Posted by Damozel | D. Cupples always cautioned me about assuming too soon I knew how the primaries would go. Who'd've thought God would personally endorse Mike Huckabee, causing him to soar up, up, up in the polls, to the delight of his supporters?
Impossible not to be diverted by the discomfiture and shock/horror of the Main Street and Wall Street Republicans, who thought that the "values voters" would know their place (under the table gathering up crumbs) and not suddenly rear up with demands for a seat at the head of the boardroom table.
In a long, long opinion piece, Kenneth Anderson of The Weekly Standard invoked divine vengeance against the "lumpen evangelicals" (oooh, burn!) who---by their bigotry against Mormons---forced Mitt Romney to make a speech arguing that the specifics of one's religious beliefs ought to be irrelevant in a candidate for political office and implying that all religions deserve tolerance. In other words, they forced him to make an argument which by implication promotes evil multiculturalism (i.e., tolerance for Islam (The Weekly Standard). But I might not have followed it quite correctly.
But here's my absolutely favorite paragraphs---the divine vengeance part, natch:
If I sound irritated at the bigoted attitudes among the lumpen evangelicals--if I sound irritated to discover that an astonishing number of my fellow citizens--30 percent or so, we are told--say they will not vote for a devout Mormon, no matter what his positions or policies, solely on account of his religion; or that Christian voters should not offer support however indirect to supposed cults, or that America must have a "Christian" president. Well, did I say irritated? I understate; furious. Specifically: Instead of a sweet smell among that saving remnant in Iowa, let there be a stink among the pigsties and factory farms of the faithful, instead of a girdle a rent, and instead of well set hair baldness, and instead of a stomacher a girding of sackcloth, and a burning instead of beauty: and may the Lord smite them with a scab, the crown of the head of the 30 percent of Zion: the Lord shall discover their secret parts. (Isaiah 3:17, 24; Bk. Morm. 2 Nephi 13.)
And if I, an ex-Mormon, am furious, I only wonder what actual Mormons think in the secret places of their hearts. The bigotry that has accompanied Huckabee's rise has certainly shifted my view of evangelicals. Am I the only one to find tiresome the endless trope among Christians of this country that they wish they could have (wholesome, good hearted) Mormons without (cultish, anti-Christian) Mormonism? (The Weekly Standard)
Which doesn't explain Democrat (and Mormon) Harry Reid, does it? Probably just Democrats' undiscriminating liberal multiculturalism at work.
Huckabee himself wrote a long, long op-ed in Foreign Affairs. I recommend the shorter version (by Michael Abramovitz) here, which takes due note of his entertaining Bush-bashing (e.g., dissing Bush for his "bunker mentality").
Otherwise, there was nothing Huckabee said that would make me vote for him against anyone but any of the other Republican candidates. Frankly, I had a hard time following him. He's in favor of educating Americans about jihadism so we'll understand that they want to come here and kill us all, but he also wants to "nurture" moderates and use diplomacy. At the same time, he intends to build up the military so he can strike hard if military intervention becomes necessary. He would totally listen to the recommendations of General David Petraeus. Oh, and he wants to end our dependence on foreign oil so we can treat Saudi Arabia "like Sweden." Sweden? I might not have followed him quite correctly. (I'm sorry, but that was two long, long opinion pieces right in row.) Just read the Abramovitz version.
Pajamas Media-style conservative David Drezner wasn't impressed by the Huckabee op-ed, which made me feel a little better about failing to understand it.
The essay is a great symbol of Huckabee's campaign -- there are feints in interesting directions, but in the end it's just a grab-bag of contradictory ideas....[F]or someone who claims he wants to get rid of the bunker mentality, Huckabee offers no concrete ideas for how to do that, and a lot of policies (rejecting the Law of the Sea Treaty, using force in Pakistan, boosting defense spending by 50%) that will ensure anti-Americanism for years to come....
Then there's the writing -- dear Lord, the writing.
The loopy writing becomes a real problem in the section on Iran. Huckabee makes a pretty savvy point about the differences between Iran and Al Qaeda ("The main difference between these two enemies is that al Qaeda is a movement that must be destroyed, whereas Iran is a nation that just has to be contained.").
But when it comes to changing our policy with Iran, this is what we get:OK, so what, exactly, is Huckabee offering to do here? Open an embassy in Tehran? Only do so if Iran freezes its nuclear program? Hug Iran a lot? Beats me. (read more: Every time I think I'm out, Foreign Affairs pulls me back in)
Sun-tzu's ancient wisdom is relevant today: "Keep your friends close and your enemies closer." Yet we have not had diplomatic relations with Iran in almost 30 years; the U.S. government usually communicates with the Iranian government through the Swiss embassy in Tehran. When one stops talking to a parent or a friend, differences cannot be resolved and relationships cannot move forward. The same is true for countries. The reestablishment of diplomatic ties will not occur automatically or without the Iranians' making concessions that serve to create a less hostile relationship.
So you see it's not just that I'm a Democrat with a low tolerance for arguments based on ancient wisdom. (And now that I think of it, why Sun-Tzu? What about the quite different ancient wisdom of Jesus? Wouldn't that be more on point with what he's trying to say than Sun-Tzu?)
Precisely because of Jesus I---a slightly left-tilting Christian Dem with Quakerish leanings---am all in favor of diplomacy and friendly persuasion, but I don't understand whether that's what Huckabee is talking about either. Are we going to pray them into making concessions?
Dr. Brad at Sadly, No! has provided a concise and definitive summing up of why mainstream Republicans are so dismayed by his apotheosis and so furious with the "lumpen evangelicals."
The GOP has, generally speaking, done close to nothing for its Values Voters, much like the Democrats have done little for union voters in recent years. The reason that unions and the Christian Right keep voting for Democrats and Republicans, respectively, isn’t because those parties support their political interests. Rather, it has to do with voting against the other party, which they see as actively hostile to their interests. Despite being more liberal socially, the cash-rules-everything-around-me...wing of the GOP has been willing to tolerate the social cons’ views on abortion, gay marriage and Hollywood as long as they don’t interfere with the tax cuts, which are more important than anything else. And besides, it’s not as if the GOP leadership ever planned to enact any of the social cons’ agenda in the first place.
Oh sure, the Republicans might throw the Christian Right an occasional bone with things like the Terri Schiavo insanity or meaningless pro-Christmas fatwas, but this shows that the GOP generally views its religious Right voters as a group of unhinged wackos who can be easily appeased and distracted with shiny objects....
In this light, the horror at Huck’s rise is completely understandable. The GOP simply loved having the “idiot” vote as long as the idiots kept supporting tax-cuttin’ anti-gubmint candidates. When they start switching their support to someone who hasn’t been as faithful a supply-sider, then the economic elite will well and fully freak out. (Read more: Treviño finds a nut)
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