Thursday, January 03, 2008


The real losers tonight are Huckleberry Fred Thompson, who has to continue on to New Hampshire instead of going home to eat stewed prunes in front his Matlock reruns, and Willard "Muff" Romney, who flushed away more of his own cash in Iowa than I'll earn in a lifetime.

And of course, the Republican Party, which is the captive of the fundamentalists it loathes and enables. Listen to the squeals of pain from National Review's Corner (no link) in the wake of a victory by an anti-abortion, death-penalty loving, creationist Bible-humper:

I wouldn't put aside the Constitution or anything just yet (or ever).... It's a First Principles kinda moment. What do conservatives believe? How much do we want to fight for those principles? Who will represent them?


It would be truer to say that for a proportion of Huck's followers there is no aisle: he's their kind of Christian, and all the rest - foreign policy, health care, mass transit, whatever - is details. This is identity politics of a type you don't often see on the Republican side.


A Romney circler emphasizes to me in the virtual spin room: "Huckabee is a pro-life Jimmy Carter – he will be rejected by econ and natl security conservatives. He would be the death knell of the social conservatives as players within the party – hopefully enough will come to their senses."


Peter is right that we'll all have to start being more respectful of Huck after tonight, but, before that dread hour arrives, let me say there is something slightly jaw-dropping about a two-party system that presents voters with a choice between Mike Huckabee and (if early numbers hold up) John Edwards.


Anti-Huck people are freaking. Deep breaths. As Bill Bennett just pointed out on CNN, evangelicals aren't necessarily a voting block, as much as Pastor Huckabee has tried to suggest (and prays?) they are in his identity-politicking. Just ask Mark DeMoss.


For example, I'm not saying I'd rather lose with X,Y, or Z than win with Huckabee. But I don't reject the proposition outright that I might come around to that way of thinking, if I were convinced that his governing philosophy is as bad as I sometimes fear it is.

It's like the five stages of death -- denial, anger, bargaining, depression and the absence of brain activity for all eternity -- among the establishment Republicans who, until now, pretended to love their snake-handling cousins.

No comments: