Monday, December 17, 2007

Mitt Romney: Making Huckabee look good

When I write lengthy lists of the flaws of certain politicians like Ron Paul or Mike Huckabee, I don't mean to imply that they don't have their good points too. Mostly I just like being contrary and persnickety.

Huckabee, for all that he's a Biblical literalist, creationist, and general science-hater, has some good things going for him. He appears to recognize that pissing off the rest of the world isn't a good thing. Mitt Romney, on the other hand, is outraged by such an insinuation:
[Y]esterday ... [Romney] blasted Huckabee for calling Bush's foreign policy arrogant and indicative of a "bunker mentality."

"That's an insult to the president, and Mike Huckabee should apologize to the president," Romney said on NBC's "Meet the Press."

Within hours, Huckabee dismissed Romney's criticism.

"I don't have anything to apologize for," he said on CNN's "Late Edition." "I've got to show that I do have my own mind when it comes to how this country ought to lead, not only within its own borders but across the world."

Romney was seizing on an article Huckabee wrote for the January/February 2008 issue of "Foreign Affairs" magazine, in which the former Arkansas governor asserts that "American foreign policy needs to change its tone and attitude, open up, and reach out."

"The Bush administration's arrogant bunker mentality has been counterproductive at home and abroad," Huckabee wrote. "My administration will recognize that the United States' main fight today does not pit us against the world but pits the world against the terrorists."


Huckabee, who has been criticized for his relative inexperience in foreign affairs, said that while the United States should have "the strongest possible military on the face of the planet," it should also recognize "that we do better when we are partners with the entire world standing against the threat of Islamo-fascism than when we simply say that we're going to do it our way, and if you don't want to do it our way then we brand you as being with the other side."

That sounds... close to sane, really. France isn't our enemy, despite what you may have heard. It makes no sense to try and ignore the rest of the world, force them to do things our way, in order to meet our goals. We should work with other countries.
Romney told crowds in Iowa on Saturday that Huckabee was talking like Democratic presidential candidates John Edwards and Barack Obama, not a loyal Republican.

And here the authoritarian nature of the modern GOP shows through. Romney isn't trying to say that Huckabee is wrong, or naive, or ineffective, or anything. No, he's saying that he's disloyal. Huckabee's not showing the proper amount of fealty to President Bush, therefore you shouldn't vote for him. In Romney's mind--and unfortunately the mind of much of the GOP constituency, I fear--criticism of the president is tantamount to treason. (At least until we get a Democratic president)

Huckabee at least seems to realize that this is bullshit. On the other hand, if Huckabee's best point is that he sounds like a Democrat... then why not just vote Democratic?

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