I’ve taken my share of shots at Mike Huckabee, but I think he articulates some concerns that conservatives and Republicans (overlapping but far from identical groups) have to take seriously.
For these reasons, I can’t endorse this analysis from Romneyite Mark Falcoff (whose specialty is, I thought, Latin America). Falcoff argues that Republicans are at a crossroads, going in either a Christian Democrat (or Christian Socialist in the tradition of Bavarian Franz Josef Strauss) or libertarian way, becoming two parties rather than one. To avoid this fate, which would guarantee long-term Democratic rule, evangelicals should accept the victories they gain as part of a coalition, whose other members only pretend to agree with them on matters they (the libertarians) don’t really regard as signficant. This should be the arrangement, Falcoff argues, until evangelicals become post-evangelicals, transcending religion in the way that Obama has transcended race.
To state this argument is, I think, to show its utter ridiculousness. Falcoff’s patronizing assumption is that evangelicals essentially can’t be reasoned with; they have to grow up first. And that Huckabee isn’t a grown-up. But business Republicans and libertarians, who don’t take traditional marriage or abortion all that seriously, are grown-ups, because they care about solid things like economics. (I guess everyone in the history of political philosophy up until about John Locke wasn’t a grown-up by Falcoff’s lights. And even Locke recognized the centrality of the family to a productive economy.)
The way to start the necessary conversation is not to begin by patronizing one of the parties to it. But Falcoff seems capable of nothing else. Is this the Romneyite position?