Ron Paul & Mike Huckabee

This is a pretty insightful article by Jonah Goldberg in the L.A. Times on the differences between Ron Paul and Mike Huckabee, although the author’s condescension toward Dr. Paul is a little annoying.

Here are a couple of key quotes.

So what’s so scary about Huckabee? Personally, nothing. By all accounts, he’s a charming, decent, friendly, pious man.

What’s troubling about The Man From Hope 2.0 is what he represents. Huckabee represents compassionate conservatism on steroids. A devout social conservative on issues such as abortion, school prayer, homosexuality and evolution, Huckabee is a populist on economics, a fad-follower on the environment and an all-around do-gooder who believes that the biblical obligation to do “good works” extends to using government — and your tax dollars — to bring us closer to the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth.

Whatever the faults of the man and his friends may or may not be, Paul’s dogma generally renders them irrelevant. He is a true ideologue in that his personal preferences are secondary to his philosophical principles. When asked what his position is, he generally responds that his position can be deduced from the text of the Constitution. Of course, that’s not as dispositive as he thinks it is. But you get the point.

As for Huckabee — as with most politicians, alas — his personal preferences matter enormously because ultimately they’re the only thing that can be relied on to constrain him.

In this respect, Huckabee’s philosophy is conventionally liberal, or progressive. What he wants to do with government certainly differs in important respects from what Hillary Clinton would do, but the limits he would place on governmental do-goodery are primarily tactical or practical, not philosophical or constitutional. This isn’t to say he — or Hillary — is a would-be tyrant, but simply to note that the progressive notion of the state as a loving, caring parent is becoming a bipartisan affair.

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