…Those being the two kingmakers now pushing Obama and Huckabee, respectively, toward the top of the presidential heap — with America torn in its abject adoration of both and me contemplating having to vote for the Libertarian Party candidate next year (whoever that is — but shouldn’t they just endorse Ron Paul, bylaws permitting?).
If — if! — Ron Paul doesn’t surprise everyone and get the GOP nomination, I wouldn’t necessarily want him to bolt back to the Libertarian Party and run on that ticket (bylaws permitting), especially if that risked putting Hillary into the White House over Giuliani, but I could live with Obama beating Huckabee if that were the necessary side effect of Ron Paul getting, say, a Perot-sized 15% of the vote that really attracted public and media attention to the libertarian message. I’m reminded of my friend Joe Brennan (a former Libertarian Party New York City mayoral candidate) saying that the novel Dune made him more conscious of the fact that truly profound political changes must be planned for on a centuries-long timescale.
That hypothetical 15% Ron Paul footnote might be far more valuable over the long haul than any imagined advantage Huckabee might be seen to have over Obama in the short term (and I’m honestly not even sure there is one — with Bush, some of us hoped for market-based reforms such as partial privatization of Social Security and got more of a moderate gay-baiting statist, but with Huckabee we absolutely know we’re getting a moderate gay-baiting statist who won’t bring about market reforms).
If Huckabee’s rise is really where the recent internal dialectic of the Republican Party leads — soft statism and maximum Jesusness — all I can do by way of protest (not having written my book yet) is link to this panel from some obscure cartoon that, to my mind, far better represents the brand of fusionism America really needs than the religious/welfarist slumber-of-the-American-spirit that Huckabee represents (to which I’m pleased to see the conservative standard-bearers at National Review objecting, by the way).
Wait, I can do one more thing by way of protest: recommend a gift this holiday season perfect for the Satanist in your life. That’s right, Satanist. Because whether Huckabee — or for that matter Romney — grasps it or not, our law code is indeed secular, and Satanists are full-fledged American citizens as much as a Zoroastrian like you (I’m guessing) or an atheist like me. Presidential candidates know that and shouldn’t recklessly pretend otherwise, not when there’s a populist army out there ignorant of the law who might just imagine that by electing a Huckabee they can somehow transform a diverse, continent-wide nation into a cozy neighborhood church. Worship locally (if you must), vote globally.
My gift recommendation, then, for the Satanist close to you: Sulfur, by my former American Council on Science and Health co-worker Aubrey Stimola. True, it’s just a book (like her book Nickel) about an element, not about the Lake of Fire or anything like that. But since Satan, and therefore perhaps his followers, reportedly loves sulfur, think of this gift as a good way to bring together the Satanist in your family and the science-loving adherents of “secularism,” which Romney said in his recent speech he considers a religion unto itself.
Man. I’m beginning to wish Giuliani’s capacity for belligerence would surface in a galvanizing blaze of secular New York elitism, a nationally-noticed speech starting, perhaps, with the phrase “Now you listen to me, you brain-dead hicks…” and ending with him re-dunging that Virgin Mary painting. Maybe that’s the kind of tough America needs at this juncture. Recall that Jesse Ventura, who called religion a thing for the “weak-minded,” got elected governor of Minnesota talking loudly about his fondness for whores, fishing with dynamite, and cutting off welfare. Oprah and Jesus may be ascendant at the moment, but hardheadedness will yet make a comeback.
P.S. In looking for Joe Brennan’s blog above, I stumbled across another old article of mine I’ve just added to my Bibliography links page: this National Review piece recounting the New York State Libertarian nominating convention that made a short-lived gubernatorial candidate out of Howard Stern (note: the man who probably would have been the gubernatorial candidate in the absence of the Stern juggernaut, James Ostrowski, who is mentioned briefly, is now head of Ron Paul’s New York ballot access campaign, which makes me more confident Paul will actually get on the ballot here — the LP people know how hard it is and how organized you have to be).