Fresh off his Kansas caucus win and James Dobson’s endorsement, Mike Huckabee is chugging along in his presidential race.
His chances of the winning the nomination are decidedly worse than his chances to win the Iowa caucuses last fall when he was polling in the low singe digits. Of course he ended up winning Iowa.
But putting aside all talk of political miracles, Mike Huckabee does have a chance to do something – he has a chance to fundamentally and finally remake the alliance of conservative Christian voters.
As he campaigns across the country, he has a choice to make.
Will he pander to the viciously harsh right wing that applauds the idea of wantonly deporting 12 million Americans who arrived here illegally?
Will he make overtures to defend the confederate flag as he did in South Carolina?
Will he try and become an agent of rage?
Will he go back to his compassionate conservative roots. Remember that as Arkansas’ governor he spent money on education and worked on compassionate welfare policies. He talked about the importance of those who were pro-life being “whole-life”. Bush talked about being a compassionate conservative, Gov. Huckabee was a compassionate conservative.
He can and should reclaim that mantle and speak to the great moral and social issues of our time – the unfathomable poverty around the world that is a breeding ground for everything from disease to terror. He should tackle the reality of the enormous income gap between rich and poor Americas. He should confront the reality of failing schools from coast to coast saying that standardized tests are not the measure of a student’s capacity or a teacher’s compassion. Millions of evangelical Christians are exhausted by the old order of self-appointed religious right leaders. Huckabee has a chance to become a new kind of leader. He should seize this chance to be who he really is – a politically moderate compassionate conservative.