Liberals, Conservatives & The Common Good

Is Huckabee the anti-Giuliani in a way he doesn't intend? The theoretical Giuliani presidency was based on the assumption a Republican could win without the so-called "values voters" that a certain subset of the party is always ashamed of anyway. But isn't the Huckabee candidacy equally predicated on the assumption he can win without the country-club Republicans? Truth is, we need each other, however distasteful that may be to us all around. The Founders set it up that way --no faction gets to rule, not even the best faction (which all of us always think we are in). Prof. K. takes a look at some polling data and wonders how McCain and Republican congressional candidates are going to win evangelicals and practicing RCs. His advice:
simply mouthing support for the pro-life position and for traditional marriage likely won’t be enough to galvanize their erstwhile supporters among traditionalist evangelicals and Catholics. A meaningful commitment on these issues is essential, but so is recognition of a broader agenda. You can favor smaller government, but you have to explain how smaller government creates conditions that will help people lift themselves out of poverty. As Jim Wallis has said, the budget is a moral document, and one shouldn’t speak about it simply in terms of letting me keep what is mine. One ought to offer a vision of the common good that is served by a less intrusive government, one that leaves the initiative to and assists the institutions of civil society.
That strikes me as right on. It also reminds me to call your attention to Mark Steyn's CPAC speech, in which he makes exactly this argument in the simplest possible terms. I can't find a transcript to quote from, but it's fairly early on in the first portion when he talks about there being an interim step between Gerald Ford's famous government big enough to give you all you want and it taking all you have. It's the part about what happens to your character when the government gives you all you want, and then is on the verge of bankruptcy, but can't persuade you for the common good to give even a portion of it back. We need much more talk along the lines he follows about the effect of government largesse on the character of its citizens. The civility and unity we long for cannot be achieved along the path of big government.

Subsidiarity, subsidiarity, subsidiarity. It's not just an organizational principle, it's a moral vision.