Friday, December 28, 2007

Hucked Up

As Mitt Romney is frantically trying to hold off John f'ing McCain, of all people, in New Hampshire, so his minions are desperately trying to regain the initiative in Iowa by going after newly minted, long-demented front-runner Mike f'ing Huckabee, who I will never stop saying should be running for Mark Pryor's Senate seat instead of a job for which he's manifestly unqualified in so very many ways.

That's quite a list of almost uniform right-wing punditocratic denunciation of the Huckster that Jeff Fuller put together, isn't it? It'd take me hours to even skim every linked article, but a particular favorite of mine was Dean Barnett's contribution in the Weekly Standard. It's so good from beginning to end that it's difficult to distill down individual exerpts, but I'll give it the ol' college try:
The [Foreign Affairs] essay was a disaster for both Michael D. Huckabee and Mike Huckabee. Their bid to persuade America's most serious foreign policy analysts that Huckabee understands global affairs was equal parts embarrassing and unintentionally comic.

In one part of the essay, Huckabee somberly intoned that "Sun-tzu's ancient wisdom is relevant today: 'Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.'" The only problem with citing this ancient piece of wisdom is that it comes not from Sun Tzu, but Michael Corleone. Unfortunately, the rest of Huckabee's essay was silent as to what America should do about Hyman Roth and his Sicilian message boy, Johnny Ola.
Actually, I believe Sun-tzu said, "Know your enemy," or words to that effect. Note the Wikipedia link; note also that this wasn't an off-the-cuff quip in a speech, but a written essay. Which means that either Huckles is as intellectually lazy as his campaign staff, or vice versa, or both.
Other parts of Huckabee's Foreign Affairs opus uncomfortably suggest that the governor isn't just playing at being a rube. Repeatedly, Huckabee clumsily tried to make purportedly serious points in Bumpkin-speak. "When we let bin Laden escape at Tora Bora," Huckabee reminisced, "we played Brer Fox to his Brer Rabbit." At the risk of revealing my lack of bumpkin bona fides, I don't know what that's even supposed to mean.
Ouch. I dunno, maybe that's what passes for being well read in Arkansas. Oh, I guess I'm not too non-bumpkinesque to grasp the point Hucksaplenty was trying to make; personally, I'd have used Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner, since EVERYBODY knows THEM. Although that would be an awfully conspicuous slap at our military, which didn't bumble its way into letting bin Laden escape six years ago.

Here's a direct quote from Huck's intellectual tour de force:
"The United States, as the world's only superpower, is less vulnerable to military defeat. But it is more vulnerable to the animosity of other countries. Much like a top high school student, if it is modest about its abilities and achievements, if it is generous in helping others, it is loved. But if it attempts to dominate others, it is despised."American foreign policy needs to change its tone and attitude, open up, and reach out. The Bush Administration's arrogant bunker mentality has been counterproductive at home and abroad."
If I hadn't overtly introduced this quote as being from an article written by the 2008 Republican presidential frontrunner, you'd have assumed it came from a Democrat, wouldn't you? It sounds like floor sweepings from John Kerry's quixotic, Thurston Howellesque White House run three years ago, minus the mental twang.

Hucker couldn't leave that isolationist, Ameriphobic bilge on the written page, though:
And then there was the speech Huckabee gave in conjunction with the essay's release. In his speech, Huckabee made certain points that he didn't put in the magazine, perhaps for reasons of space or maybe because some Foreign Affairs editor has a well developed sense of mercy. "The bottom line is this," Huckabee cautioned. "Iran is a regional threat to the balance of power to the Middle and Near East; Al Qaeda is an existential threat to the United States."

Stunningly, Huckabee got it perfectly backwards. Al Qaeda is a menace to American security. But a nation governed by a hostile regime poised to produce a small arsenal of nuclear weapons that its leadership promises to use presents a truly existential threat. We can only conclude that "existential threat" does not mean what Mike Huckabee thinks it does.
Actually, they're both wrong, as al Qaeda and the Iranian mullahgarchy - which are collaborating in their joint war against the United States, particularly in Iraq, if you'll remember - are both menaces to American security. That Huckaplucka elevates American groveling on the world stage above protecting the U.S. from rogue and/or terrorist WMD strikes and still is the (or at least a) frontrunner for the 2008 GOP presidential nomination is flatly inexplicable.

Which didn't prevent Mr. Barnett from taking a go at a profoundly dismaying theory: personal likeability and a mistake-free campaign masking....
the most disquieting aspect of his ascendancy. On every major issue save for abortion and gay marriage, Huckabee is dramatically out of step with the Republican party. He talks a class warfare game that would make John Edwards blush. His foreign policy prescriptions make one yearn for the comparably muscular approach favored by Jimmy Carter. His anti-business rhetoric and his past regard for tax increases have left the Club for Growth types fuming. His leniency towards criminals is rapidly becoming legend.

Huckabee has risen because of identity-based politics. The bottom line rationale for his candidacy is frighteningly close to that of a Jesse Jackson campaign. Addressing a sliver [well, more like a helping] of the electorate, Huckabee in essence says, "Vote for me because I'm one of you." ...

If the Republican party nominates Huckabee, it will nominate a man who is both unqualified for the job and ideologically out of step with the party. The Republican party's main advantage over the Democratic party the last few decades has been the fact that Republicans were united by principle, while Democrats were a motley pastiche of special interest groups, each looking to tear a little piece off the government's bloated carcass in exchange for their support.

If Huckabee's ascent turns out to be anything more than a personality fueled blip, it will signal trouble for the Republican party. It will mean the ideology that has defined the Republican party since the age of Reagan is no longer enough to hold the party together. If Huckabee gets the nomination, it will mean that base identity politics have officially supplanted conservative ideology as the Republicans' uniting principle.
And it will be justifiably blameable on [drumroll] the "religious Right".

I guess this is the downside of a "wide-open" nomination race. But as empty-headed Elmer Gantrys and treacherous press fellators surge past pugnacious prosecutors and plastic panderers, it's not as if there isn't an inspiring, bona fide, comprehensive conservative behind which the Republican Party can rally.

If the Republican Party still gives a frog's fat leg about conservative principles, that is.

My theory? Heck, I already said that Huck's rise is inexplicable. Ditto squared "Sailor" McCain's rise in New Hampshire. My hope is that GOP voters still aren't paying close attention yet. My suspicion is that Hillary is so inevitable that they're just not engaging and aren't likely to any time soon, on the assumption that whoever we nominate will be cannon fodder anyway.

My fear is that GOP voters ARE paying attention.

"A dark prospect" indeed.