by Max Brantley
Is Mike Huckabee's problem that he's just on the early cutting edge of a Republican transformation? And, if so, does that mean -- if his time is not 2008 -- that it might be some future election? Sigh. From the American Prospect: (But, please, somebody tell them to check E. Dumas about the notion that Huckabee is a populist.)
A 2005 study of political typologies conducted by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press seemed to capture these changes in the conservative coalition, noting that in their 1987 and 1994 voter surveys, the Republican Party relied solely on the support of social and small-government conservatives. But by their 1999 survey, a growing body of populist Republicans -- mostly low-income and financially insecure -- accounted for nearly a third of their base. The majority of these populist Republicans were Southern and religious, favoring regulation, aid programs, and government enforcement of moral values.
These populists, the study found, had coalesced into a pro-government faction of the conservative base by 2005, accounting for 10 percent of registered voters. Eighty percent of these voters said they believe the government should do more to help those in need, 83 percent said too much power is concentrated in the hands of a few large companies, and 61 percent said that that environmental regulations are worth the cost. Sixty-six percent believe government regulation is necessary to protect the public interest, and 62 percent agreed that the immigrants from other countries strengthen American society.
For these voters, Huckabee might just be the perfect candidate.
If you read on, you'll see there's much to quibble with. The writer mistakes Huckabee lip service -- such as on health care and the environment -- with support for meaningful legislation. But sometimes, lip service is enough.
There's a fully redeeming article in the American Prospect about a nationwide religious movement to promote right-thinking candidates like Huckabee, IRS nonprofit rules be damned, and about Huckabee's scary pronouncements to these true believers.