How the Democrats must love the Republican "base"

Is there any way for me to avoid having to write about Mike Huckabee?

It's one thing to contemplate an Obama versus Romney race, but Huckabee versus Obama?

Right now, the polls show Obama defeating him by more than 10 points. Interestingly, he does better against Hillary (losing only a six point spread -- which does not bode well for Hillary Clinton vis-a-vis Barack Obama.)

Seriously, I try to stay on top of political developments, but the Huckabee surge is as deeply disturbing as it is irrational and incomprehensible. I previously called him a "flash in the pan," but was I wrong?

Is the Republican Party hell-bent on slittting its collective wrists?

Rick Moran takes a long and thoughtful look at the Huckabee phenomenon, arguing that this represents the long predicted party crackup, and he concludes that if Huckabee wins, it will be nose-holding time for Republicans edged out by those who claim to be "the base":

The party now finds itself in a dilemma; defeat Huckabee and risk alienating the base of the party or embrace the former governor of Arkansas and risk losing big in the general election. While the latter is not written in blood, the former is a sure thing. And that's why in the end, if Huckabee wins through and captures the nomination, I suspect the libertarians, the federalists, the anti-porkers, and the hawks will end up holding their nose and supporting him.
As someone with years of experience in holding my nose, I can probably hold it again, and maybe supplement it with a barf bag. But this really shouldn't be a question of libertarianism versus social conservatism. To win an election, everyone has to give something up. Typically, this means agreeing on someone who has enough broad appeal to the center that he can capture the "great silent majority" of voters who don't vote in primaries, but whose votes simply have to be captured in general elections.

I don't see how Huckabee can do that. Even if we discount completely whether his religious conservatism is palatable to the majority, he's a documented flip-flopper on many issues, he is ridden with conflicts of interest, and his foreign policy knowledge is pathetic. So pathetic that I agree with Ann Althouse that it alone should have doomed his candidacy.

And frankly, when I find myself screaming "RIGHT ON!" to the words of Rush Limbaugh (a social conservative with whom I often disagree), it's a barometer that something is not right.

The Democrats must be drooling in anticipation.

(I guess I can always cling to the hope that their base is nuttier, and that the GOP base will wise up before it's too late.)

UPDATE: My thanks to Glenn Reynolds for linking this post, and a warm welcome to all. Comments welcome.

Earlier Glenn linked Bill Quick, who says it's going to be Huckabee, he's going to lose, and it's going to be ugly:

Obama and the young hustler, John Edwards, for the Dems, and Huckabee and Some Sacrificial Lamb for the GOP, with the Donks winning in a landslide.

It's going to be an ugly four years, folks.

I hope he's wrong, but the problem is, I'm afraid he might be right, and if I said what Bill said I'd hope I was wrong.

(It gets a little tedious hoping to be wrong, though.)

Also, more on the Rush Limbaugh kerfluffle here.

posted by Eric on 12.23.07 at 12:04 PM










Comments

Let see if things go the way you see them we will have a choice between a socialist crook and a socialist crook.

Who would I favor in such a race?

The socialist crook.

M. Simon   ·  December 23, 2007 1:26 PM

"I suspect the libertarians, the federalists, the anti-porkers, and the hawks will end up holding their nose and supporting him."

I'm all of those things, but Huck Honey won't get my vote. I hate demagogues.

Brett   ·  December 23, 2007 1:27 PM

Meh. I wouldn't vote for him, but I don't think I'll have to.

Huckabee is merely the MSM darling-du-jour, talked up by the MSM simply because he is the Republican most appealling to them.

Hang loose, guys. It's early days yet.

Hale Adams   ·  December 23, 2007 2:26 PM

I suspect his support is a mile wide (MSM) and a few inches deep (Mike who?). The Media and the Dems seem to be building him a nice tall pedestal, all set and rigged to fall just as soon as the Convention is over.

Georg Felis   ·  December 23, 2007 2:34 PM
And that's why in the end, if Huckabee wins through and captures the nomination, I suspect the libertarians, the federalists, the anti-porkers, and the hawks will end up holding their nose and supporting him.

Moran is wrong about that.

I'm as staunch a Republican as you'll find. But if Mike Huckabee is the GOP nominee, I will not vote for him. Even a casual review of Republican blogs, especially their comment sections, shows I won't be alone.

Paul   ·  December 23, 2007 3:49 PM

Huckabee versus Obama? The Democrats would take all fifty states.

I doubt that the GOP is quite that suicidal, recent developments in pork notwithstanding.

Francis W. Porretto   ·  December 23, 2007 4:29 PM

"Typically, this means agreeing on someone who has enough broad appeal to the center that he can capture the "great silent majority" of voters who don't vote in primaries, but whose votes simply have to be captured in general elections."

I don't think there is any Republican candidate using the conventional Republican narrative of "lower taxes", "family values", "tough on terror" who can win against any Democrat. That triplet doesn't touch a chord in a majority of the people anymore. All the Democrats, except for Kucinich, have managed to triangulate around the Republicans on the war on terror. Once you take away the "war on terror" and realize what a bunch of phonies they are on "family values", all that leaves is taxes. Good luck winning on that one alone. To top it off the Democrats enjoy a demographic advantage in the electoral college.

The only way the Republicans can win, in November, is to change the narrative.

If they change the narrative they might cobble together a majority out of the "great silent majority" who don't just not vote in primaries and but also don't vote republican in the general election. Part of the reason this group doesn't vote in the primaries is they don't connect with the narrative the primary candidates in each party convey. All the Republicans minus one are running on "tough on terror" narrative. Many voters don't buy into that narrative, myself included. I haven't voted for a Republican since 92 and I have never bothered to vote in a primary, ever. But now that there is a candidate who has a different narrative, in the Republican party, I will be voting for that candidate.

Jardinero1   ·  December 23, 2007 5:27 PM

I've held my nose and voted for pro-life, socially conservative candidates long enough. As Huckabee starkly illustrates, there is nothing either intrinsically republican or politically conservative about those positions. If that's all it takes to get the GOP nomination then the party I used to belong to is already dead and gone. Is a Democrat really more dangerous than an idiot? Especially an idiot who might as well be a Democrat in every other regard? I don't think so.

JM Hanes   ·  December 23, 2007 8:40 PM

All this hand-wringing about Huckabee is comical. He was beneath a third-tier candidate until he appeared "on screens-near-you" in an Iowa Republican debate as an affable, fairly honest and dignified gent who could think on his feet better than his co-stars IN THAT SCENE.

I am with Hale Adams on this. We got a long, long movie to sit through folks, and don't for one minute think it isn't scripted, in a Clint Eastwood, director AND "Dirty Harry" kinda way.

Screenwriters may be on strike, but Eric is doing a yoeman's job of filling in for 'em. Simon? You can do my soundtrack ANY day, honey.

AND, the 2008 Oscar Meyer Wiener award goes to?

Penny   ·  December 23, 2007 10:24 PM

I second or third the comments by others in that this Republican will not vote for Huckabee. I'd rather have a guaranteed Democrat failure than a Republican one. Hopefully the others who say Huck isn't all that likely to get the nod are correct. I sure don't know anyone who supports him. But, ever since the nation went gaga over the last empty suit Governor from Arkansas, I have felt oddly out of sync with the majority of my fellow citizens and doubt my ability to grasp their thought processes and predict their actions.

Bart   ·  December 24, 2007 12:04 AM

Bart is due for a BIG fart!

Penny   ·  December 24, 2007 1:19 AM

Next time just vote for the "Republicrats".

"I'm pro human rights, but I'm also pro human responsibilities too!"

Andrew Dawson   ·  December 24, 2007 2:47 AM

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