Mark R. Levin on why Romney should be allowed to get away with playing the victim about his faith, but not Gov. Huckabee
“Mike Huckabee is now becoming a very divisive figure in the Republican party,” writes Mark R. Levin in a carping and caviling NRO The Corner post titled Curious Huck
It’s not his faith or his Merry Christmas commercial that many conservatives question (I certainly don’t), but it’s his record as governor and his stated positions on the war, foreign policy generally, taxes, spending, and illegal aliens. And exposing his positions is a natural part of the primary process. He is now using his faith as a defense for populist/liberal/misguided policy positions and implying that those who disagree with him are challenging his faith — or more accurately, dismissing Evangelicals …
Translation: Gov. Huckabee has completely out-flanked Romney on the religion issue by appropriating Romney’s line of argument. It was Romney who first used his faith as a defense for his positions and implied that those who disagreed with him were challenging his faith—as David Bernstein argues:
… Romney’s similar [to Gibson’s] marketing challenge emerged this past year, when he and his advisors made the strategic decision to campaign as the conservative alternative option to Rudy Giuliani and John McCain, the perceived front-runners for the Republican nomination. That strategy would require Romney to win large numbers of votes from religious conservatives. Unfortunately for him, Romney had a long, well-established record of moderate and even liberal stands on a number of issues, including abortion.
So, like Gibson, Romney began spreading word of the anti-Mormon plots against him long before anyone knew who he was, let alone what religion he practiced. By late 2006, he was sitting for interviews with almost anyone willing to write about the “Mormon question” — landing him on the cover of almost every conservative publication in the country … etc.
For more, see:
Bernstein on Romney’s “speech”: “Whereas Kennedy asked Protestants to vote for him despite the bias against his faith, Romney, with a keen ear for the contemporary Christian right, asked them to vote for him because of that bias. No, Romney was not taking from JFK’s playbook — he was taking from Mel Gibson’s.”
Back to Levin:
How did Huckabee become the spokesman for Christians anyway? When did this happen? A few weeks ago he was a little known governor from Arkansas with 2-percent national support among Republicans. Now, he’s a spokesman for an entire religion, or part of it anyway. (Also, I am not part of the Wall Street crowd, a neo-con or whatever, in case he or anyone on his staff is wondering. Just an old-time Reaganite.)
Yes. Old-time Reaganite. The past and the future are trading blows. The Reagan coalition has dead but its elites and established constituencies persist to protect their interests. Example: the formerly conservative NRO.
“Gov. Huckabee”—as eye of eyeon08.com argues—“represents a new movement in American politics”:
… So, I think, [after eye argued that affluent voters that the GOP has lost are probably never coming back] that the other option is to try to dig deeper into the working class. Huckabee’s overt populism is one approach. John McCain’s slightly more low-key populism, on economic issues, combined with a more rabid anti-Washington populism is another strategy and, perhaps, a more likely endpoint than Huckabee’s approach. However, Huckabee does open a window to that future.
In any case, I suspect that the continual attacks on Huckabee aren’t going to be so threatening. First, his voters probably don’t care. As Richard Land said about Duncan Hunter, “A lot of evangelicals are probably sympathetic to his protectionist arguments.” Second, his response that he spent money on school and roads can be pretty compelling to a bunch of Iowa farmers, if he manages to get his message out. And third, I wonder how many of the super-rich Club for Growthers are left? How many i-bankers participate in Iowa caucuses anyways?
Now, this has focused on Huckabee’s economic message. There is an interesting question about Huckabee’s message on moral issues. My gut is that Huckabee follows the breezes in the evangelical community …. etc.