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1/13/2008
HUCKASPLITTER

Is Mike Huckabee carrying out a “scorched earth” campaign where he doesn’t care if he destroys the party and splits the conservative movement into its base component parts?

Sure looks that way:

“Many of us who have been Republicans out of conviction . . . the social conservatives,” he told reporters, “were welcomed in the party as long as we sort of kept our place, but Lord help us if we ever stood forward and said we would actually like to lead the party.”

Mark Levin:

Huckabee continues to use his faith as a weapon against those who question not his faith, but his political populism — much of which he shares with secular progressives. And he is clearly hoping to stir up resentment among Evangelical Christians against the other elements of the conservative movement and Republican Party as a way of encouraging them to vote in the caucuses and primaries. This is a tactic right out of Saul Alinsky’s playbook. Of course he wants us to believe the Reagan coalition is dead because he cannot win with it intact. But he cannot win either the nomination or presidency with the narrow focus of his appeal. This is why I find Mike Huckabee’s tactics and candidacy so deplorable.

For myself, I could care less if the evangelical social cons threw a tantrum and walked out of the party and the movement. They have always been willing to fall on their swords and lose elections rather than compromise so what’s the big deal? Less political baggage in my book. And with them gone, I trust that many former Republicans as well as libertarians would feel a lot more comfortable about casting their lot with a small government, fiscally conservative party.

If they want to promote a candidate whose ideas about a nanny state include a “Christian government” watching over us as opposed to a secular one, let them try that out on the electorate. Just do it from the obscurity of a third party rather than the floor of the GOP national convention in September.

I have made my feelings known about Huckabee on this blog. I believe him to be a shady operator who, as Levin points out, uses religion as a club against his opponents while setting himself up to be a “superior Christian” to the other candidates. The mindless enthusiasm for this “populist” only shows that the religious right is not ready or worthy to lead any party that purports to represent a polyglot collection of neocons, Main Street, Traditional, and economic conservatives.

I know that many social cons do not support Huckabee and are supporting other candidates who also espouse socially conservative positions. I have no problem with that whatsoever. Those other candidates are not using their religion as a wedge issue in order to maximize their support among one faction or another in the conservative movement. Huckabee, on the other hand, sees his only chance at success in breaking the party and the movement by throwing his weight around as a “Christian leader” while feeding the resentment and paranoia of some evangelicals who think opposition to his candidacy is the result of his religion.

Huckabee will be taken down eventually. There is no way 50% of the party will ever support his candidacy. But the damage he can do between now and then may be irreparable by cracking once and for all the conservative coalition - already under enormous pressure - and destroying any hopes for a GOP victory next November.

By: Rick Moran at 2:16 pm
20 Responses to “HUCKASPLITTER”
  1. 1
    Jason Said:
    3:42 pm 

    Mr. Moran,

    We have disagreed here before but I hate to say that I completely agree with you on this point. Mike Huckabee is a snake oil salesman. I consider myself a Christian and I would vote for Satan himself if he could verifiably vow to adhere to every jot and tittle of the Constitution.

    I do not understand why adherents to the Christian faith, a personal relationship with Christ, would seek to publicly impose religion on the general public?

  2. 2
    SimplyKimberly Said:
    3:45 pm 

    I am one such social conservative that will not vote for Mike Huckabee in either the primary or the general election. He is using religion as a shield to avoid having to explain his positions and record on issues that our out of step with the Republican party. I believe in ALL of the Republican party platform and want a candidate that does as well. Huckasham is just a pro-life version of Jimmy Carter as far as I am concerned.

    I’m for Fred!

  3. 3
    retire05 Said:
    4:19 pm 

    Rick, I consider myself a strong Christian. But I am a Catholic and my faith has been beat around the head and ears as long as I can remember. So if someone is questioning a person’s faith, so be it. Join the club.

    But I also don’t like someone who goes around with a sign on their neck that says “I am a Christian, so vote for me.” I have to wonder that if Huck is such a strong Baptist, and the Baptist don’t always agree with the Catholics (or Methodists or Lutherns or Church of Christ fellows) will Huck base his presidency on his faith, or mine?

    Personally, I think Huck’s tactics are “I’m not a Morman” without really coming out an saying it.

    I live in the Bible Belt and don’t be fooled by a few religious radicals in the party. They are the exception, not the rule. Sure we believe in prayer (anything that might help one’s situation) but we also believe that the Founding Father’s had it right. We can be pro-life without being Bible thumpers. As a matter of fact, in our county GOP, I have no idea the faith of my fellow conservatives unless I happen to see them [at my] church.

    Maybe it is time to start asking the candidates (like Huckabuck and McCain) some hard questions that so far are not being asked. Perhaps McCain would like to explain how he is pro-life but also supports embryonic stem cell research, why he voted against drilling in ANWAR (according to Rick Santorum it was lost by one vote, McCain’s), why he is still against tax cuts for all Americans and does he feel he really messed up on the greatest insult to the First Amendement, the McCain/Feingold bill that gave us the George Soros type 527’s? Or maybe Huck would like to answer for his ties to Tyson Foods that is due to go into court in March for displacing American workers by replacing them with illegals from Mexico or why northwest Arkansas is seeing such a surge of illegals from Mexico that Spanish is now, almost, the regional language. Or how much money Tyson had donated to his campaign (OpenSecrets shows $8,000.00) while they continue to displace the American workers whose jobs he claims to want to protect or why he campaigned for Democrats in Arkansas. In my eyes, Huckabee is a charletan that is another Jimmah Carter with a “R” behind his name.

    If it is Huck’s desire to split the GOP between evangelicals and those who are just socially conservative, you would think that he would understand that he will only hand the election to Hillary, or even worse, Obama. Apparently not, so sorry, I don’t want a candidate that cares more for his own interests than the interests of conservatives, themselves. And that’s how I see both him and McCain.

  4. 4
    Rob Said:
    4:34 pm 

    I am one of those “social conservatives”, BUT I agree with Fred - let the states decide.

    The national government is far far too intrusive in what should be local decisions.

    Huckabee is a crock and only a step or two away from being a crank on a level with Ron Paul.

    I do “fall on my sword” for social issues - I want them in the hands of the states. I want the feds to stop working to establish the religion of the left socialism with its sacrament of social engineering - including abortion, which started as a way to control blacks.

    I am very bothered by attempts to ammend the Constitution for all manner of purposes (on any part of the spectrum) social. All of this is a result of extending (wrongly imho) the reach of the government beyond the original intent of the Constitution. For this I blame all three branches of government.

  5. 5
    syn Said:
    5:05 pm 

    I would just ask Huckabee supporters how they would react, for example, if a Muslim politician campaigned on the platform of ‘taking back the nation for Allah’ by promising all sorts of federal amendments requiring Sharia Law?

    Hey, I’d love a federal amendment demolishing the IRS but I know Ron Paul, who’d also like to lead the party, cannot deliver this promise.

    Besides which I don’t believe that lying in the name of Christ (ie promising all these federal amendments with a Dem-controlled Congress or saying ‘I supported the surge’ when in fact didn’t support it at all) is showing faith in God.

    I guess the most troubling thing with Huckabee’s campaign is that the media is using him to kill other solid conservative candidates. I am put off by watching Huckabee (a pastor who claims he will take back the nation for Christ) on MSNBC attacking Fred Thompson after I have endured the last seven years of MSNBC crucifying George W. Bush as an idiot Christofascist.

    I’ve lost many friends over the last couple of years defending a good many social conservative issues based on secular arguments but if Huckabee’s supporter think that Bush isn’t ‘Christian’ enough because he did not mandate Christ in our nation well, I have to wonder what’s going on in the House of Worship these days. I hold a great deal of respect for President Bush for not being the Christofascist of which he was accused, but I cannot come to the defense of a politician claiming ‘he’ll put Christ back into the Nation’ since I don’t believe Christ wants to be a mandate.

    That said, I say a prayer everyday to my creator that God’s children open their eyes to some wickedness in their midst.

  6. 6
    Sidney Burkett Said:
    5:57 pm 

    I find that un-apologetic Christians are usually branded as self-rightious religious fanatics. Many see people with conviction as threatening to their own lack. Are we getting to the point where the only good Christian is a Christian that shuts up and tows the line for the fiscal and foreign policy conservatives? What do we Christians gain if we win the world and sell our soal?

    Reality is Romney is the one that comes across like he is selling something, not Huckabee but I believe Romney is on the up and up as well.

    Bottom line is, if Huckabee wins the primary it’s the fiscal and foreign policy conservatives that will have walked away from the coalition. Not the social cons. So by what logic is it then the social cons fault.

  7. 7
    Steve J. Said:
    6:01 pm 

    Acts of the Apostles

    (New Revised Standard version)

    4:32
    Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common.

    4:34
    There was not a needy person among them, for as many as owned lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold.

    4:35
    They laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.

  8. 8
    Bic Said:
    6:38 pm 

    I’m not sure where you get your ideas about what conservative evangelicals desire.
    I do agree with you,for the most part, about brother Huckabee. I believe a lot of the love he got in the midwest and northeast will diminish as he moves further south. My guess is that here in Texas he will not play well. I think the Jimmy Carter comparison is perfect.

  9. 9
    Mike Said:
    6:46 pm 

    I would not remain in a party that abandoned its support for the right to life. However, Huckabee is cynically presenting a false choice. Our most successful candidates have been those who were both fiscally and socially conservative. We can’t have one without the other and expect to win.

    Usually it’s pro-choice candidates who threaten our party with this false choice. This time, it’s the other way around with much higher stakes. Neither approach is acceptable and I think our party’s voters know it. Huck won’t win. Go Fred!

  10. 10
    Plumb Bob Said:
    6:49 pm 

    You and Levin are full of beans.

    A) Huckabee never mentioned Christians or Evangelicals, and not all social conservatives are Evangelicals.

    B) Anybody who’s been following conservative blogs knows that social conservatives are have been significantly angry for months over being asked to support a pro-abortion-rights candidate, after 27 years of supporting allegedly pro-life Republicans and seeing zero progress on the topic. Huckabee is not creating the phenomenon, he’s part of it.

    C) What’s really going on here is that the anti-Evangelical bigotry of lots of people, guys like Levin, Dan Riehl, and you, is being exposed. Huckabee isn’t even running a particularly rough campaign, yet all of you are claiming he’s particularly despicable. He’s not; you just think guys like Huckabee pretend to be more holy than you, so you amplify his slightest foible to make him seem worse. It says megatons more about you guys and your consciences than it says about Huckabee.

    I’m a Thompson support. If you don’t believe me, check my blog. But seriously, the BIGOTRY I’m seeing makes me sick. Grow the hell up.

  11. 11
    eberta Said:
    7:03 pm 

    I understand Governor Huckabee will not release a single transcript of sermons from his days as a “former” Southern Baptist minister. As an evangelical, I believe the desire would be to get the truth of the gospel out to as many people as possible. Could it be that the truth of the Gospel Governor Huckabee preached from the pulpit is not exactly lining up with the populism he is preaching now? I do not know how one called to the ministry becomes a “former” preacher unless perhaps he was “trying it out” for a while. I have learned he says he decided to “get off the bench” or “off the sidelines” or some such thing, and get into the real game of politics. As believers, we are called to be salt and light and I firmly believe we should all be involved with our country. But, wonder why an Itinerate Preacher from Galilee didn’t decide to “get into the game” when the masses found out He could feed them with a few loaves and a couple of fish and wanted to make Him a King?

  12. 12
    Becki Said:
    7:45 pm 

    I thought that I was the only conservative that saw the troubling things about Huckabee. Whew, glad I stopped by this blog. I get the feeling that the Huckster’s trying to pull the wool over our eyes. He proclaims to be a christian, but when his record is questioned, he has no problem slinging mud. If his record in Arkansas is so great, why does he have so much trouble defending it. I’ve heard three stories as to why he “had” to raise taxes there. And his stance on illegal immigration is laughable. His demeaner leads me to believe that he’s not to be trusted. May GOD have mercy on us all if this clown is our nominee.

  13. 13
    Steve Watkins Said:
    8:00 pm 

    Mr. Moran, you don’t uderstand conservative christians if you think that we are all fooled by Mike Huckabee. Many of us are true conservatives and can separate our faith from our politics. We are more important to the party than you think. Don’t insult us because of Mike Huckabee.

  14. 14
    syn Said:
    8:20 pm 

    Since I’m new to Conservatism, Ihave a couple of questions,

    Prior to 1973 were social conservative issues (ie marriage, abortion, right to religious expression) even on the ballot?

    And prior to Reagan wasn’t the Republican Party composed mainly ‘country-club’ Republicans?

    Plumb Bob, I understand your concern though I would point out that President Bush did sign the partical-birth ban after 11 years of struggle. Quite an accomplishment considering the president does not have the power to amendment anything without Congressional approval.

    One reason why I also support Fred! he understands the process by which our government functions. He knows he cannot offer social conservatives amendments to ban gay marriage or end abortion which is why he is encouraging state rights where, like Rick has mentioned, states establish their own moral code.

    Huckabee is the one who is using Christ to identify with his audience; he’s pretty much speaking to Christians.

    In any case, Huckabee’s problem is not his faith in Christianity, his problem is his faith in Socialism; I simply will not worship the State.

  15. 15
    retire05 Said:
    8:36 pm 

    #10, are you totally clueless? What does Huckabee talk about ad nauseum? His “Christianity”. He doesn’t have to mention evangelicals. He is singing to the choir and he knows it. End of story. But then, even that is not enough to turn me against him. But the fact that he allowed northwest Arkansas to turn into Little Mexico is. The fact that although he lowered taxes, his tax hikes were more than double the savings. The fact that he has taken campaign funds from Tyson Foods, who did it best to displace American workers, absolutely turns my stomach.

    You think because we don’t really appreciate Huckabee’s Bible thumping when he is running for President and not Pastor makes us bigots? Wow! You have really set the bar low, haven’t you?

    Hell, man, I’d have more faith in Elmer Gantry.

  16. 16
    Sidney Burkett Said:
    8:51 pm 

    I still get a chuckle over people who vilify Huckabee for talking about his faith/beliefs and then demand copies of his sermans so they can use them to attack him on his faith/beliefs.

  17. 17
    Sandra Mendoza Said:
    8:54 pm 

    Huckabee,hoist on his own petard:

    A little game, Foxworthy style:

    You might be a liberal if…..
    You raise taxes $505 million dollars.

    You might be a liberal if…..
    you are endorsed by NEA.

    You might be a liberal if…..
    You pardon or grant clemency to 1033 criminals including murderers and rapists.

    You might be a liberal if…..
    your campaign declares the Reagan Coalition dead.

    You might be a liberal if…..
    You support a nationwide Federal ban on smoking.

    You might be a liberal if…..
    You call the President’s strategy an “arrogant bunker mentality.

    You might be a liberal if…..
    The well respected CATO institute gives you a 45 “F” rating on taxes.

    You might be a liberal if…..
    You favor giving in-state tuition scholarships to illegal immigrants.

    You might be a liberal if…..
    Rush Limbaugh spends most of his show pointing why you are not a conservative.

    And finally, You might be a liberal if…..
    On election night, CNN shows the Democrats yelling, chanting, dancing, and clapping uncontrollably when they hear that you won Iowa!

  18. 18
    Huckabee Presents False Choice « Axis of Right Pinged With:
    10:02 pm 

    [...] Hat tip on first link to The Right Wing Nut House and Mark Levin. [...]

  19. 19
    zeke Said:
    12:25 am 

    IT AIN’T A MOVEMENT! There is no conservative MOVEMENT. There never was. It’s just another coalition. Socons are just the temperance movement reincarnated. They threw their lot in with Reagan ‘cuz they had nowhere else to go and Reagan pandered to them. What did Reagan ever do about abortion? Socons are as quick as libs to use the federal gov’t as a stick on everyone else.

    Just imagine… Pat Buchanan-isolationist, James Dobson-superSocon, G.W.Bush-big Govt Globalist, Huckleberry-bleeding heart, McCain-Mr.BiPartisan… ALL claiming to be conservatives and not much in common. Movement my @ss!

  20. 20
    John Said:
    5:30 pm 

    I think everyone needs to take a deep breath…even Rick. It does no good to demonize social conservatives for Huckabee’s practice of identiy politics.

    Social conservatives are one of the three legs to the conservative movement (along with fiscal and foreign policy conservatives). Every individual is going to have a different set of priorities. For some, social conservatism may be their priority, while they are indifferent to fiscal and foreign policy. For others, the priorities will be different.

    All three groups need each other and, really, have no where else to go. As reported in the Corner:
    “Richard Land, the top public policy official of the Southern Baptist Convention, argued that just as small-government and foreign-policy conservatives could not win a primary without evangelicals, “I don’t think evangelicals can win without most of the rest of those coalitions.”

    As a former military - evangelical - economist, I strongly believe in all three legs of the conservative movement. I have no problem with people criticizing Huckabee’s use of identity politics or his demagoguery. I find Huckabee’s quote above particularly distasteful considering its inaccuracy - I think any rational person would have to admit that President Bush is the leader of the party, a social conservative, and an evangelical christian - so its not like social con’s have been told to sit down and shut up as Huckabee contends.

    On the other hand, many people are starting to attack all socail conservatives for Huckabee’s success at the pols. This only causes anger and is counter productive. Rick seems so fit to be tied that he contradicts himself - first saying that he would “care less if the evangelical social cons threw a tantrum and walked out” and then lamenting what would happen if they did.

    It is widely known that Huckabee’s core base is evangelical christians but that does not mean that they mindlessly support all of his positions. Chances are they do not even KNOW most of his positions just as Gulianni or McCain supporters probably don’t know all of their positions. Huckabee is a very good orator and comes across as very likable. He is focusing on social conservative themes and trying to ignore/deflect everything else. The MSM is happy to let him do this and, unfortunately, in the big scheme of things, not too many people read National Review, Powerline, Townhall, Rightwing Nuthouse, etc.

    As such, I would suggest that everyone continue to educate voters about Huckabee’s record but don’t attack all of his current supporters as idiots. It’s just not productive.

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