Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Huck and Dive

I take Peter’s point (and that of several commenters) that Huck represents the authentic disquiet in conservative ranks with the self-appointed and media-blessed front runners, and for a while I rather liked the idea of Huck. I seriously considered sending his campaign $100 or more just for the fun of it, until I started paying attention to some of his ideas, such as having the federal government get into the smoking ban business. No. Let’s not. In other ways he’s just too populist (in the bad sense of that word) for my tastes.

As a practical matter I doubt he has, or can get, the resources to follow up on an Iowa win, and organization and resources count more in this contest than momentum. I wonder if he even has full delegate slates filled out and filed in the subsequent primary states. This time-consuming step proved to be the Achilles Heel for both Reagan in 1976, and Gary Hart in 1984, both of whom left a lot of delegates on the table they could have had--in Reagan’s case, perhaps enough to have won the nomination.

Discussions - 33 Comments

Prior to digging into the day's work, I hit Drudge Report for a quick look and found a big headline, "TAKE THIS NATION BACK FOR CHRIST" and a picture of Huckabee with his finger raised as if to wag. I am not sure how I feel about this, much less what I think about it. I feel like I am watching a poker game and H. just upped the ante in response to Romney. Is that what happened?

Maybe this is like Julie's "love letter for America" except if any lover who tells the beloved that she had better go on a diet, shape up or else, is liable to get himself smacked.

Here is the link to the article referenced by Drudge.

Yes Kate, . . . he’s reminding me less of the conservative answer to Howard Dean than of the conservative answer to Jimmy Carter. Do you remember Carter’s "malaise" speech in which he told us to shape up because of the energy crunch, etc. . . . I think that kind of spirit--though with slightly altered substance--is the kind of thing Huck may be quite comfortable with. I am not. I like your analogy of lovers telling their beloved to go on a diet . . . I think that’s dead on. If a lover really wants his beloved to loose weight, there are better, more clever, and more entertaining ways to persuade her.

This article is from 1998. This is evidence of something I have been saying for a while. I think a lot of the "compassionate conservatism" that has the Establishment and Beltway crowd in a lather is really mostly a PR ploy. (That doesn't mean he wouldn't actually govern that way. I just think it is calculated.) It is his way of fending off the charge of heartless, mean-spirited Christian. This article is boiler plate Christian Right. The Christian Right does think things are bad because things actually are bad, especially from the standpoint of the culture becoming increasingly post-Christian, and no amount of happy talk can change that. He is addressing his audience in the way they think.

Personally, I think that America needs this message a lot more than it does compassionate conservatism or paeans to pluralism.

I think Huck is seen as the anti-establishment candidate in the GOP. For his supporters, the fact that National Review writes scathing editorials about him probably confirms their belief that he's a good pick.

The undiscussed question is how the conservative establishment got so far out of step with the rank and file. The people who write at NR, The Weekly Standard, American Spectator, etc all seem to be oblivious to the things which concern the typical conservative. It's as if the right wing media have been taken over by pod people.

Steven for someone who criticizes Al Gore and Jimmy Carter for being condescending to the average American that post is just as condescending as you accuse liberals of being. You considered sending him $100 just for the fun of it. Huckabee supporters are giving up eating out and cutting their budgets to scrap together $25 to $50 to send to his campaign. This man represents their hopes and dreams and can articulate a true popular conservative agenda like no one else in the field. Yes, he is against smoking. He wants to ban it nationally in public places where people have to work. He does not support a ban on smoking in restaurants and bars.

Maybe you should actually take the time and find out the facts before you jump to conclusions. His health care plan is based on “market solutions at the state level.” I would challenge you to actually go to website and watch his videos and read his positions. Make an educated decision about Huckabee because a lot of normal people are willing to make a lot bigger sacrifice to support him than sending him money for fun.

By the way, you can sign up to become a delegate on his website. I signed up to represent the great state of Ohio, and I look forward to a late summer trip to Minnesota. Organizing grassroots and gathering delegates is alot easier in 2007 through the internet than in 1976 and 1984.

The people who write at NR, The Weekly Standard, American Spectator, etc all seem to be oblivious to the things which concern the typical conservative.

Part of the problem John is that most of those people live in New York City. Perhaps they need to visit some Red States instead of just flying over them.

John and Red, you are making ridiculous accusations about the conservative commentariat. Far from lacking insight into the real concerns of conservatives, they are almost our only real leaders. The fact that they don't live in flyover country is irrelevant. They don't need to. Huckabee is from flyover country, but he is far closer politically to the liberal establishment than are the National Review, etc., writers you are savaging.

David, I am not supporting Huckabee, but I smell a strong whiff of elitism and fear of his evangelical Christian roots in the hysterical opposition to him from some Establishment conservatives. The intense reaction to him from some “conservatives” is suspicious to me. They can’t tolerate Huck because he is a populist (he really isn’t), but Rudy is just swell? What is up with that?

As Ramesh P. has pointed out at the NRO site, some people are upset at Huckabee because he refused to allow that Romney (Mormonism) is a Christian. Well that is because Romney is not a Christian, and if a trained evangelical like Huckabee said such a nonsensical thing he would not only be wrong, he would be selling his soul. I am convinced that Huckabee's Baptist Minister background scares some folks, and it ironically scares the pluralism worshippers the most.

So it is, from 1998, and why on earth is it being pushed right now? While waiting for my daughter this afternoon, Michael Medved was in a lather over this business about some poll Huckabee filled out in 1992. What a day the man is having.

why on earth is it being pushed right now?

Because it is part of a coordinated smear Huckabee campaign just as there was a coordinated smear Ron Paul campaign. Don't you get it? You are not supposed to support anyone who is not Establishment approved. Medved is a pathetic shill.

9: Red, I don't deny that there may be some elitist prejudice against Huckabee on the intellectual right. But I'm sure the main reason many of them dislike Huck is that he's seen as more or less a liberal. You can dispute that characterization, but there's no question it has some factual support.

John, Red, Jamie, good points.

Huck is a response to that "authentic disquiet," and that "disquiet" was caused by the party's leadership. Washington has created a vast disconnect between the rank and file and the GOP leadership. And attempts to browbeat that rank and file into line won't work.

It's as Rush Limbaugh has repeatedly said: "There isn't a CONSERVATIVE candidate in this field of candidates."

That being the case, ordinary social cons are looking about for someone who most reflects them, ... and that's NOT Romney, that's NOT McCain, that's NOT Thompson, that's NOT Giuliani from NYC.

Who is left for them to gravitate towards?

Who are we kidding here?

Huckabee has been getting plastered by a media and a Republican establishment that is desperate to portray him as kooky Dean. Even though he's not kooky Dean, nor anything like him. He's got his own problems without taking on those of Dean.

Huckabee's surge is a consequence of a leadership that spits on the rank and file. Lott led to Huckabee. Specter created Huckabee. Hagel and Lugar have led to Huckabee.

Huckabee is a symptom, and he's a symptom of a party leadership at war with the rank and file. The leadership doesn't want to control the borders. They don't want to preserve sovereign prerogatives. They don't respect fundamental cultural concerns, that worry the base.

They're clueless, and that's AFTER getting hammered by the American people over the immigration battle.

Because we failed to rein in Bush, because we failed to make him shape up and fly in formation, ... our party is thrashing about, and in its desperation, it very well might choose Huckabee. Additionally, because we failed to move the primary season from cranks in Iowa and New Hampshire, they're taking us down the path that leads to Huckabee.

A real party would have had a rotating system, where various states at different times have primaries. They wouldn't have allowed themselves to be dictated to by Iowa's legislature.

John and Red, you are making ridiculous accusations about the conservative commentariat. Far from lacking insight into the real concerns of conservatives, they are almost our only real leaders.

Please. I've been a subscriber to NR for twenty five years now, and its a shadow of its former self. I'd call it more a neoliberal publication than a conservative one. Did you see the editorial they did supporting sanctuary cities? I feel like I'm reading the TNR of the ninties at times.

The only things these NY conservatives care about is the war in Iraq and their manaical obsession with "free trade", which in practice seems to be a defense of Chinese trade policy. The Gipper must be spinning in his grave.

It's as Rush Limbaugh has repeatedly said: "There isn't a CONSERVATIVE candidate in this field of candidates."

There are. Hunter and Tancredo. And Thompson is not far behind. But the party has been kicking people out to the right and courting people to the left for so long that there may not be anyone left to vote for them.

David Frisk

Giuliani is at least as much a liberal as Huckabee is, probably more. Why do you think that the elite is not hammering Rudy?

It's as Rush Limbaugh has repeatedly said: "There isn't a CONSERVATIVE candidate in this field of candidates."

Well, for us silly folks who consider following the Constitution conservative, there is Ron Paul. No conservative? That is just ignorant. Paul is more conservative than Goldwater.

For those who insist on a "mainstream" conservative, Tancredo is leagues better than those other clowns.

Huckabee's compassionate conservatism bothers me, and it is fair to call it liberalism light, but do you honestly think Romney or Rudy is a budget hawk?

Oh, there are plenty in the elite who don't like Rudy. You need to read more, perhaps. Your definition of a liberal is rather simplistic. Sure, there are a couple of issues on which Rudy's to the left of Huck. Overall, however, Rudy has a record of fighting and outraging the left on several issues. Huck just goes with the liberal flow. Big, big difference. Granted, if pro-life is everything to you, Huck is OK, perhaps even a giant, and Rudy is unacceptable. But I think most conservatives are a good deal more sophisticated than that. Furthermore, your comments about National Review are downright cretinous. They are utterly inaccurate and utterly spiteful. Nor does the Republican party "kick people out to the right." What are you smoking?

Ron Paul isn't conservative, he's a crank. There's a difference, which Paul has lost awareness of somewhere in his ideological travels.

As for Hunter, I respect him. And I respect Tancredo, though he often stumbles in his efforts to champion his cause. I appreciate his passion, and his doggedness in speaking the truth, though he gets ripped by people who ought to know better.

But they're not viable.

The Grand Old Party isn't going to give the nomination to anyone from the House of Representatives. It's not gonna' happen. We rarely give the nomination to men from the Senate, guys from the House haven't a prayer.

David: So outraging the left is proof of conservatism? Just because you make someone mad doesn't mean that you are opposed idealogically. Inept politicians make enemies of people who agree, while great politicians make friends of those who disagree. In that case, your comment tells us how we ought to judge Giuliani and Huckabee.

Ron Paul isn't conservative, he's a crank.

Well thanks for clearing that up Dan. After that logical and intelligent rebuttal I have decide to rethink my support of Ron Paul. Not!

Is it crankish to want to literally follow the Constitution?

There's no need to waste time and effort wandering into the weeds following Ron Paul. No. None at all.

And I refuse to flatter Paul for so much as an instance by making a point by point rebuttal to his unhinged utterances.

Ron Paul is an embarrassment, an absolute embarrassment to every thinking Republican.

But one thing Paul has done, and done well, he's shown the rest of the party and the nation what a pack of cranks there are out there on the Libertarian Fantasy Island.


Thanks for making my point Dan. Perhaps you are just incapable of coherently rebutting him point by point, without exposing the weakness of you position. I assume your biggest objection is foreign policy.

It's unwise to lift a rapier against Ron Paul. It's better just to brand him a crank and have done.

But here's a for instance, Paul actually takes foreign policy guidance from our Constitution, when no such guidance is present in the document. The Constitution is a blueprint for governance, not governance of our foreign affairs. Paul has immaturely blurred that distinction.

That's just one.

It's better just to brand him a crank and have done.

Dan, that is so immature it doesn't deserve a response. It just deserves to set out there as an example of how pathetically week the interventionist case is.

Paul actually takes foreign policy guidance from our Constitution, when no such guidance is present in the document. The Constitution is a blueprint for governance, not governance of our foreign affairs.

I really can not believe you wrote that? A true conservative has to follow the Constitution. That is part of what they are trying to conserve. The Constitution was intended to limit the government and is very clear about many elements of foreign policy. Dan, you wouldn't know conservatism if it slapped you.

No it's not immature. It's how politics is played. It's Paul who is desperate to enter into a dialog, I refuse the dialog, because that grants him what I don't desire or deem wise to grant him, which is status as a serious interlocutor on our public affairs.

Politics requires a certain cold-bloodedness. I understand that, I'm hardwired to understand that. I've listened to Paul rant during the debates. I've listened to him, we've all listened to him, when he should long ago have been driven from the field by the party. His presence wasted valuable time that could have been spent on Romney and Huckabee. Paul was and is a distraction.

Paul's blood runs pale. The blood of our fellow Americans has been shed on the field of battle, yet Paul wants to sound recall.

I've no sympathy and no time for such a man.

I want my enemy destroyed, I want them made an example of. I'm livid with Bush because he's all hat, no cattle. He's all rhetoric, and he wields the power of the United States like feeble buffoon.

Paul is a fantasy, he offers nostalgia. What Paul offers previous generations of Americans unlearned only through great pain, and great loss.

There' no retreat. There's no "Come Home America" that can be had.

Dan, I hope you realize you sound like a pompous a**. Who died and made you the determiner of what positions deserve air time?

No amount of flowery rhetoric will ever make interventionism, militarism, jingoism, executive veneration, "benevolent" empire etc. conservative. The post 9/11 "conservative" movement is trying its best to validate every negative stereotype of the Authoritarian Personality.

There is nothing short of "Come Home America" that can rightfully be called conservatism.

BTW, there are enemies left to be destroyed and made an example of. Let us know how your visit to the recruiter goes.

The blood of our fellow Americans has been shed on the field of battle, yet Paul wants to sound recall.

This is exactly the sort of logic that kept a generation of young men in the trenches for four years during World War I.

For the record, I'm proud to be another crank for the Constitution (and for Ron Paul).

Oh, so the War on muslim supremacism is another Verdun, another Somme offensive.....

Thank you for your excellent posts, David Frisk, now and in general. I think you're onto something when you contrast Giuliani and Huckabee's conservatism/liberalism. I have heard Giuliani wants to make the GOP the party of "liberty" - which is why he can justify supporting gay marriage and abortion (I'm against abortion and gay marriage, but I don't want to talk about why he's wrong on that now). I think the problem with Huckabee, which the "elitists" worry about, is his support of the government taking action in things it doesn't need to be involved in (smoking, for instance). He might be a Nanny Stater, but because many evangelicals agree with him on the issues important to them (a government run by asking WWJD?), they don't mind.

Andrew: Even assuming that you are right about Huck being for big government, it begs the question of which is worse. Do you want a "liberty" candidate like Giuliani whose misunderstanding of liberty is basically unbridled license? Is that worse than Huckabee who understands what liberty is, but want to proactively use the government a little more than some to bring it to fruition?

That's an excellent question, and one of the reasons I am not currently supporting Rudy or Huckabee (no one, in fact, at the moment). To answer you honestly, I think in the long run Huckabee's hands-on approach would be more dangerous to liberty. Rudy's hands-off (more libertarian approach) can lead to lots of mischief and a general decay of morals/civic virtue. However, the Left is already eager to control as much of our lives as possible, and joining them from the Right will only open the aging sluice-gates which are barely holding them back as it is.

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