Friday, January 04, 2008

The Huckster Phenom: Just a Flash in the Pan?

IMHO, the Huckabee thing will be all over with in a few weeks. The country will not long suffer a "one-liner" Presidential candidate; the maelstrom of the Rest of the World is too serious for that approach.

But that doesn't mean that the Pubbie Party (AKA "the Stupid Party") shouldn't learn something from the Huckabee/ster.

Anyone who actually listens to what Huckabee SAYS (rather than reading and swallowing, whole, the MSM's "fundamentalist-Christian" meme), understands that Huckabee is very successfully selling economic populism rather than the libertarian economics favored by the Pubbie Establishment. Doing that in a State which has seen its manufacturing base chopped to smithereens by "global trade" people has an appeal which is visceral, not intellectual.

Having said that, here's Patrick Deneen, quoted in Dreher today:

It's clear that [Jonah] Goldberg and the mainstream of the Republican party were content all along to encourage the support of social conservatives so long as their votes, and not their views, were all that mattered. Now that social conservatism and economic libertarianism have begun to uncouple (an inevitable development in the aftermath of the fall of communism, which is all that kept this ungainly couple in the same political bed; the worst loser last night was not Hillary!, but the Republicans who hoped she would win and would replace communism as the glue that kept them together), the mainstream Republicans are desperate to ditch that part of the coalition and pick up whatever they can, including their desperate hope that a pro-choice candidate become the eventual nominee of the party. It turns out that Thomas Frank was at least half right: the social conservatives were being used throughout the Reagan and Bush eras (bought off by the promise of conservative judges, as if that is all it would take to change the culture), and now that their support is no longer so tractable, they're desperate to cut them loose. Change is in the air - let's hope it continues to smoke out the faux conservatives

Clicking through to the link, we find some very provocative words from Peg Noonan, too, writing about the Huckabee voters:

“They have been bruised and offended by the rigid, almost militant secularism and multiculturalism of the public schools; they reject those schools' squalor, in all senses of the word. They believe in God and family and America. They are populist: They don't admire billionaire CEOs, they admire husbands with two jobs who hold the family together for the sake of the kids; they don't need to see the triumph of supply-side thinking, they want to see that suffering woman down the street get the help she needs.

For those of you who are too young to recall, that also went under the name "Main Street" Republicanism, back in the late 1800's--before all the Main Street Bankers became bulletproofed by FDR's FDIC.

When that happened, the bankers got arrogant. They went to the country-clubs and found (voila!!) the Rockefellers, the Forbes-es, and the Fords.

Now Dreher has a point of view, and we understand that. But Eastern banker Pubbies and their allies are not the future of the Republican Party.

From another Dreher column:

...using the levers of government to rein in the power of private interests to do harm to the common good is a perfectly legitimate exercise of state power to a traditionalist conservative. This is why the Club for Growth and the Wall Street Journal editorial page's interest in keeping immigrants flowing northward for the good of big business is so offensive to traditionalist conservatives, who would like to see the state step up enforcement of immigration laws, even at the expense of business interests. I believe it was Christopher Lasch who said one cannot be both a conservative and a free-marketeer. What he meant by that was that the natural working of the market undermines all kinds of institutions and customs treasured by conservatives. He ought to have said traditionalist conservative, or social conservative, or cultural conservative. Because obviously in America, libertarians have generally found more of a natural home within the conservative tradition, owing to the fusionist settlement.

If you assume that the 40-hour week, or overtime pay, were "granted" by capitalists, you are wrong. They were legislated by the Feds. Health insurance was only offered (by GM) because it was a labor-recruitment tool--not because it was necessarily "good for GM." And now that health insurance is "Bad for GM," you note that GM (et al) are perfectly willing to shove it into the Government's lap.

To traditionalists, though, conservatism most definitely does not equal "what's good for the GDP." Indeed, what's good for the GDP might be inimical to traditional conservatism.

Rush Limbaugh "defines" populism as a nanny-State philosophy. Of course, he who writes the definitions controls the debate--and Rush is perfectly comfortable with a definition which is inaccurate and prejudicial. Maybe Rush never read Burke, nor Kirk. But he should.

One hopes that Fred Thompson gets this, too...because he remains the best Republican candidate despite his "free-trade" and "corn--it's what's for fuel" crap.


lazy mke county "workers" said...

Hey Freak,

I would think you would be thrilled with Huckaby.

In his victory speech he quoted your almighty Chesterton.

Do you wanna gag now?

Dad29 said...

Oooohhh...nice. You have such sophisticated text.

Chesterton quotes are good for a lot of occasions. Nice to know that Huck or someone in his campaign is literate.

It was 4:33 when you posted. Were you on County computers?