Fascism by Another Name...
I didn't want to have to write about this, but I was asked about it recently and so I feel compelled.
The source for this little screed is one Mike Huckabee, one of the seven or eight morons presently engaged in making an ass of himself on a national stage for the purposes of becoming the nominee of the republican (small 'r' intentional) Party in the 2008 Presidential election.
Huckabee is something of a marvel these days; a candidate with no money, none of the experience you would think a man should have when he stands to ask the people of this country to make him their leader. He is the former governor of Arkansas, which is sort of like being the Master of Arms of the Loyal Order of Buffaloes of Flintstones fame. If you asked 100 Americans where Arkansas was on a map, 98 might hesitate for a moment and then draw a lazy circle with their finger around New England. Assuming they found the United States on the map in the first place, of course. The other two would indicate that Arkansas was the northernmost province of Mexico, and a make a compelling argument for it. I would hazard to guess that at least 80 of them probably attended college, too.
Anyways, Huckabee is doing something which the 'conventional wisdom' says it impossible (it never ceases to amaze me how often conventional wisdom is wrong, because it's always being proved as such) and he's making a case for himself in the 'all-important' primaries in Iowa and New Hampshire, and he might, just might, knock all the 'establishment' candidates off the battlefield.
As an aside, primaries and caucuses in Iowa and New Hampshire should not be considered 'all-important' because they truly prove nothing at all; the myopic views of self-interested ('who will promise me more useless, but lucrative, ethanol subsidies?') farmers in Iowa, and stubborn, hard-headed self-important Yankees (who believe they are the only 'normal' people left in the US) in New Hampshire are not representative of anything. Except for the idiosyncracies of people who live in sparsely-populated states in constipated states of mind which cannot be altered short of dynamite. Yet somehow, we listen to these folks for their prognostications as if the fate of the free world depends upon it. It's sort of like asking the Pope what play your quarterback should run on 4th and 10, down by 3, with 28 seconds left to play, and no time outs.
Anywhoo, Huckabee has performed in such a way as to have people stand up and take notice. Now, this in and of itself is not an issue: we should be willing and able to hear as many ideas and see and listen to as many candidates as possible. When we don't, we wind up with second generation Bushes and Clintons, and that's not good for any of us. No, the issue is not Huckabee the man, it's the way in which Huckabee makes his case and to whom he's making it.
Mike Huckabee makes no secret of his being a Christian and ordained Baptist minister. On his website, the words "Christian Leader" appear, and Huckabee makes reference to the Almighty just about every four minutes or so in his speeches and public appearances. And that's all well and fine; if he's a believer, who am I to begrudge him his beliefs? However, it's also quite apparent that this is all Huckabee has to offer (I'm religious, dammit!) and it explains his recent rise in the polls; he's picking up the religious vote within the republican party that had no place else to go with the current field.
For the faithful of the Repubs will not vote for a Mormon (Mitt Romney) since many Baptists, Evangelicals, Catholics and other Christian denominations consider Mormonism to be a cult, and a deranged one at that. They claim to be open-minded on matters of faith, but they aren't; they're bigoted against Mormonism. Rudy Giuliani makes a mockery of all they hold dear; thrice divorced, cross-dresses as a joke, lived with a homosexual, favored abortion rights. The 'darling' of the Conservative wing (supposedly) was once Fred Thompson (of Law and Order fame), who it appears requires a jump-start with a Die-Hard attached to his testicles just to say anything at all. On TV he's an awesome actor; in real life, he's duller than unbuttered toast. When it comes to non-religious issues, John McCain is a conundrum, like the "new" knife in the kitchen drawer that has had two handles and three blades. He's too unpredictable for their tastes.
And so, Huckabee is the man on the rise because the extreme right is gathering under his banner, and it is the extreme right who votes in these stupid primaries because a) they don't seem to have jobs, and b) when Pastor Bob says 'get to the voting booth and pull the lever for this guy or the Good Lord will take me', they listen to him.
However, Huckabee has a major problem; his religious schtick works just dandy with primary voters, but will get him absolutely nowhere in a general election. And he's pouring it on extremely thick, too. He can't go more than a few minutes without a prayer session, and he can't make himself attractive to the vast majority of voters who care about politics, but who could give a rat's ass about religion. Especially when it comes to extolling the virtues of a brand of Christianity which is infinitely more persnickity, obnoxious, and bigoted than most other strains.
There are some Evangelicals and Baptists in this country who are only a camel and a worn pair of sandals removed from the Taliban.
The interesting thing to watch is this; Huckabee is pandering (obviously) to the religious right now, will he continue to do so if/when he wins the primaries and becomes the candidate, following the old dictum of 'run right in primaries, move center in general elections'?
If he does the first, we will have, in my opinion, make the first crucial step towards fascism in this country (for democrats, the first step towards fascism is a vote for Hillary Clinton), and no, it will not be of the Mussolini/Hitler type; it will wrap itself in the flag and carry the Cross before it, claiming to be the movement which will save the United States from itself with a program of forced morality, a return to good ol' fashoned 'merican values, and a resurgence of belief in God...whether we want it be resurgent or not.
If he does the latter, then all that will have happened is that the republican party will have been forced to run a very weak candidate who could be beaten by just about any democrat in the field (even that complete moron John Edwards could beat Huckabee) by a bunch of bigoted fanatics.
These are the people who send money to Televangelists who claim that God tells them to send cash to a post office box. Now the republican party is going to let them select it's candidates?
I've said this before, and I will say it again; the republican party had best wean itself from this cuckoo in it's nest, even if it means political oblivion for the foreseeable future or there won't BE a republican party anymore.