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Tilting at Windmills

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December 15, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

HUCK AND THE MONEYCONS....Atrios comments on the newfound conservative loathing of Mike Huckabee:

I understand why the Villagers are freaked by Huckabee, but I don't understand why all of the idiot conservative bloggers are freaking out too. They're using the kind of language to describe the religious right that I steer clear of personally.

Over at The Corner they're up in arms over Huckabee too. The language might be a little more judicious, but the high priests of mainstream conservatism are every bit as unglued about Huckabee as the bloggers.

There are a variety of ostensible reasons for this: lack of foreign policy bona fides, too compassionate for their taste, too willing to consider spending money, etc. But I think the real reason is simpler: as with blogosphere conservatives, mainstream conservatives are mostly urban sophisticates with a libertarian bent, not rural evangelicals with a social conservative bent. They're happy to talk up NASCAR and pickup trucks in public, but in real life they mostly couldn't care less about either. Ditto for opposing abortion and the odd bit of gay bashing via proxy. But when it comes to Ten Commandments monuments and end times eschatology, they shiver inside just like any mainstream liberal. The only difference is that usually they keep their shivering to themselves because they want to keep everyone in the big tent happy.

But then along comes Huckabee, and guess what? He's the real deal. Not a guy like George Bush or Ronald Reagan, who talks a soothing game to the snake handlers but then turns around and spends his actual political capital on tax cuts, foreign wars, and deregulating big corporations. Huckabee, it turns out, isn't just giving lip service to evangelicals, he actually believes all that stuff. Among other things, he believes in creationism (really believes), once proposed that AIDS patients should be quarantined, appears to share the traditional evangelical view that Mormonism is a cult, and says (in public!) that homosexuality is sinful. And that's without seeing the text of any of his old sermons, which he (probably wisely) refuses to let the press lay eyes on.

I think this brand of yahooism puts off mainstream urban conservatives every bit as much as it does mainstream urban liberals. They're afraid that this time, it's not just a line of patter to keep the yokels in line.

Kevin Drum 12:25 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (78)

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President Huckabee today announced that all Americans need to sign up for a bible study class.
Apparently he's fed up with explaining stuff to the biblically illiterate.

Sound far-fetched. Not really. Seems the rise of Mike is due to the fear of Islamonuts.

America will stand strong as the christonuts try to increase their power!

God help us.

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on December 15, 2007 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

Why do the money-cons like BushCo, really? The market and economy did so much better under Clinton.

Posted by: Gore/Edwards 08 on December 15, 2007 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

Make fun of me? You're gonna talk to Chuck Norris' third fist!

Posted by: Presnit Huck on December 15, 2007 at 1:04 PM | PERMALINK

This doesn't make any sense to me. Is Bush not an egomaniac? Have a God-complex? Speak with a silver tongue, then implement a regressive tax policy? What's different about Huck?

How's Huck's talk vs policy any differant than Bush's NCLB, or Rumsfeld's plans to quarantine Bird Flu people (provided there was an outbreak) or Bush's setting up the ministry of religios funding?

Maybe all this beef with Huck is just from the conservatives propogandists not knowing whether Huck's schemeing enough to be a republican. But what would give them any doubt? Do they need to be in on the con, and they're just not sure if they're in on Huck's con?

Posted by: A Different Matt on December 15, 2007 at 1:04 PM | PERMALINK

I'm wary of such claims, but, nevertheless: I think there might also be something about class (or perceived class) going on here.

Slightly OT, but: What conservatives *should* be alarmed about but aren't is that Huckabee's CDS is so acute that it apparently led him to illegally work for the release from prison of a rapist who went on to rape and murder again--and to do so largely because the victim was Clinton's distant cousin.

For all the right's sophistical squawking about "BDS" (note: not actual derangement), and about Clinton being a murderer/rapist/drug-runner/etc., CDS is an actual derangement, and it has led to actual deaths.

Huckabee is, or so it would seem, a nut.

Posted by: Winston Smith on December 15, 2007 at 1:04 PM | PERMALINK

That sound you hear is the breath of all the Christian Fundamentalists who were holding their noses and planning to vote for Rudy or Mitt because Huckabee was "unelectable." He's still unelectable, but I think the religious right has convinced themselves for the moment that he just might be a viable candidate. If he were to win the primary -- not out of the question -- he'll lose in a landslide in the general, and the riff in the Republicans will pretty much be the party's death knell.

Posted by: idlemind on December 15, 2007 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

... Among other things, he believes in creationism (really believes), once proposed that AIDS patients should be quarantined, appears to share the traditional evangelical view that Mormonism is a cult, and says (in public!) that homosexuality is sinful.

So you're suggesting that urban mainstream conservatives have a problem with any of this stuff? Please. Aside from, maybe, the creationism stuff, most of them are completely down with every one of the other three.

Posted by: junebug on December 15, 2007 at 1:10 PM | PERMALINK

*shrug* I believe in creationism too, I find it no more unbelievable to believe that something started from nothing at the behest of an entity, than either

1) the universe began from nothing (bang)
2) the universe has alway existed and destroys and recreates itself (bang/crunch)
3) the universe is created from the interactions of many other possible universes (multiverse)

Am going to go with a 7 days literal creation? HAHAHAHA whew, no way. Way too much metaphor and symbolism in there to ever go literal.

Posted by: MNPundit on December 15, 2007 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK

Andrew Sullivan is right that Huckabee represents the ultimate result of Karl Rove's strategy of pandering to religious kooks. This was fine to mainstream conservatives as long as the kooks knew their place, provided the needed votes and could be bought off with trinkets. But now that they threaten to take control, party regulars are scared shitless. It must be the way the Eisenhower/Rockefeller Republicans viewed Goldwater in 1964: the inmates have taken over the asylum--only the Goldwater people were sane; Huckabee is truly nuts.

Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of people as far as I am concerned. I warned everyone on the right about this in my Impostor book and have been treated like a leper by them ever since. At this point I hope Huckabee gets the nomination and brings about the greatest Democratic victory since 1964. I know a lot of soon-to-be former Republicans who feel the same way.

Posted by: Bruce Bartlett on December 15, 2007 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

Congratulations! You used the phrase "couldn't care less" correctly! Sorry, sometimes I think I must be insane that most people (at least in the Boston area) consistently say that they could care less when they mean what you said. I hate it. Hate it, hate it, hate it.

Posted by: mroberts (don quixote, on this one) on December 15, 2007 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

I hope you are right about this. It seems to me the R's have become a sort of unholy alliance, of Christian Dominationists, libertarians, and closet plutocrats. It is well past time that this thing break up from its own contradictions. It seems that the CD faction has decided to vote its heart, rather than looking for the most electable candidate.

Posted by: bigTom on December 15, 2007 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

"The market and economy did so much better under Clinton."

MoneyCons don't care about the aggregate. They care about the disparity between rich and poor, and the power that accrues from it.

Posted by: F. Frederson on December 15, 2007 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK

>The market and economy did so much better under Clinton.

'The increase in incomes of the top 1 percent of Americans from 2003 to 2005 exceeded the total income of the poorest 20 percent of Americans, data in a new report by the Congressional Budget Office shows.' - David Cay Johnston, NYT
Report Says That the Rich Are Getting Richer Faster, Much Faster

Posted by: MsNThrope on December 15, 2007 at 1:22 PM | PERMALINK

Huckabee doesn't have the whole warmonger vibe that they love so much. He also seems nice, which they hate. They like a**holes.

Posted by: Chris M on December 15, 2007 at 1:22 PM | PERMALINK

What liberals, mainstream or not, dont shudder about religious monuments on public property and endtimes eschatology, Kevin? I guess they would be the rural unsophisticated liberals. Sounds like you have more in common with urban, sophisticated, mainstream conservatives.

Posted by: Michael7843853 G-O/F in 08! on December 15, 2007 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

You know what I think the real problem the right wing pundits and blogosphere have with Huckabee?

He embarrasses them. He makes the Republican Party and the right wing in general look like a bunch of hicks and hillbillies.

If you live in anywhere outside the South, it just doesn't look cool to have to support for President someone as benighted and crude and primitive and, well, low class as Huckabee. How do you show up to office work in NJ or Connecticut or Ohio or Michigan (not to mention the Beltway or New York) and not look like a drooling simpleton for supporting Huckabee for President? How do you maintain the respect of normal people?

Posted by: frankly0 on December 15, 2007 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

They hate Bill Clinton because he was raised in a trailer park in Hope, Arkansas, he enjoyed junk food like McDonald's and Little Debbie cakes and he plays saxophone, like a black person.

They hate Mike Huckabee because he was raised in a trailer park in Hope, Arkansas, he enjoyed junk food like McDonald's and Little Debbie cakes and he plays bass, like a black person.

Posted by: Old Hat on December 15, 2007 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

the inmates have taken over the asylum--only the Goldwater people were sane; Huckabee is truly nuts.

In the 50's Goldwater's people wanted Ike to nuke China (Taiwan Straits Crisis). In the 60's their message was don't fear the bomb. Oh yeah they were nuts.

I can only see Huckabee soldifying his support. Rommney cannot win the South and the real attack ads have not even started on Rudy.

Posted by: Daryl on December 15, 2007 at 1:43 PM | PERMALINK

The real split is urban/rural and always has been. Urban and rural civilizations are so different that they cannot be brought under a common umbrella of consensual governance. That problem has typically been solved by structurally subjugating one or the other. Almost always, the city subjugates the village because economic power accrues to cities.

The founders of this [ex-]republic tried to set up an equilibrium or mutual impasse: a weird thing to do and weirdly done, relying upon a tremendous list of assumptions that have been invalidated by subsequent events. The only political way forward under our present Constitution would be for the village to subjugate the city. That is where we have been since 1981, but it is not economically viable. The Constitution is what gives; that is where we are today. Until a new Constitution is developed, we are in a state of cold Civil War, one mistake away from turning hot.

If you have a problem with someone like Mike Huckabee making a credible bid for the Presidency, then you have a problem with the present Constitution.

Rural and urban cannot be governed on the same footing. "One law for the lion and lamb is oppression." -- William Blake.

Posted by: Frank Wilhoit on December 15, 2007 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

The real split is urban/rural and always has been.

It's not urban/rural, it's rich/poor.

Dan Bartlett called him a "hick."

Just goes to show you Republicans, when it comes down to it, couldn't care less about abortion or where gay men stick their wee-wees, they care about class.

Huckabee was pragmatic enough to ask for tax increases to help prevent cuts to social services for the poor a few years ago. That's absolute sacrilege.

Posted by: Old Hat on December 15, 2007 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

I don't think the conservative establishment would really care about Huckabee's rise if they thought he could win.

He can't win the general election, they know it, so they need to get rid of him.

Just like Dean in 04. End of story.

Posted by: Possum on December 15, 2007 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

The difference is in what the two sides give lip service to. Huckabee gives lip service to the supply siders, and sometimes not even that. He call Grover's boys the "Club for Greed" ands is not allergic to tax hijes. And don't forget that Mike's people are the ones facing foreclosure and job loses.

Yes, there is a culture war. And yes, back in 1995 in a series of articles in the NYRB Michael Lind wrote of the conservative's contempt for the social conservatives and the "Mouth Breaathers" as they called them. But this is the revenge of the mouth breathers. They want their say and the NRO crowd is scared to death.

Posted by: richard locicero on December 15, 2007 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

I always thought this poster from WhiteHouse.org perfectly summed up the conservative fear of the Clenis™.

(Note how the Clenis™ is wearing a low-class cracker's seersucker suit. Definitely not something Sally Quinn and the rest of the Washington, DC Stepford socialite bitches would ever allow their husbands to wear.)

Posted by: Old Hat on December 15, 2007 at 2:04 PM | PERMALINK

Perhaps the real issue is that Jesus would have little in common with the outlook, beliefs and prejudices of the Republican party. The danger is Huckabee may, deep down in his heart, know this. Or worse yet, he may come to realize this after the election. This worries the Republicans. They want a suit with great hair that will always bend to the corporate greed that funds the Republicans.

Posted by: Neal on December 15, 2007 at 2:04 PM | PERMALINK

oh....

So now atrios, the leader of the circle-jerk of links that calls itself "advertise liberally" without actually taking a meaningful stand on anything, is now some type of political "genius".

Give it a break - if I want to read juvenile crap from a group of wanna-be's, I'd visit his crappy site.

The bloggin' over there is such a parady - just another version of the 101st keyboarding brigade. That entire circle-jerk is ALL BLOGGIN' NO ACTION! that is trying to hijack the proud legacy of REAL liberals and real progressives using nothing but empty snark.

Posted by: little bear on December 15, 2007 at 2:05 PM | PERMALINK

Not the least point is that Huckabee seems to be actually a nice guy and has - in his own misguided way - the public interest at heart - unlike the other Republicans, who are sellouts and phonies.

The argument for or against Huckabee is that he looks to be a Republican Jimmy Carter, which - for all its faults - would be a lot better than what Romney or Guiliani would be.

Posted by: Duncan Kinder on December 15, 2007 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

Huckabee represents in many ways the socially conservative and economically liberal climate of the Democrats in the 1930's. It really is just a different flavor of the left. The country has been moving to the left for several years now and the thing that unites everybody on the left is resentment of the moneyed elites. The economy tanking in a big way will fuel this enormously. The Democratic Party has done nothing but alienate the working class since the 70s.

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on December 15, 2007 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

Public interest at heart?

What about Action America?

Huckabee's a fraud. Plain and simple.

Time to send him into the dust bin of history.

See NYT, etc.

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on December 15, 2007 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK

>The market and economy did so much better under Clinton.

'The increase in incomes of the top 1 percent of Americans from 2003 to 2005 exceeded the total income of the poorest 20 percent of Americans, data in a new report by the Congressional Budget Office shows.' - David Cay Johnston, NYT
Report Says That the Rich Are Getting Richer Faster, Much Faster

Look at the aggregate of 93-2001, vs. all of Bush's tenure. The market went through the roof over and over under Clinton, and hasn't even kept up with inflation under Bush.

Posted by: Gore/Edwards 08 on December 15, 2007 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, Kevin. Spot on.

Snobbery is at the heart of elite moneycon (and urban progressive Dem) disdain for the insurgent Huckabee. Sully is right about his candidacy emerging out of a dark Rovian brew. Serves the GOP right.

Atrios understands the political merits of Huckabee's doctrinal case against Romney's invocation of "the faith of his fathers." Lawrence O'Donnell explains why. (Has anyone analyzed Google searches of "Jesus and Satan brothers" since his remarks to a journalist? I confess to a search myself and found myself knee-deep in passages of astonishingly execrable writing: The Book of Mormon.)

And, finally, Huckabee's supporters understand it when "the real deal" appears and asks for their vote.

This is not to endorse the man and his policies or to say that he (or any Republican) has any real hope in the general--against Edwards or Obama, that is. This is just to note that he is an appealing candidate who is connecting with a potent portion of the electorate, a portion which probably doesn't much care about his unpardonable pardons, his overweight sons, his wife's haircut, or his generally unfashionable positions on a range of issues. He's one of them.

Posted by: paxr55 on December 15, 2007 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

That this yokel is even being seriously considered is a @$#%$ disgrace.
http://tinyurl.com/yomspc
This'll be the 1st leadership campaign in which the problem is that NONE of the candidates is even remotely electable.

Posted by: otherpaul on December 15, 2007 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

I slightly disagree with Kevin's analysis. I think you're right about what they see as wrong about Huckabee. But, I don't think the urban conservative elites really worry about public monuments to God, etc. They don't seem to care about that sort of thing at all.

What they fear is not that Huckabee will get his way. They fear that Huckabee will emphasize the culture war over their economic agenda. I suspect they'd love to get their economic agenda and lose the culture war. They'd be comfortable with getting their economic agenda and winning the culture war. What they won't abide is winning the culture war and losing their economic agenda. And Huckabee's priorities and background suggest that he might go for that. They knew with Reagan and the Bush family, economics would always take priority. They can't know that about Huckabee.

Posted by: MDtoMN on December 15, 2007 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK

For more background on Mike Huckabee the dangerous extremist and radical reactionary, see:
"Top 10 Moments in Mike Huckabee's Extremism."

Posted by: Furious on December 15, 2007 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK

Exactly, Furious.

You've made Kevin's point.

Posted by: paxr55 on December 15, 2007 at 2:53 PM | PERMALINK

What you are seeing now is that the schism between social conservatives and economic conservatives within the Republican party is slowly being revealed.

The historical power base within the Republican party has always been economically conservative but socially liberal. Only in the 20 years since Reagan, when the economic conservatives and social conservatives made a marriage of convenience to try to gain more political power, have social issues played a major role in defining the Republican Party.

Now, with no anointed Presidential candidate, like Dole in 1996 or Bush43 in 2000, the tensions between the various factions of the party are being revealed, much as with the Democratic Party in the 1970's and 1980's.

Posted by: mfw13 on December 15, 2007 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK

The increase in incomes of the top 1 percent of Americans from 2003 to 2005 exceeded the total income of the poorest 20 percent of Americans

The Piketty-Saez data show a substantial growth in income inequality since 1986. The relative flattening from post WWII through the early 80s reversed itself under Reagan (why do you think he's a saint?) and did not improve under WJC.

I suspect Huckabee's appeal is that he believes more needs to be done for the poorest among us. The problem is that he has no idea how to do it. The NRO crowd is worried because not only do they not know him, they don't know his circle of advisers. Nothing irks them more than having rubes invading DC.

Who would throw a party for this bunch? I really, really hope Huckabee can get the nomination. Ther's no one better for the Democratic party.

Posted by: TJM on December 15, 2007 at 2:58 PM | PERMALINK

Agree with Kevin. Huckabee's populism and sincerity is totally unacceptable to the right wingnut bloggers and the GOP corporate masters.

Posted by: Gary D on December 15, 2007 at 3:17 PM | PERMALINK

They dislike him because he's a sure loser in a general election, and all these people really care about is the wars and tax cuts that winning elections get them. Huckabee is the right wing version of George McGovern -- a representative of the most extremist positions his party supports. He's exactly the kind of candidate, supporting the kind of views, that alienated moderate Republicans in places like Kansas, where they eventually combined with Democrats to beat up their own party in local elections. You think these people want that scenario replayed on a national scale, where the derisive phrase "The party of McGovern" can be matched by "The party of Huckabee"? They are going to fight him tooth and nail -- and it has nothing to do with their personal attitudes towards the position he takes. It's about power, pure and simple.

Posted by: Martin Gale on December 15, 2007 at 3:20 PM | PERMALINK

I just wanted to highlight this:

"But I think the real reason is simpler: as with blogosphere conservatives, mainstream conservatives are mostly urban sophisticates with a libertarian bent, not rural evangelicals with a social conservative bent. They're happy to talk up NASCAR and pickup trucks in public, but in real life they mostly couldn't care less about either. Ditto for opposing abortion and the odd bit of gay bashing via proxy. But when it comes to Ten Commandments monuments and end times eschatology, they shiver inside just like any mainstream liberal."

Sums up OC (and a whole great mass of so-called "Republicans" who live in any non-rural area) perfectly. The Rs don't represent them any better than Ds do, they vote R because they promise not to raise taxes and as a bonus, gut-punch itty-bitty countries that usually don't deserve it, making them feel strong an macho.

Other side of the coin are the I'm-a-Libertarian-but-I-vote-for-Republicans and the Don't-Call-Me-A-Republican-I'm-A-Conservative-But-I-Still-Only-Vote-For-Republicans types.

Or, my favorite, "I'm not really political, but I don't like the Democrats". When you ask them why, they can never explain it. The amazing thing is that national Repub candidates for generations have been keeping all the bits of their base happy by managing to say placating things to all of them at once, even if it's totally contradictory to one or more members. But I guess an honest-to-golly-gee True Believer (or Giuliani, the True Believers' worst nightmare) freaks them out enough to split the party up.

Posted by: JB on December 15, 2007 at 3:40 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with MD2MN. I really don't sense any discomfort of the suburban republican/FOX News set with fundamentalists at all, and there is nothing libertarian about them either. I also don't believe electability is an issue, as I think they all know they are going down in flames. I just think this is a short lived fight for control and direction of the party. They are already in the obstructionist role in the Senate. Soon they will be in full bomb throwing mode from the minority positions in both houses. When they are in the minority, they can reunite to use their obstructionism to prevent pro-Choice judges as well as tax hikes, just like in the good old days. But maybe they just don't trust each other that much at this juncture, and maybe they are trying to project blame for their state of failure on each other. Or maybe not. But there is definitely no sea change going on here.

Posted by: jussumbody on December 15, 2007 at 3:45 PM | PERMALINK

Gore/Edwards 08 asked,

Why do the money-cons like BushCo, really? The market and economy did so much better under Clinton.

Answer:

Percentage gains in after-tax income from 2003 to 2005:

Bottom quintile: 2%
Next quintile: 2.4%
Middle quintile: 3.9%
Fourth quintile: 3.7%
Top quintile: 16%

Top 10%: 20.9%
Top 5%: 27.7%
Top 1%: 43.5%

http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/12/13/bush-boom-bah/

Posted by: Bribes on December 15, 2007 at 4:17 PM | PERMALINK

They call him Tax Hike Mike

Posted by: Ya Know... on December 15, 2007 at 4:18 PM | PERMALINK

This explanation doesn't completely convince me. Back in 2000, W. was presenting himself as a born-again Christian whose favorite philosopher was Jesus and was campaigning on a more humble foreign policy. And he was considered the establishment candidate and supported by most of the pundits. Is Huckabee really that different from the W. in 2000? I figure that the difference in Republican reaction to Bush in 2000 and Huckabee now is either 1) class (being son of a former president presumably gets you in the right circles) or 2) loyal Republicans are just more bloodthirsty/warmongering now than they were eight years ago. Maybe if Huckabee had run before 9/11 he would have been better received.

Posted by: jn on December 15, 2007 at 4:20 PM | PERMALINK

Answer: Percentage gains in after-tax income from 2003 to 2005.

Factor in the devaluation of the dollar over the last five years however and they have lost half their wealth. They simply traded tax cuts for debasement of the dollar it seems to me. Tax cuts INCREASE inflation, which, wholesale, is at 3.2% in november, a 32 year high.

Posted by: Ya Know... on December 15, 2007 at 4:23 PM | PERMALINK

I don't think Huckabee's rhetoric is any worse that of George W. Bush or Ronald Reagan. And I have no idea whether Huckabee actually believes all that crazy stuff any more than GWB or Reagan.

That's always bothered me. I don't know where their ignorance and bigotry ends and dishonesty begins, but I'm pretty sure they have a problem with both.

So, Kevin, as far as I concerned, you may be right and you may be wrong, it doesn't matter. I think Huckabee would be more of the same. Not necessarily worse, but very bad.

Posted by: little ole jim on December 15, 2007 at 4:32 PM | PERMALINK

This explanation doesn't completely convince me. Back in 2000, W. was presenting himself as a born-again Christian whose favorite philosopher was Jesus.

That was, I think, to keep the evangelicals in line, to gain their votes and the significant amount of money they supplied. Just look at the actions of this administration, definitely not authentic Christianity. Even though I believe in God, for reasons that have nothing to do with politics or the Bible, I recognize the fact that politician will and do use religion as a means to yoke the masses. I wish they would wake up.

Posted by: Ya Know... on December 15, 2007 at 4:36 PM | PERMALINK

@Ya know...,

I would also add that the stats Krugman cites look solely at after-tax income. It does not include accumulation of wealth, which I suspect is also through the roof for the top 5%.

Posted by: Bribes on December 15, 2007 at 4:37 PM | PERMALINK

Is Huckabee really that different from the W. in 2000?

Bush, whatever his limitations, hailed from a well known, establishment American family, and went to both Yale and Harvard.

And take a look at the other current Republican candidates. Giuliani, a former prosecutor from NYC, enjoys the level of at least apparent sophistication that that background implies. McCain comes again from a well established, high ranking military family. Thompson is a lawyer who served on the Watergate committee and projects the savvy a well known Hollywood actor should. Romney again comes from a famous political family, is enormously rich, and went to Harvard.

Huckabee? Well, let's just say that while he may not be the boy who strummed the banjo in Deliverance, he certainly could count that charming fellow as a parishioner in his church.

Posted by: frankly0 on December 15, 2007 at 4:39 PM | PERMALINK

"The historical power base within the Republican party has always been economically conservative but socially liberal. Only in the 20 years since Reagan, when the economic conservatives and social conservatives made a marriage of convenience to try to gain more political power, have social issues played a major role in defining the Republican Party."

This is definitely not true. Going back to Goldwater in 1964, most of his supporters were on the right on social issues--Phyllis Schlafly, Bill Buckley, the Deep South--whatever Barry himself thought, whereas his Republican opponents were much more moderate on those issues. And Goldwater's stand against civil rights gave him five of the six states he won. Nixon, in his crusades against drugs, pornography, abortion (in military hospitals, at least)--anything that could be associated with the left, McGovern, hippies, etc., not to mention the infamous Southern Strategy, was quite on board with this. It's been going on for a long time.

Bush: "I know I called myself a compassionate conservative to get those yahoos into the tent, but this guy [Huckabee] seems to be taking it seriously."

Posted by: Henderstock on December 15, 2007 at 4:55 PM | PERMALINK

I thihave it a little bit wronge, Kevin. Urban conservagtives aren't as put off by Huck's religiousity as they are about the vfact that he doesn't worship money, the real relidion of trhe R party. Tthe Republicans are, at the top, the party of oigarchs, white collars criminals, and the selfish. Huck knows this and opposes it. He is extremely threatening to the values of people likeK-Lo, not becauseshe is adverse to micro managing other peoples' sex lives, and certainly not because she's an intellilectual, but because Hucka bee isn't what she is: a selfish suck up to the rich and powerful.

Huckabee wrote a book, the theisis of which is that the Republican party is corrupted by money. It isn't his fundamentalism that threatens the Rethug leadership and bloggers: it's his genuine populism.

Posted by: wonkie on December 15, 2007 at 4:55 PM | PERMALINK
Well, let's just say that while he may not be the boy who strummed the banjo in Deliverance, he certainly could count that charming fellow as a parishioner in his church.

Pretty funny, and I think I follow your line of thought.

But GWB immersed himself in Huckabee’s world. When he was campaigning for his Dad, he discovered a gold mine, the evangelicals. He and Karl Rove have played them for all they are worth.

Man, does the Republican party ever deserve Huckabee. And I’m not totally convinced that they can’t win with him. In 2004, America reelected an idiot.

Posted by: little old jim on December 15, 2007 at 5:01 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with you about people like Lowry and his ilk. So when are Chris Matthews and Maureen Dowd going to start making fun of out-of-touch latte-sipping Republicans driving Volvos?

Posted by: af on December 15, 2007 at 5:46 PM | PERMALINK

"... The market went through the roof over and over under Clinton, and hasn't even kept up with inflation under Bush."

Don't equate the modern stock market with any sort of economic reality. It's a combination shell game and Ponzi scheme.

Instead focus on the real bottom line... which is that the top percentiles are aggregating wealth at an incredible rate, one not seen since the 20's... and we know how well that ended.

Posted by: Buford on December 15, 2007 at 6:03 PM | PERMALINK

Prior to Reagan Republicans consisted of economic conservatives with a sprinking of "libertarians" (divorce and such) and some foreign policy bipartisanship. Because many social conservatives were lower class economically, they were usually supporters of the Democrats even if they weren't too happy with some of the "liberal" Democratic positions. Many were also racist; some a lot, some not so much. The CRA of 1964 was a major reason for their separation from the Democrats. This was also the end of the period where party allegiance was often passed down from generation to generation (the Irish in the North, whites in the South, etc).
Even after the CRA of 1964, it took 15 years before Reagan and the Republicans were able to go for a winning "Southern strategy": cultural conservatives (the South) allied to economic conservatives (the rest of the country). And for 25 years the strategy has worked; the South is presently Republican, conservatives have framed the economic debate for the past decade or more and the Republicans actually controlled Congress for nearly 15 years, something not seen since before Hoover.
However, even added together, the real, always vote Republican economic conservatives added to the social conservatives don't make up a majority. I don't know what the percentage is, but I doubt it reaches 40%. Therefore, to win elections the Republicans have to get at least a third of the "independent" vote. The "national security" soccer moms and suburbanites who want services (but no taxes for them), for example.
Polls show that the Democrats are now rated equal or better than Republicans on national security, that's gone. The economy is tanking, that's gone. Health care is/will be a major issue and no Republican will face it, so that's gone.
And now the one person who represents the lowest common denominator in social conservatism, Huckabee, is leading in the Republican polls. If he wins the nominations a major disaster awaits the Republican party. There is no way to hide Huckabee's views. There is no way to con the independents again (been there, done that with GWB). If Huckabee wins the nomination the Republican Party goes down to not just defeat, but a defeat on the order of 1932 or 1936.
And that could mean two decades of being out of power for the Republican leadership and chattering classes. No wonder they're terrified.

Posted by: Doug on December 15, 2007 at 6:06 PM | PERMALINK
I agree with you about people like Lowry and his ilk. So when are Chris Matthews and Maureen Dowd going to start making fun of out-of-touch latte-sipping Republicans driving Volvos?

Posted by: af on December 15, 2007 at 5:46 PM | PERMALINK

That isn't what they're worried about. They're worried about being stereotyped as religious fundamentalists who don't want evolution taught in schools, who are Christian bigots, believe the world is 10,000 years old, and so on. Watch the film Inherit The Wind, and you'll see exactly the kind of battle they are hoping to avoid seeing fought. Because such a battle can only have one political outcome -- much as it did way back then -- and they have already chosen to ally with the losing side.

Posted by: Martin Gale on December 15, 2007 at 6:17 PM | PERMALINK

I think Kevin is right. At least, what he wrote certainly applies to me.

My other problem with Huckaby is that he isn't remotely qualified to be President.

Posted by: ex-liberal on December 15, 2007 at 7:15 PM | PERMALINK

...Factor in the devaluation of the dollar over ... and they have lost half their wealth..... Ya Know... at 4:23 PM
Dude, that would apply to all Americans, even the luckie duckies; that is, if it were accurate.

Posted by: Mike on December 15, 2007 at 7:18 PM | PERMALINK

If Huckabee wins the nomination the Republican Party goes down to not just defeat, but a defeat on the order of 1932 or 1936.
And that could mean two decades of being out of power for the Republican leadership and chattering classes. No wonder they're terrified.

Doug, I generally agree with your analysis here. What if the GOP leadership is clearly seen over the next few weeks or months as trying to lock Huckabee out of the nomination? Wouldn't that have a tendency to increase his support? Huckabee is turning into such a wildcard, I wouldn't be surprised that he somehow rallies a big chunk of the Green Party behind him.

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on December 15, 2007 at 7:36 PM | PERMALINK

Wrong on most counts, although Kevin was unintentionally humorous when he posited the notion that "urban" conservatives don't really enjoy NASCAR or pick up trucks.

It sure ain't all liberals who are driving all those pickups I see on the expressways of Chicago. And NASCAR regularly outperforms most other sports on TV here in the windy city.

Regardless, why is it so surprising that conservatives wouldn't want another Carter or Bush for that matter as President? This guy contradicts himself every time he opens his mouth. His moralistic bromides on domestic and foreign policy are so reminiscent of the Sunday school teacher Carter that one wonders what it is about southern populists that makes them sound alike?

Huckabee might win a couple of states in a general election - it wouldn't be a Mondale-like near shut out. But what would happen to GOP House and Senate candidates is something most of us who are rabidly opposing this bumpkin don't want to see as reality.

Posted by: Rick Moran on December 15, 2007 at 7:56 PM | PERMALINK

This has probably been mentioned above, but you got it wrong, Kev.

The moneyed GOP isn't turning against Huck because of his crazy Xian beliefs; they are turning against him because of his good Xian beliefs, like helping the poor.

Posted by: Disputo on December 15, 2007 at 8:00 PM | PERMALINK

I think Rick Moran may be right, but not in the way he thinks. Rank and file Republicans, even suburban middle class ones, are totally into stuff they wouldn't have touched a generation ago: not just country music and NASCAR (which is 100% vicarious redneckery, otherwise they'd follow other motor sports like Indy and F1), but non-denominational Christianity as well. The Colorado Springs mega-church formerly pastored by gay speedfreak Ted Haggard isn't full of trailer park dwellers wearing western suits and bolo ties to church, but of the suburban middle class.

But contra Moran (and KD), no one at the grass roots level is alarmed by Huckabee (though lots of them no doubt support another Republican). This screeching about Huckabee is strictly coming from the moneyed elites, through bought-and-paid-for subsidiaries like National Review and the right-wing blogosphere.

Posted by: kth on December 15, 2007 at 8:52 PM | PERMALINK

From Tsulagi on the Balloon Juice thread about Huckabee:

"OT, but a really funny youtube that could give Flipper some gas is this cartoon illustration of the origin of Mormonism. Evangelicals would love it. Did you know Jesus was Mormon? Multiple wives? Why some have black skin? Our extraterrestrial beginnings? This thing is a classic and already has over 600k viewings. And they call UFO Kucinich looney?"

Is this for real? It was "banned" by the Mormon Church. Does anybody know the background on this?

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on December 15, 2007 at 9:24 PM | PERMALINK

You wait. The next step will be for Republicans to rebrand themselves by announcing that they've purged all the "extremists" from their party. For "extremists" theocons. Neocons and moneycons are every bit as crazy as theocons, but the MSM can't see this.

Posted by: ChristianPinko on December 15, 2007 at 9:35 PM | PERMALINK

My other problem with Huckaby is that he isn't remotely qualified to be President.

Posted by: ex-liberal

The retort to this is so obvious, I'll let you figure it out for yourself.

Posted by: craigie on December 15, 2007 at 9:41 PM | PERMALINK

Once upon a time there was a President named Calvin Coolidge. Everything was fine and dandy. The Corporate based Aristocracy had a field day. Then the depression came and the party was over.

But then along comes FDR and the New Deal and it looks like the party is over permanently. Panic ensues, and the wall street crowd attempts a coup against FDR that falls flat. A god awful reality descends upon the WCR. But while the sun is setting in America it is rising in Germany. One caveat, Germany's sunrise is based upon anti-liberalism resentment which relies on scapegoating of Jews. And there's one Jewish political philosopher the Nazi's love - Leo Strauss. Unfortunately, because he's Jewish the Nazis can't tolerate him. Since they like his philosophy, they don't want to kill him. What to do? The Nazis bequeath Strauss to their American cousins. Strauss lands on our shores and ends up at the University founded by John Rockeffeler - the ultimate corporate aristocrat - the University of Chicago, the bastion of right wing academic thought.

In the winter of the Wealthy Conservative Republicans (WCR) discontent, springtime for the new deal, Hitler sends them a man who will ultimately help them bring down the new deal. Thank you Uncle Adolph.

The WCR have to fight a rear guard action attempting to limit their retreat from power. Roosevelt's popularity and World War II keeps their party outside of power. Slowly they piece together a new story board for their movement. However, they aren't able to get any traction until after World War II ends.

But then things start to get brighter. As long as Uncle Adolph was the enemy, it was difficult for Republicans to get much traction. But after world war II things change. Since the New Deal has some mild socialist elements, it attracts far left socialist, even communist to its ranks. Then Churchill gives his Iron Curtain speech and suddenly we have a new enemy. Then China falls to the communist. Now the WCR have some traction. But Truman counters by fighting Communism in Korea.

The WCR are back to rear guard actions. It's at this point, having been out of power for 18 years, going on 20, they up the ante, and pull the 'assassination' card - that is, political assassination - aka Joe McCarthy. And so begins the conditioning of America to the red scare. But still, assassination is a weak hand, rear guard action. Out of power 20 years, the WCR compromises itself and cons Eisenhower over to run for President. Finally a Republican, after 20 years in the wilderness, becomes president. But he's a watered down President - after all, he's military, a profession where fairness is more important than greed, an operation where things run surprisingly in a socialist manner. To mitigate the watered down Republicanism of Eisenhower, Nixon is attached as vice president. By the time he's done with his Presidency even Eisenhower has a sense of who the Republicans really are, and on his way out the door he gives a speech telling the public to be weary of these bastards.

The Republicans can't even hold their own president. They are still fighting a rear guard action. The next decade ushers in a new liberal era causing the WCR to loose even more traction. Things are worse than ever. Once again out comes the assassination card. This time its real assassination. Turns out there are no shortages of Lee Harvey somebody's who want to make their mark in the world of movement conservativism.

The nadir for the WCR is 1964 where LBJ scores a land slide victory based upon the popularity of JFK, demonstrated anticommunism in Vietnam and sympathy over the assassination of JFK. (Sympathy affect is often overlooked, but in 2000, a Republican year, Missouri voted in a dead Democratic senator - as to Vietnam, that would turn out to be a mistake). Things are so low for the WCR that at this point two liberal leaders become assassinated in one year.

But all this time Leo Strauss has been toiling away teaching the sons and daughters of the WCR an idea for a new political alignment that is bullet proof: Wealthy Conservative Elite as a ruling elite who use excessive Religiosity to rule over the masses.

Upon the disaster of 1964 the Neocon movement begins to move to the fore. The WCR become the high neocons: the wealthy elite meant to control society. The high Neocons begin building wealthy foundations that provide seed money to religious institutions that are meant to be decidedly right wing politically. It is by these means they will control the religiosity in society and thus society.

The Straussian structure meets the moment. The democrats belief in mixed economy is tainted with socialism, and socialism is tainted with athiesm - and so, in post WWII America, the wealthy elites and religious conservatives are natural political allies.

Southern bigots seething with resentment over the outcome of the civil war, are even more resentful of the civil rights movement which forces them to go underground with their bigotry finding cover only under the protection that religion affords. As the liberal movement begins to stall on the excesses of the baby boom generations youthful indiscretions and chaos in the cities where civil rights riots are wage, Nixon suddenly surges from political oblivion.

Nixon immediately sees in Southern resentment the reflection of WCR resentment over the new deal. The republican party, like Uncle Adolph's, is becoming a reactionary party resentful of liberalisms successes.

Perhaps in one of history's most ironic moments, Nixon is saddled with losing America's only war, to, of all movements, Communist in Vietnam, precisely at the same time he is force by impending impeachment to resign. Liberals, who are neither pro-war or rabidly anti-communist fail to grasp the feverish resentment this inculcates in far right wingers. So the republican party finally finds its traction in resentment: Military resentment over Vietnam, social and religious conservative resentment over the post-world war II explosion in civil liberties, Southern bigotry resentment over the post WWII civil rights movement - grafted on to resentment of the outcome of the civil war, and religious conservatives resentful.

There you have it: the republican party is one giant coalition of resentment. But at the fore, still controling things are the WCR, the elite, which include the high neocons. From the 60s on they are institution building, religious institutions, think tanks, media organizations etc... But despite the alignment of all of these simmering pools of resentment, the Republicans, and the excesses of the liberal movement at the end of the 1960s, the Republicans can't attract the masses necessary without playing the religion card in heavy handed fashion.

In Reagan they find their man with charisma. Thanks to that charisma, they are able to disguise their resentment in the ancient, natural American distrust of government.

(The great union leader Walter Ruether died in a plane crash of mysterious circumstances in the early 1970s - perhaps a holder of the assassinations of the 1960s against the leaders of the liberal movement. Ruether was probably more instrumental in advancing liberal causes than any other single man. The Bookend to Ruether's death is the Patco strike during Reagan's presidency. From that point on Unions are on the run, and with it, liberalism.)

In 1992 a fluke happens. In the midst of the new conservative age, the Republicans get a little cocky and let a recession slip into an election year. A viable third party candidate emerges in Ross Perot, and so in the midst of the conservative serge, Clinton gets elected. Clinton is the Democrats answer to Eisenhower. He's a luke warm liberal running the governement in the midst of a conservative era. The resentment explodes once again. Even worse, the country surges during the Clinton tenure, the economy grows at an unprecedented pace for peace time and America hits the epogee of prosperity and international prestige. This of course can't be tolerated. The resentment crowd resorts to the old tactic of assassination, political assassination. Clinton survives but the bullet sinks his would be successor, Al Gore.

Reagan becomes the Neocon standard. This movement reaches its synthesis in George W. Bush - a descendant of what almost assuredly was one of the original members of the wall street/white house coup attempt against FDR in 1933 - who claims Jesus as his personal savior (from addiction to alcohol and drugs), and manifest a southern accent. The perfect Neocon.

Bush, who claims to be both a Christian (though he almost never goes to church), and a strict constructionist of the constitution, and despite Christ's commandment not to mix religion and politics/civics, and despite the constitutions proscribing the same, begins to blend the two.

The results prove both the wisdom of both Christ and the framers of the constitution. It might of been Reagan who said "we want to rock the boat, and we don't mind if we have to tip the boat over in the process." The result of Bush's mixing religion is of such a massive disaster that in his short tenure of eight years, manages to push the United States from its peak of prestige and prosperity to one where the country is on a course for massive self destruction and with it, once again, the Republican party.

As a result, no self respecting Republican is interested in inheriting Bush's mantle. The Republican party's candidates are nothing but flakes, flacks and crazies and evermore extremists.

Into this mix, into the Neocon construction of the Republican party, comes Huckabee.

Huckabee is a non-neocon southern religious conservative. Not a false southern religious conservative constructed by or in alliance with the high Neocons (like focus on the family, Pat Robertson and the late Rev. Jerry Falwell).

Huckabee can attract the masses the way Bush did using his religiosity. But unlike Bush he has no alliance with and is not controlled by the high Neocons.

This echoes the dawn of the dark ages. With the fall of the Roman Empire, the wealthy elite hired ruffians to guard their property. Eventually, the ruffians realized they could just take the wealthy elites property without recrimination, build a castle around it, broker fielty to the next bigger ruffian, and the rest is feudal history.

Along comes Huckabee, into a political void made possible by the results of the Bush policy crater, and the religios right realize they don't have to pay homige to the high Neocons. Instead it's the reverse.

Or so it would seem.

From the stand point of politics, things are really getting interesting. The democrats suffered from their excesses during the late 1960s and early 1970s. Now it appears that Reagan, and the country, are suffering the same.

And this time, it appears that the conservative movement is running out of bullets. Both real and metaphorically.


Posted by: Pallomine on December 15, 2007 at 10:04 PM | PERMALINK

They think he'll lose too, thats another big reason.

Posted by: Jonesy on December 15, 2007 at 10:50 PM | PERMALINK
And that could mean two decades of being out of power for the Republican leadership and chattering classes. No wonder they're terrified.


Posted by: Doug on December 15, 2007 at 6:06 PM | PERMALINK

It isn't an Alf Landon, Walter Mondale kind of bombing they are afraid of, but rather, the persistent record of defeat that has historically hit any party that based its success on an appeal to Solid South-style values. The electoral map of William Jennings Bryan, Winfield Hancock, et al, is a sure loser, but that's what they're heading for with a Huckabee-type candidate. Go through the electoral maps on this site, and you'll see exactly what I mean:

http://www.presidentelect.org/e1896.html

Between 1888 and 1912, they never got bombed out, they just lost, over, and over, and over again. It wasn't until TR split the Republican Party (which back then was the more progressive and forward-looking of the two parties) with his "Bull Moose" candidacy that the Southerners were finally able to break through and win.

Posted by: Martin Gale on December 15, 2007 at 11:29 PM | PERMALINK

Seems likely that if Hillary and Huckabee both get nominations, the economic Republicans will throw their lot in with Hillary.

We could have a situation where Huckabee could run to the right of Hillary in economics.

Depending upon who wins, A major realignment could then unfold where the Republicans become the party of religious and working class masses and the Democrats the economic elites and social liberals.

Post war America was kept centrist because economic conservatives were socially liberal and in the same party as socially conservative religious.

What happens to the country when the working class and the religious masses join ranks?

I can't see anything good coming from this in the long run. If America goes down in flames it will be because we combined religion and politics beyond our old prudent ceremonial deism.

Posted by: Bubbles on December 15, 2007 at 11:48 PM | PERMALINK

This was perfect. The Rich Lowrys, the Hugh Hewitts, the Krauthammers, now they're exposed. Even Rush. These are the Moneycons, and they are legion within the GOP.

Fortunately, so are the values voters. Huckabee threatens to decouple the supply-side doctrine of tax cuts for the rich from the socially conservative issues that makes them possible.

The moneycons think that just because Reagan and the Bushes have won so many times it means tax cuts for the rich are really popular out there among the great unwashed. No . . . what's actually popular are the social issues values voters care about. And now comes a candidate who speaks to those voters in a way that not even Reagan did (as Peggy Noonan recently pointed out). Now we're seeing that tax cuts for the rich weren't really that popular after all, because if that were true then Romney or Rudy or Fred would be the frontrunner.

Not Huckabee.

Posted by: open slather on December 16, 2007 at 1:46 AM | PERMALINK

According to Time magazine, a Bush aid mentioned that one reason that W and Rove didn't do more to help Delay during his legal troubles that led to him leaving Congress was because of class differences. Bush, coming from an old WASP-y New England-Texas pedigree (hanging out with oil execs in Texas while going to Andover, Yale and Harvard), looked down on Delay, a guy who used to be an exterminator. He didn't like talking to him because he didn't like talking to hicks. Hell, both Bush and Kerry were Bonesmen descended from the first governor of Massachusetts. The whole cowboy shtick just showed that evangelicals are stupid enough to be distracted by shiny things, which also explained the success of George Allen in Virginia until 2006. My prep school conservative friends hated Southerners, especially the ones with Southern relatives. They saw them as a bunch of inbred, Bible-thumping hicks. One of my smartest urban conservative friends (raised in the South in a non-Christian family with strong family ties to New York and North Jersey) has gone from being a strong Bush supporter to calling him a crazy fascist. The Republicans have lost much of their intellectuals' support. Drezner, Fukuyama, etc. aren't too keen on them these days. AEI only stays purely Republican because the dissenters are fired. Glenn Loury has left the party. Hedge fund managers now financially back the Democrats. Hollywood conservatives like Bruce Willis and Arnie now sound more like moderate Democrats (Willis wanting to help the poor, the Governator backing gun control and environmental issues) than Southern evangelicals. As the Democrats better fund-raising this cycle shows, when you whittle down the Republicans to their Southern white conservative Christian economically working-and-middle class base, they aren't that powerful when it comes to raising money. I wouldn't be surprised if Democrats become the party of responsible globalization and responsibility and sanity in general and the Republicans just become the French version of the Frenchman Jose Bove.

Posted by: Reality Man on December 16, 2007 at 2:15 AM | PERMALINK

"I wouldn't be surprised if Democrats become the party of responsible globalization and responsibility and sanity in general and the Republicans just become the French version of the Frenchman Jose Bove."

That of course should be:

"I wouldn't be surprised if Democrats become the party of responsible globalization and responsibility and sanity in general and the Republicans just become the American version of the Frenchman Jose Bove."

With that said, today's Republicans remind me a lot of some of the weirder members and moments of the modern French Socialist Party in their basic view of the outside world and moral reasoning.

Posted by: Reality Man on December 16, 2007 at 2:21 AM | PERMALINK

Only one thing to do Huck: run as an independent if need be. You and Ron Paul.

Posted by: bob h on December 16, 2007 at 7:32 AM | PERMALINK

Huckabee isn't rich, and hasn't been demonstrating any kind of desire to get rich off being in government. that's enough right there to disqualify him form getting the gop nod.

Posted by: jrcjr on December 16, 2007 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK

What I find funny is that for the last 15+ years the conservative PR machine (now includes bloggers) have been willing to have the theocons take over the party and have a large say in setting the tone and message of the Republican platform. Now that the theocons have a candidate like Huckabee they are scared? Hoisted by their own petard I say. Karmas a bitch ain't it.

Posted by: ET on December 17, 2007 at 9:29 AM | PERMALINK

See, here's the thing: I don't think Bush has pandered to and ignored the religious right. Recall John DiIulio's concern about everything in the faith-based initiative being pushed toward political ends. Recall political appointments such as to the FDA that appeared chosen solely to appeal to the base. Saying that Bush has only pandered to the religious right grossly understates his actions on their behalf -- and the damage those actions have done.

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