Monday, December 17, 2007

The Huckabee Fault Line


As I mentioned here the other day, some prominent conservative pundits are alarmed at Mike Huckabee's sudden move to the front of the Republican presidential pack. This pack of notable right-wing commentators continues to grow in size and vehemence.

The upshot of this trend is that the Republican coalition faces a clear and present danger of falling apart. For decades now, the party's foreign-policy conservatives, corporate conservatives and libertarian-types have been willing to play patty-cake with the more rabid specimens among the social and religious conservatives, just to keep them in the tent -- so long as none of their wackier legislative schemes became national policy. But the Huckabee surge has gained sufficient momentum that it now requires a stern blowback from the GOP's comparative sophisticates.

This creates a political fault line that could take years to heal. It's not likely that Huckabee will get the nomination, and his defeat might well prompt his theocratic supporters to wax bitter against the other Republicans who actively opposed him. Folks on the Religious Right might finally realize that they've been played for suckers. And if Huckabee somehow wins the nomination, the party's elite will abandon him. Either way, the GOP could become badly splintered.

UPDATE: Arianna Huffington offers this assessment of the situation.

UPDATE II: Cynthia Tucker has this.

1 comment:

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