Friday, December 21, 2007

Peggy Noonan Takes on HuckaBeeaChristian

Peggy Noonan. Read the whole thing or Jesus will hate you.

Mr. Huckabee reminds me of two governors who became president, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. Like Mr. Clinton, he is a natural, charming, bright and friendly. Yet one senses something unsavory there, something not so nice. Like Mr. Bush, his approach to politics seems, at bottom, highly emotional, marked by great spurts of feeling and mighty declarations as to what the Lord wants. The problem with this, and with Bushian compassionate conservatism, which seems to have an echo in Mr. Huckabee's Christianism, is that to the extent it is a philosophy, it is not a philosophy that allows debate. Because it comes down to "This is what God wants." This is not an opener of discussion but a squelcher of it. It doesn't expand the process, it frustrates it.

Mr. Huckabee is clever. He puts forth his policies, such as they are, based on a faith-based understanding of public policy, and if you disagree with his policies, or take a hard shot at them, or at him, he suggests the reason is that you look down on evangelicals. This creates a new fissure in a party already riven by fissures. He has been accused by some in the conservative press of tearing the party apart, but it was being torn apart before he got on the scene. His rise is not a cause of collapse but an expression of it.

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