Virginia Foxx's heavily publicized endorsement of Mitt Romney for the presidency opens up new vistas for analysis. Why didn't she go with Mike Huckabee? Especially since recent polling suggests that most of The Madam's Republican constituents support Huckabee by a wide margin, and Romney is hardly registering at all in N.C. polls. Plus isn't Huckabee the new avatar of conservatism? Why wouldn't his social conservatism make The Madam's heart sing like a caged bird, especially since she also claims to be a fellow Baptist?
Might it have something to do with buttering one's own toast? Support of Mitt Romney is showing obeisance to Wall Street, and The Madam has been nowhere more astute than in anticipating the deepest interests of the very rich.
Huckabee doesn't heart Wall Street. On the Today show this past Wednesday, Huckabee allowed as how "the Wall Street-to-Washington axis, this corridor of power, is absolutely, frantically against me." He may be a born-again Christian conservative, but he also fervently believes in an economic populism that sees a role for big government -- yes, BIG government -- in reaching out to the needy among us. That makes Huckabee a pretty good Baptist but also a Republican apostate to the likes of Virginia Foxx.
And it exposes the problem for Foxx in putting herself so nakedly out there for the Wall Street candidacy of Mitt Romney. Her Republican Party is pulling apart a little at the seams. She personally stands with the rich wing of her party, which, while making itself quite comfortable, is making life for most of her constituents increasingly difficult to manage. A big-government populist like Mike Huckabee, with his simultaneous anti-evolution, anti-abortion, anti-gay social views, becomes all the more attractive in the NC-5 and incidentally reveals The Madam's own vulnerability. She can talk about having been poor-as-lice once herself, but everything else about her -- most particularly her voting record -- screams a total lack of fellow-feeling for anyone struggling. An economic populist -- say, a Democratic one -- could take The Madam's congressional seat away from her ... in the exact same election that might give Mike Huckabee a wide margin for the presidency.
Conservative writers Ross Douthat and Reihan Salam have a new book coming out about "the failures of the conservative revolution," by which they mean the global-trade-and-Wall-Street neo-conservative "revolution" with which The Madam signed up and for whom she carries water. Foxx's hostility toward Social Security and the rest of the safety net that poor rural people (especially) have come to rely on could yet bite her in the butt (and as early as November 2008).
E.J. Dionne: "The white evangelical electorate is tired of taking orders from politicians who care more about protecting the wealthy than ending abortion, more about deregulation than family values."