Right-wing Progressivism

Jonah Goldberg wraps on Mike Huckabee on NRO TV.

Here is part of the transcript:

I think people are focusing way too much on Ron Paul when the real threat is Mike Huckabee.
He believes that the government, the federal government, the government in Washington is there to be used to do any and all good things wherever, whenever he can. And it is essentially, in terms of it’s methodology and means, it is very, very similar to what conservatives see in liberalism. This use of big government to create the ideal society. I think the best example of that would be his support for a nationwide, federal smoking ban…enforced by the federal government, which I think is an outrageous sort of sacrilegious affront to traditional conservatism’s understanding about the role of the federal government.
When it comes to economic issues, he is hard to distinguish from all sort of different brands of liberals. He is hostile to free trade. He is very friendly to raising taxes. He believes in regulation wherever necessary. He thinks abortion must remain a federal national issue, can’t send it back to the states. And that’s what I mean by “right-wing progressive.” He wants to use government towards conservative ends. He says it’s a biblical duty to fight global warming. The problem with someone like Huckabee is that he much like, in my mind, a liberal sees no dogmatic constitutional limits on the “do-goodery” of the federal government.

Whatever he thinks is the right thing for the federal government to do, if he thinks there’s a good thing that can be done by the federal government, he wants the federal government to do it whether it’s constitutional or in accordance with principles of limited government. And maybe what he wants to isn’t what a cultural liberal would want to do but he still wants to use the government the same way. It’s big government conservatism. And that, I think, is the real threat these days to conservatism.

Two things this brings to mind. The first is that I had a conversation several months ago with a State Senator where he said that Giuliani was the real threat to the Republican Party, mainly due to his stance on abortion, and that Huckabee was never going to have any impact on the race so there was no real need to worry about his liberal record on fiscal issues. Fast forward to today…I was right.

The second is that Goldberg’s point about what “right-wing progressivism” and Mike Huckabee is right on target. The idea that government should shape and mold the type of society that we should live in pretty much defines the progressive era.

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