Sunday, April 08, 2007

Conservative Authenticity

I’m still out of town visiting relatives in honor of Jesus’ invention of the chocolate rabbit, so I don’t have too much time to tell you what’s going on in your world, but I had to cite this story:
Huckabee questions Romney hunting claim
GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney was wrong to suggest he was a lifelong hunter even though he never took out a license, campaign rival Mike Huckabee said Sunday.

"I think it was a major mistake," said Huckabee, a former Arkansas governor. "It would be like me saying I've been a lifelong golfer because I played putt-putt when I was 9 years old and I rode in a golf cart a couple of times."

"I think American people are looking for authenticity," Huckabee added. "Match their record with their rhetoric."

That’s what I’m talking about.  For as much as people have been suggesting that the GOP nomination can go to any moderate who’s willing to pretend to be conservative, I beg to differ.  Because there are too many conservative politicians who have been pretending to be conservative for far too long to allow a couple of moderate upstarts to steal their charade.  And the deeper we get into the campaign, the more the “real” conservatives are going to cash-in their conservative chips with attacks on their less conservative brethren.

Extraordinary Honesty and Candor

Here’s another example from the same article:
In contrast, Huckabee said, former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, also in the 2008 race, showed his honesty by recently reaffirming he supported abortion rights.
"Now, I disagree with him. I don't think we ought to use federal tax dollars for abortion, and I wouldn't if I were president," Huckabee said.

"But I thought it was at least a statement of extraordinary honesty and candor on the part of Giuliani that he would go into South Carolina, a very pro-life environment, and just say, look, this is who I am. I'm not going to change just to get your votes," he said.

Wow, what a nice guy Huckabee is, that he’d be so willing to praise one of his opponents for taking a stance that differs from his own.  And if that praise serves to reinforce the image of Giuliani as a tax-dollar-wasting abortion-freak, well you can’t say Rudy didn’t have it coming.  After all, he’s the monster wanting to force an abhorrent practice on the good people of South Carolina.

And of course, the joke is on all of them.  Because the only reason why the three leading Republicans are considered viable is because they’re too moderate for the rightwing of the party.  And the guys who have the true conservative credentials are surely too extremist to be acceptable in a general election.  And the harder it is for the “real” conservatives to get attention, the more they’re going to denounce the moderates; either for not being conservative enough or for not being an “authentic” conservative.  It’s a gigantic curse that was temporarily hidden with Bush, who was enough of a blank slate that he could pose as a moderate who gave sly winks to the rightwing.

And in this article, we see Huckabee went for the twofer.  He nailed Romney for lying about being a hunter and Giuliani for being consistent on abortion.  And it’s just going to keep getting worse.  For as much as the Republicans are team players, the Whitehouse is a completely different game, and there are too many conservatives who see no reason why they shouldn’t be running the team.  Besides it’d be better for the conservatives to get a Democrat they can oppose than a moderate Whitehouse that will keep them in check.  As Bush has shown, there are worse things for Republicans than losing the Whitehouse.

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