“He’ll be missed in the 2012 race, and not just because his absence promises to dramatically reduce the entertainment value of the Republican debates.Huckabee definitely had his flaws. Sometimes he said things without thinking just to win political points (as when he said that Obama grew up in Kenya and was inculcated with anti-imperialist political ideas by his father and the Mau Mau Revolution, when in fact Obama was born in Hawaii and spent his early years in Indonesia and did not even travel to Kenya, his father’s birthplace, until later in life).
He’ll be missed because he embodied a political persuasion that’s common in American life but rare in America’s political class. This worldview mixes cultural conservatism with economic populism: it’s tax-sensitive without being stridently antigovernment, skeptical of Wall Street as well as Washington, and as concerned about immigration, family breakdown and public morals as it is about the debt ceiling.”
But what Huckabee represented was a unique place in politics: An understanding that compassion for people must trump towing the party line on all things. He appealed to those of us who Douthat calls the “disaffected demographic” – “whose hostility to big government coexists with anxieties about corporate power.”
Salon's David Weigel wrote yesterday in his article, "Huckless: Mike Huckabee's decision marks the end of compassionate conservatism":
"Without Huckabee, this race actually shifts further to the right.
That's because Huckabee is (or was) the last Republican with real national political pull who didn't believe in economic conservative orthodoxy. He believes in an activist government. He favored a smoking ban in Arkansas, and for a while he favored expanding it to all 50 states. He's OK with Michelle Obama running an anti-obesity campaign from the White House. (Bachmann said the first lady was implementing a "nanny state," and most conservative voters agree with her.)
If that seems like a minor spat, it wasn't—it comes out of Huckabee's philosophy about what government should do. In December 2007 and January 2008, he feuded with Rush Limbaugh, who said Huckabee was simply ‘not a conservative’ given his views of what government was good for.”What we had in Huckabee was someone who found the new Tea Party libertarianism immoral, and that the Republican Party is going in the wrong direction. Weigel shared something that Huckabee said in an interview:
“'The greatest threat to classic Republicanism is not liberalism,' he told reporter Will Mari. 'It's this new brand of libertarianism, which is social liberalism and economic conservatism, but it's a heartless, callous, soulless type of economic conservatism because it says, 'Look, we want to cut taxes and eliminate government. If it means that elderly people don't get their Medicare drugs, so be it. If it means little kids go without education and health care, so be it.'"In an age when evangelical Christians are caricatured as pro-wealth, pro-big business, pro-war, anti-help for the poor, anti-care for immigrants, anti-government, Mike Huckabee (an ordained Southern Baptist minister) stood out as someone who actually tried to figure out how government could work for the common good… maybe even for Kingdom principles. He didn’t always get it right, but at least he was trying to think above the fray of political rhetoric.
Will there be another?