Friday, November 23, 2007

Suddenly Huckabee

It's a convincing indication of how weak the line up Republicans will choose their presidential candidate from is, that at this late date a former Arkansas Governor, economic populist and religious extremist has vaulted from the obscurity of the polling basement to the front ranks in the Iowa primary.

The Mormon suit who's positions change depending on the audience? The former mayor, the 'small man in search of a balcony' with liberal views on abortion and gays? The hawkish Arizona senator, baffled at his fall from grace? No, the focus of attention this week, the new Republican 'It Girl' as Matt Taibbi puts it, is Mike Huckabee.

Libertarian Iraq war opponent Ron Paul aside, Huckabee is one of the oddest candidates in the Republican line-up: He's an economic moderate and even his opponents believe he's sincere about his concern for the poor which has severely alienated the big money wing of the GOP. He's open to having his mind changed. What some commentators decry as flip-flopping, observers have called a willingness to be convinced of alternate points of view. He's opposed the Republican orthodoxy on racist immigrant bashing, global warming and trade.

He's also an extreme Christian fundamentalist who believes the world is only 6000 years old, angrily opposes the teaching of evolution and once tried to block a mentally handicapped child raped by her stepfather from getting an abortion.

He has some serious ethical skeletons in his closet, including a pattern of grasping nickel and dime money grubbing while Governor that seems to stem from his televangelist roots. But his worst scandal is probably how he pandered to the Clinton conspiracy nuts by releasing a man from prison supposedly framed by the Clintons who went on to commit rape and murder - he's tried to run away from it but that's the decision that will come back to haunt his candidacy the most. Additionally his 'Fair Tax' policy was inspired by the Scientologists as part of their war with the IRS and has been panned by serious economists from across the political spectrum.

He's become the choice of the Christian Right of the Republican Party and has the potential to merge their base with the dwindling economic moderates in the party. As Taibbi puts it 'Make no mistake, Huckabee can win this thing.'

The general election? That's another story.

3 comments:

Matthew The Astrologer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Matthew The Astrologer said...

The perfect man to take the Party down with him...?

Cliff said...

Hmm, I don't know Giuliani is kind of a perfect storm of scandal, petulance and sheer throbbing paranoid madness. He has a lot of people waiting in the wings to unleash the dogs of war on his ass if he becomes the candidate, from firefighters to civil rights groups.

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