January 28, 2008

Defending Huckabee

Over the past week or so, several great editorials have come out in strong support of Mike. Each one is worth reading in full, but here are some excerpts:

Huckabee Hatin' Could Backfire on the GOP
by Greg Taylor, Real Clear Politics

Rush Limbaugh couldn't be clearer - supporting former Governor Mike Huckabee's presidential campaign is a really bad idea if you are a true Reagan Republican. In his opinion, Huckabee's nomination would mark the end of the Republican Party as he knows it. And Limbaugh isn't alone: Fellow talking head Sean Hannity and a whole host of conservative talk radio hosts love to pummel Huckabee and fellow candidate John McCain. The vitriol formerly reserved for Democrats Bill and Hillary Clinton, Al Gore and Howard Dean is now directed at Republicans like Huckabee and McCain.

Rush and crew should listen up: the Evangelical/Republican marriage could very well be on the rocks. This large and important block of voters who put George W. Bush in the White House twice could well be close to saying bye-bye to the party of Lincoln and Reagan, and conservative talk radio could be the reason why. And don't let us kid ourselves, without W's overwhelming support from Evangelicals, Al Gore would be President and the term "Lock Box" wouldn't be a punch line.

Why in the world would Evangelicals bolt? The answer is simple - Rush and crew have demonstrated the values Evangelicals hold dear don't matter nearly as much as economic and foreign policy positions. No one in the Republican field is more committed to the causes that matter most to the Evangelical community than Huckabee - the former Baptist minister who is pro-life (and always has been), pro-traditional family and even open to amending the Constitution to define marriage as solely between one man and one woman. Huckabee believes in abstinence education and is very pro-states rights. These positions connect with Evangelicals and frankly are more important to many in these communities than tax breaks for billionaires, border fences or amnesty accusations.

The three tenants of the Reagan revolution seem to be dissolving into just two pillars in the hearts and minds of Limbaugh, Hannity and the like. While trickle down economics and strong foreign policy are very important to the posse, strong social conservatism seems to be optional. Many in the world of conservative talk radio seem to care much more about economic and foreign policy issues, and much less about the issues that matter most to the Evangelical community.

Read the whole thing...
Huckabee Presents the Best Choice for Reagan Supporters
by John Linder, Gwinnett Daily Post
I was first elected to the Georgia House of Representatives 34 years ago. I have watched this party change for a long time. Some changes have been better than others.

Two years after that first election, I went to work on the Reagan campaign for the Republican presidential nomination. I was one of the leaders of that campaign in Georgia, and my friend, Paul Coverdell, led the establishment's efforts to nominate President Ford.

It was the typical establishment-versus-interloper campaign. Most of the friends I had made in the party were in the establishment. Most of them thought the nomination of Ronald Reagan was not only impractical, but would destroy our party.

Reagan had just served two terms as the governor of California. His record was not all that conservative. He signed the biggest tax increase in the history of the state. He got the best he could get with a Democrat-dominated general assembly. He signed a bill legalizing abortion. But governors have different challenges than presidents.

Frankly, most of the establishment couldn't have cared less about abortion. They thought the discussion of it was, well, tacky. But we were, at the time, the party that Barry built, and the new foot soldiers cared about abortion.

Their concern with Reagan was that he just wasn't up to it. What did he know about foreign policy? How could he stand up to the Soviets? Did he understand detente?

During that campaign, as in all campaigns, the establishment sat at the head table, and the rest of us milled around the small round tables below.

Coverdell approached me, after Ford had won the first several primaries, and urged me to switch sides. Paul was convinced that Ford had the best chance of winning. Paul recited all of the reservations mentioned above and then said, "John, Reagan cannot win. No one will take him seriously." That was also the consensus of the Republican writers and commentators.

I said, "Paul, I think politics is all about what you believe. I know what Reagan believes. I have no idea what Ford believes. But you need to watch Reagan connect with the people. He is the best communicator I have ever seen. He is bringing new people into the party. And these are folks you won't be meeting at the club for lunch. They carry a lunch bucket to work. Or a brown paper bag."

Read the whole thing...
The Case for Mike Huckabee by Chris Weinkopf, The Daily Bulletin
For (his) deviations from party orthodoxy, members of the GOP establishment have maligned Huckabee as some sort of crypto left-winger. But these are unconservative positions only if one thinks that conservatism demands rejecting any concern raised by a liberal, no matter how valid, and an adamant belief that the market can do no wrong.

Huckabee, however, harkens back to a more traditional brand of conservatism, one that sees the family, the middle class, social stability and the environment as goods worth conserving.

Perhaps it's because, as a preacher, he spent many years ministering to average Americans personally, gaining a real sense of the issues that concern them - health insurance, economic uncertainty, family breakdown. Huckabee brings a practical approach to politics that's directed toward making people's lives better, not making people's lives conform to some ideological template.

Call his political philosophy whatever you want, but it has the potential to obliterate the tiresome blue-red binary of American politics. Huckabee also has a sense of humor and doesn't take himself too seriously - a refreshing change in modern politics.

Evangelicals are right to like Mike. They shouldn't be the only ones.

Read the whole thing...

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