Wednesday, February 6, 2008



There are many things not to like about Mike Huckabee. I get especially nervous when he launches into one of his diatribes about wanting to run the country according to principles outlined in the Bible and how America ought to be a Christian nation. I agree that this country would be better off if we all adhered to principles enumerated in the Bible, even if we all didn’t believe in Jesus or even in God, but I don’t think that the government ought to compel us to follow Christian principles. I have this nagging respect for the First Amendment and the establishment clause, and a lifelong enthusiasm for limited government, that somehow does not allow me to sign up for the government imposed Christianity program. Also, as a Catholic, I am never quite sure that Mr. Huckabee counts me as a member of the club when he uses the term “Christian.” I am haunted by this nagging fear that, if Mr. Huckabee’s most enthusiastic adherents were put in charge, I would end up roasting on some spit as a Papist disciple of the Whore of Babylon.

That having been said, there is plenty to like about Mr. Huckabee. His Fair Tax plan, though it will never be implemented, might be just what our once great country needs to break it of its “Shop ‘til You Drop” pathology that is leading us to inevitable financial ruin. Huckabee is personally witty and engaging, or at least gives that impression. His populism, and attendant distrust of corporate America and Wall Street, are very healthy in our increasingly stratified and polarized society in which the American citizen is increasingly seen as an eminently disposable factor of production rather than as an individual with rights who is deserving of respect and dignity.

From a horse race perspective, Huckabee was one of the big winners last night, carrying West Virginia, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, and Arkansas, the kind of states which the GOP has any remaining hope of carrying, or at least turning in a respectable performance, in November of this year. The GOP ought to think about that. And I also ought to lose about 30 pounds. So it goes.

What is more important is that Mr. Huckabee’s success shows that there are still some people in the Republican Party who believe that the Party, for a brief, shining moment (Okay, maybe never, but at least there was some mythology to that effect.) was more than a servant boy of Wall Street and corporate America. Or at least there are people who think the party ought to be what it would be if its leaders really believed the pious platitudes mouthed by its leaders (doubtless to barely concealed smirks) and their mouthpieces on talk radio and on the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal.

Yes, the types of people who voted for Mike Huckabee are naïve and have been completely hornswoggled by the people who really call the shots in the GOP. But there may be some raw material for a new party that will rise out of the ashes of the utter destruction that awaits the McCain led GOP this year. Probably not, but maybe. (Who says the Insightful Pontificator is not a shining beacon of hope?)

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