Jim, you echo a point I heard speaking to people at the Value Voters Summit. One FRC insider snapped, “the economic conservatives won’t accept Huckabee, and then they’re trying to stick us with Giuliani?”
With that said, while Huckabee did sign the Grover Norquist no-tax pledge, his “Club for Greed” line coupled with his populist rhetoric makes him much closer to the Pete Wilson model of running as a pro-choicer, or McCain condemning “agents of intolerence” than it does Giuliani addressing Values Voters this Saturday. Huckabee is really trying to reinvent the economic message of the GOP in his image, and I don’t think Giuliani is trying to turn the party into a pro-choice party, or argue that it needs to become pro-choice because if it doesn’t people are going to turn the dials on their TVs when Republican candidates argue in favor of the pro-life position in debates. This, of course, isn’t even getting into the record of tangible accomplishments that Giuliani can point to.
Interestingly, this is perhaps one way that a Huckabee surge could actually benefit Romney. If a war breaks out between economic conservatives and social conservatives over Giuliani and Huckabee, with both factions drawing a line in the sand, Romney’s “three-legged stool” argument could gain traction and allow him to emerge as the compromise candidate. Same for Fred Thompson if he perks up a bit.
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