Colorado GOP Should Heed Kafer and Hillman, Not Parker and Huckabee

This week’s two prime examples of self-serving guns on the Right pointing inward? On the one hand, Kathleen Parker caricaturing and lambasting me and millions of evangelical Christians:

To be more specific, the evangelical, right-wing, oogedy-boogedy branch of the GOP is what ails the erstwhile conservative party and will continue to afflict and marginalize its constituents if reckoning doesn’t soon cometh.

Simply put: Armband religion is killing the Republican Party….

It isn’t that culture doesn’t matter. It does. But preaching to the choir produces no converts. And shifting demographics suggest that the Republican Party — and conservatism with it — eventually will die out unless religion is returned to the privacy of one’s heart where it belongs. [emphasis added]

In other words: Shut up, social conservatives. Note, Parker doesn’t encourage SoCons to develop and apply a healthy, humble perspective that distinguishes religious faith from political action. She says to suck it in, be quiet, and quit embarrassing her. It would appear that Parker has spent too much time lately at Beltway cocktail parties, and perhaps is getting ready to publish a new book.

On the other hand, we have the former presidential candidate and increasingly annoying Mike Huckabee, who went off the reservation with his own caricatured rampage, as his new book is featured in Time magazine:

In a chapter titled “Faux-Cons: Worse than Liberalism,” Huckabee identifies what he calls the “real threat” to the Republican Party: “libertarianism masked as conservatism.” He is not so much concerned with the libertarian candidate Ron Paul’s Republican supporters as he is with a strain of mainstream fiscal-conservative thought that demands ideological purity, seeing any tax increase as apostasy and leaving little room for government-driven solutions to people’s problems. “I don’t take issue with what they believe, but the smugness with which they believe it,” writes Huckabee, who raised some taxes as governor and cut deals with his state’s Democratic legislature. “Faux-Cons aren’t interested in spirited or thoughtful debate, because such an endeavor requires accountability for the logical conclusion of their argument.”

Sigh. Jon Henke cites more where this came from. This is the sort of demagogic economic populism that repulsed me about Huckabee during the presidential primary.

Simply put, the GOP coalition ought to be broad enough to include the Kathleen Parkers and Mike Huckabees who want to gripe, but it will consign itself to a generation in the political wilderness with either element in charge. As long as they continue along the lines witnessed above, I don’t want Parker or Huckabee to be influential voices or leaders in the Republican Party. Period.

In Colorado, we’ll be much better off heeding voices like Krista Kafer rather than Kathleen Parker, and elevating leaders like Mark Hillman rather than Mike Huckabee.


  1. says

    Speaking for myself, I found Huck’s crazy tax policy most repellent.

    The problem with these kinds of debates is that they inevitably involve personal attacks. If Republicans could debate particular policies without saying “my faction is better than yours,” they’d be a stronger party in the future.

    Of course, another problem is that the GOP had a “we’re all in this together! Let’s not criticize each other’s policies!” attitude towards intra-party argument, so they have forgotten how to rebuke their fellow partisans while still keeping the coalition together.

  2. a watcher says

    I wish you had linked to Parker’s piece. It appeared in The Gazette this weekend.and I found it to be a well reasoned analysis if a bit heavy on the rhetoric.

  3. says

    Whoops – the failure to link was an oversight that’s been rectified, but too late perhaps.

    My assessment and yours aren’t that far off. There are a few holes in her reasoning, which is also a bit simplistic. But the rhetoric and tone are even worse – unnecessarily inflammatory and self-defeating.

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