Mike Huckabee: Scarier Than Ron Paul

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

  • Drena

    Huckabee’s lack of fundraising success shows that people don’t really believe in him. He’s just a fad right now.

  • Francine

    Who is labeling Paul the extremist and Huckabee the lovable underdog? Paul has already been beating Huckabee in fundraising and is now beating him in polling as well, beating huckabee and fred thompson.

    The only reason Paul is labeled extremist and Huckabee underdog instead of vice versa is because of corporate media heads and trying-to-fin-in-their-daddys-shoes bloggers.

  • Samantha

    Huckabee is not bringing in the dollars and is being pushed by the media. He is a nanny stater and if anyone wants to check his record in AR, he is for illegal driver’s license and has had ethics problems.

    He would make a horrible candidate and when the other candidates see how bad he is, none of them will want him for VP.

    Maybe he can have a defeat shower for when he doesn’t win like he had one when he left the Governor’s Mansion to furnish his house.

    Anyone that orders the hard drives destroyed from when he was the Governor, need to be kept far away from political office. More like Clinton then most realize.

  • TanGeng

    Huckabee’s a populist. He’ll get votes from the people that his platform promises benefits. I think Ron Paul’s money support comes from the middle class – the taxpayers. Huckabee might get all the religious right vote and those too poor to pay for it. It’s strange to be able to vote for Huckabee as a Republican when he sounds just like a Democrat on social welfare and protectionism.

  • http://www.freedomdemocrats.org/ FreedomDemocrat

    I think a small government conservative right now would see either Romney or Thompson as the “least bad” option for the GOP nomination. I can only guess, I’m more on the left. But I think Romney would be good for the GOP as a nominee and a President, while Thompson at least doesn’t move more in the direction of Big Brother in the way that Giuliani and Huckabee would.