Bob Novak, no friend of Mike Huckabee, wrote about Huckabee and the conservative movement (aka "conservative resurgence") in the Southern Baptist Convention. We focused on interviews with two of the leaders without that movement, Richard Land and Judge Paul Pressler:
The warmth in Texas and hostility in California reflects the dual personality of the pastor-politician who has broken out of the presidential campaign’s second tier. Huckabee can come across as either a Reagan or a Nixon. More than personality explains why not all his Baptist brethren have signed on the dotted line for Huckabee. He did not join the "conservative resurgence" that successfully rebelled against liberals in the Southern Baptist Convention a generation ago. …
Huckabee’s encounter with Pressler two months ago did not deter the judge from telling me this week much the same thing he said to the Journal’s Fund: "I don’t know of conservative appointments he made, and I don’t know of any contribution to the conservatives." After Huckabee’s warm greeting in Houston on Tuesday, however, Pressler told me: "I would never do anything to hurt him." But he did not go so far as endorsing Huckabee for president, and that sends a strong message to conservative evangelicals.
I would add that (political) conservative movement leader Morton Blackwell, also a Baptist who is thought to have advised Pressler during the Baptist fights in the late 70s and early 80s, also went with Thompson. Of course those guys have lost control of the Southern Baptist Convention. In the last election a "moderate" Frank Page won.
Now what is going on here? Generational change. Theological change. Two National Review writers get it. Ramesh Ponnuru writing at Time says:
Part of the reason for his campaign’s success may be that it reflects new currents in evangelical thought. Younger Evangelicals oppose abortion even more than their elders do, but they are also more likely to believe that the protection of the environment and the alleviation of poverty are moral concerns that demand a political response.
Then Huckabee got into what is really the basis of his appeal for many voters. He’s tapping into that new sort of evangelicalism, that Rick Warren-style worldview that David Brooks and others have been writing about for a few years now. It is real, it is different from older-style evangelicalism, as well as from economic or national-security conservatism, and Huckabee has his finger on it
In both Republican and Baptist politics, Thompson represents the old conservative movement trying to keep power that it has in many ways already lost. Huckabee represents a new movement in American politics and American Protestantism. Who is winning? I refer you to the numbers.
Oh yeah, and that’s the way to look at that "Huck as the new Fred" meme.