The ever-witty Mark Steyn comments on the Republican Winter of our Discontent.
Confronted by Preacher Huckabee standing astride the Iowa caucuses, smirking, “Are you feelin’ Hucky, punk?”, many of my conservative pals are inclined to respond, “Shoot me now.”
But, if that seems a little dramatic, let’s try and rustle up an alternative.
In response to the evangelical tide from the west, New Hampshire primary voters have figured, “Any old crusty, cranky, craggy coot in a storm,” and re-embraced John McCain. After all, Granite State conservatism is not known for its religious fervor: it prefers small government, low taxes, minimal regulation, the freedom to be left alone by the state. So they’re voting for a guy who opposed the Bush tax cuts, and imposed on the nation the most explicit restriction in political speech in years. Better yet, after a freezing first week of January and the snowiest December in a century, New Hampshire conservatives are goo-goo for a fellow who also believes the scariest of global-warming scenarios and all the big-government solutions necessary to avert them.
Well, OK, maybe we can rustle up an alternative to the alternative.
Rudy Giuliani’s team is betting that, after a Huck/McCain seesaw through the early states, Florida voters by Jan. 29 will be ready to unite their party behind a less-divisive figure, if by “less divisive figure” you mean a pro-abortion gun-grabbing cross-dresser. …
Where I part company with Huck’s supporters is in believing he’s any kind of solution. He’s friendlier to the teachers’ unions than any other so-called “cultural conservative” â€“ which is why in New Hampshire he’s the first Republican to be endorsed by the NEA. His health care pitch is Attack Of The Fifty Foot Nanny, beginning with his nationwide smoking ban. This is, as Jonah Goldberg put it, compassionate conservatism on steroids â€“ big paternalistic government that can only enervate even further “our culture.”
So, Iowa chose to reward, on the Democrat side, a proponent of the conventional secular left, and, on the Republican side, a proponent of a new Christian left. If that’s the choice, this is going to be a long election year.