Empty rhetoric | Arkansas Blog

Empty rhetoric

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That's the American Prospect blog's take on Mike Huckabee's speech at the Dobson/Falwell/etc. values fest in Washington.

VALUES VOTERS' VALUES. I just got back from the Family Research Council's Values Voter Summit. The audience was what you'd expect -- white and old. The speakers, on the other hand, mixed things up a little. Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AR), addressing George W. Bush's original "compassionate conservative" framework, suggested that being "pro-life" also means caring about the fetus's safety after it's born. This sentiment, perhaps because it sounded as though it could have come from Jim Wallis, drew much more tepid applause than the Brokeback jokes (e.g., everyone should stand against gay marriage "until Moses comes down with two stone tablets from Brokeback Mountain.")

It was only toward the end of the speech, when Huckabee finished off his appeal for the welfare of children by calling on the audience to imagine "what we could do if instead of paying half their income in taxes, but gave a dime of every dollar to their church or charitable organization," that it became apparent what Huckabee's real game was: speak the language of compassion while resolutely opposing any governmental action to address those in need. He even miraculously spun the government's incompetence in dealing with Hurricane Katrina to that end. The audience, clearly relieved, gave Huckabee an enthusiastic standing ovation.


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