Monday, August 13, 2007

Post-Straw Poll Comments On Huckabee, What Is The Importance Of Principle, And Lessons From Tommy Thompson And Jim Gilmore

There are a few things that I wanted to post, today, starting with the obvious gladness that Mike Huckabee finished second in the Iowa Straw Poll as the last post explained, byt many have commented and complimwented him on the web and elsewhere. Look it up. This afternoon, radio talk-show host Michael Medved said he liked Huckabee and more importantly, that Huckabee is top tier, should gather the searching conservative support, that that other supposed conservative should now not even enterthe race…the one named Thompson. And he’s right and the supposedly concerned about life Sam Brownback should get out and close pr-life ranks. But we should also note what our “friends” at FOX News had to say, today: Charles Krauthammer said that Huckabee, “a year from now will be an asterisk of an asterisk.” Fred Barnes said that Ames “meant zilch.” I’m thinking that the change in flow of support will suggest otherwise. By the way, everyone contribute to Huckabee. We have some encouragement through the media about a heartfelt conservative. That hasn’t happened since Reagan.

I also responded to an email from a Christian that bemoaned ideological stubbornness and pointed to the example of “charlatans” like Jimmy Swaggart and Jim Bakker:

I of course, sympathize with people who are primarily motivated by the issue of life. I agree with its primary importance. But it is not for “feel good” purposes, but for the very practical purpose of the psychological (I’ll say that, rather than “spiritual, so as not to be frightening to the skeptic) health of the society. I believe we are in the process of illness well unto death if we release that concern to the cultural currents.

However, I agree with you that a focus on purely or merely personal sentiment so as to distract from that larger matter, can have a net negative effect. As I’m sure I have said, my refusal to support Giuliani is in no sense persona so that, for example, I would not protest his appointment to a post where his particular talents could be put to good use, merely because he is “pro-choice.”

But, to hire a “leader” of the nation or even of the party who has no concept of the magnitude of that concern is entirely unacceptable. I will have no part, whatsoever, in such an effort “ And just talking about something good is not the same as achieving something of value. “I can agree with that last statement, and this one, too: “Evangelicalism generally seems to be drowning in an ocean of feel-good verbiage. Righteousness is a far different thing from self-righteousness.”

But, I don’t just think…I KNOW, that Jimmy Swaggart and Jim Bakker are not crooks or charlatans. Are they in broader terms relatively shallow and often maladroit, and were they susceptible to the power that others carelessly laid in their laps” Absolutely, and throw in other popular ministers, largely known through television. Welcome to the human race, BTW. It frustrates the devil out of me when the media sticks a microphone in one of these faces, particularly when they expound on a topic on which they are miserably informed. But, those facts do not define a charlatan, which they are not. I am curious what you think I mean, when I say, “I know.”

You’re also right about “feel good” verbiage and the distinction between righteousness and unrighteousness. But, the challenge for us is to be more gracious than they might sometimes be.


I also had some thoughts in the wake of Tommy Thompson’s departure from the contest for the Republican nomination:

Experience And Demonstrated Competence Can Stand Aside

Let me say that of course I supporter Mike Huckabee and neither of these two. But, it highlights a problem with the entire process that experience-wise, Tommy Thompson and the already departed Jim Gilmore were among the most qualified candidates in the field of Republican candidates.

Thompson was elected as governor of Wisconsin FOUR TIME! And he served in the president's cabinet as Secretary Of Health AND Human Services. He was exceptionally apt at developing policy innovations such as the welfare reform policy that he developed in Wisconsin that was the model for the ultimately very successful national legislation that Dick Morris advised Bill Clinton to sign into law. Thompson's ideas were well thought out and not just reflexes for a political constituency.

And Jim Gilmore had served as governor of the important potentially swing state of Virginia, as well as chairman of The Republican National Committee and a Congressional committee on counter-terrorism. He was likewise a very sober and deliberative executive.

Huckabee would another with a lot of executive experience. Fortunately, he has a warmth and charisma to add to his executive experience that might allow him to poke his head above the ceiling of attention imposed by media coverage. What do the so-called "front-runners" have that these don't? Media celebrity: that's it.

Only Romney has even 1 term of executive experience among the celebrated four. Now he runs for the presidential nomination of what is supposed to be the "conservative" party in America, after serving as governor of one of the most liberal states in the country, for which he had fortuitously been more qualified in policy terms at the time of THAT campaign.

The coincidence between the history of infidelity to conservative philosophy among these four media darlings or..."frontrunners" is no coincidence.

At the beginning of the 2000 cycle, of 14 declared Republican candidates, the two least philosophically consistent ones enjoyed the most celebrity, and consequently survived the longest in the contest: G.W. Bush and John McCain. McCain was the least philosophically tethered, and barely lost out to runner-up Bush, with the marquee name and attendant money.

Given the popular media profile required to be taken at all seriously, conservatives need to find the most philosophically lucid comedian or actor to have a chance at getting near the same starting line as the favorites of the media.

Despite their experience and ability, Thompson and Gilmore couldn't shine through the media fog. If you feel strongly about ideas that you believe the country needs to acknowledge and you want to run for office, you might start working on your jokes.


Stephen R. Maloney said...

As Mayor of New York, Giuliani held an executive office and ran a city that is larger than most the states. He did it very, very well. Thompson and Gilmore are both good men, but they just didn't come across with a message that captured the American people's attention. I have a hunch the race will come down to Giuliani and McCain, both regarded as heroes by most Americans, although Huckabee still has a decent chance. In fact, the media seems to like him a lot currently -- FOX News aside.

Larry Perrault said...

I didn't exempt Giuliani because he had no executive experience. I mentioned Thompson and Gilmore because they did, they were more conservative, and they're OUT! Huckabee would be out, too if he were not clear and charismatic.

C'Mon, tell me the truth: Do you actually beLIEVE that the only reason that Thompson and Gilmore didn't get more attention, is because they didn't "come across" with a message like Giuliani? If you do, you really went for it. With their experience, they only lacked one thing for getting a lot more media attention: they weren't liberal enough.

Look at the "frontrunners: they all have an ambiguous conservative record. Look at the rest: they don't. Do you actually think that's an accident? For me it's all a question of whetyher conservatives wil be suckered over to the part of the buffet that they didn't prefer, because they bought the "electability" show perpetrated by people who are not about to vote Republican.

And, I'm DEAD serious about the social ilness and ultimate demise that is in store for a nation that rolls over and accepts the idea that human life is a matter of perceived convenience. Thast's a culture that will gurgle and drown in selfisness, expressed in myriad ways. Not pretty.

You can say that Europe has survived for a long time while practicing abortion. But, 1) it's a cold and sterile place, and 2) it's a parasitic civilization: no relatively vital US, no Europe.