Huckabee Surprises

Is Mike Huckabee too Christian to be president? Is Mitt Romney Christian enough? We’ll find out soon.

The former governor of Arkansas is on the cover of Newsweek, and though the headline, “Holy Huckabee: The Unlikely Rise of a Preacher Politician,” might suggest a mainstream media hatchet job — in which yet another Southern Baptist gets the full Elmer Gantry-Pat Robertson treatment — the article itself comes as a pleasant surprise.

Perhaps Newsweek, too, was surprised to discover that Huckabee’s political views are well within the mainstream of American politics. Elected four times statewide in Arkansas, by the same voters who had earlier elected and re-elected Bill Clinton, Huckabee was governor of the Razorback State for nearly 11 years.

During that time Huckabee proved his centrist effectiveness — including a willingness to spend money for better education, better health care and better roads. One might ask: Do Americans, stuck in traffic, waiting in long lines at airports, think that spending on infrastructure is a bad idea?

On social issues, of course, Huckabee is more clearly on the right, but most Americans, too, are anti-gay marriage and anti-abortion.

Still, the issue with Huckabee is faith: whether he believes what he believes too strongly. Recently, the agenda-setting Drudge Report bannered a headline, “Take This Nation Back For Christ,” referring to a June 8, 1998, article in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in which Huckabee told the Southern Baptist Convention, “The reason we have so much government is because we have so much broken humanity.” He continued: “The reason we have so much broken humanity is because sin reigns in the hearts and lives of human beings instead of the Savior.” Is that too much of a soul-baring for the public square?

Interestingly, Huckabee gave that particular speech in Salt Lake City, home of the Mormon faith. And by coincidence, just last week Romney — a Mormon whose ancestors lived in Utah — delivered a major speech in Texas in which he sought to situate his own faith in the larger context of American political history. Romney quoted the second president, John Adams, as saying, “We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. … Our Constitution was made for a moral and religious people.”

In response, Romney was slapped around by the liberal likes of for being too partial to religion. But as blogger Jay Cost put it recently in, the real issue for most Republican voters is not Romney’s Mormon religion, but rather Romney’s mutating positions on key policies.

Huckabee, meanwhile, has walked the walk, through persuasion and personal example: Here’s how Newsweek described his role as a new pastor in Pine Bluff, Ark., a quarter century ago: “The Immanuel Baptist Church was an all-white congregation when Huckabee took over the pulpit. One day he announced that a young black man, who heard his sermon on the radio, had asked to worship with them. Huckabee welcomed him to their pews. Some church elders were furious and refused to let the man sit with them. Huckabee threatened to quit unless his guest was greeted warmly. A few members quit in protest, but the rest of the congregation went along.”

In decades past, figures as different as Martin Luther King Jr. and Jimmy Carter were widely admired for letting their faith influence their policy positions. Is Huckabee to be held to a different standard?

Indeed, in times when crime and out-of-wedlock births are again on the upsurge, when football players are murdered in their homes, when Christmas shoppers are gunned down in Heartland shopping malls, more Americans might well be thinking: John Adams was right when he said that passions need to be bridled “by morality and religion.”

As a culture, as a people, we need to do something different. And everybody knows it.

James P. Pinkerton is a columnist for Newsday, where this first appeared.


3 Responses to “Huckabee Surprises”

  1. Monica Says:

    When making a faith-based decision, please consider the following:

    Mike Huckabee has been investigated by a government ethics commission 14 times. First of those times resulted in an official reprimand. The issues included personal use of government funds, funneling money through a false “charity,” hiding donor information, and misreporting personal income. Ron Paul has put his faith into action with an extraordinary ethical record for over 30 years. He does not use taxpayer money for his travels, never voted for a congressional pay raise, and even returns some of his office budget to the US Treasury each year.

    Mike Huckabee supports government funding of church’s ministerial work. As the federal government continues to provide more funding for churches, they surrender their Christian sovereignty to the State. The eventual result is manipulated official state churches simi8lar to what we see in Communist china. Ron Paul would end this underhanded assault against the free Church by stopping such programs.

    Mike Huckabee wants to continue to allow the humanist influenced Department of Education to have full control over our children’s public education. Ron Paul would abolish the Department of Education. In addition, Ron Paul believes parents should be rewarded substantial tax credits if they choose home or Christians schooling.

    Mike Huckabee only plans to play a never-ending chess game of nominating judges that might challenge abortion on demand. Ron Paul has consistently introduced to Congress the Sanctity of Life Act which, if passed, would have ended abortion on demand as we know it. Furthermore, Mike Huckabee will continue to allow federal courts to decide law on issues such as religious displays, prayer in schools, abortion and same-sex marriage. Ron Paul’s We the People Act of 2006 would forbid federal courts from reviewing these issues. Federal judicial tyranny against religious freedom would be crushed.

    Mike Huckabee believes marriage is an institution of the government. Ron Paul understands that marriage is a religious institution that transcends man’s governments. Ron Paul would fight to bring it back to its roots as a religious institution.

    Mike Huckabee supports continual US involvement in the UN. Ron Paul realizes that precursors to one world government are something Christians should vehemently oppose. As such, Ron Paul is the only candidate that would end our membership in the UN and other global organizations.

    Mike Huckabee supports the Federal Reserve, the private bank responsible for the destruction of our dollar. Thanks to the Fed, our dollar is now worth around 4 cents. What was the one time Jesus got angry? When He was confronting the money changers for profiteering from the people of God. Ron Paul is the only candidate who wants to confront the money changers as Jesus did. The Federal Reserve’s days are numbered when Ron Paul steps into office.

    Ron Paul bears a Christians testimony in his personal life, his political record, and his statement of faith. He has been married to his wife, Carol, for over 50 years. He is a former flight surgeon in the US Air Force, and a medical doctor (OB/GYN) that has delivered more than 4000 babies. Ron Paul was one of Ronald Reagan’s earliest supporters. Please consider voting for Dr. Paul at your Republican caucus. 1-877-RON-PAUL

    Created by the Ron Paul grassroots. Not affiliated with the official campaign.


  2. Denny Says:

    Conservative icon Phyllis Schlafly says Huckabee “destroyed the conservative movement in Arkansas, and left the Republican Party in shambles,” Schlafly charges, “Yet some of the same evangelicals who sold us on George W. Bush as a ‘compassionate conservative’ are now trying to sell us on Huckabee.”

    Richard Viguerie remarked about Huck, “But while Gov. Huckabee stands strong on some issues like abortion that are important to social conservatives, a careful examination of his record as governor reveals that he is just another wishy-washy Republican who enthusiastically promotes big government.”

    The Club for Growth, which Huckabee does not seem to get along with, had this to say about the Huckster: “Governor Huckabee’s record on pro-growth, free-market policies is a mixed bag, with pro-growth positions on trade and tort reform, mixed positions on school choice, political speech, and entitlement reform, and profoundly anti-growth positions on taxes, spending, and government regulation.

    His recent refusals to rule out raising taxes if elected President-the cornerstone of a pro-growth platform-perhaps indicate which path he would choose.”

    Ann Coulter dubbed Huckabee “the Republican Jimmy Carter,” and no sane conservative wants another Jimmy Carter in the White House.

    Anti-Illegal immigration advocates say they fear Mr. Huckabee could repeat President Bush’s track record on immigration, which they say amounted to tough talk but a failure to follow through. Mr. Huckabee’s campaign admitted that they never followed through with signing an agreement with the Department of Homeland Security to secure training for state police officers. Without it, they cannot enforce federal immigration law.

    “This is a policy difference, but the facts are the facts — under Governor Huckabee’s administration, there was never even any effort to begin negotiating with Homeland Security,” said former state Rep. Jeremy Hutchinson, the Republican who sponsored the 2005 law.

    Huckster’s illegal-enabling attitude is apparent in a deal to establish a partially taxpayer-financed Mexican consulate office in Little Rock, a scheme involving the lease of building space to the Mexican government for $1 a year. Then there was Huck’s support of drivers’ licenses, government benefits and in-state tuition rates for illegals and his opposition to a bill requiring proof of citizenship to vote.

    Betsy Hagan, Arkansas director of the conservative Eagle Forum and a key backer of his early runs for office, was once ‘his No. 1 fan.’ She was bitterly disappointed with his record. ‘He was pro-life and pro-gun, but otherwise a liberal,’ she says. ‘Just like Bill Clinton he will charm you, but don’t be surprised if he takes a completely different turn in office.’

    Jennifer Rubin at the National Review summarized his record on taxes while serving as governor in Arkansas.

    By the end of his second term he had raised sales taxes 37 percent, fuel taxes 16 percent, and cigarettes taxes 103 percent, leading to a jump in total tax revenues from $3.9 billion to $6.8 billion. The Cato Institute gave him a failing grade of ‘F’ on its fiscal report card for 2006 and an only marginally better but still embarrassing ‘D’ for his entire term.”

    Rush Limbaugh remarked that “The Huckabee campaign is trying to dumb down conservatism in order to get it to conform with his record.”

    Rich Lowry, the editor of the National Review, has said it would be political suicide to nominate him.

    Conservative UCLA law professor Steve Bainbridge, libertarian Cato Institute scholar Michael Tanner, and libertarian-leaning columnist Deroy Murdock have presented some excellent reasons why anyone who cares about limiting the power of government has every reason to oppose Huckabee’s nomination.

    Pat Toomey wrote an op-ed in the National Review exposing Huckabee’s “stunning record of big-government liberalism,” protectionism and support for unions. He explains that “the average Arkansan’s tax burden increased 47 percent” and that “state spending increased by 50 percent.”

    Do Republicans and conservatives really want to elect another Bill Clinton or Jimmy Carter?

    Mitt Romney is the best conservative candidate to defeat the Huckster.

  3. Josh Says:

    Great post. You may be interested in this too:

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