Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

More hermeneutic of suspicion

From two predictable sources. MH’s response:

"If I had used the name of Jesus Christ in vain and blurted it out as profanity, nobody would be talking about it. It would have simply been ignored," he told the crowd later in his speech. "But because I invoked His name on His own birthday to say to America, ’Happy Birthday, merry Christmas,’ somehow everybody sees in it something that isn’t even there."

"Have we lost our national soul? Have we become so coarse that even the attempt to bring some civility to the political arena is met with nothing more than scorn, disdain and disbelief?" he said to loud applause.

A few weeks ago, I would have been prepared simply to defend him, but the none-too-subtle attempts to rally the faithful (noted
here) have made me suspicious too. Peter L. is right that the questions that are raised about MH encourage "evangelical victimology," but so do Huckabee’s responses. He should turn the other cheek.

Update: Our friend the Friar notes another instance of MH’s unappealing victimology. I wouldn’t call him simply a representative of the "evangelical Left," however. As our friends at Power Line note, Huckabee is in a sense the logical successor to the incumbent, though George W. Bush had something of the self-deprecation (might I call it irony?) of the redeemed sinner about him (somewhat different from the zeal born of successful weight-loss).

Discussions - 3 Comments

I'm neither a fan of Huckabee nor an evangelical, but the two paragraphs quoted are music to my ears. If the words are sound -- and they are -- who cares about the motives, or partial motives, of the person speaking them? So what if he is running for president and using his identity as a Christian? Why must everything said in a campaign be psychologically parsed like this? Huckabee comes closest to being a true conservative when he speaks -- to whatever extent he does -- of American society's (not the state's) primarily Christian identity. All true conservatives should appreciate this. It's only when Mormon-bashing comes into play that we should criticize. In the broadest sense, both Huckabee, the dreaded Baptist preacher, and Romney, the dreaded Mormon, are on our side in the culture war. On these issues, we need to stand with them whenever we possibly can. By comparison, our concerns about Mormonism or Huckabee's precise manner of appealing to self-conscious Christians (or Christianists) are trivial.

You don't see the genius of it J.K.

Huckabee set the whole thing up. His original advertisement WAS perfectly inoffensive. Yes, it was. There was nothing wrong with that ad, unless there is something intrinsically offensive about Christmas itself. And "the floating cross" in the background was simply a bookshelf with some Christmas ornaments thereon. And even if it was deliberately put in the ad, who cares, I mean really, who cares, other than Hewitt and Powerline types who have forfeited any objective credentials.

Then the secular media flipped, which set up a trap for the Romney campaign, which they blundered into. Instead of going out there and DEFENDING that perfectly inoffensive ad, thus ingratiating himself with the very audience Huckabee is courting, the Romney campaign tried to tear into Huckabee, and Romney's campaign flacksters, effectively so intertwined with the campaign itself as to be indistinguishable, flipped, castigating Huckabee as gauche. WHICH gave Huckabee EVEN GREATER street cred with the voters that Huckabee needs. Furthermore, Romney's campaign response ONLY made more salient the differences between Huckabee and Romney. Which plays to Huckabee's advantage.

Thus it was Romney's campaign response THAT OPENED THE DOOR for Huckabee to go out there and OVERTLY campaign precisely as that Christian many deplore. Now he can speak clearly as an offended Christian, not defending his record, NO. Nothing like that. Huckabee is out there defending the place of the Christmas season in the overall fabric of America. Pure genius.

But so many, SO VERY MANY self-styled clever men walked right on into the little ambush that Huck set up.

NOW he can campaign DIRECTLY on an issue that he always wanted to bring in, but had to skate about to a certain extent. Patient he was, ever so patient. And now he can use his Christian mantle to close out the early primaries and seal th deal.

And much of the criticism of his gambit is fraudulent. Had Romney done it, the same that now decry it would be hailing it as a political masterstroke, an incarnation of the genius of old Lee Atwater. Thus much of the criticism is more feigned than genuine, ....... but isn't THAT the entire Romney campaign in a nutshell, more fiction than factual, more style than substance, more feigned than forthright. Isn't that the entirety of what Romney has to offer?

Huckabee has done well heretofore. And he now has Powerline and Hewitt in an outright panic, which is something to behold by the way. Powerline seems about as unglued as Hewitt has been all along. But we expected that, we expected that Powerline would follow Hewitt, who has done so much to bring the guys behind Powerline to prominence.

In politics, just about anything is fair game, ....................... so long as you follow it up with victory. Winners govern and have history written about them. Losers chew the cud of disillusionment, and try to stifle the pangs of their extreme hunger for power. If Huckabee wins, in six months just about everyone will have forgotten this little episode, except the Hewitts of this existence.

And as for the victim card, it was PERFECTLY Kosher for Romney to go out there and play that same card. When he pulled it from the deck one and all cried out "it was a love poem to America." But let Huckabee get out there and avail himself of that same card from the bottom of the deck, and "Oh the humanity, oh the horror." Just marvel at the lamentations that break the cloud. "Huckabee's gone too far!" "Huckabee MUST be stopped!" Otherwise what? Well, we never get too many details of the horror that Huckabee has in store for America, but that doesn't stop the frenzy and the cries of outrage.

If you've got a problem with the victim card, then you had better SERIOUSLY rethink support for Romney, because if he gets the GOP nomination, WE'LL GET NOTHING BUT ONE LONG YEAR OF ROMNEY CRYING PREJUDICE AND VICTIMIZATION. His entire campaign will be one prolonged pulling of the victim card from the bottom of the deck. So we'll have the spectacle of a Republican candidate pulling the victim card. Has anyone asked how the victim card stacks up with the ROBUST SELF-RELIANCE of Reaganism. The victim card is one that Democrats and Al Sharpton types use. But if we select Romney, we'll get a full year of it, AND what's more, it will be OUR guy pulling it.

Let Romney get the nomination and let their be the slightest comment that might, just might tend to draw his Mormonism into question, let alone disrepute, and he and his flacks will cry out like they got branded with a hot iron. And we'll all have to go along.

Summing up, do you have a problem with the victim card when Huckabee uses it, because you have a problem with the victim card per se, or is your problem with the victim card much more "nuanced," much more targeted, much more focused. Seems to me, and I'm not the only one it seems to, that you're problem isn't that Huckabee is using the victim card, BUT that he's using it to such good effect, advancing his numbers, advancing his campaign, closing in on the GOP nomination, instead of the much more "refined" Romney.

So much of the criticism of Huckabee is SO over the top.

I feel like supporting Huckabee just because so much of the establishment loathes him. If he's got that many heated up, there just might be something to the man. I may actually have to rethink my support for Giuliani, who now is in SERIOUS trouble.

And it's going to be fascinating seeing so many Conservative note-worthies COMPLETELY REVERSING themselves once Huckabee gets the nomination. Then when Huckabee plays the same card come October of next year, as he's closing in on The White House, it will be fascinating indeed seeing NRO AND OTHERS DEFENDING HIM. Yes, defending the very tactic that so many decry.

I feel like Disraeli right now, when he observed that a Conservative party was "an organized hypocrisy."

I agree with Dan. I watched a few clips of Huck on the trail in Iowa doing this-pure genius. When people of accusing him of saying "Jesus," he fires back that they wouldn't complain if he had invoked that in an unchristian way. It's a great rhetorical turn that perhaps you miss if you just read it instead of watch Huck do it.

Also, although probably as David points out it was done for political reasons, it does address a serious issue that some secularists want religion driven out of the public discourse.

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