The Upsides to Mike Huckabee

The Carpetbagger Report has a post on Huckabee which makes points similar to those I’ve made about him in the past. Steve Benen writes about the problems with Huckabee’s emphasis on religion and then concludes:

All of this sounds quite persuasive, but I was on a radio show yesterday with my friend Bill Simmon who raised a good point: as aggressively as Huckabee is pushing a line, and as uncomfortable as he’s making a lot of people feel, there’s an upside — at least there won’t be any surprises from this guy.

In other words, Huckabee’s candidness has the benefit of transparency. There’s no real wink-wink here; Huckabee is laying it out there for all to see — on matters of faith, he’s a right-wing evangelical creationist who has admitted publicly that he wants to help take the nation “back for Christ.” It’s better for Americans to see that and evaluate those beliefs accordingly, than for Huckabee to believe this and keep his agenda under wraps.

To a certain extent, Huckabee is undermining American political norms and using Christianity in ways no credible, modern candidate has. But at a minimum, at least we know what we’re getting.

While I would never vote for Huckabee, so don’t take this as a word of support for him, there really are upsides to Huckabee. In some ways I have more respect for Huckabee, who at least campaigns on what he believes in, as opposed to someone like Mitt Romney who changes his views based upon political expediency.

One upside is that Huckabee has nothing to prove to the religious right and he was able to govern as somewhat of a centrist. I fear that if Giuliani or Romney is the nominee they will feel the need to offer far more to the religious right to get them out to vote.

Another upside is that Huckabee’s views, as much as I disagree with them, are his actual views based upon a lifetime of considering them. As a result sometimes he makes more sense than Republicans who just try to say what the religious right wants to hear. For example, Huckabee has considered school prayer and has stated that this is not the schools’ job as people can pray at home. Many other Republicans would just give knee jerk support for school prayer thinking that this is what someone campaigning for the votes of the religious right should say.

While I hope Huckabee doesn’t get the nomination, there is also some benefit to having open debate over the role of religion in government, and debate over issues such as whether evolution is established science and why it is important for political leaders to understand this.

Besides, it is fun to see country club conservatives, who previously pandered to the religious right for votes but never planned to give them much, go nuts over the prospect of people like Huckabee taking control of their party. They may have missed the fact that to a considerable degree, such people already have taken control of the GOP.

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