Three weeks out from the first ballots being cast to decide who will be the candidates in the 2008 Presidential election, it’s Republican voters that seem to be in a particularly tough spot right now.
A lot of attention has been on Gov. Mike Huckabee over the past few weeks, and rightfully so. He has kept his head down, stayed out of the mud, and touted his religious beliefs and conservatism in an effective manner. All of which would be great if the extreme right fringe of his party didn’t hate him so much.
All you have to do is tune in to AM talk radio these days to get the big picture. The ultra-right has declared Huckabee persona non grata and committed their full wattage to trashing him ever since he attained “front runner” status. The reason they’ve redirected their attacks from Democratic frontrunners to Huckabee is simple: he’s not “conservative enough” for their tastes.
Which is not to say he isn’t conservative, because he is. It’s because in his time as Governor of Arkansas, he didn’t serve just those in the extreme right wing of his party. He worked to serve all of the residents of his state, and for some on the right, well that’s just unacceptable.
So the ultra-right wing of the Republican party is having a hard time finding someone who fits their exact requirements for what a conservative should be. Those requirements are something along the lines of:
- Never, ever, voted for a tax/fee increase no matter what the situation.
- Wants to ship illegal immigrants and their children who are American citizens back to wherever they came from.
- Believes the richest American’s should receive even more tax breaks.
- Has never worked on any kind of bi-partisan legislation.
- Says they’re a “person of faith”.
- Will start a war with Iran.
Some of the things that those same people don’t seem to have problems with:
- Changing their mind on important issues (a.k.a. flip flopping), a flip flop itself from the last election.
- Supporting gay rights as long as you promise to appoint conservative judges who will revoke said rights.
- Cross dressing.
- A womans right to choose as long as you promise to appoint conservative judges who will revoke said rights.
The problem for these folks who will only support someone who fits their static definition of what makes a “real conservative” is the rest of the Country, and even most of those in their own party doesn’t share their values with regards to those issues.
Most Americans want a reasonable person and not an idealogue as their next President. The ultra-right wing on the other hand want exactly the opposite, hence their relentless attacks on people like Gov. Huckabee right now. By all accounts, he’s a “reasonable” conservative, hence his rise in recent polls among other “reasonable” conservative voters.
I’m not saying that Gov. Huckabee is an ideal President, but when you look at the rest of the GOP field, he certainly stands out as the most reasonable and most electable in the minds of most conservative voters. That’s not to say he’ll win a general election either. For a number of reasons ranging from his soft support among hardcore Republicans to his complete lack of money, he’d get creamed in a general election.
When you have people who represent that ultra-right wing of the Republican party threatening at this early stage to boycott their party’s candidate and support a third party candidate who is more in line with the out of touch principles outlined above, it’s easy to see why the Republican party is in for a complete meltdown in the 2008 Presidential Election.
…and that’s not even counting what looks like another disastrous cycle for Congressional Republicans.