Saturday, January 05, 2008

The Huckabee Phenomenon

On the Republican side, there are two worlds, or perhaps three, colliding, and when worlds collide, destruction ensues. Washington media types still have their man-crush on Sen. John McCain, who coddles the horrendous Joe Lieberman. The establishment wants Romney uber alles. The voters, at least in Iowa, voted for Huckabee. The result - which should have been predicted - is the kind of frothing howls of rage that one usually sees reserved for Bill Clinton. Perhaps the fact that Huckabee is kind of the anti-Clinton is part of it, but I think most of the lefty blogs commenting on the phenomenon of all the Hucka-hatred get it right. He is the perfect distillation of the past quarter century of Republican politics, but outside the control of the money folks and Washington-based party establishment. Therefore, he is a threat.

Huckabee's rhetoric is often described as "populist". Actually, it is the kind of thing one often heard from McCarthy-supporters back in the fifties. These are the petit bourgeoisie, never completely secure in their socio-economic status, threatened by government over-regulation on the one hand, and a society that seems to dismiss their contributions on the other. They are, to use an over-used term in our current political climate, proto-fascists. They are the same class that supported Mussolini in Italy, Hitler in Germany, and, make them ultra-montane Catholics rather than fundamentalist Protestants, Franco in Spain. Populism is a left-wing phenomenon; the kind of economic and social policy supported by Huckabee is based in resentment and fear, rather than a desire for social improvement.

If Huckabee does well in New Hampshire (it is a sign of Republican fear that there are indications McCain might get support from establishment types, should Romney seriously falter and Huckabee seriously surge there), I think the Republican slow-motion train wreck only speeds up.

It's popcorn time, folks.

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