19 September 2009
The presidential election of 2008 is less than one year old and the first vote of the 2012 campaign, to my knowledge, has been cast. It's a "values voters" straw poll, and former Gov. Huckabee, the man from the populist side of the Christian Right, won it by a handy margin over former Gov. Romney and former Gov. Palin. Huckabee has kept himself before the conservative public on a weekly Fox News program, but compared to the more notorious Fox hosts he's been traveling under the radar of the so-called mainstream media. One must assume that he's been relatively temperate in his inevitable criticisms of the Obama administration; he hardly ever appears, for instance, on Countdown's Worst Person in the World list. To be honest, I wasn't certain whether Huckabee would make another try. My impression was that his efforts weren't appreciated last time, since he has an appeal among the grass-roots that complicates the schemes of the self-appointed leaders of the Christian Right. The report last year was that they preferred Romney despite the anti-Mormon prejudice of the rank and file, and this straw poll suggests that this powerful faction will be split again, and most likely split three ways given the intense personal popularity of Palin in some quarters. It's one thing for some to suggest that the Christian Right should break free of a Republican party that consistently sells them out to big-tent realpolitik, but there's no guarantee that it even forms a cohesive whole that would all go one way. Protestants are a sectarian sort and that goes for politics, too. Let 'em fight is what I say. They have every right to do so, and I hope that none of them win.