The conclusion of the Family Research Council’s Value Voters Summit got a lot of ink, not only from venerable conservative Right-watcher Byron York, but from Kate Sheppard of TAPPED (with some help from Sarah Posner), here, and at TNR’s The Stump blog.
The general consensus about the Christian Right panderfest was that the winnner was Mike Huckabee, who won the most applause for his speech, and who also overwhelmingly won the onsite straw poll (even as Romney edged him in the online FRC straw poll that’s been underway since August).
Rudy’s “reaching-out” effort to evangelical conservatives got mixed reviews. York thinks Rudy might have done himself some good, not in terms of nominating-contest support, but in convincing some Christian Right folk not to head for the exits if he’s the Republican nominee.
Fred Thompson–once the Great Right Hope of some Christian conservatives–seemed to lose ground at the event, delivering a languid and empty speech, and not doing that well in the straw poll (scoring 8 percent in the onsite survey, and a bit under 10 percent in the online version).
But while Huckabee gave himself a much-needed boost at the FRC event, it may come at a price: his speech was a masterpiece of extremism. Aside from firmly identifying himself as “from” the Christian Right; echoing demands for constitutional amendments to ban all abortions and gay marriage; thundering about “Islamofascism;” and hurling anathemas at Republican cultural dissenters as violaters of “God’s values;” Huck adopted the bizarre Zell Miller/Tom DeLay argument about the connection between abortion and illegal immigration:
“Sometimes we talk about why we’re importing so many people in our workforce,” the former Arkansas governor said. “It might be for the last 35 years, we have aborted more than a million people who would have been in our workforce had we not had the holocaust of liberalized abortion under a flawed Supreme Court ruling in 1973.”
The abortion-denies-us-cheap-domestic-labor idea will probably get less attention than Huckabee’s use of Holocaust imagery for legalized abortion, though the latter has long been a staple of Christian Right rhetoric. In any event, the more Huckabee articulates his actual views, the more we might hope the honeymoon he’s enjoying with mainstream media types will eventually fade.