It’s a fair question. Don’t get me wrong, some of my best friends are Evangelicals. Heck, I’m one, even. But for years I’ve been told that Vice Presidents are important, but “People don’t vote for the bottom of the ticket.” But here’s the deal––I have all these friends who hate McCain, yet they have decided to vote for him bacause of hard-charging Sarah the Hockey Mom. You know, the bottom of the ticket? Which brings me back to my original question: Are Evangelicals people? Maybe not. Maybe we are the next step up the evolutionary ladder. Gosh, if only we believed in Evolution!
Category Archives: Huckabee
Romney needs to be LEFT BEHIND, says Evangelical novelist Tim LaHaye. As the Religious Right attempts to steer the Republican Party between the ditches, many advise McCain (a candidate that they already dislike) that a flip-flopping Mormon on the ticket will guarantee the Arizona senator that beaucoups of Evangelical Republicans will stay at home on election day. Well, somebody has to stay at home to keep all the die hard Hillary supporters company. Right?
Okay, presidential wannabes, listen up. If you don’t want any embarrassment, flack or nagging repudiations, please avoid the endorsement, spiritual mentoring or wedding officiating by an ordained minister of the gospel. These dudes will just get you in trouble. Take this Hagee fellow. You see, he actually believes that God is some sort of Omnipotent Being who orchestrates the destinies of nations. You know, sort of like all those old testament prophets did. Yeah, that kind of belief system is just going to get your political aspirations in major trouble. Because the vast American public are, at best, deists for whom God is too busy with cosmic thumb-twiddling to notice when a madman like Hilter exterminates His chosen people. Or take this blustery Rev. Wright. He believes in a superintending Deity who punishes evil and smites nations for their wicked deeds. Something like 9-11 comes along and he jumps to the conclusion that maybe God was not asleep at the switch. Maybe He was trying to send us a wake-up call. Again, too much time reading the Bible and not the New York Times. Stick with Psalm 23. Chuck the rest. There are plenty of sunny, feel-good verses to wrench out of context (just ask Joel Osteen). So, politicians, remember preachers are trouble. Stay clear of them. And never under any circumstances accept their endorsement (unless the last name is Huckabee). I hope that helps. And God bless America. (Not that He could find it on a map.)
Whenever I think Hillary Clinton is shrill, strident and downright unladylike, I just have to listen to Anne Coulter to remember how shrill, shrill can be. The mean-spirited, mini-skirted GOP pundit is now saying that she is so against John McCain being her party’s candidate that she will vote for Hillary Clinton. Alright. That has to be the endorsement of the week. The point of Coulter’s latest teapot tempest is, of course, to say that Mitt Romney––the formerly liberal, formerly pro-choice, currently Mormon, former Massachusetts governor––is the real conservative in the race. Why Americans are not seeing this is really getting her goat. McCain is apparently worst than anything the tax-and-spend Democrats could conjure. And the pro-life, evangelical Huckabee? Also a liberal. Also, not to be trusted. Yup. Anne would know, after all, she’s the one voting for Hillary Clinton.
Pitting the “people” against the “powerful” is as old as American politics itself. But, for whatever reason, populism hasn’t been getting a lot of traction this year. Populist candidate, John Edwards, came in third out of three in his own home state. And while Mike Huckabee has been the biggest of oxymorons: a populist Republican, his campaign has steadily been losing steam. Apparently, the “little guy” no longer thinks he needs a champion. Or maybe the “little guy” just realizes that it’s the powerful that have all the…um…power? Perhaps, in a bad economy we are less interested in punishing the fat cats, and more interested in them doing well. You know, so the rest of us can be gainfully employed. Perhaps, that’s what people in Florida like about Romney. He is a filthy-rich captain of industry with more money than God. He might be able to fix this economy thing. Maybe the “little guy” has subconsciously embraced supply-side economics. Maybe the unemployed and the under-employed have an easier time demonizing the illegal immigrant than the Man. Maybe today’s “little guy” isn’t really a Democrat after all. Maybe he is more of a Republican than Mike Huckabee. Just maybe.
After 7 years of a mangled foreign policy that plays like a bad Michael Bay movie––an action-packed extravaganza full of mustachioed villains, exploding Humvees and Clint Eastwood catch phrases: “Wanted dead or alive;” “Bring it on;” “Mission accomplished”––it is little wonder that the emerging GOP front runner is a decorated Vietnam war hero. Or that his wartime heroics consisted chiefly of doing hard time in a Viet Cong POW camp. He’s also a bit of a hot head. Which you’ve gotta love. Our very own Rambo. Maybe that’s why Senator McCain is Sylvester Stallone’s pick for Commander-in-chief. Maybe, that’s why TV action hero Chuck Norris is Huckabee’s Hollywood sidekick. Or why, actor Fred Thompson treated his run for the oval office like it was just another casting call. Look tough. Talk tough. Be tough. Cue the explosives. Bring up the music. Fade to black.
Remember Martin Luther King? The guy that didn’t do much for the Civil Rights Movement but give little speeches and organize little marches. At least, that was Hillary Clinton’s assessment a week ago. Well, he’s suddenly important again. That’s why Senator Clinton put in an appearance Saturday at Harlem’s Abyssinian Baptist Church. That’s why today––MLK day–– she’s all about the transformative achievements of the martyred Dr. King. It is also the reason that both Barack Obama and Mike Huckabee recently showed up at Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church. (I think Dr. King had a dream about this.) And apparently Obama’s own “fairytale” dream about being America’s first black president is also very much alive. It seems Hillary’s narrow victory in Nevada actually yielded her fewer delegates than Senator Obama. So let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia! Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee! And please Lord, let freedom ring in South Carolina. Can I get an “Amen”?
Two big wins for John McCain. Two back-to-back victories for Romney. And Hillary Clinton is kicking butt and taking names. So what do we know for sure? In the Democratic camp, it is clearly down to a two-way race. If Clinton ekes out a victory in South Carolina, Obama can start crafting his concession speech and a shot at the V.P. slot. The GOP is more up in the air. Clearly, Thompson is a bridesmaid. Ron Paul can decide between a Libertarian run or writing a book on How to Run a World-class Government on Two Dollars a Day. The Giuliani strategy remains an intriguing gamble. And it is pretty clear that Romney has the Mormon vote. The rest, I confess, is a bit hazy. It wasn’t all that long ago that John McCain’s campaign was dead in the water. And there is plenty of time in politics for him to fall and rise again. One thing, however, has to be troubling. McCain’s narrow victories have been with a rag-tag confederation of Republican moderates, independents and the religiously lukewarm. The traditional Republican mainstay of the abortion-hating, illegal hard-lining, born-again church-goers seem to favor a Huckabee candidacy and they, on the whole, have always been a bit leery of McCain and his maverick ways. I mean, the man opposes torture; Can this fellow really be trusted? Winning over the base of the GOP means not alienating this powerful block. Can McCain do it? Well, he’s just won over the people that knocked him out of the running eight years ago. So, anything is possible.
In the 1960 election John Kennedy captured the White House. He also captured 78% of the Catholic vote. But the Catholic vote was just a small percentage of the total votes the young President garnered. Contrast that with Mitt Romney’s hands down victory today in Nevada. Over half of his total votes came from the Mormon faithful. Whoopty-friggin’-do! That is as much a red flag as it is anything else. As the Reverend Huckabee will tell us, there are whole lot more Baptist votes than Mormon votes in those Red states. Sure, Romney has proven he can get a sentimental victory in Michigan. He has proven that he can get the sectarian vote in Nevada. But, while this keeps the GOP primaries a bit of a dog’s breakfast, it should not be counted as momentum for the Romney camp. We’ll see how Mormon boy does in a Bible-belt state like South Carolina. But hey, a win is still a win. And a Mormon vote gets counted like any other.
Quick! Name these two guys. Now tell me which one prevailed in the ’96 New Hampshire primary. Wrong! Not Bob Dole. Pat Buchanan. I know! How weird is that?! The point is New Hampshire is not all that predictable. Nor is it all that projectible. In the end, Bob Dole got the GOP nomination. And Buchanan wasn’t even allowed to speak at that year’s Republican Convention. All this is to say that a Huckabee win in New Hampshire is not all that far-fetched. Sure, it isn’t an Evangelical stronghold. But they do have an appetite for conservative ideas; and the immigration hot potato is less likely to hurt Huckabee this far north. So if Huckabee wins in New Hampshire? Well, it pretty much guarantees him nothing. I mean, just ask Pat Buchanan.
The air was thick with intrigue. The daggers were out. On this crisp December morning, the brave politician was completely prepared to face the wrath of the crowd and the rejection of the masses. Knowing this could well be the end of his political life, Mike Huckabee summoned his courage and spoke up–– like Polycarp amidst the flames–– “I know this is probably a very controversial thing, but may I say to you, Merry Christmas!” What would this Iowa crowd do? Tear him limb from limb? Boo him off the stage? He would soon find out. As they rose to their feet, Huckabee swallowed hard and braced himself for a potential martyr’s death. Then a miracle happened: the crowd burst into enthusiastic applause. Obviously, this salutation was not nearly as controversial as Governor Huckabee had reckoned. In fact, it was so successful with this middle-American, evangelical Republican crowd that a more cynical observer might have misconstrued it as blatant pandering. But not me. It was a Christmas miracle! This brave warrior is waging a holy war on Christ-hating multiculturalists. The angels are watching over him. And this crowd is eating it up.
It was 1968. I was heading into my first year of high school. My parents were staunch Republicans and I began to follow politics. That year the hawkish, outgoing administration was that of Lyndon Johnson, a Democrat. The tar baby war that our country couldn’t seem to win, or get out of, was called Viet Nam. And in the primaries, among the Republican presidential wannabes, was the governor of Michigan: A well-funded, strong-jawed, gray-haired patriarchal figure of a man who had recently changed his position on the war. He was suddenly, with the rest of the country, against it. His presidential ambitions, however, were quickly dashed when he explained that his previous support of he war had been the result of being “brainwashed.” Not exactly the best choice of words. Not really a quality we look for in our Presidents––the proclivity to be brainwashed. (Although, as we have recently learned, having a brain could come in handy.) This presidential hopeful’s name was George Romney; you know, Mitt’s dad? And he, like his son, was a devout Mormon. The only difference is back then no one cared. So why is our current Romney having such a rough go of it? Why is he having to address his faith in lofty, pandering speeches? Why is his highly-funded campaign now suddenly trailing that affable, underfunded Baptist pastor, Mike Huckabee? And why––as much as I like a good theological debate––are we talking about whether the cosmic struggle of Good vs. Evil is mere sibling rivalry between Christ and his black sheep brother, Beelzebub? Why are we suddenly choosing our Presidents on what lessons they learned in Sunday School? Maybe I am alone on this one, but I’d rather have an outstanding atheist brain surgeon cutting on my cranium that a middling one with an Icthus in his Yellow Pages ad. My standards for a President? Pretty much the same.