Secular conservatives’ circular firing squad

Dave at NixGuy.com tipped me to a timely post by Erick Erickson at RedState.
The gist of it is a lament over secular conservatives’ increasingly harsh criticism of Mike Huckabee apparently for his faith rather than for his muddled thinking on policy matters. Some quotes:

You know the most damnably aggravating thing about this campaign season for me? I continue to feel compelled to defend Mike Huckabee and I’m still convinced he’d hurt the party were he the nominee. And as I continue to defend Huckabee, some have decided I’m an anti-Mormon bigot, some have decided I must be a Huckabee supporter, and some have decided I’ve just lost my mind.
Here I go again defending the guy who I have no intention of voting for.

I tend to think it is this class of people [“Metropolitan Conservatives”] who should let the rest of us go after Huckabee. They should go silent. The more they speak in their condescending manner toward those who are, in reality, the bulk of the GOP base, the more they give away the game that they want us in the party — they just wish we’d all shut the hell up and take orders instead.

The New York-Washington Corridor of Conservative Intelligentsia™ bristles at the idea that a back water social conservative from Arkansas has excited the base in a way the others haven’t. We were, after all, suppose to go for Romney or Rudy. They told us so.
I don’t want to defend Mike Huckabee. He’s not my candidate. I don’t yet see any major reasons to trust him on fiscal issues (though he did say he wants to kill the corporate income tax). But it’s a sad day in the conservative movement when the conservative intelligentsia has sustained harsher words for a socially conservative Governor than a serial adulterer who has said this year that the government should provide assistance to poor women wanting abortions.
There are attacks to be made on Huckabee. But I think most of those who are making them are only helping Huckabee because the snideness of their tone overshadows the accuracy of their attacks.

Erick’s post captures my own misgivings. Since I’m one of those “Jesus freaks from flyover country”, I bristle at the condescension from our supposed betters among metropolitan conservatives.
Shooting yourself in the footHuck’s not my choice by any stretch, but he’s a fellow Christian. In a sense, when the upper-crusters dump on him for his beliefs, they’re dumping on me too. Now I expect to catch flak from the secular leftists, but it’s harder to take from fellow Republicans.
We socially conservative Christians tend to be fiscally conservative too, and we’re foreign policy hawks more often than not. We’re not anti-science; we see the universe as an amazing creation that runs under scientific principles put in place by a rational God. We simply refuse to ignore the evidence of God’s work out of some misguided and mechanistic worldview that rigs the philosophical debate against the possibility of the supernatural. The secular conservatives disagree, which is fine. I can tolerate that, in the truly classical sense of the term.
But let’s be blunt: there are a lot more of us conservative “Jesus freaks” than there are metropolitan secular conservatives. If they persist in flinging poo at their own allies, we’ll politely take the hint and leave them to their lonely fits of pique atop their ivory towers. Of course, they’ll have no luck with advancing our shared values of smaller government and a strong national defense. Ronald Reagan understood this. Fred Thompson and Mitt Romney seem to get it. But for some reason far too many Rudy McRomney backers have either forgotten that lesson or perhaps never learned it to begin with.
We conservative Christians have much more in common with secular conservatives than we do with any other major group. We don’t make a habit of insisting that they become exactly like us, and we’ve dutifully pulled our share of the load since the 1980s. We can tolerate a lot of quiet disdain and open disagreement, but thumping on a prominent Christian simply because he’s a Christian is beyond the pale.
If they’ve got two brain cells between them, the leaders of secular conservatism ought to re-evaluate who their natural allies are, and refrain from unnecessarily antagonizing them.
Sheesh. And they call us narrow-minded?

One comment

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