Monday, December 17, 2007

Faith, Cheesiness, and Freedom

Matthew Yglesias writes, of Huckabee's less-than-subtle "Christmas" tv ad, "Of course the more secular Jewish liberals complain, the better Huckabee will do." Speaking as one who counts as two of the three identities just mentioned, I'd say my first response to the ad was remembering that NYU opened a branch in Tel Aviv, there is a way out... but my second response was, this is actually a good sign for America. If a candidate feels he has to go out of his way to show that he celebrates Christmas, he is arguing against a rather strong current of such a stance not being tolerated. His ad reminds viewers not of Christmas, but of the "War on Christmas," and offers up the now-standard persecuted-minority presentation of what was once default white American Protestantism. His staged Christmas observance comes across not as a natural outgrowth of a Christian leader in a Christian country, unaware that anyone might behave otherwise, but as a man advocating for but one of many possible agendas.

If he wins, on the other hand, save me a falafel.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Having some familiarity with the type of polling data Huckabee's campaign might be looking at, I think it's more complicated - It's neither a victory lap for Evangelicals nor pushback on the War on Christmas -Though, your insight here is very real and worth noting.
Huckabee is being a provocateur - He is trying to provoke reaction and noise - He does nor have money to compete with Mormon Mitt's ad war, so this is a clever way to get an echo chamber effect.

Matt's concerns are far from Huckabees's mind now because of the neglible amount of secular liberal jews in the Iowa GOP caucus - But his tactical use of the word "Christ" instead of "Jesus" was aimed right at Mitt because most evangelicals think Mormons, no matter what they now say,do not regard Jesus as The Christ.
The inevitable media confusion, angst - just gives Huckabee plenty of nod and wink moments for his camp to use.

This was a brilliant ad - for a rancid populist. Slobs like Chris Matthews write him off as Hickabee from dogpatch - but he is smart and clever as hell.