If 2008 turns out to be a pivotal election, defining a new political era, it is important to give credit where credit is due. Two key reasons for the change will be the crackup of the coalition of the dominant party of the era, the Republicans, and the almost complete political failure of George W. Bush and his chief political adviser, Karl Rove. Let me begin with the second reason, and then move to the first.Now I think that the coalition was bound to unravel anyway but the failure of George W. Bush may have sped it up. The Reagan Revolution itself was responsible. The social conservatives could only be expected to vote against their own economic interests for so long. For that reason I think Huckabee may deserve more of the credit than Bush. As I explained the other day:
The Bush/Rove strategy of accentuating divisions along partisan lines was a bold gamble that ultimately failed, because it depended on the Bush presidency being successful. Think of it this way: If Bush does well at his task, then people at the margins gravitate toward the winning side and the Republican coalition slowly expands over time, rejuvenating the party and producing a post-Reagan vision (organized, for example, around the War on Terror and the opportunity society) that extends well into the future. But if Bush does badly, or as it turned out, very badly, the same strategy that encourages increased partisanship and divisiveness will tend to make Americans believe that these features of political life are also the cause of political failure. They will seek both change and a sense of unity. This is precisely what Obama has tapped into, which is why he has been successful so far. Obama, if you will, is what Bush's strategy has produced.
People are not voting for Huckabee because he's a likable guy they are voting for him because they are scared. Not of the Islamo terrorists but they are afraid of losing their jobs, their house and their medical insurance.
They don't trust the leaders in government or the leaders in business to look out for them. And we are not just talking about the working poor - there are families with six figure incomes that have the same fears.