Monday, January 14, 2008

A Conservative With A Forged Passport

When Mike Huckabee began to surge in the polls, polishing it off with a strong win in Iowa, it was hard not to flirt with the idea of a President Huckabee. His home spun, sitting on a rocker, chewin' on a piece of straw, dispensing nuggets of non-threatening populism, folksy appeal made him an attractive candidate for those of us who were less than persuaded when NRO threw it's substantial weight behind Governor Mitt Romney - (not my decision), as Jonah Goldberg said in a past edition of "What's Your Problem?"

Thompson wasn't showing any traction, and while Giuliani is passionate and persuasive, it's hard to have your social concerns appeased by a guy who should be wearing a shirt that says "I've been a strict constitutionalist all of my life and all I got was this lousy t-shirt". Huckabee has a quick wit, and the Chuck Norris endorsement lent its way to lots of brilliant and funny campaign ads.

But something was gnawing at my gut. Maybe it was the constant blitzing of Huck on The Corner, maybe it was his slick but vacuous response to questions that fell outside the social spectrum. Then came the ugly specter of the class baiting weapon - when Huckabee's credentials came under attack by the conservative media, he pulled a page out of Pat Buchanan's playbook and made the ridiculous assertion that he was under attack by those in the Republican party who where beholden to Wall Street and big money interests. It brings to mind Buchanan's lamentation that the writers of National Review were "conservatives with forged passports".

Then came the final nail in the coffin. No, it wasn't his vicious attack on the president, and his even more ridiculous backpedaling on the statement. It wasn't even his whining that the Republican party panders to Christan conservatives only to leave them out in the cold until the next election.

I am plagued by a strange phenomenon called "soul pain". It happens when someone makes a bad joke or an over-used cliche that causes you so much discomfort it actually feels like your soul is aching. Soul pain can also happen during bad commercials, lame sitcoms, listening to people talk about Nascar, or people who are so in love with Nascar that they proudly display one of those carved wooden Dale Ernhardt plaques in their living rooms. It's those things in life that makes you go "ouch" on the inside.

Huck's soul pain inducing moment came during the South Carolina debate when a surprisingly animated Fred Thompson attacked Governor Huckabee over his record of raising taxes. Then it came. After a rambling answer answer, Governor Huckabee actually said; "we raised hope". Hope? How do you raise hope? The only thing he managed to raise with that response was my blood pressure. If felt like some took a jackhammer to my soul, sliced it out with sickle, and burnt it in front of my eyes. Ouch.

No Huck, the Republican party isn't turning their back on Christan conservatives. They are turning their back on you. You are not the standard barer for the religious right. The religious right may well be pro-life, but they are also pro-Iraq and pro-tax cuts. When you insult the President and criticize the those who create the wealth in this country, you are not attacking some ambiguous straw man, you are attacking your base. Watch your step.



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