On the Republican side, my message is: Be not afraid. Some people are going to tell you that Mike Huckabee’s victory last night in Iowa represents a triumph for the creationist crusaders. Wrong.That's right, after being taken for a ride by the wealthy GOP elite they have their own candidate he in addition to talking about social issues is also talking about their economic realities. The "great economy" the Republicans try to spin has simply left a majority of Americans behind and that includes the vast majority of evangelicals.
Huckabee won because he tapped into realities that other Republicans have been slow to recognize. First, evangelicals have changed.
Second, Huckabee understands much better than Mitt Romney that we have a crisis of authority in this country. People have lost faith in their leaders’ ability to respond to problems. While Romney embodies the leadership class, Huckabee went after it. He criticized Wall Street and K Street. Most importantly, he sensed that conservatives do not believe their own movement is well led. He took on Rush Limbaugh, the Club for Growth and even President Bush. The old guard threw everything they had at him, and their diminished power is now exposed.As I said here:
The Republicans have been forced to attack Huckabee but run the risk of driving off the Religious Right in the process. Even if the Religious Right does not field it's own presidential candidate this important part of the Republican base may just stay home.But this is what leads me to believe that Brooks either gets it or is very close:
Third, Huckabee understands how middle-class anxiety is really lived. Democrats talk about wages. But real middle-class families have more to fear economically from divorce than from a free trade pact. A person’s lifetime prospects will be threatened more by single parenting than by outsourcing. Huckabee understands that economic well-being is fused with social and moral well-being, and he talks about the inter-relationship in a way no other candidate has.I don't think the above applies only to evangelicals but to a majority of Americans which is why the Republican party is heading down the Road to Nowhere. Americans see their political leaders as greedy and corrupt, they see their business leaders as greedy and corrupt and they see themselves as victims of the greed and corruption. Enter a good old boy Huckabee, and perhaps to some extent even Obama, and you have an apple cart that is about ready to be overturned.
In that sense, Huckabee’s victory is not a step into the past. It opens up the way for a new coalition.
A conservatism that recognizes stable families as the foundation of economic growth is not hard to imagine. A conservatism that loves capitalism but distrusts capitalists is not hard to imagine either. Adam Smith felt this way. A conservatism that pays attention to people making less than $50,000 a year is the only conservatism worth defending.