As a former Republican (I resigned from the Party when it began to shamelessly pander to the Christianists at the expense of valuing religious freedom), I find some perverse humor and joy in the reaction of the GOP establishment to the surge of Mike Huckabee in Iowa. For years from the Chimperator and Karl Rove on down, the GOP has cynically used and cultivated the Christian Right evangelicals and far right Catholics to achieve their election goals. Now the Frankenstein Monster that they created has gained a life of its own and they are horrified. Why they did not see what they were creating is beyond me - when you dance with the Devil, he may expect you to take him home. This somewhat tongue in cheek New York Times opinion column (http://egan.blogs.nytimes.com/) looks at the very real angst these establishment Republicans are now feeling:
The rap against Mike Huckabee, the Baptist preacher and ex-Arkansas governor now doing for the Republican Party establishment what three-alarm chili does for an afternoon nap, is that he’s too inexperienced to be president, too naïve — a rube straight out of Dogpatch.
Few of Huckabee’s critics have actually come out and said what many of them think. The language is coded, as it usually is with class and race in this country. The Wall Street Journal, the anti-tax jihadists at the Club For Growth, the National Review – these pillars of Old School Republicanism have signaled that Huckabee is Not One of Ours. But they’re careful to say it’s not about class, because, of course – it is! Class war is forbidden in the Republican playbook. But Huckabee, despite an inept last week of campaigning has forced the Republican party to face the Wal-Mart shoppers that they have long taken advantage of. He’s here. He’s Gomer. And he’s not going away.
Huckabee has been telling people in Iowa that Republican higher-ups would never let him become the nominee because he “has a hick last name.” Wow. I’d like to be in on that focus group. “For my family, summer was never a verb,” he says. Take that, Mitt Romney and your perfect family, costumed in Ralph Lauren casual wear down by the shore. And this: “Wall Street types are afraid to death of a guy like me.” You mean, a guy who lost 110 pounds and cooks squirrels in his popcorn popper?
Among fellow Republican candidates, Huckabee is certainly “not one of them” in the bottom-line sense. All the other leading contenders would be comfortable on the massage table at a Trump seaside resort, in between seminars on how to keep poor people from getting health care. Romney, with a net worth estimated by Money magazine at upwards of $250 million, made his pile with an investment firm. Rudolph Giuliani is close to the $50 million club, enriched by such heavy-lifting as trying to help the makers of OxyContin stay out of jail.
There is some evidence that he’s bringing lower-income Americans into the party. The latest Des Moines Register poll shows that Huckabee runs strongest among people earning $50,000 or less a year.