Diary

Booty Call to The Evangelicals

Late yesterday morning, David Frum fired another intra-party salvo in the 2012 version of the give-centrism-a-chance primary campaign we seem to see from the Whole Foods Republicans every four years now.  The brief post bore the sword, most notably against the most visible Presidential contenders who are more about containing the entitlement supernova that’s razing the public coffers than they are about being seen as sophisticated or nuanced by the graying hippies that call the shots for David Brooks at The Times, for example.

Frum’s post, more subtly and more interestingly though, also bore a big heart-shaped box of chocolates for the values voters that so adore the undeniably charming Governor Mike Huckabee.  If you were looking closely, Frum just gave us all a glimpse into how the New England GOP establishment plans to shimmy and shake our party into nominating again the most moderate possible candidate: the same way they did it in 2008.

Frum’s post notably includes Governor Huckabee in the list of respectable real politicians who should be taken seriously by voters.  He contrasts these serious, thinking politicians like Huckabee, Mitt Romney, or Tim Pawlenty with those who Frum labels as “primarily media figures” who “talk on Fox.”  These, as you could easily guess if you read Frum, are Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, and, bizarrely enough, John Bolton (if anyone is currently cruising main street with a “Bolton 2012” bumper sticker, I sure haven’t seen it) .

At this point, your internal dialog should go something like this: “wait a second…  Not only does Mike Huckabee talk on Fox, but he plays bass guitar on there too.  Governor Huckabee also a Baptist preacher who holds the types of views on Abortion and Homosexuality that normally send Connecticut Republicans running for a glass of aged Tomintoul Scotch.  What gives?”

What gives is that divide-and-conquer is once again the establishment strategy for 2012.  In 2008, the East Coast guys really, really wanted John McCain to be the nominee.  Whether he intended it or not, Huckabee’s prolonged stay in the race gave states to McCain he would have otherwise lost at least 55%-45% to Romney if the Social Conservatives didn’t have their guy in the race (most polls taken right after the Giuliani and Thompson departures showed most Huckabee voters would have gone Romney heads-up against McCain).

So here we are again.  Moderate, Centrist, Subaru, or whatever-you-choose-to-call-them Republicans are making their next booty call to Evangelical voters.  Weirdly enough, the establishment wants Romney this time and they’re obviously scared to death Sarah Palin might run and win.  The message from Frum to values voters is clear: “hey guys, kick those Tea Party types to the curb even if they are closer to you on issues of life and liberty.  We’ll make you respectable and we might even make your guy V.P.”  Don’t be snowed, dear Christian brothers.  Like the only-slightly-more-immoral booty calls of street lore, you’ll always have to wake up the next morning and realize you’ve been had.