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Wednesday, December 19, 2007
posted by My Klob | 8:48 PM | permalink
From Powerline, Paul Mirengoff says the following:

This was Mike Huckabee's comment on the Today show in response to Rich Lowry's argument that the Republican party should not nominate Huckabee for president:

"There's a sense in which all these years the evangelicals have been treated very kindly by the Republican Party. They wanted us to be a part of it. And then one day one of us actually runs, and they say, Oh, my gosh. Now they're serious. They don't want to just show up and vote. They actually would want to be a part of the discussion, and really talk about issues that include hunger and poverty and things that ought to be really a concern to every American, Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative."

This self-pitying nonsense is an insult to Republicans, and demonstrates further why Huckabee should not be the party's standard bearer. First, Huckabee overlooks the fact that George W. Bush, though not a preacher, is a born-again Christian. If Republicans like Lowry wanted to keep Christian conservatives at arms-length why did they support Bush so firmly? The notion that evangelicals have somehow been excluded from the Republican discussion is ludicrous.

Second, the quickness with which Huckabee conflates criticism of his record and his policy statements with antipathy towards evangelicals is telling. Although Huckabee exudes charm and humility, I've heard Arkansas Republicans complain of his thin skin and vindictiveness. His statement on the Today program tends to confirm that assessment.

Huckabee seems to believe he deserves a "pass" by virtue of his status as an evangelical and the fact that evangelicals have supported Republicans. That's a dangerous mind set. Other serious Republican candidates have no difficulty understanding that resistance to them flows not from prejudice or elitism but from legitimate policy differences. Thus, Rudy Giuliani understands that his "pro-choice" and related positions, not anti-Catholicism, represent the source of Republican resistance. And John McCain has acknowledged that his position on immigration reform, not prejudice or personal animus (of which there actually is some), was the reason why his campaign faltered so dramatically. Huckabee's small-mindedness stands in sharp contrast, and constitutes another reason to see him as second-tier in stature, if not in present popularity.

Huckabee's statement aspires to seriousness when he attributes criticism from Lowry and others not just to his standing as an evangelical but also to his desire to "talk about hunger and poverty." Perhaps, then, Huckabee will point to the Republican critics who have attacked him for discussing these issues. To my knowledge, the criticism has focused on matters like tax increases (though I defended him on this), scholarships (not food) for illegal immigrants, the release from prison of an obviously dangerous rapist, the desire to negotiate directly with Iran, the desire to trade with Cuba in order to confer profits on Arkansas farmers, and so forth. Huckabee's strange and sometimes false explanations of these matters haven't helped him either.

If Huckabee's argument is that his religious beliefs impel him to wage war on poverty, he should articulate his anti-poverty agenda so that conservatives can examine the extent to which it comports with bedrock conservative principles. Right now, it looks like Huckabee has little use for the poverty issue beyond invoking it to whine about his critics.

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Pure comedy! I only noticed it a couple of weeks ago, but I've been proclaiming it since then. Huckabee regularly uses self-victimization ploys to ward off criticism and to get attention. He usually adds a few ad hominems to the mix too.

How many times have your heard him suggest that he's the candidate who's suffered the most from religious persecution this cycle? How many times has he referred to his critics as liberals or in some other insulting, yet, irrational way? How many times have you seen him call a critic dishonest, only to totally avoid the substance of the criticism?

It's becoming as comical and not-compelling as his rhymes. This dishonest man is falling apart and I can't help but chuckle.

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