Thursday, February 7, 2008

What's next (Republicans)

What does Mike Huckabee do now?

It's not at all clear. He wants to be John McCain's vice-presidential candidate very badly. However, he's now the only alternative to McCain left standing (Ron Paul doesn't count anymore) in a party with influential factions that despise McCain. If you can't quite believe the raw fervor with which key elements of George W. Bush's winning coalition hate McCain, check out this missive from Dr. James Dobson to his Focus on the Family listserve.

Dobson's statement is unhinged. He has one valid point: if you vote exclusively on life issues, McCain, with his vocal support for stem-cell research, his centrist attitudes on abortion, and his refusal to pander to Christianists, is not your man. Still, how can he say that both Clinton and Obama have "virulently anti-family positions" (which is false) and then not support their opponent!? He is falling off of the applecart, and I, for one, have no interest in helping him hang on.

Superficially, Huckabee looks like an ideal VP for McCain: a younger man who can reconcile the Republican Party's warring factions. Not so fast: Huckabee would appease the religious wing of the Republican coalition, but the tax-cutting, anti-immigration wing despises both McCain and Huckabee with equal fervor. More to the point, Huckabee doesn't help McCain win any swing states. His appeal is strongest in the South, which McCain would win anyway. Also, rightly or wrongly, McCain's VP will get vetted as a president-in-waiting due to McCain's age and gaunt facial visage. "President Huckabee" might be good for a chortle, but it won't be good for votes.

Two names that have been bandied about are Governor Charlie Crist of Florida, Jeb Bush's popular successor and a close friend of McCain, and Governor Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, a young, well-respected governor of a Democratic-leaning state who campaigned for McCain in Iowa and in Michigan. Both men strike me as sounder choices than Mike Huckabee.

As for Huckabee himself, he has three viable options:

1) Turn on McCain and embark on a quixotic (since McCain will be nominated) campaign to define himself as a "real Republican".
2) Continue running to keep himself in the media spotlight, but remain deferential to McCain and keep angling for the VP slot.
3) Drop out, stop running up a debt - he's even worse off than Hillary for cash on hand - and call an end to the campaign grind.

1 comment:

Danny Vice said...

While I fully understand the angst of Conservatives in their policy opposition to John McCain blunders like Illegal immigration, Conservatives are beginning to amaze me in their inability to see the larger picture.

While I also disagree with McCain on a dozen issues or so, the alternative is not just four years of 'sitting it out' as some have proposed.

Many talk radio hosts have battled a McCain nomination. Even Focus On The Family Director Dr. Dobson (who I admire ) has declared his refusal to vote for McCain.

This astonishes me because it’s the same as saying “if we don’t get the conservative I want, We’ll let the country go to hell in a hand basket.”

This, in my opinion is very dangerous and makes our future prospects harder - since our children will be growing up in the aftermath of such a decision.

Anti McCain pundits and commentators such as Rush Limbaugh have ventured the idea that perhaps we should sit this election out and let the Dems have a term in office, claiming it might pave the way for a future shot at a candidate he and others will like in four years.

While I understand these expressions of dismay, I think it’s shortsighted. Imagine the damage our country will endure if Democrats control all three branches of government for 4 to 8 years. .

This would give liberals what they will treat as a clear sign from America that is it ready to move sharply to the left. Conservatism will lose most of it’s teeth and the liberal agenda could easily reverse all of the progress we’ve made in the war on terror, Tax reduction, Pro Life, and other extremely important issue.

We can always address the issue of immigration again in 4 years. What we cannot afford to see happen is a liberal agenda that makes illegal immigration the least of our country’s problems. Our country may be so torn up, it won’t have the time to even visit the issue, like we can today.

There is no such thing as a quick recovery from 4 years of liberalism unchecked. We may be facing what will take years and years of damage to undo. What’s more, there’s no guarantee that it WILL be undone. The passage of even one single liberal law is extremely difficult to outlaw - as if Roe V Wade hasn’t taught us this already!

Rush Limbaugh and others may revel in 4 years of liberal destruction as a talk radio host who can use the material, however all it takes is one liberal judge appointed to the Supreme Court to unravel the one ace we’ve achieved in the last 8 years. This doesn’t occur to me as a smart decision for Conservatives to be making..

As Evangelical Conservatives know, Pride cometh before the fall, and I hope they will study that verse before deciding to approach this election with dismay rather than enthusiasm.

Questioning McCain was right and highly useful for a time and a season. But there are greater threats looming on our horizon than John McCain.

It’s time to put our differences aside and get with the business assuring our children, they will not grow up in a socialist, liberally dominated world. This may be our cross roads, and it is certainly no time to be staying home on Election Day.

Danny Vice
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