Now that Mike Huckabee has climbed into the first tier of presidential contenders, he is attracting attacks from all sides, not just from the left but from the right. Robert Novak has written a column branding him a “false conservative.”
The rise of evangelical Christians as the force that blasted the GOP out of minority status during the past generation always contained an inherent danger: What if these new Republican acolytes supported not merely a conventional conservative but one of their own? That has happened with Huckabee, a former Baptist minister educated at Ouachita Baptist University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. The danger is a serious contender for the nomination who passes the litmus test of social conservatives on abortion, gay marriage and gun control but is far removed from the conservative-libertarian model of Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan.
Note the condescension oozing from that paragraph. But it marks a true division between the “country club Republicans” and the more populist Christian activists. The former have been quite eager to use Christians and other social conservatives to “blast” Republicans “out of their minority status.” But to actually elect someone like that should not be allowed.
Huckabee’s alleged heresies from conservatism include his calling the elite “Club for Growth” the “Club for Greed,” for having raised taxes as governor of Arkansas, and for being concerned with the environment.
But might a Christianity-informed conservatism be different from the usual kind? Or should two-kingdom Christians focus on these economic issues at the expense of issues such as abortion?