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Huckabee Sucks Up to Liberals Why Is It So Cold? Maybe the Sun?

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Ripping the Republican Big Tent Apart

by Christopher Chantrill
December 18, 2007 at 1:39 pm

FIFTY YEARS ago the US conservative movement began in a fusion between Burkean conservatives and libertarian conservatives. In the late Sixties they were joined by the “mugged by reality” neoconservatives.

Then in the 1970s the Supreme Court created the Christian Right with Roe v. Wade and added social conservatives to the movement.

These different factions in the conservative movement have not always got along, but they have learned to live with each other and to respect each other’s agenda. The poster boy for this is Rush Limbaugh. Divorced several times, he is a success-oriented conservative; yet he is respectful towards social conservatives and he is pro-life.

Having learned to live with each over the years many of us were shocked when John McCain ran for president against the social conservatives in 2000. Why would anyone want to do that, we wondered? It’s become clear, in the years since, that McCain is a national security conservative only, and just doesn’t understand, and doesn’t want to understand the other factions of the movement.

The initial first tier candidates for 2008—Giuliani, Romney, Thompson—are all fusion candidates. They may target their appeal to one faction or another, but they do not try to split the conservative movement.

But insurgents like Ron Paul and Mike Huckabee are splitters. Ron Paul is trying to create a divide between libertarians and the rest of the conservative movement and Mike Huckabee is trying to create a divide between evangelical conservatives and the rest of the conservative movement. And then there is John McCain, who still wants to split off national security conservatives from the rest of the movement.

I’m rooting for one of the uniters to win. And I hope that all of the dividers fail. Our conservative movement needs to grow. It needs to be ready and welcoming when the next troop of Americans is cast out into the political wilderness by the liberal establishment.

The various wings of the movement have broadly similar goals and the particular concerns of each faction informs and inspires the others.

We don’t want no stinkin’ dividers.


Christopher Chantrill blogs at www.roadtothemiddleclass.com.  His Road to the Middle Class is forthcoming.


Posted by: Craig on 12/19/07 11:24pm

I agree, a divided conservative movement can't win in this media climate. Ron Paul has a lot of good things to say but he will never have the party behind him and neither will McCain. Huckabee, I beg you, please go away! What we don't need is a minister right now, we need a manager. The rest of the Republican hopefuls are imperfect but are all miles ahead of any Dem...

Posted by: Pete on 12/19/07 10:10pm

Very good analysis of the candidates. Ron Paul can be a particular danger to the Republicans this year. He has raised a decent amount of money and has gotten good exposure in the debates, etc., both of which he can use to great effect in a third party run after he is defeated in the primaries. After all, Paul did run for the presidency as a libertarian in 1988 -- what's to say he won't do it again. If he does, he'll probably get 5 to 7% of the vote, enough to ensure a Dem victory.



“But I saw a man yesterday who knows a fellow who had it from a chappie that said that Urquhart had been dipping himself a bit recklessly off the deep end.”  —Freddy Arbuthnot
Dorothy L. Sayers, Strong Poison

Civil Society

“Civil Society”—a complex welter of intermediate institutions, including businesses, voluntary associations, educational institutions, clubs, unions, media, charities, and churches—builds, in turn, on the family, the primary instrument by which people are socialized into their culture and given the skills that allow them to live in broader society and through which the values and knowledge of that society are transmitted across the generations.
Francis Fukuyama, Trust

Hugo on Genius

“Tear down theory, poetic systems... No more rules, no more models... Genius conjures up rather than learns... ” —Victor Hugo
César Graña, Bohemian versus Bourgeois


“We have met with families in which for weeks together, not an article of sustenance but potatoes had been used; yet for every child the hard-earned sum was provided to send them to school.”
E. G. West, Education and the State

Faith & Purpose

“When we began first to preach these things, the people appeared as awakened from the sleep of ages—they seemed to see for the first time that they were responsible beings, and that a refusal to use the means appointed was a damning sin.”
Finke, Stark, The Churching of America, 1776-1990


“When we received Christ,” Phil added, “all of a sudden we now had a rule book to go by, and when we had problems the preacher was right there to give us the answers.”
James M. Ault, Jr., Spirit and Flesh


A writer who says that there are no truths, or that all truth is ’merely relative’, is asking you not to believe him. So don’t.
Roger Scruton, Modern Philosophy

Faith and Politics

As far as the Catholic Church is concerned, the principal focus of her interventions in the public arena is the protection and promotion of the dignity of the person, and she is thereby consciously drawing particular attention to principles which are not negotiable... [1.] protection of life in all its stages, from the first moment of conception until natural death; [2.] recognition and promotion of the natural structure of the family... [3.] the protection of the right of parents to educate their children.
Pope Benedict XVI, Speech to European Peoples Party, 2006

China and Christianity

At first, we thought [the power of the West] was because you had more powerful guns than we had. Then we thought it was because you had the best political system. Next we focused on your economic system. But in the past twenty years, we have realized that the heart of your culture is your religion: Christianity.
David Aikman, Jesus in Beijing

Religion, Property, and Family

But the only religions that have survived are those which support property and the family. Thus the outlook for communism, which is both anti-property and anti-family, (and also anti-religion), is not promising.
F.A. Hayek, The Fatal Conceit


Conservatism is the philosophy of society. Its ethic is fraternity and its characteristic is authority — the non-coercive social persuasion which operates in a family or a community. It says ‘we should...’.
Danny Kruger, On Fraternity

US Life in 1842

Families helped each other putting up homes and barns. Together, they built churches, schools, and common civic buildings. They collaborated to build roads and bridges. They took pride in being free persons, independent, and self-reliant; but the texture of their lives was cooperative and fraternal.
Michael Novak, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism

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©2007 Christopher Chantrill