Friday, December 21, 2007

Huckabee's Cross

Say whatever else you will about him, Ron Paul has a sensitive antenna for oppressive government. So what are we to make of his remark that the Mike Huckabee commercial with a floating cross in the background reminds him "of what Sinclair Lewis once said--when fascism comes to this country, it will be wrapped in the flag, carrying a cross?"

Paul was referring, of course, to Lewis' 1935 novel, "It Can't Happen Here," about America taken over by a right-wing evangelist. The Congressman tends to hyperbole in seeing threats to individual freedom, but Huckabee seems to be unsettling some less sensitive Republicans as well.

In the Wall Street Journal, Peggy Noonan writes about the ad: "Only on second look did I see the white lines of the warmly lit bookcase, which formed a glowing cross. Someone had bothered to remove the books from that bookcase, or bothered not to put them in. Maybe they would have dulled the lines.

"Is there a word for 'This is nice' and 'This is creepy'? For that is what I felt. This is so sweet-appalling."

Noonan sums up her ambivalence: "Does Mr. Huckabee understand that his approach is making people uncomfortable? Does he see himself as divisive? He's a bright man, so it's hard to believe he doesn't...

"Could he win the nomination? Who knows? It's all a bubbling stew on the Republican side, and no one knows who'll float to the top. In an interview this week...Mr. Huckabee said people everywhere were coming to him and saying, 'We are claiming Isaiah 54 for you, that the weapons formed against you will not prosper.'

"Prayer is powerful. But Huckabee's critics say he's a manipulator with a mean streak and little knowledge of the world. And Isaiah 54 doesn't say anything about self-inflicted wounds."

If Republicans are this uncomfortable this soon with their preacher pol, how would he fare in a general election? With all the questions about Hillary Clinton, electability may turn out to be the issue for both parties.

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