Can `Huckabee the Viable' blend social conservatism with populism-lite
Bill Berkowitz printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Fri Jan 04, 2008 at 02:42:36 PM EST
Far right dubs Huckabee the `Big Government' candidate

Owing to his convincing victory in the Iowa Republican Party caucuses, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee has become "viable." Over the next few weeks expect the mainstream media to both welcome the folksy/friendly Huckabee with open arms, and slice and dice his record and past statements.

Huckabee's victory was largely attributed to the support he garnered from a brigade of conservative evangelical Christians. According to The Nation's John Nichols, "A CNN survey of Republican caucusgoers Thursday found that six in 10 identified themselves as 'born-again' Christians. Huckabee won the support of 46 percent of them, while just 19 percent backed [former Massachusetts governor Mitt] Romney."

To his credit, Huckabee was successful despite suffering from a shortage of resources; Romney, who finished a disappointing second, outspent Huckabee by a 15-1 margin.

In their post-Iowa wrap-ups, mainstream media pundits recognized both Huckabee's popularity amongst conservative evangelicals, and his populist appeal.

Now it's Huckabee's turn in the spotlight. If you think the hubbub regarding his recent comment about Pakistanis being a threat to America's border security and his blatant use of a well-lit cross in his pre-Christmas campaign television advertisement, or his past comments about quarantining AIDS sufferers, was grist for the mill, imagine what might be coming down the pike.  

As he moves on from Iowa, will Huckabee be able to blend a toned-down social conservatism with a populism-lite?  

'A candidate with a lot of liberal views' says the Media Research Council

A People for the American Way e-mail dated January 4, maintained that "Huckabee has pledged to support every item on the Radical Right's wish list: a constitutional ban on abortion, a veto of legislation to protect gay and lesbian Americans from discrimination, support for a bill to keep federal courts from intervening when local officials violate the separation of church and state, and most importantly, a far-right Supreme Court."

So why are many on the far right hating on Huckabee? It's not like he's the second coming of John Edwards!

Some of Huckabee's right-wing critics may have righteous political disagreements with him, while others may be concerned that should he snare the nomination, he could not only lose the general elecftion, but bring down a slew of GOP candidates as well.

A post-election report from L. Brent Bozell's Media Research Center characterized Huckabee as "a candidate with a lot of liberal views." Ann Coulter slapped Huckabee around a few weeks back for being soft on just about everything from taxes to immigration to the criminal justice system.

Baldwin's complaint

Huckabee is "a global government elitist [who] wraps his Big Government ambitions around the Cross of Jesus Christ?" Chuck Baldwin declared in a column dated January 4, 2008.

Baldwin, the pastor of Crossroad Baptist Church in Pensacola, Florida, the former State Chairman of the Florida Moral Majority, vice presidential running mate of the Constitution Party's Michael Peroutka in 2004, a radio talk show host and syndicated columnist is one of the former Arkansas governor's most persistent critics.

In his January 4, column titled "We Desperately Need the `Confessing Church'," Baldwin maintains that "Issues such as trade, climate control, health and education--and even war--are the tools globalists use to construct their One World Order":

"Have you wondered why Mike Huckabee is suddenly getting so much favorable attention from the mainstream media (who themselves are controlled by this gaggle of global elite)? To find the answer as to why a professing pro-life, conservative Christian would suddenly become the darling of the media, look no further than the fact that just a couple of months ago, Mr. Huckabee appeared before the globalist-minded Council on Foreign Relations. And when he did, it became abundantly clear that Huckabee was a man globalists could trust.

"By the way, as you read Huckabee's speech, you will find that he is George W. Bush on steroids! This is a man who intends to meddle in the affairs of nations around the world like you can't believe. Talk about entangling alliances: Huckabee intends for our State, Energy, Housing, Education, Justice, Treasury, and Transportation departments to spend untold billions of tax dollars on just about anything and everything, including schools, medical facilities, roads, sewage treatment, water filtration, electricity, and legal and banking systems in countries all over the globe. And that is exactly the kind of man the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) wants in Washington."

Baldwin pointed out that Huckabee has named Richard Haass, President of the CFR "as his advisor on foreign policy." According to Baldwin, Haass "believes that the United States (and every other country) must surrender its sovereignty to international or global entities." Baldwin cites a February 21, 2006, Haass column for the Taipei Times entitled, "State Sovereignty Must be Altered in Globalized Era," which "is nothing more than an explicit solicitation for global government."  

While Baldwin claims he has no interest in heading up the Constitution Party's ticket this year, but he has said that he "is always open to God's will." In a column dated August 30, 2007, entitled "Conservative Republicans have only one choice," Baldwin basically endorsed Ron Paul's candidacy:

"Let's cut to the chase: conservative Republicans have only one choice for President in 2008: Congressman Ron Paul of Texas. Unlike the GOP frontrunners, Paul is the real deal."  

In mid-December he released a video endorsement of Paul.

On to New Hampshire

According to The Nation's John Nichols:

Huckabee arrived in New Hampshire Friday morning with new literature that drops the religious references used in Iowa and plans for a television advertising campaign that will eschew the crosses and fish that meant so much to his Iowa base.

Huckabee is nothing if not consistent. Sure, he losing the religious trappings that served him well in Iowa, but he's remaining every bit the crassly calculating and cynically manipulative politician that he has proven himself to be from the start of this campaign.

As the campaign rolls along, will Huckabee -- favored by more conservative Christian evangelical leaders than all the others combined -- continue to proclaim to be the most authentic Christian in the field, or will he soften his Christian image? Will he continue to talk about being a fighter for regular folks; a plain-speaking populist with compassion for the least among us or will he harden his position as he has done on such issues as immigration?

Stay tuned.

Are going to come crawling out of Huckabee's closet if he wins the GOP nomination. Just a hunch.

by Bruce Wilson on Fri Jan 04, 2008 at 10:04:03 PM EST

I appreciate this article because it helps me keep an eye on the phenomena of the rise in popularity of politicians such as Huckabee.  While it's hard to believe my own eyes as I read through this piece, it helps to know how to deal with the reality of the American political landscape and the fact that we are such a huge country with a population that reflects an equally large variety of beliefs.  We'll all be living with one another's declarations as we move through this election year.  Please keep these articles coming.

by litoldldy on Sat Jan 05, 2008 at 09:28:13 PM EST

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