Passing of the GOP Old Guard

Check out the David Brooks column we ran in today’s paper, particularly these paragraphs:

    Huckabee won because he tapped into realities that other Republicans have been slow to recognize. First, evangelicals have changed. Huckabee is the first ironic evangelical on the national stage. He’s funny, campy (see his Chuck Norris fixation) and he’s not at war with modern culture.
    Second, Huckabee understands much better than Mitt Romney that we have a crisis of authority in this country. People have lost faith in their leaders’ ability to respond to problems. While Romney embodies the leadership class, Huckabee went after it. He criticized Wall Street and K Street. Most importantly, he sensed that conservatives do not believe their own movement is well led. He took on Rush Limbaugh, the Club for Growth and even President Bush. The old guard threw everything they had at him, and their diminished power is now exposed.

I believe he’s on to something. The folks who attended the Iowa GOP caucuses Thursday night certainly thought he was on to something.

If you want to win as a Republican these days, you have to approach things a lot differently from the way George W. Bush and Mark Sanford (as pure an example of a "Club for Growth" guy as you’re likely to find) have. And, unfortunately for Mitt Romney, being a "Suit" doesn’t cut it any more. (Thinking a person would be good at politics because he’s good at business is about like assuming that a good swimmer would automatically be a good tennis player — it MIGHT happen, but one does not really lead to the other.)

This New Wave going to be very interesting to watch, and it might be very good for the country.

In New Hampshire, we’ll get our next indicator as to the direction in which that wave is rolling. Will Huckabee’s crushing Iowa victory over Romney boost him to an unexpected victory — or will it push John McCain over the top?

7 thoughts on “Passing of the GOP Old Guard

  1. Herb Brasher

    I didn’t think Romney looked good in the debates tonight (for what TV debates are worth, which isn’t much). He came across as Mr. Know-it-All Superior. McCain came across the best, I thought, probably because he said the least.

  2. Gordon Hirsch

    That O’Bama’s victory in Iowa constitutes a “political earthquake,” I can agree with Brooks. To say the same of Huckabee, or to claim that “evangelists have changed” is hyperbole. Evangelism has not changed, Huckabee has. For the sake of mainstream acceptance, he has adopted the rhetoric of national politics and softened his preaching of the ultra-conservative Christian positions he once claimed as his personal foundation. That makes him just another political opportunist, not “ironic.”

  3. weldon VII

    Interesting, Herb. I thought Edwards won the Democrats’ debate and McCain tied Fred Thompson for next to last with Paul behind them in the Republican debate.
    Same show, different interpretation. McCain continues to seem slightly off kilter to me, always a bit under the weather. Romney, Giuliani and Huckabee seem fortresses of strength by comparison.
    Brad, moreso than anyone else, McCain is the GOP old guard. Literally.

  4. Herb Brasher

    What did Edwards say of substance? Nothing except that “he feels it in his gut” or similar. Emotional appeals based on his parents. Ron Paul did have some interesting stuff on foreign policy, but he seems dangerously isolationist to me. Gulliani impressed with the fact that he has read (or at least seems to have read) Sayyid Qutb, but I think he drew some wrong conclusions from it.
    But TV debates are what they are–sound bites with little substance. They primarily show a candidates ability to think on her/his feet, which is not really what the chief exec’s job is really about.

  5. Richard L. Wolfe

    I find it amusing that the religious right gets single out as the only group in America that should not have a voice. I have heard that they were started by Goldwater or Reagan. The real culprits get very little ink. The rise of the religious right can be traced back to two court decisions by liberal judges legislating from the bench. It was abortion and and removing prayer from schools that gave birth to the religious right.
    If you elect a president that will put Constitutional judges in the courts the religious right will go back to sleep and you will be able to blame some other group for the GOP’S woes.

  6. weldon VII

    It wasn’t what Edwards said, Herb. It was how he said more or less the same old thing.
    Like he actually meant it.
    Not that it will make any difference. He won’t win.

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