There are things we need to be afraid of; we need to be afraid of Islamic fascists; we need to afraid of the internal terrors that we face. The fact that many people will go to work this Friday and get a pink slip and be told that the job they’ve been working at 20 years won’t exist anymore. The fear that people are going to get a phone call that their 8 year old has broken his arm on the playground and they’re not sure how they’re going to pay the doctor bill and pay the rent on the first of the month.

That’s real terror. I mean, people have to understand that there are many forms of terror in the United States. There’s a terror that exists because our healthcare system is upside down and we’re just so overwhelmed with chronic disease that it’s bankrupting us and making us non-competitive. Parents are afraid their kids are going to spend twelve years in schools and still not be prepared to challenge the issues of the world.

So those are real true forms of terror for many American families. What changes that is when we start saying, ‘alright, if we know what the problems are, let’s start working toward the solutions. Let’s quit taking all of this in the realm of political ideology and start bringing a practical way to solve the problem.’ ~Mike Huckabee

Huckabee hits on some important things here, demonstrating that he may actually grasp contemporary American anxieties better than a lot of the candidates, but since he just finished saying that he wanted to restore a sense of optimism to America he has gone about it in a very odd way.  Terror isn’t just the work of ”Islamic fascists” (is this now a required phrase that every candidate has to utter?)–HMOs and teachers’ associations are evidently part of some kind of terrorism, too.  He doesn’t put it quite that way, he doesn’t name names, but you get the impression that the people preventing whatever Huckabee deems to be suitable health care access are equivalent to “Islamic fascists.” 

I think I understand what Huckabee is doing here: he understands that Republican primary voters these days won’t respond to anything unless it can somehow, however implausibly, be tied to fighting Terrorism, so he is trying to remake his syrupy, “being pro-life means having art programs” spiel into a more hard-edged, “being pro-life means fighting the HMOfascists.”  Huckabee can use HMOfascists free of charge–it is my gift to him.  However, it won’t work, since the people who use phrases such as “Islamic fascists” won’t be thrilled to have “terror” associated with health care or education.  They might think, not without reason, that this somehow cheapens or clouds the problem of terrorist violence.