Mike Huckabee: Scarier Than Ron Paulby Doug Mataconis
So says LA Times’ Jonah Goldberg:
While many are marveling at Paul’s striking success at breaking out of the tinfoil-hat ghetto, Huckabee’s story is even more remarkable. The former Arkansas governor and Baptist minister is polling in second place in Iowa and could conceivably win there. He’s still a long shot to take the nomination and a pipe dream to take the presidency, but Huckabee matters in a way that Paul still doesn’t. One small indicator of Huckabee’s relevance: His opponents in the presidential race are attacking him while the field is ignoring Paul like an eccentric who sits too close to you on the bus.
So what’s so scary about Huckabee? Personally, nothing. By all accounts, he’s a charming, decent, friendly, pious man.
What’s troubling about The Man From Hope 2.0 is what he represents. Huckabee represents compassionate conservatism on steroids. A devout social conservative on issues such as abortion, school prayer, homosexuality and evolution, Huckabee is a populist on economics, a fad-follower on the environment and an all-around do-gooder who believes that the biblical obligation to do “good works” extends to using government — and your tax dollars — to bring us closer to the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth.
For example, Huckabee has indicated he would support a nationwide federal ban on public smoking. Why? Because he’s on a health kick, thinks smoking is bad and believes the government should do the right thing.
And therein lies the chief difference between Paul and Huckabee. One is a culturally conservative libertarian. The other is a right-wing progressive.
In other words, Huckabee, it seems, is the intellectual heir to the “compassionate conservatism” that George Bush campaigned on, even though it never really formed a coherent part of his governing style, either philosophically or in practice. The difference is that Huckabee actually believes what he says; he believes that the Federal Government should ban smoking, or that it should tell your kids how fat they are, or tell you what you should eat when you go to McDonalds.
He represents not conservatism so much as the death of the small-government branch of conservatism in ways that the other candidates for President don’t, because he actually means it.
And yet Huckabee is rising in the polls and being seriously considered as a Vice-Presidential nominee, which raises, as Goldberg notes, troubling conclusions about the Republican Party in general:
[T]here’s something weird going on when Paul, the small-government constitutionalist, is considered the extremist in the Republican Party while Huckabee, the statist, is the lovable underdog. It’s even weirder because it’s probably true: Huckabee is much closer to the mainstream. And that’s what scares me about Huckabee and the mainstream alike.
You and me both Jonah.
H/T: Freedom Democrats