I've been curious about why seemingly conservative Republicans across the Virginia blogosphere seem to dislike and mistrust Mike Huckabee so much.
To a Democrat, like me, he would seem to appeal most perfectly to a strong part of their base, the evangelical social conservatives. Indeed, that was a key to his victory in Iowa and will be a large part of his appeal in South Carolina. Yet Republican bloggers are all over the map, with Kat, from Cathouse Chat, staunchly supporting Duncan Hunter, somebody who doesn't have a realistic chance in any primary. Jim Hoeft and Squeaky Wheel, of Bearing Drift, issued a joint endorsement of Mitt Romney a few weeks ago. And Mason Conservative was originally for Fred and then switched to Rudy.
So, what is it about Mike Huckabee that turns off these often socially conservative Republicans?
Fred Thompson gave this rather succinct wrap up explaining why party insiders dislike and mistrust Huckabee, whom conservatives like Leslie Carbone dismiss, as she did in this scathing post.
On the other hand, I've got to say in Huckabee's defense, he's no Democrat despite Thompson's attempt to portray him as such. Nor is he a liberal.
But there is a small but growing segment of young evangelicals who are disaffected with the Christian Right.
They care about issues like responsible stewardship of the environment, poverty and economic justice, racism, and peace. They are disaffected from the culture wars.
They are not liberal on abortion and they don't support gay marriage. But they are also tired of the demonization of gay people and the politicization of those wedge issues to the exclusion of other concerns.
These new Christians eschew the conservative or liberal labels and are part of a movement called the emergent church movement. Their leaders include Brian McLaren, Tony Campolo, and Jim Wallis.
Although some Democrats have been hoping to lure these leaders into a closer alliance with the Democratic Party (I'm one of those who supported this), there are things about Huckabee that might appeal to the idealistic young people who make up a large part of this new movement within the evangelical churches.
There are, however, serious impediments to Huckabee picking up their support if you look below the surface of Huckabee's populist appeal.
For example, his fair tax proposal, which is a flat tax, favors the wealthy and would be burdensome to the middle class and the poor. In addition, he has made statements about gays and AIDS that hark back to the culture wars that this group is so tired of.
But Huckabee's bass playing, folksy appeal could play beyond the narrow evangelical base. And that's what's scaring traditional no-tax, let's constantly fight the culture wars conservatives who truly comprise the hard right of the Republican Party.