George Will Is Grumpy

In a messy, bloggish column, George Will unloads on America’s presidential candidates. First, he rakes a few of the Democrats over the coals:

About one thing, Hillary Clinton is, remarkably, both clear and opaque: Jefferson is anachronistic. “We can talk all we want about freedom and opportunity, about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, but what does all that mean to a mother or father who can’t take a sick child to the doctor?” Well, okay, what does “all that” mean to someone stuck in congested traffic? Or annoyed by the price of cable television? What does Mrs. Clinton mean?

John Edwards’s health-care agenda involves un-Jeffersonian bossiness. “It requires,” he says, “that everybody get preventive care. If you are going to be in the system, you can’t choose not to go to the doctor for 20 years.” In an ad running in Iowa, Edwards brandishes his mailed fist at Congress, to which he vows to say: “If you don’t pass universal health care by July of 2009, in six months, I’m going to use my power as president to take your health care away from you.”

What power would that be? What power enables presidents to “take” health care from people who have it by statute? This is the Democrats’ riposte to the grandiosity of the current president’s notion of executive prerogatives?

Then he rips into the surging Mike Huckabee:

Many Iowans think it would be wise to nominate a candidate who, when the Republicans were asked during a debate to raise their hands if they do not believe in evolution, raised his. But, then, Huckabee believes America can be energy-independent in 10 years, so he has peculiar views about more than paleontology.

Huckabee combines pure moralism with incoherent populism: He wants Washington to impose a nationwide ban on smoking in public, show more solicitude for Americans of modest means and impose more protectionism, thereby raising the cost of living for Americans of modest means.

The more plausible Gov. Mike Huckabee becomes as a candidate — he’s now out-polling Romney in Iowa — the more he sounds like a more articulate version of Gov. George W. Bush, circa 2000. And that should give most Republicans pause, not because of Huckabee’s religious beliefs, but because of his un-Republican vision for government. As even liberals admit, Huckabee’s a nice guy, and his heart may be in the right place, but I shudder to think about the size of the deficits and the direction our economy would take under Huck’s harder, better, faster, stronger compassionate conservatism.

h/t The Corner