Many Republicans think that, come what may, things will come out the way Providence intends. Daniel Webster said "miracles do not cluster," but Webster did not anticipate Mike Huckabee, whose campaign manager is, evidently, God. Two months ago Huckabee said he rose in Iowa because of divine intervention (the power that propelled him there was not "human" but the one that fed the multitudes with two fish and five loaves). Last Saturday, as he was winning the caucuses in Kansas, where many Republicans think Darwin should go back to Missouri where he came from, Huckabee said that the arithmetic is daunting (he must win almost all the remaining delegates to stop McCain) but he shall persevere:
"I know people say that the math doesn't work out. Folks, I didn't major in math. I majored in miracles, and I still believe in those too."
Although some of his supporters defend him against the accusation of sincerity, it is not unfair to assume that Huckabee, who has made his piety integral to his politics, means what he says. There is appealing clarity, but also a whiff of lunacy or charlatanry, in the theory that the Author of the Universe is writing his campaign story. "The world," wrote the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins, "is charged with the grandeur of God." The world, perhaps, but the Republican delegate scramble?
Maybe Huckabee hopes that his credentials as a potential running mate for McCain will be strengthened if he achieves a (strictly speaking) providential victory in the Texas primary. McCain might, however, prefer a vice president who is less directly guided by Providence. And McCain will not long be amused by Huckabee continuing to offer himself as a vessel into which conservatives pour their disapproval of the inevitable.
McCain wants conservatives to take "yes" for an answer -- yes, yes, yes, make the president's tax cuts permanent, secure the borders, find more judges like John Roberts and Sam Alito (judges who would nibble to nothingness McCain's signature achievement, the McCain-Feingold campaign regulations). McCain wants them to take "yes" for an answer quickly, so he can get back to courting independent voters who might decide who becomes president.
Unless God decides. Or "everybody all whooped up" does.