Sunday, November 4, 2007

A First Pass At "Conservative" Criticisms Of Mike Huckabee, And Thoughts About Campaigning

Again, for the latest information on the campaign, scroll down to the last post of some of my favorite Huckabee bloggers. What has been a lot of news are the attacks on Huckabee from conservatives, which I frankly find pathetic and detestable: not that I’m saying that they are necessarily of ignoble intent. I’m talking about disparagement from people like Phyllis Schlafly, Chuck Baldwin, and John Fund and of course the dreaded Club for Growth and their lead singer, Pat Toomey.

Phyllis Schlafly and Chuck Baldwin I expect are sincere and well-meaning, though dreadfully misguided. And even John Fund may be quite serious, though The Wall Street Journal and much of the culture of their readership have an ingrained reflex to yelp and scorn whenever any politician breathes a word about consideration for people other than high-dollar managers or even about the challenge to exercise basic moral conduct in the corporate world. Mike Huckabee grew up in a Democrat town in a Democrats state and he’s Republican for a reason. He’s not a simpleton and well understands the impropriety and the destructive elements of government intrusion into the private sphere. But, Huckabee’s exactly right that if Republicans don’t acknowledge the legitimate concerns that millions have about some things and the long-established connection that people have developed between government and social morality, Republicans can plan to lose a lot of elections.

That doesn’t mean we must or should advocate for government run or mandated solutions to every real or imagined grievance in the country, especially at the federal level. But it does mean that to stand cool and impassive from these concerns even in our expressions is 1) morally derelict and 2) politically obtuse. I’ve reserved a charge of disingenuous distortion with regard to some of these people. But as for The Club for Growth, I can imagine no other explanation: they can’t be silly enough to have made such reckless charges in light of anything like an objective review of the record, especially in light of their relative silence with respect to all of the demonstrably less principally constrained other Republican candidates for president. Even the very concern suggested by the name, “Club For Growth,” of economic dynamism and prosperity can’t seriously be the motivation for criticizing a state governor for having addressed essential social concerns even for the exercise of vigorous commerce like, oh, dramatically enhancing a dilapidated and outdated state highway system or demonstrably improving the performance of the state’s public education system, for example. And frankly, some of the charges are just plain misleading and incomplete. No, Pat Toomey can’t possibly be that dense. No, it is a much more parsimonious and plausible explanation to suppose that Toomey is acting as a hired gun, paying off a friend or contributor. If he has a better explanation, I’d love to hear it.

And, Mike Huckabee 08 has posted some focus on the facts about Mike Huckabee and illegal immigration such as is found in Chuck Baldwin’s article , and on American sovereignty: Roebuck Report on Mike Huckabee and Immigration and Mike Huckabee :: Immigration FACTS

It is particularly important to look at the real man and the real record in light of the misrepresentation and blatant falsehood that I have been reading. There is much to say about al of this “conservative” (I don’t think any of these people have anything to inform me about conservative principle) criticisms and I hope to post a more detailed analysis, hopefully tomorrow.

But, below are a couple of responses to Gay Republicans? They do Exist… and part of a conversation about how conservatives must take the responsibility to seize this opportunity with their donations, however big or small.


I'm a social conservative. I believe that the practice and countenance of abortion is a mortal social illness (though in fact it won't be "cured" by a constitutional amendment). I believe that the attempt to "normalize" homosexual behavior is not just bad for the society but worse for the people who actually follow such a path in their own lives, closing off some of the richest experience that human life has to offer. But though a president may counsel and encourage, the federal government can't and shouldn't be involved. We messed up when we let government define marriage, in the first place, and if government defines it, now, that concedes that government has the jurisdiction to redefine it later. If a federal judge rules that the entire country must accept a particular definition, states and communities should just ignore it. And, why can't anyone designate who is granted legal rights and privileges by government, though perhaps we might limit how often that designation may change, even with heterosexual couples.

HOWEVER, to a large extent I agree with you. It is neither appropriate nor lovely to define yourself primarily in terms of what you oppose. And while you oppose ideas or trends, you should NEVER, and at all cost AVOID even the perception that you do, oppose PEOPLE! You should especially not, if you are a Christian who should make it a priority to represent Jesus Christ. If you are identified with hostility and animus, you serve to SMEAR Jesus Christ. That's not a good thing, obviously.

Yes, I know that popular culture trends tend to move against a Christian perspective. Some people may think that this has been particularly acute over the past fifty years. But, over the past 2000 years, it is nothing new or particularly extreme. And, for that matter, what goes by the name of "Christianity" has not always acquitted itself so well.

In any case, it is not our job to be fierce adversaries of the culture in which we find ourselves, and certainly not of ANY individuals or, "communities," for lack of a better word. This has become clear to me and I've been saying for a few years now, that even if they are not the same as convention "pop" prescriptions, conservatives need to openly acknowledge other peoples’ concerns and identify themselves with the ways they believe those concerns ought to be positively addressed.

Now, is it clear enough why I assertively support the NEA, union, minority group-visiting Mike Huckabee? Mike Huckabee studiously declines to attack people, even his rivals in the campaign, even when such an attack is directly solicited by an interviewer. Even liberals say that though they hardly agree with him on anything, also say that they like and/or respect him.

When I looked closely at the man early this year, it stuck me in the face: "Aha! Here he is! Here is someone who actually practices what I've been talking about! Hey, I've been a philosophical conservative for as long as I've been conscious, and frankly, Mike Huckabee sometimes responds to things a little differently than I would (which is one reason why he is repeatedly elected and I would not be), but which is also another subject. But, the critical element is not his ideology, though I usually agree with him. The critical element is his disposition: what many social conservatives would describe as "his spirit." Though some have wavered as to which candidate they support, it was never a close call for me. It was clear and inarguable from the jump. I was on the Huckabee bandwagon before there was even an exploratory committee.


…Yes, I believe that this is a milestone opportunity for those with ostensibly high ideals about moral values and social progress, that only they will be responsible for missing if they fail to seize upon it.

Huckabee has wisely and ably put himself in a position to define and capture this process, if people will stand behind what they say they believe… It seems to me that we just need every already existing Huckabee supporter to ask every like-minded friend to give whatever they can afford, but AT LEAST $10 and ask every like-minded friend of theirs to do the same. 100.000 ten dollar contributions would bring 10 million dollars. And, I believe a Mike Huckabee with 10 million dollars cash-on-hand going into January would simply win the nomination, besides winning millions of other supporters for the general election.

Frankly, if there aren't 100,000 ten dollar donors in this nation of hundreds of millions, the society doesn't DESERVE any better than it always gets.


Stephen R. Maloney said...

A very thoughtful essay about "economic conservatives," some of whom think the term applies mainly to the conservation (and increase) of their own wealth. I fail to see how Mike Huckabee has anything to apologize for in his record as Governor. I lived in a Deep South state (Georgia) for seven years in the 1970s and the state lacked many things (such as kindergarten) that it absolutely had to have if it wasn't to be a backwater unto eternity. Economic growth without a decent transportation system (and a good educational system) is impossible. When I went back to the University of Georgia in the 90s, the school had added a first-rate music school and a first-rate art museum and art school. Gee, how frivolous. But how necessary if you're building a great university that's so much more than a glorified trade school. Before there was a Mike Huckabee candidacy, I was a critic of the Club for Growth -- and still am. Does the CFG take on Democrats like Pelosi, Hoyer, Obey, and Murtha? Of course not. They have no earthly idea how to defeat such people. Instead, they save their cricisms for people like Heather Wilson (NM) and Huckabee, individuals who take on Democrats (and win) in states that CFG types wouldn't even visit on vacation. I once said that CFG's philosophy would result in 20 Republican Senator and 100 Republican representatives, all of whom would be totally irrelevant to the governance of the U.S. If that's their goal, then their political views are pure nonsense.

steve maloney

Brett said...

Excellent article - thanks for the well researched and well written commentary.
go Mike!

Larry Perrault said...

I was never a mathematics fanatic, but even I was struck by the clear error: Obviously, you need a milion ten dollar donors to collect ten million dollars. But 1) that should be very possible if everyone who is contacted and gives $10, will ask all of their friends to do the same. And 2) ten dollars is just a minimum: many will give more. Anyway, anyone who likes what they hear from Mike Huckabee and believes the country should hear it, should give whatever they can (and can't most anyone give at least $10?) and ask every friend to do the same.

Stephen R. Maloney said...

A million here and a million there, and it adds up to real money.