the party apart, but it was being torn apart before he got on the scene. His rise is not a cause of collapse but an expression of it.

He plays the victim well. Others want to "trip him up," but he'll "get my message out there." His foes are "Wall Street-Washington" insiders, elitists. On the "Today" show he said his critics are the type who never liked evangelical Christians. When one of them runs, these establishment types say " 'Oh my gosh, now they're serious, they don't want to just show up and vote, they actually would want to be part of the discussion and really talk about issues that include hunger and poverty and things.' "

This is a form of populist manipulation. Evangelical Christians have been strong in the Republican Party since the 1970s. President Bush and Karl Rove helped them become more important. The suggestion that they are a small and abused group within the GOP is strange. It is as if the Reagan Democrats, largely Catholic and suburban, who buoyed the Republican Party from the late '70s through 2004, and who were very much part of the GOP coalition, decided to announce that Catholics have been abused within the party, and it's time for Christmas commercials with floating Miraculous Medals. Does Mr. Huckabee understand that his approach is making people uncomfortable?

Hell, I am beyond uncomfortable. I am disgusted. Playing the picked on victim is a liberal political tactic, making the political the personal, painting his critics as anti-Christian bigots. Conservatives shouldn't let this guy wrap himself in the Bible to use it as a shield to duck his liberal record as Governor and his pandering and protecting illegal aliens and patronage. That the Iowa NEA endorsed him is a big red flag.

I don't care if he is an evangelist; that isn't the point. He is a social policy liberal, for all intents and purposes. His line above claims that he is the only republican "really talking about poverty and things". What a crock. Conservatives talk about hunger and poverty too. Conservatives recognise that the best solutions to those issues don't rely on Government for the answer. evidently Mr Huckabee does. He might as well be Hillary or Al Gore, claiming that big ol mean Republican fatcats don't care about the poor, but Preacher Huckabee does by golly! Screw that. Screw him. Arkansas can keep this populist bozo.

Go Fred!


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