Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Huckabee ad

I'm not sure who did this ... but this sums up, in many degrees, why I like Mike Huckabee.


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A Winter Wonderland

Snow in Wisconsin this weekned.


Bud Selig, please resign

I suppose it's not unusual for me to agree with the conservative Washington Times editorial page, but this one is about sports, not politics. Noting the antitrust exemption baseball enjoys from the American people through their Congress, the Times notes:
A resignation by Mr. Selig, this scandal's chief enabler, would be a first and small down payment on our collective investment.



Friday, December 14, 2007

You don't have to be liberal ....

to look down your nose at Mike Huckabee. Conservatives at The National Review and The Weekly Standard seem to be doing plenty of it these days. It is fair to engage in Huckabashing because of policy differences, or in questions about how well the governor is prepared for a serious run at the presidency. In my own view, Gov. Huckabee has given other conservatives plenty of fodder in recent days and weeks for legitimate criticism.

But in a not insignificant amount of the criticism to date, there is plenty of sheer snobbery. You would expect this contempt from places like The Nation or Rolling Stone or even Andrew Sullivan. I just thought maybe people who generally found the Republican Party a hospitable home would actually have some respect or at least make some attempt at a general understanding of a wide swath of America that forms the base of the GOP.

However, the fact that Mike Huckabee is from a small Southern state, went to a Baptist college, and spent his young adult years as an aide to a pastor, and then a pastor himself apparently earns him extra helpings of "let's-eat-our-young" fire from the right.

(Note: Earlier version called it a Bible college, but it's actually not, and in fact a highly rated college according to U.S. News & World Report).

Such as:

Andrew Stuttaford, who as a Brit and a New Yorker probably understands the South as well as I understand the difference between Uptown or Downtown Manhattan, links Huckabee with the Puritans

Richlieu, whoever that is, at the Weekly Standard, likens Huckabee to a "simpleton" and mocks where the governor went to college.

And the reigning queen of "we hate those Baptists from the South" snobbery, Lisa Schiffren. She's a former speechwriter for Dan Quayle, a declared Rudy supporter, and a definer of what is "tacky:. She can hardly post on National Review with a reference to where Huckabee went to college, which of course wasn't nearly as prestigious as Bryn Mawr. You can just read her sneer here:

That bait shop on the lake — it's looking good. You'll be surrounded by nice neighbors, real Christians, and you can be the smartest guy in the room. You can go out running every morning. Remember Huck — Jesus wouldn't be dumb enough to go into politics.You were right on that one. Maybe it's not what he wants from you either.

Yes, those people in the South, they're stupid. Even "no count." Especially if they didn't go to a fancy college in Pennsylvania. And especially if they believe the Bible. I suppose this kind of snobbery is one's birthright if you have climbed the social ladder high enough to get your wedding announcement in The New York Times.

Finally today Rich Lowry calls for an end to this nonsense, or at least some of it. Mike Huckabee can and should be able to handle criticism about policy or his politics -- and if he can't, he shouldn't be the Republican nominee. But real people ought to be able to have honest discussions about what it means to be a conservative without resorting to claiming themselves superior because they were born north of the Mason-Dixon line and have a degree from a better college.


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Iowa Debate today

That was the most ridiculous excuse for a debate. No questions on immigration or taxes and the inexcusable inclusion of Alan Keyes. Everyone wanted to see exchanges between Gov. Romney and Gov. Huckabee, and they got none of that.

Here's my plan for the next debate: A round-robin format. First, Huckabee and Romney. Then Romney and McCain. Then McCain and Thompson. And so forth, until the contenders (and only the serious ones) have a chancce to interact with everyone. Fifteen minute slots, two questions for each slot.

For what it's worth, though I like Gov. Huckabee, I also thought Romney and Thompson did very well in a truly awful format. In fact, I wondered where the heck THAT Fred Thompson has been during the other debates.


Huckabee in The New York Times

Lots of hub-ub today about one sentence in a New York Times profile of Mike Huckabee. Reading the whole thing gives one the kind of context the AP story is completely missing.

The campaign's response is here.

Complaints about the AP story aside, Gov. Huckabee needs to be preparing for political debates, not musing out loud about theological ones. The doctrines of Gov. Romney's religion should not be relevant to his candidacy.


A Romance Renewed

Or better yet, celebrated. I love the part about him finding her wedding dress and displaying it on a mannequin. May God grant them many more years!


National Review non-surprise

NR's endorsement of Mitt Romney is about as unsurprising as the sun rising in the East this morning. Most honest observers of the magazine and its online components would have been stunned at any other endorsement.

The timing isn't surprising either. It comes on the heels of several days of consistent Huckabee-bashing, criticism that sometimes has a whiff of desperation about it. NR's editorial on Gov. Huckabee's foreign policy views seemed to me largely unfair, as if they not paid any attention when reading his CSIS speech. NR completely ignored the major thrust of the speech -- the need to be more aggressive with Pakistan -- as well as Gov. Huckabee's call for a stronger Army and his support for the Iraq surge.

As for Gov. Romney, there's much to admire. As Governor, he was willing to be bold on health care, an issue too many Republicans and too many conservatives neglect (and one where Gov. Huckabee may be a little to the left of me). Yet to simply bypass Gov. Romney's past positions, which include a rejection of "Reagan-Bush" (hunt on YouTube for that one) strikes me as giving him just a little easier freebie than NR would have given anyone else.


Friday, December 07, 2007

McCain's Real Pro-Life Moment

Whatever one thinks of John McCain as a presidential candidate, he certainly shines as a decent, compassionate human being in this moment on the campaign trail in New Hampshire, where a questioner seemed on the brink of wanting to kill himself. McCain responded beautifully:
All I can tell you is there are loving family members and loving neighbors and friends, who want to do all they can to help you live as long and as beautiful a life as possible. We value you and we cherish you.

The whole story is worth reading.


Thursday, December 06, 2007

South Carolina and the Fair Tax

Everyone in the conservative elite press is beating up on Mike Huckabee now. Today the Wall Street Journal took another whack, mostly targeting the Fair Tax plan.

On one part, the Wall Street Journal is just plain exaggerating:
In 2004, Democrats came from nowhere to nearly beat South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint by pounding his support for the fair tax.

First of all, DeMint won by TEN points. Secondly, his opponent was the state Superintendent of Education, Inez Tenenbaum, a bright, capable elected official who had been active in state politics for 20 years. Whether attacking the Fair Tax was effective or not is sort of beside the point -- DeMint won handily against a skilled opponent.