Sunday, March 2, 2008

Dallas Morning News takes a leap

The Dallas Morning News delivered a surprise to its half-million subscribers this morning by endorsing Mike Huckabee in the Republican race for president.

The News freely acknowledged that Huckabee, barring some sort of unforeseen circumstance that would turn the GOP race on end, will lose the nomination to John McCain. But that didn't stop the News from looking at the race in a different light.

By supporting Huckabee on Tuesday, voters can deliver a message to Republican party fathers, the News said, that Huckabee -- and what the News called his "good-natured approach to politics" -- has a place in the coming restructuring of the GOP.

This is the meat of the editorial:

To that end, Mr. Huckabee, 52, should be a top leader in tomorrow's Republican Party. His good-natured approach to politics – "I'm a conservative; I'm just not mad about it," as he likes to say – is quite appealing after years of scorched-earth tactics from both parties. He's a pragmatist more concerned with effective government than with bowing to ideological litmus tests. For example, he has proven himself willing to violate anti-tax dogma to undertake investment in infrastructure for the sake of long-term prosperity.

Mr. Huckabee also is good on the environment, contending that the future of the conservative movement depends on embracing conservation and stewardship of the natural world. And he's a compassionate conservative especially in tune with middle-class anxieties in a globalizing economy.

Though his social and religious conservatism puts him on the wrong side of abortion, gay rights and other key issues, that same deep-faith commitment inspires his dedication to helping the poor and to racial healing. He truly is representative of the next wave of evangelical chieftains and, if nothing else, will emerge from this primary season the leader of one of the most influential factions in the GOP coalition.

Incidentally, the DMN also endorsed Barack Obama, concluding, "All in all, Mr. Obama offers Texas Democrats the best choice for leadership, for judgment – and for substance."