Friday, December 07, 2007

Huckabee: and you thought things couldn't get worse?

"Just imagine that Huckabee were running one-on-one in Iowa against Joe Lieberman. (It's a thought experiment. Stay with me.) If he had run the same ad in those circumstances, it would have raised an outcry. The subtext -- who's the Christian in this race? -- would have been too obvious to ignore, the appeal to bigotry too clear."
Charles Krauthammer
David Seaton's News Links
God (any god you like, take your pick) only knows that I don't like to find myself in agreement with Charles Krauthammer about anything, but today I think he's hit the nail on the head as far as Mike Huckabee is concerned.

I would add that Huckabee, like Krauthammer, forms part of America's slide toward its own unique brand of paranoiac, whimpering, Jesus ridden, Disneyesque, something or other that we might even call "fascism", if that word hadn't lost almost all its meaning; as by now the word "Fascist" has become degraded into an all purpose term of abuse without its former precision.

In one speech, however, his CPAC "islamo-fascist" speech, Huckabee went well over the line (YouTube link) directly into classic fascism as defined by former Columbia University Professor Robert O. Paxton in Wikipedia's article on the subject:
"Fascism may be defined as a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victim-hood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy, and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion."
Paxton further defines fascism's essence as:
...a sense of overwhelming crisis beyond reach of traditional solutions; 2. belief one’s group is the victim, justifying any action without legal or moral limits; 3. need for authority by a natural leader above the law, relying on the superiority of his instincts; 4. right of the chosen people to dominate others without legal or moral restraint; 5. fear of foreign `contamination."
Here is an extract of the speech at this year's Conservative Political Action Conference, some of whose phrases I have highlighted to emphasize their conformity to Paxton's definition:
We all understand we are in an unconventional war. I have said, and I believe with all my heart, we are not on the brink of; we are in the midst of a World War III. (Applause)

And the Islamic fascists who have declared enmity against us are not interested in settling the types of lines of demarcation that normally settle wars.

Because this is not a war about property. This is not a war about personalities. This is not a war even about power.

What makes this so unusual is that the radical Islamic fascists—not representative of the entire Muslim religion, but the radical Islamic fascists who have declared war on us do so not from a political perspective but from a theological perspective.

And a lot of people I don't think understand that when that is the basis, there can be no negotiation. Because while one may be able to negotiate with diplomats, one does not negotiate with God.

When they declare that their sole purpose is the destruction of Israel, the United States and anything that resembles us, let us be clear. They are not interested in detente. They are not interested in some type of peaceful co-existence.

They are not just interested; they are solely determined for one and only one thing, and that is not our decline. It is our ultimate and absolute annihilation and destruction.

This is a war we cannot and must not lose. Because it doesn't mean that we have a shrinked (ph) border. It means that we have a nonexistence.

They are not marching under the banner of a flag and wearing the uniforms of soldiers and carrying the banner of a country. It is an unconventional war.

And I am convinced it will require an unconventional response, through unconventional means, with special operations and heavy use of intelligence and a different kind of approach to fight it and to win it.

But the one thing that we must be committed to as a nation—be we liberal, conservative, Democrat, Republican, urban or rural—is that we understand the nature of this enemy and we understand that at stake is not simply higher taxes, changed lifestyles, but existence itself as a people and as a civilization.

We must win this war. (Applause)
Much of the Huckabee "movement" has to do with decontenting and eviscerating language. Try listening to Huckabee answering the evolution question: Youtube link. Or on Gays in the military. Youtube link. Here is my 'guru' William Pfaff on this language question:
"The debasement of language is political, due to the American electoral system, by which campaigning is entirely by unlimited paid television (or radio) advertising, imposing demagogy and simplism, frequently testing the limits of defamation and calumny. It also is due to the power of special interests in Congress and their influence on the public debate in Washington, distorting argument, cultivating euphemism, setting the media agenda, and imposing demagogy." William Pfaff
That debasement of language (in the widest sense of the meaning of "language") is at the heart of it all. Remember "compassionate conservatism"?

What we are seeing with Mike Huckabee is a post 9-11 retread of George W. Bush's year 2000, oxymoronic "compassionate conservatism": with the difference that Huckabee is much more credible than Bush was at delivering that oxymoron and it is an oxymoron that has resonated mightily with the American people and still does.

In fact "Compassionate Conservatism" is a magic phrase that holds in itself all the contradictions of contemporary America and certainly Huckabee is much better suited to deliver it than the hapless present tenant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Huckabee's political skills are of quite another order of magnitude than Dubya's and can only be compared to fellow Arkansan, "Slick Willy" Clinton's. (is there something in the water in Arkansas that loosens the tongue so prodigiously?)

You probably think that the United States cannot produce a worse president than George W. Bush... You are wrong. The best thing about Bush is how clumsy and inept he is. Imagine someone with Bush's ideology and Bill Clinton's political skills. Bush is only Huckabee's "John the Baptist", the "good news" is on the way. DS

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