Saturday, January 12, 2008

Mayor Soglin might want to consider whether "the gods" have a sense of humor

Paul Soglin thinks that Mike Huckabee is a gift to the Democrats "from the gods", presaging some time of realignment. He seems to be suggesting that Huckabee's religiosity and social conservatism will turn everyone into liberal secular Democrats.

The formulation of Paul's post (distancing himself, even humorously, from the monotheism adhered to by almost all Americans who are religious) suggests a potential blindness. I think Huckabee is just about played out, but, as I have blogged before, it also seems possible that part of his appeal points to a potential realignment in the other direction.

Secular liberals dismiss the faith and, I think, common experience that drives middle class folks who might otherwise favor redistributive or protectionist economic policies to social conservatism and votes for the GOP. They believe that these folks ought to, and someday will, forget about. as they like to put it, "God, Guns and Gays" (a characterization that is itself dismissively simplistic) and vote for people (Democrats) who will get them some money.

But why not hang on to your deeply held social values and get some cash? Particularly if, as secular liberals never seem to understand, you believe that these quaint moral values affect the nature of people's lives, including whether or not they are poor?

I think a good deal of Huckabee's success relates to the fact that he is articulate and funny in a political environment (including the Democrates) where very few candidates are either as well as the outsized influence of deeply committed and well organized groups in the Iowa caucuses. But to the extent that he represents something that goes beyond his particular case, i.e., if he has a message that means something past his candidacy (which I think will end on February 5), it may just as readily be a fusion of populist economics and populist social policy. (Cf. William Jennings Bryan).

Paul should be very afraid of that.

1 comment:

Dad29 said...

Certainly that's the case made by Neumayr in the Spectator last week, albeit he was not making your point.