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PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2009 11:23 pm 
I think all of us can see that Southern Doc's analysis is correct, and I'm skeptical about the possibility of a swing in power toward social conservativism before the next election. I know that Mike is committed to working within the Republican party, but I'm afraid that the only way that I'll ever be able to cast a ballot for him in November 2012 is if he runs as an independent. With the cards stacked against him like this, there's no way he can win the Republican nomination.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2009 11:29 pm 
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2009 1:27 am 
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Southern Doc wrote:
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But, my point is by what reasoning would we get to a conclusion which says the things some don't like about Toomey transfer to Blackwell?


I suppose by the same reasoning that what we like about Dobson or Perkins is supposed to transfer to Blackwell.


Well, I can't see that that follows. Okkam's razor teaches us that the simplest most obvious answer is the answer to be preferred, unless there is compelling reason to prefer a more convoluted one.

The simplest answer is that Dobson and Perkins view Blackwell as the most consistent with the goals of their organizations --when all factors are considered. That doesn't make Blackwell a better person because of the endorsements. It only means he has figured out how to pass their tests.

A less obvious answer would require some evidence to support it. Hopefully, the Christians aren't comfortable casting aspersions on brothers absent such supportive evidence.

Southern Doc wrote:
We just went through a cycle where the acid test of the nature of the GOP in relation to economic, foreign policy, and social conservatives revealed much. As a social conservative I was, once again, made abundantly aware that my issues were considered not only least important but a hinderance by many "conservative leaders." I also stood by in amazement and disgust as social conservative leaders turned their backs on one of their own in a pragmagtic play to placate the other two legs of the proverbial stool.


Ok, lets be concrete. Again, it doesn't follow that everyone who didn't endorse Mike Huckabee didn't do it for exactly the same reason.

Who to support isn't always a slam dunk. Sometimes it is agonizing and deciding what less than perfect aspects of a candidate are more tolerable in one over another.

Is there any appreciable difference between the pro life position & commitment of Duncan Hunter, Sam Brownback, Alan Keyes, and Mike Huckabee (you can probably throw in Tom Tancredo, as well). Yet, there is a difference in the candidates in many ways just not on the life issue.

Some have reasoned that any of these just listed who are more vocally pro life than most are not going to accomplish any more in substantive terms, than a Romney, McCain, or Thompson.

I choose not to agree with that, but I can conceive how such reasoning gets worked out.

Anyway, when I see a given person oppose (or not support) Mike Huckabee, I want to judge him individually and not import someone else's motives (who also didn't support MH) and attribute the motives of that other onto the first person.

In the first place Mike Huckabee (as I said) is a controversial figure. Without a doubt he is on a mission to bring change to the Republican party. He is a movement politician, not someone who just "wants to be POTUS" --like John McCain, or George Herbert Walker Bush.

Movement politicians, by definition, are controversial; Goldwater was, Reagan was. Mike Huckabee is.

Secondly, some of the criticisms of Mike were not answered very satisfactorily, particularly some of the ethics complaints. And, his executive clemency policy is very controversial. These things caused some to be nervous. Might not a Huckabee general election campaign implode under the heat of the Democrat ads?

It was also obvious to those who are serious about governing policy, that with regard to many issues --particularly foreign policy-- that Mike was winging it.

Ordinarily, a viable presidential campaign brings in expert advisers to help formulate official position papers for the campaign, and to tutor the candidate. As I recall, George W. Bush brought Condi Rice in to tutor him way in advance of officially launching his campaign.

From what I can tell, Mike Huckabee was his own one-man-policy-shop until he brought in people like Jim Pinkerton and Dr. Charmaine Yoest. I never heard if he ever got a national security advisor. As I recall, Condi Rice was considered the national security adviser to the Bush campaign before she had that title in the White House.

So, my mind tells me that it was reasonable for people to be skeptical of the Huckabee campaign, until one got bit by the Hucka-bug and then saw the light. :)

Adam here on this forum was a FredHead before he converted to this movement. He had his reasons to prefer Fred. Heck, I was Brownback supporter until the night of the Morgan State candidates forum. When Mike announced in Jan of 2007, I said, Huckabee? Is this a joke? What kinda national following could he possibly have?

Southern Doc wrote:
It also looks like the social conservative leaders are, once again, content to strike the best deal they can to have a seat at the table and an alledgedly sympathetic ear. They will be allowed a seat in return for delivering the lion's share of all Republican votes. The one thing they dare not do is challenge for the position of head of the table.


That is the way it has to be, until we have an outright majority. White evangelicals may be the biggest Republican block (assuming we are a block) but we aren't at 50% plus 1. So, until we get more united with other SoCons: Roman Catholics, Mormons, Orthodox Jews, Blacks, Hispanics, and others we aren't gonna have the kind of leverage necessary to control the party, outright.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2009 12:21 pm 
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When Mike announced in Jan of 2007, I said, Huckabee? Is this a joke? What kinda national following could he possibly have?


Though I had voted for him at every opportunity, knew him, and had spoken from the same stage with him, the above comment sums up my first response as well.

I am well aware of the complexity of issue clusters and personality traits that compell or hinder political support. I have many friends, whom I consider mature, responsible, and informed citizens and Christians who did not embrace a Huckabee candidacy.

Politics is always about the art of the possible and it took me awhile to realize the potential in a Huckabee run. I hold no hostility for those who did not see, or still do not see, what I believe are the possitive possibilities in a vertical politics (which frankly is simply a "Christian Center/Right Party" in the late 19th early 20th century European mold) movement with Mike as the (or a) standard bearer.

However, given my current assumptions and conclusions on vertical politics, I naturally do not view those conservative leaders who held or hold a different position with any particular deference to their judgements or endorsements. This is particularly true given the political landscape that we now face thanks in large part to the guidance of these leaders in the past.

I have also become shockingly aware of the simple contempt held for people of a living faith by many within the old Reagan coalition. There exists a strong undercurrent that to believe in an active God who compels and directs the steps of man is irrational if not imbicilic. Simply put - there is a bigotry against people of faith in the public square within the Republican party. This bias becomes more pronounced the further one moves from Catholicism and old-line Protestants (Congregational, Episc) towards more "evangelical" faiths (Baptist, Pentacostal movements).

George Will, who should know better intellectually, went so far as to relate the following in his efforts to knock down Huckabee's Iowa win standing:

Quote:
Huckabee says "only one explanation" fits his Iowa success "and it's not a human one. It's the same power that helped a little boy with two fish and five loaves feed a crowd of 5,000 people." God so loves Huckabee's politics that He worked a Midwest miracle on his behalf? Should someone so delusional control nuclear weapons?


http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/opinion/3 ... ill06.html

Will's general attack of the doctrine of "Providentialism" is an insult to both history and people of faith. Virtually every American President has expressed (some like Washington, Adams, Lincoln, Hays, Garfield, McKinley, Wilson, in equally direct unambiguous language to Huckabee) belief in a Providential God who guided and controlled (choose your FreeWill/Determinist option) the affairs of men and nations from from the raising of Kings to the falling of sparrows.

I do not want to be misunderstood, I do not consider this an attack on Huckabee. This is an attack on God. And by extention an attack on any and all who acknowledge His sovereignty. My historical understanding is that we have been a Great Nation as a result of acknowledging His sovereignty and that by breaking faith with Him we cut ourselves loose from the root of all that has given this nation strength and fruitfulness.

I frankly care little whether our modern issue clusters of "left" and "right" (BTW do you really want to borrow your political terms [left bank, right bank of the Seine] from the French? :wink: ) prevail per se. I believe many who disagree with me on issues are still on God's side. It is seeking to be on God's side that I desire, and I want from our political leaders.

Of course when Palin used virtually the same "God's side" language as Lincoln she was savaged by the Noonan-Murphy-Wills. The meme deepened and reinforced that she was dumb and that her faith was further (or primary) evidence of this fact. For Palin she faced the even greater obsticle that she had been affiliated with Pentacostalism. [a little disclosure here - I am not a believer in later day gifts or the rapture/thousand year reign - but I see through a glass darkly and leave to God knowledge of such things and His sheep including his "other sheep I have not of this fold."]

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VertiCon wrote:
That is the way it has to be, until we have an outright majority. White evangelicals may be the biggest Republican block (assuming we are a block) but we aren't at 50% plus 1. So, until we get more united with other SoCons: Roman Catholics, Mormons, Orthodox Jews, Blacks, Hispanics, and others we aren't gonna have the kind of leverage necessary to control the party, outright.


I believe you are correct. My doubt resides in whether we can attain to a more united SoCon coalition while still submitting our issues to the leaders who value fiscal and other issues more and seem to, at best, tolerate us at their table as we wait for crumbs from the meal brought mainly by us. I can not surpress the notion that time may be at hand to overturn a few tables. Especially those of the moneychangers.

But, then again, look what happened to the last guy to try that. :wink:

Then again...look what happened indeed. :D :D :D

VertiCon - I have really appreciated this civil conversation with you and your informed, reasonable, and gracious comments. This is rare on the web. We all have a remarkable forum here at HucksArmy.

You, and ValuesVoter as well, might really appreciate reading some new scholarship on the influence of faith in the public square.

Adam Hochschild, Bury the Chains (2005)

Hochschild is a very secular historian who is none-the-less overwhelmed by the evidence of the great good that only came about by virtue of the militant/selflessness of Christians in bringing about an end to slavery.

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"As for us, our days of combat are over. Our swords are rust. Our guns will thunder no more. The vultures that once wheeled over our heads must be buried with their prey. Whatever of glory must be won in the council or the closet, never again in the field. I do not repine. We have shared the incommunicable experience of war; we have felt, we still feel, the passion of life to its top."

Oliver Wendell Holmes


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 08, 2009 10:56 am 
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Southern Doc wrote:
...I hold no hostility for those who did not see, or still do not see, what I believe are the possitive possibilities in a vertical politics (which frankly is simply a "Christian Center/Right Party" in the late 19th early 20th century European mold) movement with Mike as the (or a) standard bearer.


I may come back later tonight and respond more to your post. But, interesting that you should say this. I remember one analyst, during the heat of the campaign, noticed this very thing in the midst of the other unsophisticated pronouncements. Notice:

Quote:
CAMPAIGN 2008
The GOP's Time for Choosing

Mike Huckabee would make the party more like Europe's Christian Democrats.

BY HENRY OLSEN
Sunday, January 6, 2008 12:01 a.m.

Mike Huckabee's stunning victory in Thursday's Iowa caucuses does more than change the GOP nomination race. With a platform explicitly grounded in his Christian faith and a populist economic message, Mr. Huckabee offers the Republican Party a new political narrative, light years removed from the limited government principles governing the GOP in the Reagan and post-Reagan era.

This pro-faith, pro-government message may sound strange to American ears--but it is a staple of conservative political parties on the European continent. Mr. Huckabee, in other words, essentially gives Republicans a choice: Does the GOP want to become a Christian Democratic party? To answer that question, Republicans should look carefully at Christian Democracy to see if it is a model worth emulating.

Christian Democracy is a reaction to the classical liberalism and socialism that came of age in late-19th-century Europe. Both of these movements threatened the faithful with their secularism and economic theories. Classical liberal emphasis on unfettered markets evoked fears of untrammeled greed and exploitation of workers; socialism made many fear for the future of private property.

Christian Democrat parties have always distinguished themselves from liberals and socialists, favoring private property and traditional values while supporting government regulation and taxation to ameliorate what they perceive to be capitalism's defects. The German Christian Democratic Union (CDU), for example, is quite explicit about this, claiming it is the "party of the political center."

These parties uphold marriage and the traditional family as the bedrocks of society. They also advocate economic policies typified by the CDU's ideal of a "social market economy," which emphasizes the need for both government-provided welfare and capitalism. Contemporary Christian Democratic parties are also some of the staunchest supporters of rapid reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. They reach this conclusion from the principle of "Christian stewardship," which the Norwegian Christian Democrats say "implies that the resources of the Earth should be taken care of for the best of present and future generations."

Christian Democracy is a different beast than Reagan-era conservatism, which drew upon the traditions of the Founding Fathers--which are extremely suspicious of government power, regulation and redistribution. It is virtually impossible to imagine a Christian Democratic leader inveighing against government intervention in the economy as Ronald Reagan did in his first inaugural address. ("In the present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.")

American conservatism also differs from Christian Democracy in its attitude toward faith. Reagan conservatism is faith-friendly, supporting the free exercise of religion and traditional morality. But it does not define its political principles with reference to its faith; in this view, Christianity is consistent with proper political principles, but is not the primary wellspring of those principles.

While virtually no one on the American right explicitly calls for the adoption of Christian Democracy, others besides Mr. Huckabee admire and advocate similar principles. For example, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum's book, "It Takes a Family," echoed the Christian Democratic emphasis on placing the health of the family ahead of the health of the economy as a political principle.

Perhaps the most prominent contemporary apostle for these views is former White House speechwriter Michael Gerson. In his recent book, "Heroic Conservatism," he argues that a conservatism which fails to embrace the energetic use of government power for good will be both immoral and unsuccessful.

Immoral losers: That's quite a charge to levy against Reagan conservatives. But perhaps Mr. Gerson is correct: Perhaps a more European approach to governing from the right is better. So let's look at the record.

Every country which has been primarily governed by Christian Democrats since World War II (Germany, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands) is poorer than the United States, with substantially higher unemployment rates and slower economic growth. The differences aren't even close.

The per capita, purchasing-power-adjusted GDP of the richest of these countries--Holland--is 15% lower than that of the U.S. The GDP of every other country is at least 20% lower. The U.S. unemployment rate in 2006 was 4.6%; the average of the Christian Democratic four was over 7%, and it was that low only because the Netherlands diverts many of its unemployed to a disability program that enrolls nearly 10% of the workforce.

Incomes are more equally distributed: America's Gini coefficient, a widely used measure of income inequality, is much higher than in any of these countries. But that is simply the flip side of the other statistics. Christian Democratic countries choose lower incomes and higher unemployment as the price for their commitment to social welfare.

But these countries also fare worse on common measures of family well-being. German and Belgian divorce rates are higher than those in America, and the Netherlands' rate is roughly comparable. The 2005 out-of-wedlock birth rate was slightly lower in Germany (29%) than the U.S. (37%), but it was higher in Belgium (49%) and about the same in the Netherlands (35%). The overall birth rate in the U.S. is about 2.1 children per woman in her lifetime, about the level needed to keep the population stable. None of the Christian Democrat countries come close to that; Italy's is a meager 1.2.

It is not the case that Christian Democrat-led countries fare better at sustaining faith. According to a 2006 Harris poll, 73% of Americans believe in God. Similar polls taken in 2005 and 2006 show only 62% of Italians, 43% of Belgians, 41% of Germans and 34% of Dutch believe. A 2003 Harris poll found that 44% of Americans attend religious services at least once a week. According to the 2004 European Social Survey, fewer than 15% of Dutch and Belgians, and 10% of Germans, attend services that frequently.

Is a faith-based, pro-government party necessary for political success? It is hard to draw inspiration from Christian Democratic victories, which are largely due to Europe's proportional-representation electoral systems. The most successful parties win between 25% and 40% of the vote and form a government because a majority coalition cannot be formed without them.

But America's first-past-the-post system encourages factions to combine into a single party so that they are likelier to get over 50% of the vote, a level of support that an American Christian Democratic party is unlikely to attain. The 2004 exit poll showed that only 42% of American voters attend religious services at least weekly, and that includes African-Americans, Jews and other minorities very unlikely for historical reasons to support a party of the right. Getting to 50% would require a Christian Democratic party to make compromises with non-religious voters, something that would weaken the very impetus animating the party.

The political debate for the last decade has been between a Democratic Party which essentially argues America should be more like Europe--more statist, more secular, more pacifist--and a Reagan-influenced GOP which argues America should be more like its historical self. The Mike Huckabee/Christian Democratic movement is an attempt to break this logjam by looking to a different European model, one that says we can be more statist without being more secular or pacifist. In deciding how to react to the Huckabee challenge, Reagan's GOP descendants now face their own time for choosing.

Mr. Olsen is a vice president at the American Enterprise Institute and director of its National Research Initiative.

Copyright © 2009 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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