One Out of Three Ain’t Bad

Early in the primary season, Rep. Duncan Hunter was one of the most impressive Republican contenders. He performed well in the first debates and was viewed as a solid, across-the-board conservative with impeccable credentials on foreign policy, economics and the social issues, especially immigration. Hunter has now dropped out of the race, and has endorsed: Mike Huckabee!
We’ve been writing a lot about the Reagan coalition and the three-legged stool of Republican politics. I would have offered Hunter as a paradigm of the type; in fact, more than once, in response to friends who say they are supporting Fred Thompson because he has a consistent record of conservatism in all three major areas, I’ve responded that if that is the standard, they should go with Duncan Hunter.
But it now appears that Hunter’s own perspective is quite different. As the former chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Hunter is a foreign policy expert and definitely a hawk. While it is a little hard to pin down Huckabee’s national security views, he is clearly in a different category. Yet to Hunter, Huckabee’s social conservatism apparently trumped everything else.
Hunter’s endorsement is, if nothing else, selfless. Many have considered him a leading candidate for the Vice-Presidential nomination, but he certainly won’t get there by backing Huckabee. So whatever his motives may have been, they weren’t self-interested.
I don’t mean to sound critical of Hunter; he can back whomever he likes. I merely offer his support for Huckabee as further evidence that at present, there is really no such thing as Republican orthodoxy. Also, consistent with a suggestion that Paul made yesterday, conservatives for whom the social issues are of lesser importance may underestimate how significant they are to many of our fellow Republicans.


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