alien & sedition.
Thursday, April 19, 2007
  Huckabee's Lament

PFAW's excellent Right-Wing Watch reports that Mike Huckabee is getting a little fed up with all the love and forgiveness going on between religious right leaders and the various adulterers and cross-dressers in the Republican presidential field:
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, beloved by many on the Religious Right for his positions on wedge issues but dismissed as a serious presidential candidate, has spent the last few weeks deploying a seemingly desperate gambit aimed at undermining support for frontrunners Rudy Giuliani and John McCain. They should “be held to a standard of personal accountability and responsibility for their personal lives,” he said, alluding to what Vision America’s Rick Scarborough called “multiple marriages and serial adultery” among the candidates. “If Republicans in this election vote in such a way as to say a candidate’s personal life and personal conduct in office doesn’t matter,” said Huckabee, “then a lot of Christian evangelical leaders owe Bill Clinton a public apology.”


In a recent appearance in Iowa, Huckabee sharpened his “personal lives” attack, noting that “I’m specifically referencing Christian evangelical leaders who were the most vocal in saying back during the Clinton era that personal behavior, personal responsibility and character were the key factors in a president’s criteria.” He accused those leaders of selling out to the Republican Party.
Huckabee is stuck in a vicious circle: he's doing terribly in the polls because he has been unable to gain support from the leaders of what should be his base in the primaries; he has been unable to gain that support because he's perceived by said leaders as unelectable.

It continues to mystify me, and as far as I can tell, it really does all trace back to the Club for Growth's vigorous attacks on Huckabee a few months ago. Otherwise, what's not to love? He's a governor, a Baptist preacher, a star on the stump, he's been on Oprah, and he has a flair for reframing traditionally Democratic social issues within a conservative narrative. In fact, I think it's this last trait, more than the specific tax increases he approved in Arkansas, that doomed him in the eyes of the Club for Growth crowd. They've been traumatized by "compassionate conservatism," and the last thing they want is a nominee who intends to go down that road again. The tax increases only sharpened their skepticism. Thus they appplied the "unelectable" tag to him, even though there's no reason to believe he's unelectable at all. Again, the economic conservatives punch above their bodyweight in the conservative coalition.

This time, they've done Democrats a favor.

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Wow - who knew that one day, I would heart Huckabee?

(As long as he stays in the single digits.)
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