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Thursday, December 20, 2007
posted by My Klob | 8:55 PM | permalink
http://www.townhall.com/columnists/GeorgeWill/2007/12/20/retro_campaigning

Retro Campaigning
By George Will
Thursday, December 20, 2007

...

On the Republican side, Mike Huckabee's role in the '70s Show involves blending Jimmy Carter's ostentatious piety with Nixon's knack for oblique nastiness. "Despicable" and "appalling" evidence of a "gutter campaign" -- that is how The Eagle-Tribune of Lawrence, Mass., characterized this from Sunday's New York Times Magazine profile of Huckabee: "'Don't Mormons,' he asked in an innocent voice, 'believe that Jesus and the devil are brothers?'"

Imagine someone asking "in an innocent voice" this: "Don't Jews use the blood of gentile children to make matzoth for Passover?" Such a smarmy injection of the "blood libel," an ancient canard of anti-Semitism, into civic discourse would indelibly brand the injector as a bigot with contempt for the public's ability to decode bigotry.

Huckabee's campaign actually is what Rudy Giuliani's candidacy is misdescribed as being -- a comprehensive apostasy against core Republican beliefs. Giuliani departs from recent Republican stances regarding two issues -- abortion and the recognition by the law of same-sex couples. Huckabee's radical candidacy broadly repudiates core Republican policies such as free trade, low taxes, the essential legitimacy of America's corporate entities and the market system allocating wealth and opportunity. And consider New Hampshire's chapter of the National Education Association, the teachers union that is a crucial component of the Democratic Party's base.

In 2004, New Hampshire's chapter endorsed Howard Dean in the Democratic primary and no one in the Republican primary. Last week it endorsed Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary -- and Huckabee in the Republican primary. It likes, as public employees generally do, his record of tax increases, and it applauds his opposition to school choice.

Huckabee's role in this year's '70s Show is not merely to attempt to revise a few Republican beliefs. He represents wholesale repudiation of what came after the 1970s -- Reaganism.

George F. Will, a 1976 Pulitzer Prize winner whose columns are syndicated in more than 400 magazines and newspapers worldwide, is the author of Men at Work: The Craft of Baseball.

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