Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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More Huck-analysis on NRO

For computer reasons that only make sense to me, I can’t link the articles by Hemingway and Pitney on NRO. They are easy to find there. They’re both much more measured than the Will article that Peter quotes from below. Hemingway, in fact, almost begins by criticizing George for being too comfortable with Giuliani’s anti-ROE position.

Hemingway limits his criticism to the Gerson-ianism of Huck’s published writings. He exaggerates when he compares Huck’s foreign policy to Jim Carter’s (implying that born-againers as such are easily duped by dictators), but Huck’s prohibitionist moralism when it comes to smoking, fatty and salty foods and such does deserve some mockery. The weakest parts of Huck’s writings (which are neither great nor terrible) are those infected by therapeutic narcissism. And he’s also quite weak in a number of specific public policy areas. Hemingway seems to mock both Huck’s styling himself as victimized by the conservative elite, and the conservative elite for thinking it’s its job to decide whether he qualifies for their club.

Pitney, surely one of our most astute political scientists, explains why Huck’s socially conservative stands (on abortion, evolution, same-sex marriage) are, contrary to the view of the MSM, are actually sources of strength for his campaign. He may have expressed his views, on occasion, over the years in ways that seem bigoted and are factually incorrect, but it really is true that most American observant believers (and many non-libertarian conservative public intellectuals) believe that same-sex marriage is not marriage properly understood, that abortion is morally wrong and should be legally constrained, and that evolutionary theory does not explain what is distinctively human about human beings. I would add that Huck has improved in expressing his views in relatively reasonable and sensitive ways, which is not to deny that a lot more improvement might be possible. Huck needs to move from his "evangelical worldview" in the direction of natural law, and that’s not likely to happen over the next couple of months.

Discussions - 17 Comments

Perfectly said, Peter. How often do you hear that?

I enjoy this Romney analysis more. Why is he using a strange meaning of "saw" from a dictionary to try to cover his trail? Did his dad really march with King? Hmmm, regardless this answer in the clip shows the Romney cannot and should not be the next President.

Hard to argue with Peter when he insists on being so reasonable. If Huckabee doesn't succeed in making this turn to natural law, does this open up a void that Romney will be well suited to fill? Or does the percpetion that Mormonism is odd make his own political ecumenism harder to pull off?

Romney needs to employ the great Mormon Thomist Ralph Hancock. Ralph, in turn, will need to employ some sophist to translate his profound wisdom into enticing soundbites.

Huck talks about natural law all the time, but unlike some in the establishment he understands the GOD created the natural law and we can appeal to him as well.

Can we even trust NRO to "analyze" anything related to Huckabee about now. Huckabee is closing in on an Iowa victory, NO ONE else is close to Huckabee in Iowa except Romney. Thus all the criticism of Huckabee that halts Huckabee's climb, stalls him and tries to bring him back towards the pack advances the Romney campaign.

In as much as NRO has already endorsed Romney, and sold themselves, body and soul over to his campaign, how can we place any credence whatsoever in their objectivity for the rest of the primary season?

Previously, they affected a coyness about their support, when close reading of The Corner made it rather clear that they were supporting Romney, and were going to endorse Romney. There were some noted exceptions of course, such as John Podhoretz, who has been rather reliable when it comes to Romney, and all things Romney, but by and large, {ESPECIALLY KLO, for reasons I won't go into} the NRO staff delivered themselves over to Romney. Their rather longstanding deception and coyness about who they were supporting also places their credibility very much in question.

It promises to be most amusing to see how NRO explains why Americans should vote for Romney, but not Hillary. It will go rather like this: "Instead of you Democrats voting for your old gal Hillary, who will say and do anything to win The White House, vote for our old boy Romney, who will say and do anything to win The White House."

When both will pander to any group, say anything and shamelessly misrepresent themselves and their record........................ how are Americans to distinguish between the two.

Any campaign against Hillary will largely depend on accurately portraying her as a power mad battleaxe, who will indeed do anything and say anything to gain power. How can we make that case in good faith while supporting a Romney who in most respects, is EXACTLY the same as Hillary. How can we do that?

It will be interesting to see the NRO crowd skate past that one.

Dan, apparently Knippenberg and Lawler are where the NRO was: Coyly pretending neutrality while they say everything bad about Huck they can make up and give Romney the benefit of every argument.

C'mon Dan, if no one who is out of the closet for one candidate or another can analyze and/or criticize other candidates in good faith, then what's the point? You are dismissing NRO en masse because they endorsed Romney as if everyone who writes over at the Corner is bound by that endorsement. Your whole point in comments 6 and 7 is that no one can trust Huckabee's critics at NRO because they are in the tank for Romney. Unfortunately, that does no good for people like myself who do trust that NRO and the writers at the Corner have good points to make and legitimate concerns about Huckabee. I don't want to hear that KLO can't be trusted, that's not a response. I want to hear Huckabee defend his record and his views against the questions being raised about them.

Why do he and his supporters like yourself have to keep questioning everyone's trustworthiness? How about the issues....

Have you been consistently reading NRO of late? They are laying into old Huckabee houndog like a pack of pit bulls.

That being the case, their temperament naturally comes into question. They aren't reviewing his record in an objective, measured fashion. They're figuratively foaming at the mouth. Tone is important, it isn't irrelevant when assessing credibility. And credibility is ALWAYS in question, it's never irrelevant. It's always material, particularly in this matter.

NR knew who they were going to endorse for quite some time, yet they sat on that information. Aren't you a bit curious why it took them so long to come clean with their readership?

You're wrong if you assume I support Huckabee. As I mentioned before, I favour Giuliani. In my opinion Giuliani is far and away the most qualified man for the Presidency of all the candidates.

Nor am I dismissing NR en masse, didn't I exempt Podhoretz from criticism, didn't I mention he's reliable when it comes to assessing Romney.

Just months ago, we heard from most Conservative commentators that they would support the Republican candidate, and we also heard that EACH candidate was qualified in his own way, {all that is except Paul, which is a case quite apart}. And just a couple of months ago we heard NR and others urging Social Cons to get behind somebody, anybody, otherwise the nomination would go to Giuliani. Well the Social Cons answered the bell, but whereas NR expected them to gravitate to Romney, as KLO has for instance, Social Cons rejected him, and embraced Huckabee instead. Now instead of accepting that decision by those they were urging to get behind someone, they're flipping out, because they miscalculated and Social Cons rejected Romney.

Has NR made some good points of Huckabee? Sure they have. But aren't you a bit curious why they sat on this information for so long. Why is Huckabee's record being gone over with a fine tooth comb now. Why not months ago, why not midsummer? Why hasn't Romney's record received similar scrutiny by the writers at NR, with the exact same ferocity they meted out to Huckabee.

"You want to hear Huckabee defend his record." Hasn't he showed up at the debates. Romney had all the time in the world to take that record to task, but he preferred that others do that for him. So that he could appear to remain above the fray. The level of cooperation between the Romney campaign and NR has become disquieting.

What we are witnessing is a CO-ORDINATED strike against Huckabee, in an attempt to thwart the will of a certain constituency of our Party. That's what's going on. And NR is so far deep into it, that their collective judgement is suspect, and will remain suspect for quite some time. EXACTLY as Hewitt's judgement is in the dock, and Powerline too.

Focus not just on the substance of their critique, but the tone thereof. And what does that indicate? Does that betray a cool mind? Take a look at what KLO tried to do to Huckabee today. She tried to brand him an anti-Catholic bigot. She just tried to brand a guy who very well might be the nominee of the GOP.

Now what does that say about KLO's judgement right about now.

Dan supports Giuliani, therefore fears Romney. Romney fears Huckabee, therefore, reasons Dan, needs the MSCBS (that's Mainstream Conservative Blogo-Sphere for you neo-phytes) to take him out. Or is it the MSCBS that needs Romney? And what of the pro-Giuliani NYCcons that are attacking Huck? Perhaps some are a smokescreen, or others just didn't get the memo that a vote for Huck is a vote for the G-man.

Then again, when I get memos, I usually lose them.

And that makes me start asking questions, like, MAYBE(insert creepy voice from 12 Monkeys prison-cell scene here)I did get the memo, or MAYBE I never did. (In which case, why didn't I? What am I? Chopped Liver?)

Sorry Dan, for making fun, and obviously some attacks are coordinated, but I think your normally good sense is abandoning you here. Still, your anti-NRO but pro-Giuliani position is an interesting one, since it's normally the more paleo types who get all pissed about mainstream concservative punditocracy.

And there is something to Dan's point about "oh no, the social-cons bet on the wrong guy!"

Why hasn't Romney's record received similar scrutiny by the writers at NR, with the exact same ferocity they meted out to Huckabee.

Or better yet, Giuliani's record, which is held in Fort Knox judging by the inablity of NR to say anything at all about it.

Don't know if you noticed John, but Giuliani's position on abortion has gotten loads of attention at each debate. But beyond that, and more importantly, Giuliani's numbers are falling. His plan of letting others win Iowa and New Hampshire, while he prevails in subsequent primaries is looking VERY questionable right about now.

It seems the party respects Giuliani, but is uncomfortable delivering the nomination over to his hands. Perhaps he'll be chosen to compliment a ticket, but it's looking very iffy whether he'll top that ticket.

Don't worry Carl, you can have at my political analysis. Politics is like football, sometimes the wrong decision leads to the right results, and often an apparently clever gambit leads to disaster.

And Carl, it looked like NR was supporting Giuliani. But when Dobson and some others dropped their open threat that they would not support the GOP nominee if it were Giuliani, it seems that triggered some soul searching. Instead of showing Social Cons how a Giuliani Presidency would advance, not hinder, their cause, they capitulated to the threat from Social Cons. Then when they urged Social Cons to get behind somebody otherwise it will be Giuliani, they did so clearly expecting those voters to move towards Romney, who was uttering all the right things, making all the right sounds and appearing before all the right groups. But Romney couldn't seal the deal.

Old Huckabee houndog is in a VERY good position right now. I think he's got the Inside Straight.

But my main problem tonight is an anemic Cowboy offense, which only scored 20 points tonight. And T.O.'s high ankle sprain of course.

Not to mention, I was ticketed tonight for doing 64 in a 40mph zone, coming back from a family gathering at the Stockton Inn, in New Jersey. Which means I missed much of the Cowboy game, and I'm not happy about that either. The steak and scallops were great, the beer exceptional, the desert however left a great deal to be desired.

All this parsing of NR's and NRO's motives is a waste of time. Their editorial made a good case for Romney. David Frum, in NR's pages (Dec. 17 issue), makes a good case for Rudy. Perhaps a good case can be made for others. Let's focus on that, not on slamming NR.

They didn't make a good case for Romney, they made a negative one, because they said he was their pick because to pick Giuliani would supposedly shatter the Republican coalition. It was in that purely negative fashion they endorsed him.

And I think NR needs very much to be slammed, power-slammed, repeatedly power-slammed.

They have NOT handled themselves well of late.

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