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Saturday Night at the Movies by Dennis Hartley review archive

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Friday, January 04, 2008

 
Strange Days, Take Two

by tristero

Apparently, the point of this post was unclear. Numerous commenters responded with something like "Huckabee has zero chance of winning in November. Therefore, tristero, what's yer problem? It's great he won; it will make trouncing Republicans that much easier and sweeter." So I'll try again and try to be more focused.

Of course, Huckabee will lose a general election. But in the process of losing, maybe even by a landslide, the worst subculture of rightwing extremists and religious fanatics may very well gain a mainstream audience and an influence over that audience that makes their current reach look trivial. Let's not forget, folks, that the current "conservative movement" is traced to Goldwater's landslide defeat.

That is a very real risk and the reason I cannot muster any snarky whoops at Huckabee's win in Iowa.

Now, at least one commenter pointed out that all the GOP contenders are equally awful, implying that the great thing about Huckabee is that he would be uniquely weak in a general election, and therefore his win in Iowa is great news.

That viewpoint represents a failure to recognize the uniquely dangerous qualities of Huckabee and the reasons why you would really, really want to prevent him and his followers from gaining any more national attention. Here's one: There are extremely good reasons why this country's founders went out of their way to discourage the kinds of bald appeals to religious exclusion Huckabee wallows in.

Yes, Huckabee deserves contempt for his truly bad character. With his ignorance, incompetence, and provincialism he shames people like the great Wayne Henderson who represent the rural white South with integrity. Certainly, Huckabee's ideas and behavior deserve to be mocked, ridiculed, laughed at, parodied, and skewered, He should be ignored when he's not being sneered at. And the more creative we all are, the more in your face, the better.

But to applaud his ascent to the very center of the political life of the most powerful country on earth? No. The specific movement Huckabee represents is far too dangerous for that.


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