I'd thought that the limits of professed public piety had already been achieved during the Republican CNN-YouTube debate when some squirrelly looking guy held up a Bible and asked, "Do you believe every word of this book?" -- and not one candidate dared reply: None of your damn business. Instead, Giuliani, Romney and Huckabee bent a knee and tried appeasement with various interpretations of scriptural literalism. The right answer, the only answer, is that the very question is offensive. The Constitution prohibits any religious test for office. And while that proscribes only government action, the law is also meant to be a teacher. In the same way that civil rights laws established not just the legal but also the moral norm that one simply does not discriminate on the basis of race -- changing the practice of one generation and the consciousness of the next -- so the constitutional injunction against religious tests is meant to make citizens understand that such tests are profoundly un-American.
Huckabee's main appeal has been his homespun decency. But his behavior on immigration has been a kind of politics-as-usual so blatant it is actually unusual. Huckabee is managing to compromise his most distinctive virtue at the very moment the attention of the public is focused on his candidacy. ... [I]t is worth recalling a quote from Thomas More in "A Man for All Seasons." More's protege, Richard Rich, has compromised his convictions to be appointed attorney general for Wales. "For Wales?" asks More. "Why, Richard, it profits a man nothing to give his soul for the whole world. . . . But for Wales?" The question now comes to Mike Huckabee, who knows the biblical reference: "For Iowa?"
With Rich Lowry's scathing "Huckacide" column in National Review today and two Huck-bashing pieces in the Post, doesn't it feel like the backlash against Huckabee has reached a critical saturation point? Does this start to show up in the polls?