Falcoff basically agrees with me on this matter, even if he says it much better.
If Huckabee goes on to win more primaries he will have a reasonable claim to the nomination. He may, of course, lose New Hampshire, New York, California and Michigan. But let’s suppose that he manages to win enough primaries in the southern and border states to make the results in those three states irrelevant. It’s all a question of numbers. In spite of itself, the party might end up with him as its nominee, and with it, heading down the shortest road to disaster since the Goldwater debacle of 1964.What Falcoff doesn't get is that Huckabee or no Huckabee, the GOP is already where he fears they might find themselves with a Huckabee nomination.
Make no mistake about it: an electoral defeat of these dimensions would represent a major watershed in the history of the Republican party. It would be faced with only two possible roads forward. One is to become the party of the religious right, a sectarian agglomeration somewhat like the small ethnic parties in inter-war Europe, perhaps capable of holding some governorships and seats in Congress but never again competitive in a presidential election. The other would be to cut itself free from the religious right and seek to appeal to the wide and growing tranche of independent voters who are socially liberal but economically conservative. In that case the Republican party would gradually resemble some of the “liberal” (that is, conservative) parties who periodically win national elections in Western Europe or Canada. These parties are friendly to market-based solutions to economic problems—that is, they are broadly libertarian.
Think this is impossible? Think again. The business of politicians is first and foremost to get elected, not to preach sermons. A Huckabee nomination would not merely assure a Democratic presidential victory but gains in both houses and a Supreme Court packed with justices somewhat resembling Ruth Bader Ginsberg. But the news is worse than that: even a Huckabee victory in the race to the White House (as difficult as it may be to imagine at this point) would also toll the death kneel of the Republican party as we have known it. Indeed, as recent opposition research has shown, none of the candidates is as far from the legacy of Ronald Reagan—either in domestic or foreign policy--as the former governor of Arkansas. As Mark Steyn has properly stated it, the choice between Huckabee and some Democrat would be a choice between the Religious Left and the Secular Left. Evangelicals—many of them my neighbors and friends--need to take note. The peril is great and it is near.
American voters are not social conservatives and despite what Republicans try to tell themselves, America has not been for many, many years (how else do you explain Giuliani's early popularity at the national level?). Public opinion polls for 30 years have told us Americans support abortion rights. These same polls have told us for 20 years that Americans will support higher taxes if it means paying the bills.
Both Republicans and Democrats are too eager to believe their own spin. There is a reason the Republican nominee has lost 3 of the last 4 elections. And say what you want about the weakness of Kerry as a candidate, he nearly beat Bush whose re-election was by the smallest margin of any incumbent in our nations history.
Republicans loose elections on issues. The end of the cold war was devastating to the GOP and this is why they are desperate for a new war, thus the GWOT.
Of course, the GOP has gotten plenty of help from a Democratic party terrible short on leadership (i.e. Harry Reid), which is the Republican parties only hope for ever winning a Presidency for the foreseeable future.
Fear and hate are pretty much all they have and it would appear at least for now that well has run dry.