Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Powerline's Conniption on Huckabee

Powerline asks the question, based on Huckabee's interview with Imus this morning: is Huckabee more like Reagan or Carter? While in general I don't think there's much doubt that the Huckster, with his big-government evangelicism, is more like Carter, I was surprised to discover that Powerline's question applied entirely to Huck's foreign policy.

More surprisingly, Powerline continued its conniption fit over Huckabee's denunciation of waterboarding and Guantanamo, and his assertion that we "broke" Iraq. In doing so, Powerline implies that Ronald Reagan wouldn't have cared about the damage to America's image done by Iraq, waterboarding and Guantanamo, and indeed would have found no moral dilemmas in instituting such procedures as a defense against terrorism.

Well I for one won't stand by and watch Reagan get slandered like that. Reagan may have been more concerned about realpolitik than Huckabee or Carter, but he also had a pretty good idea that things that make America look like the bad guy are generally not a good idea. But more importantly, this "Reagan standard" needs to stop: while I certainly admire Reagan and think he was one of our better Presidents, the idea that he was somehow infallible unlike every human who has lived before or since is just outright silly.

But at a minimum, can we make a new rule for Republicans? It's simple, really: if you're going to invoke the name of Ronald Reagan as an argument from authority to show how your opponent fails to meet the Reagan standard, you need to have some substantive evidence to prove that Reagan would have agreed with you. Otherwise, you're just making the phrase "Ronald Reagan would have done ....." have the same meaning as the words "liberty," "democracy," and "freedom" when spoken by an autocrat: in other words, no meaning at all other than to make yourself sound like you care about them.