So the idea is an old one.
If one has a rep as Not Rush, or worse, as a Moderate Not Rush, try to be More Conservative Than Rush.
Governor Mike Huckabee, whose much ballyhooed moderate talk radio show challenge to Rush Limbaugh was widely presented as the "safe, non-dangerous alternative" to Rush, has apparently had some ratings trouble. Or, as we have noted, his success would be promoted everywhere. This ratings problem, one suspects, is something along the lines of the same way the Titanic had an ice problem.
So… if the moderate, safe approach to Rush isn't working -- and as noted in the link above there has been radio silence about the Huck's ratings -- bailing faster while steering away from the iceberg might appear as an alternative. To wit: Suddenly become "non-safe" and "dangerous."
In this case, Huckabee has abruptly changed course to stake all by identifying with Chick-fil-A. The Chick-fil-A folks have run afoul of the same-sex marriage supporters.
The Huck has suddenly jumped into the fray. Calling for everybody to eat at Chick-fil-A on August 1. And what happened in response?
Yesssirrrreee. The Governor has found out just how faithful his liberal fans are when he's under fire. Here's a take down from the Washington Post's Dana Milbank
What is…ahhhh…curious here?
What is at issue in the Chick-fil-A dust up? Right -- gays. The company is being pictured as hostile to gays because of its stance on gay marriage. So The Huck noisily jumps in to defend them.
What about that New York Times Magazine interview with the Huck and Timsester Andrew Goldman that we cited in our July 12th piece that is linked above?
While we focused on the section of the interview that was relevant to the Huckabee challenge to Rush, there was something else said in that interview that looks mighty curious in light of the sudden Huckabee defense of Chick-fil-A. Here it is, from the transcript, word for word:
Goldman: During the Republican primary debates, audience members booed a question from an active serviceman who was gay and shouted, "Let him die," about a hypothetical gravely ill patient without insurance. Is this different from the party that you know and love?
Huckabee: Very much. It's one of the reasons that I did not think this was a good time to run. The atmosphere was so toxic that it would not be an atmosphere in which I would breathe well. There is almost a hyperorthodoxy that is gripping the party that you have to go out and prove that you can be tougher, meaner, more hard-line than anybody else on the stage. It may lead to effective campaigning if the goal is to be the most ideological puritan on the platform, but the ultimate goal is more of what I'd call a true Reagan model. Not the Reagan model that has been invoked — but Ronald Reagan who understood that governing is an art.
Reporter Goldman paints a picture of the Republican Party as viciously anti-gay. The predictable left-wing portrait of a group of gay-baiting thugs. Precisely the image that is now being painted of Chick-fil-A by its left-wing opponents.
And what was The Huck's response? Did he rebuke the reporter? Was there a staunch defense of the GOP as not anti-gay but simply principled on the marriage issue? Did he defend the GOP and conservatives as he is suddenly, loudly and on-air defending Chick-fil-A?
Ah…um…no. Nope. Nada. Not a word.
Instead The Huck couldn't agree fast enough to the question of whether the GOP's stance on same-sex marriage made the GOP "different from the party that you know and love?" Again, he said:
Very much. It's one of the reasons that I did not think this was a good time to run. The atmosphere was so toxic that it would not be an atmosphere in which I would breathe well. There is almost a hyperorthodoxy that is gripping the party that you have to go out and prove that you can be tougher, meaner, more hard-line than anybody else on the stage.
The GOP -- for opposing same-sex marriage -- has a "toxic" atmosphere. It is in the grip of a "hyperorthodoxy." It takes the stance it does to prove it can be "tougher, meaner, more hard-line."
But Chick-fil-A, for taking the exact same view as the GOP, is now worthy of an all-out radio-noisy demand for support?
What is this?
Yes yes yes. It's the old double-standard, sure.
But you know what I think?
I think the water is rapidly rising in the good talk radio ship of the moderate Mike Huckabee.
And what this whole loud defense of Chick-fil-A is really all about is a way, in the Huck mindset, to try and boost his ratings with conservatives in his challenge to Rush.
He wouldn't defend the GOP it when it would offend the Times. But, the water rising on his radio show, he'll do it now for Chick-fil-A.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is a small case study of just how moderate Republicanism works.
And why millions of Americans listen to Rush Limbaugh -- and not Mike Huckabee.
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