Win or lose in November, the GOP is destined to spend the next few years redefining itself. For many reasons, Reaganism, which made the GOP the dominant political party of the last generation, no longer resonates as it once did with the American public. The world has changed since Ronald Reagan’s election nearly 30 years ago, and the great man’s political heirs will have to adjust the GOP’s strategy and tactics to new realities.
To that end, Mr. Huckabee, 52, should be a top leader in tomorrow’s Republican Party. His good-natured approach to politics – “I’m a conservative; I’m just not mad about it,” as he likes to say – is quite appealing after years of scorched-earth tactics from both parties. He’s a pragmatist more concerned with effective government than with bowing to ideological litmus tests. For example, he has proven himself willing to violate anti-tax dogma to undertake investment in infrastructure for the sake of long-term prosperity.
Mr. Huckabee also is good on the environment, contending that the future of the conservative movement depends on embracing conservation and stewardship of the natural world. And he’s a compassionate conservative especially in tune with middle-class anxieties in a globalizing economy.
Though his social and religious conservatism puts him on the wrong side of abortion, gay rights and other key issues, that same deep-faith commitment inspires his dedication to helping the poor and to racial healing. He truly is representative of the next wave of evangelical chieftains and, if nothing else, will emerge from this primary season the leader of one of the most influential factions in the GOP coalition.
We look forward to having him around to help shape and lead the Republican Party beyond November. That’s why we encourage Texas Republicans to mark their ballots for Mr. Huckabee in the GOP primary: to demonstrate to the party’s elite that Mr. Huckabee and his vision have a solid constituency.
I doubt it will have any practical effect, but their logic is interesting. We’ll see if anyone in Dallas pays attention. Thanks to The Texas Blue for the link.
On a side note, I missed last week that Grits endorsed Rick Reed for Travis County DA. Click over and see what he has to say about that race.