Sunday, January 13, 2008



Huckabee comes across as a genial regular guy. He plays a bass guitar, claims (some would say spuriously) that he lost a load of weight by dieting and exercise, and he talks a very populist game for a Republican. But, so far, the national media hasn't looked to hard at who Mike Huckabee really is. This weekend Max Blumenthal has a superb piece, The Real Mike Huckabee in The Nation and the Washington Post started to scratch the surface of Huckabee's bizarre religionist world-view and how that could effect the GOP and the USA: Huckabee: Evangelical Christians Now Have A Chance to Lead GOP, exactly what Mark Levin was worrying about on the pages of the National Review this morning, when he denounced Huckabee's campaign tactics and his whole candidacy and how its based on religionist divisiveness bordering on bigotry.
Huckabee continues to use his faith as a weapon against those who question not his faith, but his political populism-- much of which he shares with secular progressives. And he is clearly hoping to stir up resentment among Evangelical Christians against the other elements of the conservative movement and Republican Party as a way of encouraging them to vote in the caucuses and primaries. This is a tactic right out of Saul Alinsky's playbook. Of course he wants us to believe the Reagan coalition is dead because he cannot win with it intact. But he cannot win either the nomination or presidency with the narrow focus of his appeal. This is why I find Mike Huckabee's tactics and candidacy so deplorable.

Yesterday he was campaigning at a meeting of religious-right pastors in Michigan. 100 of them cheered him on when he told them his candidacy is an opportunity to take over. "For a long time, those of us who are people of faith are asked to support candidates who would come and talk to us. But rarely has there been one who comes from us." (This is the divisiveness Levin-- and other secular conservatives, the Greed and Selfishness crowd-- was pissed off about.) Huckabee never misses an opportunity to differentiate himself from Giuliani and McCain by pointing out that he-- unlike them, or for that matter, unlike the vast majority of Americans... if not Republican primary voters in backward states-- supports a Constitutional amendment banning abortion.

The media is starting to tepidly raise the question of the constitutionality of Huckabee's covert and overt religionist campaign. He's definitely trying to exploit the feelings of religionists that none of the Republicans they've supported and gotten elected have delivered for them.
Huckabee's aides have been eager to dismiss the notion that he is only a Christian candidate, and Huckabee complained Saturday in Grand Rapids that debate questions about his faith are of "an unconstitutional nature," since the Constitution forbids a religious test for potential officeholders.

Nevertheless, Huckabee's core constituency remains conservative Christians. At the Michigan pastors' meeting, he encouraged them to "mobilize people of like mind and spirit" by tapping their e-mail lists and phone lists. That strategy helped him in Iowa, where about 80 percent of his voters identified themselves as "born again" or "evangelical." His views on many policy issues, such as health care, are not specific, but he supports constitutional bans on same-sex marriage and abortion, and has suggested that he would be comfortable displaying the Ten Commandments in the White House.

In South Carolina, where Huckabee will appear on Sunday at two church services, rallies are filled with people who tell him "I'm praying for you" when he shakes their hand. On Friday evening, after a long day of campaigning, he stopped at a basketball game of Christian home-schooled children in St. John's, a small town in western Michigan.

It is Blumenthal, however, rather than the Post or National Review who gets right to the heart of the matter and, without coming out and saying so, makes it clear that Huckabee is a potentially dangerous religious nut or is, at the minimum, presenting himself as one in order to appeal to that segment of the GOP. Blumenthal makes is clear that the many deranged fundamentalist voters in the GOP are Huckabee fans because it is only he who shares their crazed apocalyptic world view that they get from comic books, lurid pulp fiction, and huckster preachers robbing them blind while they tell them Jesus is coming back to make everything good.
Huckabee routinely warns of the threat of "Islamofascism" at campaign rallies and is perhaps the first major presidential candidate in American history to essentially call for the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians from the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Huckabee declared during a New Hampshire fundraiser in October that a Palestinian state should only be established outside of biblical Israel, possibly in Egypt or Saudi Arabia, according to the Jewish Russian Telegraph. He reiterated this position during an appearance on Face the Nation in November.

Huckabee's advocacy of forcibly transferring the Palestinians to other Arab nations reflects his close association with some of America's most prominent End Times theological proponents. Among Huckabee's leading evangelical backers is Pastor John Hagee, head of a Pentecostal congregation in San Antonio, Texas, with 18,000 members and the executive director of Christians United for Israel, a national lobbying group that organizes against a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine crisis and in favor of a military strike on Iran.

Hagee's zealous support for Israel is kindled by his belief that Jesus will one day return to "biblical Israel" to usher in a kingdom of Heaven on Earth. "As soon as Jesus sits on his throne he's gonna rule the world with a rod of iron," Hagee told his congregation in a sermon this December. "That means he's gonna make the ACLU do what he wants them to. That means you're not gonna have to ask if you can pray in public school.... We will live by the law of God and no other law."

If it sounds familiar, perhaps you're mixing these loons up with Osama bin-Laden, who says the exact same stuff. And loons they are. Blumenthal reports on Huckabee's pilgramage to Jerry Falwell's Buy Bull "College" in Virginia 2 months ago.
[H]e assured his enraptured audience that his sudden rise had nothing to do with his "easy-going" style. "There's only one explanation for [my surge] and it's not a human one," Huckabee insisted, inspiring gales of applause from the overflow crowd. "It's the same power that helped a little boy with two fish and five loaves feed a crowd of five thousand people."

Huckabee made his remarkable statement [comparing his presidential campaign to Jesus' work on earth] in response to a question from a student-- not a reporter. Political reporters with access to the candidate have so far shied away from asking him pointed questions about his theological beliefs. They have been especially reluctant to ask Huckabee how he thinks the world will end or how his Messiah will return. Consequently, the image of Huckabee as a transcendent, post-partisan politician has prevailed.

At least for the mainstream media... for now. Remember how the New York Times, the Washington Post, Tom Brokaw, et al told us what an affable guy George Bush was in 2000? What a fine, decent man, etc. Let's hope people learned something. It's very difficult to go after Huckabee for his crazy religionist views. Even though he and his campaign have attacked Willard's Mormonism at every opportunity, no one dares question Huckabee's equally bizarre worldview. Fred Thompson, whose role in the campaign is really to act as a quasi-surrogate for McCain, is taking on Huckabee, not keeps as far from mumbo-jumbo about The Rapture as he can. But if everyone else feels its improper for politicians to intertwine campaigns and religion, Huckabee feels no such constraints-- at least not when he can make it work to his advantage.
Republican Mike Huckabee spoke from the pulpit Sunday, not as a politician but as the preacher he used to be, delivering a sermon on how merely being good isn't enough to get into heaven.

Huckabee is vying for support from the Christian conservatives who dominate the GOP in South Carolina, which on Saturday chooses a Republican presidential nominee. A former Baptist minister and Arkansas governor, Huckabee is competing for their votes with fellow southerner Fred Thompson.

As in Iowa, where Huckabee won the Jan. 3 caucuses, Huckabee is rousing pastors to marshal their flocks for him. He pitches himself as someone who not only shares their views against abortion and gay marriage but who actually comes from their ranks.

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At 9:06 PM, Anonymous me said...

The US loves religious fanatics for president. For example, the current one. For another, Reagan. Clinton was a devout Baptist, Bush Sr. said that atheists should not be considered citizens, and Carter made a big deal of being "born again". Nixon too was quite devout, although he routinely flouted his Quaker upbringing.

Reagan believed in astrology, but not in evolution. He clearly believed the "end times" were at hand and repeatedly expressed his willingness to enter into Armageddon with the Soviet Union. The result? People loved him.

You ask whether Americans will tolerate a religious fanatic? They prefer them!

At 8:50 AM, Blogger ASPMS said...

Please correct your title. Its "Mormon" not "Morman."


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