Ken Connor

"Please move to the back of the bus!"

It is a command, not a request. The mood is emphatic, the tone condescending, the derision palpable. The sentiment is laced with the disdain that is common when patricians speak of the hoi polloi. They are, after all, accustomed to sitting at head tables and in box seats. They summer at Nantucket and Bar Harbor. They are educated at Harvard and Yale. They read the Wall Street Journal and Barron's. They are used to calling the shots, to being in charge. For them, there is no waiting in line.

They are the Republican elites, the bluebloods that fund political campaigns. They fashion for themselves quaint little names like "Rangers" and "Pioneers." Raising political capital is their new frontier. They invest in political campaigns as a cost of doing business and they expect a return on their investment. To spread the risk, they often put their money down on more than one candidate. And the returns are good—subsidies, tax breaks, limitations on liability when things go awry. Power is a wonderful way to leverage wealth! They are fiscally conservative and socially liberal. After all, one never knows when the right to abortion might come in handy. An unexpected pregnancy can be so inconvenient!

They expect people to know their place—and to stay in it. Place, after all, reflects one's station in life. It is, therefore, unsettling when one gets out of place.

That's why the candidacy of Mike Huckabee is so unsettling to them. A Baptist preacher who wants to sit at the head of the table! Can't he just pronounce the benediction? A graduate of Ouachita Baptist University—never heard of it. Where is he from? Arkansas? That's where the Ozarks are, right? They make moonshine there and those quaint little dolls with faces made of dried fruit. Governor, you say? Ah, but has he ever run a business? Wasn't Bill Clinton governor of Arkansas? Who is backing Huckabee? Home schoolers? Why would anyone want to teach their kids at home when there are perfectly lovely boarding schools available? Evangelicals? Those are the folks with the red necks and blue collars that carry big black Bibles, right? The ones that don't believe in evolution and want to take the nation back for Christ. They think the earth is flat and object to embryonic stem cell research? I thought so. Oh, they can be useful by winning elections for you, but they are soooo presumptuous! Who do they think they are? Give someone a seat at the table, and the next thing you know, they want to sit at the head of the table!

Ken Connor

Ken Connor is Chairman of the Center for a Just Society in Washington, DC.