The Republican race for President has certainly taken an interesting turn recently. As Rudy Guiliani’s campaign sinks faster than the Titanic or the “Straight Talk Express,” Mike Huckabee is now the GOP front runner.
Yet many stalwarts of the Republican right have come out against Huckabee.
Ann Coulter recently said that Huckabee is the “Republican Jimmy Carter.”
Rich Lowry in the National Review said that his nomination would “represent an act of suicide by his party.”
Rush Limbaugh recently devoted a segment on his December 3 show to how the liberal media doesn’t want you to vote for Huckabee. Rush advises people to vote for Giuliani, Thompson, or Romney.
Even Matt Drudge has gone after Huckabee saying that he’s the favorite of Democrats.
Why the Huck-a-hating?
The Huckabee campaign may be the first to reveal an interesting split in the Republican party that many may not be aware of. Let’s call these two groups the Christian Republicans and the Business-Class Republicans. CRs and BCRs. These two groups have formed the Republican base since at least the early 90s.
Typically, the GOP’ers nominate the Business-Class Republicans for public office. You’re familiar with the scenario. Republicans hand-pick a prominent BCR to run. This BCR then announces his opposition to abortion and embraces Christianity in order to win the evangelical vote. Once in office, this same Republican primarily votes for the pro-business agenda and every now and then throws the Christians a bone.
In 2008, the BCRs are represented by Giuliani, McCain, Romney, and Thompson. Think about it. Was Giuliani opposed to abortion before the election? Was Romney as governor of that hated John Kerry state Massachusetts? McCain? All of them tow the GOP establishment line: pro-business, pander to evangelicals for their votes.
Only now Huckabee comes along and an actual evangelical is running for office. The Business-Class Republicans don’t seem to be completely comfortable with this.
It seems like the BCRs want the CRs to vote Republican and help elect the ruling business elite, but they may not want much else.
As Lowry states, “nominating a Southern Baptist pastor running on his religiosity would be rather overdoing it.”
They attack Mike Huckabee on his experience, yet what it really seems they are opposed to is his breaking of the typical mold: the candidate should be a BCR. The unwritten rule seems to be that the GOP doesn’t want an actual fundamentalist to run.
Lowry’s position on the evolution debate is perhaps the most interesting and the most indicative of the GOP position. He claims that by speaking specifically against evolution, Huckabee would “push away independents and upper-income Republicans.”
Independents and upper-income Republicans. Hmm. Sounds like a description of the BCRs. Lowry is basically saying that fundamentalists would alienate his group, the “liberal” Republicans, the group that plays for the Christian vote but is mostly concerned about winning and supporting big business.
Lowry, Coulter, and the GOP establishment seem to think Huckabee is in danger of up-ending the winning GOP formula: pro-big business, pander to the evangelicals.
Similar to Rush, Coulter tries to label him as the candidate of the mainstream media. Let’s analyze this attack for a second.
First off, the mainstream media only recently even paid Mike Huckabee any attention whatsoever and he is still getting significantly less coverage than the top 3 of Giuliani, Romney, and Thompson/McCain.
Second, remember that Coulter IS a member of the mainstream media. She IS the establishment. Don’t forget that. Limbaugh has also attacked Huckabee. He also IS the establishment. The same goes for Drudge. These people are the establishment.
What the GOP wants is the evangelical vote. What they don’t want are actual evangelicals.
The fact that the only way to beat this guy is to label him a liberal is just downright funny. What he seems to be is an actual compassionate Christian. What they seem to be are Election Day Christians.
Rudy Giuliani, cross-dressing Christian? Mitt Romney, say-anything-to-get-elected Mormon Christian? Fred Thompson, dead-on-arrival Christian? All of them have a pro-business platform with nods to the religious right.
Why is it that supposedly pro-Christian pundits like Limbaugh, Coulter, and Drudge do not like an actual evangelical who is running for president? Why are these media personalities turning the hate machine on someone that they should love?
Mike Huckabee wins the Message of the Week Award for his explanation of why this is happening:
There’s a sense in which all these years the evangelicals have been treated very kindly by the Republican Party. They wanted us to be a part of it. And then one day one of us actually runs, and they say, Oh, my gosh. Now they’re serious. They don’t want to just show up and vote. They actually would want to be a part of the discussion, and really talk about issues that include hunger and poverty and things that ought to be really a concern to every American, Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative.