A reader writes a challenging email to Jonah. Well worth reading. I think Huckabee represents a natural evolution of Rovian sectarian politics, and would lead to the end of conservatism as I understand it. Jonah doesn't dispute this, but doubts Huckabee's potential:
I think what Huckabee represents as I wrote here is compassionate conservatism on steroids. I don't know that I'd call it post-conservatism so much as paleo-progressivism (a term that pops up in my book). If carried to its logical conclusion Huckabeeism is rightwing progressivism. If I have to choose between leftwing progressivism and rightwing progressivism, I'd probably choose rightwing progressivism on most issues and leftwing progressivism on a few issues. But I don't want to have to make that choice. I don't think I will have to either.
I wouldn't be so sure. Once the Bush Republicans signaled that they had stopped supporting or believing in limited government conservatism, the potential for paleo-progressivism expanded exponentially. Huckabee's charm may be one of those contingent historical wrinkles that tips the balance. I fear the consequences. But I warned ya.