Patterico's Pontifications


More and More Uncomfortable With the Campaign of Mike Huckabee and The Influence of Evangelical Christians In Iowa

Filed under: General — WLS @ 2:41 pm

Posted By WLS:

Two disclaimers:

1. I don’t consider myself an Evangelical Christian, though some in my family are. My wife is Catholic, and I have no strong affinity towards any demonination. That said, I am a social conservative, but not a one issue voter, and at this time and place in history, national security is my over-riding concern.

2. My preferences at this point in the GOP race are 1) Giuliani 2) Thompson 3) Romney 4) McCain.

It has been reported in a variety of places that up to 40% of GOP caucus goers in Iowa will be Evangelical Christians. And over the last 3 months we have witnessed the rapid ascent in the fortunes of Mike Huckabee in Iowa, the former Southern Baptist Pastor.

It has been reported (under-reported in my view) that one reason for Huckabee’s rise in the polls in Iowa from 3% in August, to where he is today, somewhere around 40% – a period during which he lacked money, resources, and paid staff in the state — has been the use by his campaign of mass e-mails to pastors of various Evangelical churches in Iowa, who have then distributed those emails as well as emails supporting Huckabee to their congregations.

Here’s an example of one such email that went out a few months ago when Huckabee was battling with Brownback to be the standard-bearer of the Evangelical right:

The following e-mail was sent to a number of Iowa evangelicals. The author is Rev. Tim Rude, a pastor at the Walnut Creek Community Church in Windsor Heights, Iowa.

Dear XXX and XXX,

Pastors XXX and XXX relayed to me that you are both supporting Sam Brownback for President. It sounds like there is, in fact, regular contact with Senator Brownback and yourselves. I applaud your participation in the selection of the next president of the United States. It is our duty as Christians to take our stewardship of this country extremely serious. And I am sure that you are aware that our entire Walnut Creek leadership staff, to my knowledge, is supporting Mike Huckabee.

On July 20, we drove up to Ames and spoke with pastors XXX and XXX about our position and were well received. However, it sounds like you are the men we need to communicate with about our advocacy. I am interested in your decision to support this candidate. As you know, both candidates are down in the polls. Nation-wide polls show Brownback at 1% and Huckabee at 3% amongst Republican candidates.

About 3 weeks ago, I met the Governor personally. I learned that he was a Southern Baptist pastor for 12 years. The Governor told us that he concluded that people needed to gain positions in the government in order to safeguard our Christian values. People need to make that sacrifice. He served as LT. Governor prior to serving as governor for 10 and a half years.

The second time he ran for Gov. he gained over 48% of the black vote. That is remarkable and it conveys he can really broaden his base. I think he is electable. He is a remarkable communicator. I believe as people listen to him, just like in Arkansas, they will like what he says and like him personally. I have listened to him in private and over the radio. He is the best communicator I have ever heard run for office. President Reagan was a great communicator but he did not as closely represent a Christian perspective as does Huckabee, although Reagan did a very good job.

Huckabee is an evangelical. He has not learned how to speak to evangelicals; i.e. Bush 41 & 43. He is one of us. I know Senator Brownback converted to Roman Catholicism in 2002. Frankly, as a recovering Catholic myself, that is all I need to know about his discernment when compared to the Governor’s. I don’t if this fact is widely known among evangelicals who are supporting Brownback.

The one criticism of Huckabee is that he raised taxes in Arkansas. First of all, is that he had to raise money to meet some Federally imposed funding initiatives. When he took office, Arkansas was 47th ranked state in education. When he left office, they were 23rd rank. The roads were in horrible shape in the aftermath of the Clintons. He raised money for them. This is a constitutionally sanctioned responsibility of government. He cut taxes 86 times in Arkansas. He left with a budget surplus that was significant. He also left office with an 86% approval rating. He can build consensus even in a primarily Democratic state.

Michael Ferris of the Home School Legal Defense Association enthusiastically endorses him as does the former Promise Keeper magazine New Man.

There is much more to say. Like you, we are trying to make a 1st or 2nd place showing in the Iowa Straw Poll to give our candidates a boost and viability. Money and media attention would be gained to the winners. All Huckabee needs is exposure in my opinion. The money will come and will the volunteers. I would ask you to reconsider your support of Senator Brownback; and lead your people in not splitting the Christian vote among the two candidates. I have been impressed with the pastors across the Greater Des Moines area switching their support or giving their support for the Governor. We are in Iowa for ‘such a time as this’.
XXX church is trying to gain 1000 votes of people who were not planning on going to the Iowa Straw Poll from our efforts alone. Would you join us in accomplishing this goal?

Your brother and friend,


What disturbs me about such an approach is not that Evangelicals seek to align themselves with a candidate who shares their “Christian values”, but the fact that they seem to be so willing to overlook the obvious flaws of Huckabee simply because “He is one of us.” But this same guy is outside the “GOP tent” on just about every policy he pursued as Governor of Arkansas.

Most important to me is the fact that he is completely weak-kneed on matters crime and national security. This guy issued twice as many commutations and pardons in his 10 ½ years as governor of Arkansas than Clinton, Jim Guy Tucker, and Frank White issued in their combined 17 ½ years as Governor before him — 1033 to 517.

Governors in states surrounding Arkansas used their clemency powers much more judiciously – and almost never for murderers serving life without parole or for rapists or for habitual drunk drivers, while in Arkansas it’s a regular habit with Huckabee.

From 1996 to 2004, these are the numbers of commutations and pardons granted by the Governors in states surrounding Arkansas (keep in mind the population of these states is nearly 20 times the population of Arkansas):

Louisiana – 213.
Mississippi – 24.
Missouri – 79.
Oklahoma – 178.
Tennessee – 32.
Texas – 98 (including 36 inmates convicted with planted evidence).

Total: 624

Huckabee alone issued 703 commutations and pardons in the same time period. Governors in neighboring states almost never grant killers clemency, while Huckabee commuted the sentences of a dozen murderers.

What disturbs me most is the apparent role his religiosity played in his decision-making on the subject, at least as it is anecdotally recalled:

The acts of clemency benefitted the stepson of a staff member, murderers who worked at the governor’s mansion, a rock star and inmates who received good words from their pastors.

“It seems to be true at least anecdotally that if a minister is involved, (Huckabee) seems likely to grant clemency,” prosecutor Robert Herzfeld said in 2004 after successfully battling the then-governor over the release of a killer.

This gets us to the Dumond case, which I think represents decision-making so egregious in nature as to be a disqualifier for anyone seeking to make life and death decisions for the entire country in the Oval Office. His decision making in the Dumond case, in large measure, was again influenced by his religiosity. This view is supported by a passage from campaign book where he wrote that his intervention on Dumond’s behalf reflected his broad philosophy that the criminal justice system is too harsh, and that his religious faith requires him to take chances to act with compassion towards the accused.


Regarding the Dumond case, a Huckabee adviser has said: “It might have been wrongheaded for him to do what he did. But his heart might have been in the right place even though the outcome was horrific. What he did was for reasons of faith and compassion.”

I wonder how much Huckabee’s decision was influenced by the fact that Dumond’s innocence was championed in Arkansas by Jay Cole, a Baptist minister and radio host who was a close friend of the Huckabee family.

If it was only Dumond — but its not.

The case of Glen Green is equally as compelling as it is repugnant.

Green was convicted of rape and murder, and sentenced to life without parole. Huckabee granted him clemency and made him eligible for parole. If Huckabee read the confession and still considered Green deserving of parole, he’s certainly unfit to hold office.

The facts here are from a column column by Garrick Felder of the Arkansas Leader — who may be a political enemy of Huckabee for all I know, but Huckabee’s track record on this subject is too well established to be merely the product of policital enemies. Felder says Huckabee apparently listened to Green’s minister (and a friend of the governor), who thinks the murder was an accident and Green was forced to confess.

The Jacksonville police, who arrested Green in 1974 after a witness linked him to the crime, think the minister and Huckabee are both delusional, which is the mildest epitaph we can print.

This old police reporter knows a genuine confession when he sees one, and Green’s depravity has the ring of truth.
Green, a 22-year-old sergeant, kidnapped Helen Lynette Spencer on Little Rock Air Force Base, where he beat and kicked her as he tried to rape her in a secluded area. She broke loose and ran toward the barracks’ parking lot, where he caught up with her and beat her with a pair of nunchucks.

He then stuffed her into the trunk of his car and left her there while he cleaned up. Several hours later, he drove down Graham Road, past Loop Road and stopped near a bridge in Lonoke County. Green told investigators he put her body in the front seat and raped her because her body was still warm.

He dragged Spencer out of his vehicle and put her in front of the car and ran over her several times, going back and forth. He then collected himself long enough to dump her body in Twin Prairie Bayou.

This is what the Rev. Johnny Jackson, interim pastor at Bethel Baptist Church in Jacksonville, calls an accident, and apparently Huckabee believes him.

But its Huckabee’s religious standing that is the VERY REASON why Evangelicals in Iowa support him. Amazing — a reliance on his “Faith” when it has produced such asinine decisions. Well, I have no interest in trusting my safety, the safety of my family, or the national security of my country to a country preacher who informs his decision-making on matters of life and death with his “faith and compassion.” I prefer leaders who mix in some hard facts.

I tend to agree with this description of Huckabee that I read somewhere recently – he’s a former Arkansas governor without the intellect or political skills of the last former Arkansas governor to be elected President.

Well, I hope in the end that that’s good enough for Iowa, but I fear it is.

Alternatively, I’m heartened by the fact that a bunch of doe-eyed yokels who’d give 25% of their votes to Pat Robertson, are easily outsmarted by citizens in other parts of the country who then made Pat Robertson into a footnote in the 1988 campaign after he got only 9% in New Hampshire.

I should probably stop here since my blood pressure is rising along with the level of my invective.

84 Responses to “More and More Uncomfortable With the Campaign of Mike Huckabee and The Influence of Evangelical Christians In Iowa”

  1. You broke it you pay for it. And it looks like the Republican party is paying Bigtime.

    The party has had a “Religious Test” in place for quite some time now: Everyone is supposed to be an evangelical Christian.


    That’s becasue the party saw the Fundies as a power base — whcih for many years they were.

    But that’s over now.

    Deal with it.

    David Ehrenstein (5f9866)

  2. I missed that David. When did the “Religious Test” get put in place?

    There was no better reason to reject John McCain in 2000 than the fact that he wasn’t an Evangelical?

    Why nominate Bush 41 over Pat Robertson?

    Is your theory supported by the nomination of exactly one candidate — Bush 43?

    WLS (dfa1f1)

  3. About 3 weeks ago, I really, really liked Huckabee. To me, the FairTax is a pretty big issue and would the most important factor in my vote. Though, looking at some of these things with Huckabee, I’ve decided to look elsewhere. And yeah, I know the FairTax has a slim chance, but I like it, I support it and I believe in it. The commutations and pardons he issued does not give me confidence in him, in fact, they disgust me. Its a shame for Huckabee, but even worse for those that his choices hurt. 703 is just sick.

    G (722480)

  4. Neither Huckabee nor evangelicals are, at heart, conservatives and that’s why Huckabee doesn’t appeal to me. Conservatives generally favor limited government but Huckabee is willing to implement big government programs to accomplish social goals. Similarly, evangelicals are willing to use any and all government powers to end abortion. Conservatives may agree with the goal but they are not comfortable with the means, and the coalition is becoming increasingly strained.

    The question is: Can conservatives win without evangelicals? I don’t know. I think they can with anti-tax and anti-corruption policies and by being strong on national security. However, I don’t fear Huckabee’s candidacy near as much as I fear that no GOP candidate will come forward that stands strongly for those principles.

    DRJ (09f144)

  5. Huckabee is willing to implement big government programs to accomplish social goals.


    I have not heard Huckabee mention government programs he’d start (or re-start) to accomplish social goals.

    steve (a1a24c)

  6. DRJ
    I’ll give you an amen (I live on GA and I know how it’s done)

    Dr T (340565)

  7. Steve — how about a federal ban on smoking?

    WLS (dfa1f1)

  8. This is a state where Alan Keyes, Pat Robertson, Dick Gephardt, and other populist-twinged candidates always outperform their national numbers. I think that Huckabee’s assumptive strength in Iowa is more tied towards his populism than his being Evangelical (though I recognize that the two go hand-in-hand in Iowa). Like WLS, I am not a fan of the naked appeal to Evangelicalism in the letter quoted above, but, let’s face it, it’s the same type of appeal to their followers that union bosses make, minority leaders make, abortion activists (both sides) make, etc.

    JVW (477e5a)

  9. JVW,

    Check out the latest numbers. They guy is polling well everywhere buy New Hampshire. The last thing I want is for the Republicans to nominate him, but the guy is a gifted politician in a way the other Republican candidates are not.

    He reminds me of Slick Willie. I’ll never vote for him.

    Eric (09e4ab)

  10. I think the other polling is simply being drive by increased media attention that is directly attributable to his rise in Iowa. I think he’ll get rejected in New Hampshire, but he’ll have a chance with Evangelicals in South Carolina.

    We shall see if he can parlay the naked appeal based on his religiosity into deeper support, while at the same time coming in for more scrutiny not only from the press but from his opponents as well. I think the hiring of Ed Rollins today is a recognition of the coming need to fight back.

    WLS (dfa1f1)

  11. I’m an evangelical, born-again, protestant, Christian. It affects my vote in that I would prefer to vote for someone moral over immoral. It affects my vote in that I won’t vote for someone who tries to stop my rights to worship as I choose.

    It doesn’t make me a stupid sheep who’ll vote for anyone who knows the secret-evangelical-handshake. Huck won’t get my vote.

    Gawaine (b280ef)

  12. As I commented on an earlier post, Huck will be done after the early Feb primaries. He is a populist, and cannot survive in the conservative states.

    Also, the big lead in IA is in a NewsWeek poll, and they have a noted reputation for outliers. Another poll out today has reduced Huck’s lead to about 8-pts.

    Once the media starts to really roast him – which is automatic if you’re the leader – his numbers will start to wilt (see Hilary). It won’t help that his electoral support will not be there either – does anyone think he’s going to sweep through NH?

    David E – you have come off your meds. Please call your physician, and analyst.

    Another Drew (a28ef4)

  13. “Everyone is supposed to be an evangelical Christian.

    Holy shit.

    I’m evangelical Christian and I don’t see a person being of Christian religious faith as being critical to earning my vote.
    There are some values that religious faith brings to the table, but individual results there are often mixed anyway.

    I was watching the news last night and some guy was showing the Democratic party audience’s negative response to Joe Biden’s blathering on about some hymn. The talking heads were all opining that mentioning religion around Democrats was fatal, when to me it was obvious that no one… including Biden, believed he was being genuine.

    Most evangelicals I know would rather vote for someone who is genuine but not particularly religious than they would a fake.
    We’ve seen Hillary at church putting on a “black” accent, she’s a fake. Edwards? A fake.
    Obama… who even knows, he won’t vote on anything of substance.
    To me, Thompson and Giuliani are the two most genuine Republicans…. well Ron Paul is a genuine loon
    (God how i wish that a Paul/McKinney ticket would enter the race)
    Be genuine.
    Hardest thing a politician will ever do.

    SteveG (4e16fc)

  14. Eric in #9:

    I understand that Huckabee has a solid showing nationally across the GOP field right now, but I submit to you that it is only because all the media is fixated on Iowa right now and that is driving everyone’s impression of the candidates. As I recall, his poll numbers rose in Iowa about a week before they started rising everywhere else.

    This is a major reason why I support ending the whole special status that Iowa and New Hampshire enjoy in the primaries. It perpetuates the genuflection of both parties to ethanol, for one thing.

    JVW (477e5a)

  15. “Without God, democracy will not and cannot long endure. If we ever forget that we’re one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under.”
    Who said that? I’ll give you one guess.
    And the last line of the link puts it best.
    “Stop whining about it. You loved it when it worked.”

    The flaws have been there from the beginning.

    blah (fb88b3)

  16. Sure blah – I always read racistdogfakes before I do anything else every morning just to make sure I’m up on the latest news and analysis. Brilliant bloggers like Blue Texan who maintains that “widely” read and “admired” blogsite instaputz is an indispensible part of my reading apparently as it is for his other two readers.

    He’s got as much credibility as you, blah, zippo.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  17. Daleyrocks, I think you just insulted Zippos.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  18. He’s got as much credibility as you, blah, zippo.

    I’d prefer that y’all try to avoid insults — at the very least if someone hasn’t insulted you and asked for it.

    Patterico (faeccf)

  19. Here an un-asked for insult is a compliment in a sense. It means that the person doing the insulting has no cogent retort to the person they insulted.

    The Republicans have heavily courted the religious right for years…the whole asinine line of “marriage being between a man and a woman” being one of the more insincere “conservative” values being bandied about in the last presidential election… so now they are looking at an evangelical presidential candidate that will probably not last but maybe will….

    How does it go? As you sow the wind so shall you reap the whirlwind????

    Don’t worry, the “atheist” “liberal” media will no doubt pull this guy down and set up Prez Giuliani for his habitual come from behind win.

    EdWood (275649)

  20. I’d like to opt in as another evangelical who doesn’t support Huckabee. I’m afraid that I’m forced to go with Thompson, even though I’m troubled by his lack of experience and his gratuitous picking of fights with evangelical leaders.

    DRJ is half-right, saying that evangelicals are not conservative at heart. The truth is that there isn’t a lot of political unity among evangelicals when it comes to issues like nanny-statism. Abortion, euthenasia, gay marriage and freedom of religion are all points of similarity, but bring up gun control, prayer in school, the death penalty, or environmentalist takings, and knowing that someone is an evangelical doesn’t tell you much about their position on it.

    Doc Rampage (ebfd7a)

  21. There are people trying to turn “evangelical’ into some sort of bad word, like “liberal”… trying to associate “evangelical” with some various string of negative traits and beliefs. Its a load of crap. Doc R is right, just because someone is an “evangelical” doesn’t pigeonhole them into some specific set of beliefs.

    I agree with WLS about Mr. Huckabee, but hearing that Mr. Huckabee was an “evangelical” meant nothing to me. Hearing his ideas was more important.

    EdWood (275649)

  22. Ed – Contrast your posts 19 and 21. If being an evangelical is not a big deal, why did you make it a big deal in 19, but then backtrack in 21. I think it’s because libs misunderstand religion as evidenced in your comments.

    On gay marriage, it seems the majority of the country does not support it Ed, sorry to disabuse you of your quaint notion that it’s just the religious right or conservatives. Can you point out which Democrat candidates for president in 2004 supported gay marriage Ed?

    On blah, I didn’t realize he/she/it was trying to make a point, instead of just dumping on christians. Can you explain what it was and then I’ll be happy to refute it as usual?

    daleyrocks (906622)

  23. The comparison of liberals to evangelicals is not entirely reasonable. People don’t trust liberals because of what is said by liberals. By contrast, they largely don’t trust evangelicals because of what is said by people who hate evangelicals. I’ve heard that evangelicals want to ban Halloween, that they are racists, that they are actively trying to bring on the end of the world, that they only support Israel because Israel is going to help bring on the end of the world, that they are seeking to turn America into a theocracy, that they are Luddites, that they want to engage in a holy war against the Muslims, and a dozen other ridiculous things. By contrast, liberals really do support socialist and communist butcher-dictators around the world, really do side with America’s enemies against America in almost every dispute, really do blame America for everything wrong in the world, really do side with criminals over victims (unless the criminal is white and the victim black) and a dozen other things that Americans find distasteful.

    Evangelicals have not helped themselves a lot in the reputation department, but most of their bad reputation comes from dishonest or unfair press (ever seen a conservative Christian in a movie or on TV who wasn’t portrayed as dangerous or creepy?) By contrast, liberals earned their bad reputation the old-fashioned way: they earned it.

    Doc Rampage (ebfd7a)

  24. Very good points Doc. Some of the worst are liberal politicians. Even though you don’t like what they are saying, they aren’t telling you what they really think. If they were honest enough to tell you what they really thought, they know that only the lunatic fringe would vote for them.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  25. A couple of things occur to me;

    First, Huckabee’s popularity indicates that there are just as many pro-life progressives as there are pro-life conservatives.


    Second, Roe vs Wade indicates the political madness that happens when a bad decision is judicated in law without one vote cast by an American citizen.

    syn (9c2583)

  26. “When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.”

    — Sinclair Lewis

    David Ehrenstein (5f9866)

  27. #22 and 23,

    My point Doc, was that calling someone a “liberal” or “evangelical” as if it means some bunch of stereotyped bad things is a complete load of crap.

    I personally know people who call themselves “born again” who think that homosexuals should be locked up, who are unashamed racists, and who think that anyone not born again is not a ‘true christian”. I still would never buy into the idea that calling someone an “evangelical” automatically means that they agree with the list I just wrote out above.

    As for your list of what “liberals” believe. I know people who actually call themselves liberal and not one of them believes any of the things in your list. I don’t know anyone like the person you are describing there nor have I met anyone like that in 42 years of being alive.

    I have met plenty of people, not just on the internet, who buy into laughably hystrionic statements like “liberals don’t get religion” that red state-oid bobbleheads pump out constantly though.

    Its all a load of fresh stinking manure Doc. I don’t buy it from daleyrocks and his ilk and I don’t buy it from all those people out there who want to play the same game with those of us who believe in God.

    EdWood (1a4e16)

  28. David – Your quote reminds me of the Matriot and her band of followers, hangers on, etc.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  29. Ed – yet you continue to throw out that marriage stereotype of conservatives that has no validity. Is it hard talking out of both sides of your mouth?

    daleyrocks (906622)

  30. Dude doesn’t accept evolution. Scary.

    whitd (87fe55)

  31. daleyrocks, if your point was that I am incorrectly equating “conservativsm” (whatever that is supposed to mean), with Republicans then I guess you have a point although there is an awful lot of rhetoric around that specifically does equate some idealogy with political parties these days isn’t there?

    EdWood (1a4e16)

  32. Forgive my ignorance. What is this week’s definition of “evangelical”?


    GT (150b20)

  33. wls, you listed your preferences giuliani, thompson, romney, mccain. where’s paul?

    drj’s on the right track in #4, particularly the first eight words.

    why don’t pastors who do email campaigns lose their tax exemptions, or is that remedy just for anti-war pastors?

    christian influence is undeniable, it gave us another bush quadrennium, surfing to washington on the issue it held dearest: gay marriage. 100 years from now, american schoolchildren will look back on our era and regard the evangelicals as dangerous buffoons.

    prognostication: the economy will be much different in november 2008 from now, unlike anything you have ever seen. in 1929, it took three whole years to get to 1932; here in the e-age, i bet we can get there in one year.

    assistant devil's advocate (6dee72)

  34. ada — Paul’s a nutbag. I prefer rational adults to lead the country.

    What have I ever written that would lead you to believe I would support Paul?

    Do you have a Gravel bumpersticker?

    wls (2ed4a0)

  35. According to [former Office of Faith Based initiatives second in command David] Kuo, Karl Rove’s office referred to evangelical leaders as ‘the nuts.’
    Kuo says, ‘National Christian leaders received hugs and smiles in person and then were dismissed behind their backs and described as ‘ridiculous,’ ‘out of control,’ and just plain ‘goofy.’ ”
    So how does the Bush White House keep ‘the nuts’ turning out at the polls?One way, regular conference calls with groups led by Pat Robertson, James Dobson, Ted Haggard, and radio hosts like Michael Reagan.
    Kuo says, “Participants were asked to talk to their people about whatever issue was pending. Advice was solicited [but] that advice rarely went much further than the conference call. [T]he true purpose of these calls was to keep prominent social conservatives and their groups or audiences happy.”
    They do get some things from the Bush White House, like the National Day of Prayer, “another one of the eye-rolling Christian events,” Kuo says.
    And “passes to be in the crowd greeting the president when he arrived on Air Force One or tickets for a speech he was giving in their hometown. Little trinkets like cufflinks or pens or pads of paper were passed out like business cards. Christian leaders could give them to their congregations or donors or friends to show just how influential they were. Making politically active Christians personally happy meant having to worry far less about the Christian political agenda.”
    When cufflinks weren’t enough, the White House played the Jesus card, reminding Christian leaders that, quote, “they knew the president’s faith” and begging for patience.

    The republican elite has did something similar in Afghanistan: Fund the Fundies for short term gain; except in the US it was the reverse, the Fundies funded them! The nuts were being bled. And remember, Rove is an atheist.

    “Pat Robertson, James Dobson, Ted Haggard.” Did anyone ever not know what these people stood for? These nutjobs got more than Kuo wants to admit, but still, they want more.

    blah (fb88b3)

  36. WLS is Shocked! Shocked! to discover evangelical Christians close to controlling the GOP.

    Isn’t Iowa where Chuck Colson runs [oops, thanks to the courts, make that ran] a program that lets convicts get extra benefits if they join his state-funded [!] evangelical Christian prayer group?

    Isn’t GW Bush the man who created an Office of Faith-Based Initiatives to spread some taxpayer green with the approved (i.e., evangelical) community?

    Just this time, the evangelical candidate thinks the earth is 6000 years old and that might turn off independents. Isn’t there something about sowing bad seed and reaping the whirlwind in that Bible?

    I might add, a lot of this opposition to Huckabee seems to be about his moral and commendable opposition to torture. The GOP has truly lost any sense of moral compass in its devotion to a drunken, loutish, vicious overgrown frat boy.

    Andrew J. Lazarus (a8643a)

  37. EdWood, it true that people who believe the things in my list tend not to call themselves liberals today. They keep switching labels for themselves as people start to realize who and what they are. Originally they called themselves Marxists, then communists, then liberals; now progressives. None of the labels was ever entirely accurate. The “liberal” label in particular was downright antithetical to their views, but they took it and they ruined it.

    However, if you are implying that the left of the Democratic party doesn’t consist mostly of people who are described by my list, then you are not being honest. I live in the San Francisco Bay area, and I guarantee you that I can engage any random person in conversation and there is a better than 50% chance that they will agree with all or most of those “liberal” positions. I know this from direct experience.

    Doc Rampage (ebfd7a)

  38. Where are these “40% evangelicals” coming from in Iowa? Anyone familiar with the demographics of our state of Iowa knows we don’t even have 3% in that category. If you’re going to understand Huckabee’s rise, you’ve got to move past the evangelical myth.

    A previous poster was close with the suggestion of a populism factor. In my experience, Iowans in either party are highly skeptical about slick, marketed poseur-type candidates. For instance, I like Romney’s positions and executive experience, but I feel like I need a bath after watching his slick approach. His campaign made a serious error in running the same radio ad for three months in the Omaha area – so much that local talk radio personalities made parodies of it. Thompson was also a real hope but when he came across as a Hollywood produced scotch-drinking playboy, he lost a lot of interest.

    I personally liked Huckabee’s genuine-sounding approach but like a few others posting here, have been alarmed about his credibility as well as his miserable position on immigration. I too support the fair tax and will vote for a candidate strong on immigration and tax-reform.

    Anyway… $0.02 on the Huck factor from someone in southwest Iowa who sees it first hand.

    redherkey (9f5961)

  39. redherkey,

    Thanks for adding your perspective. If religion isn’t a big factor among Iowa voters, why do you think Huckabee is surging? Do voters prefer his personality, do they have concerns about the other candidates and/or their policies, or is it something else? If Iowa voters like Huckabee’s policies, which ones seem to resonate the most?

    DRJ (09f144)

  40. ““When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.”

    – Sinclair Lewis, as quoted by David Ehrenstein

    David, that has to be one of the most tired quotes I’ve ever seen. Repeating it makes you look like a tool (and, by ideological association, makes the rest of the liberals on this site look like tools).

    Leviticus (dc7270)

  41. “It really is pretty awesome watching the Republican panic about Mike Huckabee set in”
    John Cole runs down the list.

    And as with Romney’s Mormonism. liberals with some exceptions aren’t as bothered by religion as -according to republican flacks- they’re supposed to be. With specific issues, yes, but liberals haven’t been afraid of giving Huckabee credit where it was due. Here’s a good article of the complexities of the evangelical movement.

    blah (fb88b3)

  42. “When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.”

    I guess it arrived in 1861, when the Grand Army of the Republic, marched off to war to the stirring strains of “Onward Christian Soldiers“.

    Another Drew (a28ef4)

  43. “David, that has to be one of the most tired quotes I’ve ever seen. Repeating it makes you look like a tool (and, by ideological association, makes the rest of the liberals on this site look like tools).”

    You forgot “of George Soros.”

    David Ehrenstein (5f9866)

  44. Huckabee concerns me greatly especially on foreign policy where I believe he believes Jesus of Nazareth’s teachings are meant for foreign policy decisions.

    It’s TOTALLY funny. He believes America should be nicer to other countries, including Iran.

    He’s such a fool. I participated in the web chat and BlogTalk Radio interview where he was being interviewed by Ed Morrissey. I wanted Ed to ask Huckabee whether he could approve the release and use of nuclear weapons under any circumstances. He said he’d try to, but never asked this question.

    When Governor of an American state, he granted clemency (like a pardon or forgiveness) to over 700 criminals. Many went on to commit other crimes. Why did he do this? That’s what Jesus would have done.

    And this man… may well win an election and be in charge of American nuclear forces. Which would leave you vulnerable to Iran. And also to Russia’s power-mad leader, Vladimir Putin.

    You need a strong man and instead the party you support looks likely to elect a man who believes Jesus of Nazareth’s teachings were meant to apply to countries. Yes, that’s funny. I mean, don’t you think that’s funny?

    You need a leader who isn’t so controlled by his faith he couldn’t order the use of nuclear weapons, including in a major strike role, taking out Russian strategic industrial and military assets, plus their offensive nuclear capability.

    Is Mike Huckabee such a man? I don’t think so. Yet the Republicans — the strong on defense party — seem to want this man to be their leader. A lot of Republicans are disgusted and if he wins your nomination, they will vote for a third party candidate or a Democrat instead of this man.

    When you had the weak President, Jimmy Carter, in office, the Russians had the foolish blowhard, Leonid Breshnev, in power. He was selfish and he cared more about his own skin than anything else. Which is good.

    Now they have Putin. Hard as nails KGB, rules like a Czar, willing to kill his political opponents for power, physically fit and self-disciplined. And against Vladimir Putin you would put in power a weak man who follows Jesus’ teachings when applied to countries? I couldn’t imagine such a thing. But apparently, that’s what Republicans plan on doing… many of them.

    Why would you put up such a weak foolish man against Putin? I have no idea. I just don’t understand it. You must maintain the capability and willingness for war if there is to be peace and security.

    Russia has massive oil revenue and their power mad, cult-like leader Putin, with his pro-Putin youth movements, intends on replenishing their forces. Fine. But you need someone willing, at least, to use force if necessary to contain them. But Mike Huckabee is a fanatic Jesus-believing Baptist minister. Not a President.

    But, by God, he’s leading the Republican primary and he just might become President.

    So it’s in the foreign policy sense I refer to hims as a Democrat. And since he’s from Arkansas, who knows? Maybe he’ll give Willy Jeff a go of it on the Supreme Court bench.

    I’m kidding because Mike Huckabee is a decent man personally in many respects and is pro-life, something I admire.

    Cross posted from a different thread: “Bleccch.”

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  45. Doc #37, I don’t know what you or anyone else means by the “left of the Democratic Party” since what is “left” depends on who you are talking too and how rabidly partisan they are. It’s like listening to “lefties” talk about how the “right wing of the Republican party is full of “facists””.

    You and I are obviously talking about different groups of people when we talk about self described “liberals”. I encounter this wierd disjunct often when people start using labels as if they have any real meaning. It’s because people have different meanings in their own heads.

    If people don’t like Huckabee because he mixes his religion and politics too much for their taste ok, but labeling him an “evangelical” as if that means…well, whatever it’s supposed to mean, is divisive. I suppose it works if you want to insinuate whatever about him, but it’s still divisive.

    EdWood (d83caa)

  46. As a Christian, I cringe every time a politician blathers on about his faith because inevitably his hypocritical underpants will show.

    In Huckabee’s case, the pardons of Dumond and company, the pastor endorsements of those to be released, and the letter provided by pastor Tim Rude, Rev. Johnny Johnson’s testimony that it was ‘an accident’ re Glen Green, etc., and not to mention his lack of mettle in matters of national security, have all in one fells swoop caused this Christian to once again distance herself from and cross off the list yet another ‘Christian’ running for, well, any public office.

    I would like to also say for the record there are those of us who are Christians who don’t live our lives according to some WWJD bracelet.

    Dana (14c62d)

  47. liberals with some exceptions aren’t as bothered by religion as -according to republican flacks- they’re supposed to be.

    I thought this was a pretty funny one from blah. I guess all those rants from prominent liberal pundits and others about Christianists, God Botherers and how there is no God were all just jokes, sort of like Hillary’s team bringing up Obama’s grade school essays. I forgot to laugh.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  48. I’m an atheist, but all the democratic candidates are churchgoing Christians. And It’s conservative Christians who say they won’t vote for a Mormon. Most liberals don’t care so much.
    That’s what the polls say.

    But of course you know why Romney made his speech as much as I do.

    blah (fb88b3)

  49. DRJ,

    From the southwest corner of Iowa (in a rural county that voted > 90% for Bush the second time), what I hear from folks in our community that like Huckabee is that “he’s sincere.” People here tend to elect the man based on his character and expect he will do the right thing from there. Simple? Yes. I’ve observed that my own interest in the fair tax is not shared as well with other southwest Iowans – many just don’t know of it, but do know that our state government is short of money in times of record revenue inflows. We have a rather hot issue of a new $200+ million in proposed road spending via a bill pushed by the road construction industry lobby. Corporate welfare is not highly regarded here either.

    Per being for or against a candidate based on his faith, there’s not much of the faith dimension, which the Romney folks also have misunderstood (Mills and Fremont counties were staging points for the trek west and we still have a positive Mormon presence in our communities). Most folks I know treat that as a serious, private matter.

    Fred was a big hope for some here – but he quickly got marked as a phony, right or wrong. I’ve got to watch the Iowa debate to see how he did first-hand. Otherwise it looks like a nose-pinching Romney vote here…

    redherkey (9f5961)

  50. blah – It’s a campaign, of course the candidates are church going Christians!

    daleyrocks (906622)

  51. redherkey,

    Thanks for your response. I understand your point because I live in a place where character and sincerity are also important. However, my neighbors aren’t as negative on Fred as your neighbors are.

    DRJ (09f144)

  52. “It’s a campaign, of course the candidates are church going Christians!”
    The Republicans too of course.

    Christians all.
    What a country.

    blah (fb88b3)

  53. Whatever faith they observe, politicians normally become more devout during a campaign. Funny thing.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  54. Isn’t the type of email described above grounds for revoking the church’s non-profit status? It seems pretty close to the line.

    Principal Chair (3edd66)

  55. I thought this was a pretty funny one from blah. I guess all those rants from prominent liberal pundits and others about Christianists, God Botherers and how there is no God were all just jokes, sort of like Hillary’s team bringing up Obama’s grade school essays. I forgot to laugh.

    In a typical display of unintended irony, Daleyrocks conflates religion with the Christianists. There are some exceptions (e.g., Christopher Hitchens, if he can be called a liberal), but an awful lot of liberals have a live-and-let-live attitude towards religion.

    That doesn’t seem to be the attitude of Republican candidates. They seem to be so worried that Mr Romney has a different view of Jesus than they do, that Mr Romney felt compelled to assure them otherwise. (How I am supposed to feel, as my view of Jesus is very, very different, was not covered. But then, they’ve given up on my vote long ago)

    Andrew J. Lazarus (a8643a)

  56. AJL – Reading comprehension is not one of your strong points. While a large number of liberals may well have a live and let live attitude about religion, a large number are also so afraid of it’s influence on society that they devote untold resources to hysterical, repetivive, conspiratorial rantings about how the takeover of the country by the religious right is a greater danger than losing the war on terror. Pity you can’t take an objective look at your own side in the mirror AJL.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  57. Happily, there are Republicans who don’t want rapists freed, spending raised, terrorist states mollified, and heathens tasered.

    I don’t think Huckabee can win. If he ends up giving a speech at the convention, he could win the Pat Buchanan award for causing the most Republican-leaning centrists to vote for a Democrat.


    JRM (355c21)

  58. Perhaps all Democrats are ‘church going Christians’ however they have this weird way of believing that if they pull the lever for abortion they’ll receive the righteous gold coins of entitlement goodies.

    Guess it never occurs to them that gold coins are worthless to dead people.

    syn (9c2583)

  59. JRM – I’m with you. As Huckabee gets more publicity, people get a chance to figure out who he really is, a Democrat in disguise.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  60. But very valuable to Republicans.

    “Isn’t the type of email described above grounds for revoking the church’s non-profit status? It seems pretty close to the line.”


    David Ehrenstein (5f9866)

  61. But very valuable to Republicans.

    Then why are all of the leading Dem candidates church going Christians?

    Ed Wood,

    The Republicans have heavily courted the religious right for years…the whole asinine line of “marriage being between a man and a woman” being one of the more insincere “conservative” values being bandied about in the last presidential election…

    “Marriage has historic, religious, and moral content that goes back to the beginning of time, and I think a marriage is as a marriage has always been, between a man and a woman.

    Pablo (99243e)

  62. Lewis was wrong

    Facism came to America wrapped in academia’s ego and carrying intolerance for anyone who dares speak outside the party line.
    First thing they did was starting to dismantle the first amendment.

    But go ahead and worry about James Dobson’s musings if it makes you feel better…. hey, maybe they should be shut down.

    Influential private citizens makes statements I think are lame all the time (See Sean Penn).
    Although Penn’s movies have become propagandistic (and awful) I don’t think they should be banned or taxed into the abyss.

    Taxation of churches would become a tool used by wannabe facists to stifle religious expression.. not that some churches are not guilty or wretched excess (there are investigations ongoing so it isn’t like the IRS just ignores those churches and “ministries” that over reach)

    Anyway, when guys like DE want to tax anything, they are more than likely just trying to use taxation as a state tool to destroy those with whom they disagree… a method both communists and facists would vouch for.

    SteveG (4e16fc)

  63. TAX THE ACLU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    daleyrocks (906622)

  64. What’s “propagandistic” about Into the Wild? I seriously doubt you’ve seen it.

    “Anyway, when guys like DE want to tax anything, they are more than likely just trying to use taxation as a state tool to destroy those with whom they disagree… a method both communists and facists would vouch for.”

    One of the most popular Revolutionary War slogas was “Taxation Without Rrpesentation is Treason.”

    I say Representation Withou Taxation is Treason.

    David Ehrenstein (5f9866)

  65. “TAX THE ACLU”

    For giving Ollie North free advice?

    blah (fb88b3)

  66. I say Representation Withou Taxation is Treason.

    Where is the representation without taxation that concerns you?

    Pablo (99243e)

  67. “Where is the representation without taxation that concerns you?”

    The Coporations, the Church, every third Republican and Democrat.

    David Ehrenstein (5f9866)

  68. The Coporations, the Church, every third Republican and Democrat.

    How are corporations not taxed? How is the church represented, Reverends Sharpton and Jackson notwithstanding? Don’t every third Republican and Democrat pay taxes?

    Pablo (99243e)

  69. Sorry. I should have said “Top-Tier Republicans and Democrats.”

    The corporations aren’t taxed nearly enough. If BushCo has its way they won’t have to cough up a fucking DIME!

    David Ehrenstein (5f9866)

  70. Religion (all of them) should be investigated by the Department of Health and Human Services (among others) as it is nothing more and nothing less than FRAUD.

    David Ehrenstein (5f9866)

  71. !!!eleventy!!!one!!!MADCAPS!!!!bold!!!eleven!!!

    Pablo (99243e)

  72. I agree with David E. that the religion of anthropogenic global warming is a total fraud as well as the religion of multiculturalism, but I’m not sure which others I’d throw out there.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  73. Hunh?


    Pablo (99243e)

  74. DE

    Feel free to pay more.
    There is an IRS form you can download and send in with your check.
    Or bypass the middleman and donate to a great well run charity, lots of which are run and or started by religious groups… but choose a secular one

    I try to donate a substantial part of my post tax income to people who make a difference in the world. I am dead certain I get more bang for those bucks than I would from my tax dollars in the DE utopia state.

    SteveG (4e16fc)

  75. Note to DE: Businesses don’t pay taxes – Their customers’ do (please take an Econ course – or better yet crack a book by a Chicago-School economist).

    Why Fred Thompson may be un-popular in SW IA:
    He refuses to genuflect at the alter of Ethanol.

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  76. AD – I hate that freaking argument. As a customer I’m not going to pay a higher price for something from a current taxpaying corporation than one who is in an NOL position. The price has got to be competitive. Where that price settles, though is where the game theory comes in.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  77. Classic case of taxes passed to consumer is at the gas pump.
    Sure there may be a slight delay as the larger corporations jockey for market share, but sooner than later the price adjusts up at least as high as the tax increase.
    Same goes for smaller corporations selling widgets or whatever.
    They either take a hit in margins (which can’t usually last) or they find a cheaper source, downsize portion, or otherwise make the difference up on the consumer.

    An industry with fat margins may absorb the hit and are well positioned to, but why would they?
    Fat margins mean high demand and scarce competition, so they’d just price it in.

    Under the DE regime, the model economy would have success taxed out of existence and a Soviet style mediocrity would stifle initiative.
    Look at the Soviet model for a minute. Since the price was artificially set, the incentive was to cheapen the product and to blackmarket it if possible to squeeze some sort of profit out of it.

    SteveG (4e16fc)

  78. SteveG – Your example involves a change in taxes. My example involved two companies with a different taxpaying status, which might not be affected by what you described. The process of arriving at an equilibrium price isn’t necessarily as easy as you describe, but the gas pump example is the classic pass through description for people to grasp.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  79. “Note to DE: Businesses don’t pay taxes “

    Really? Wel I guess those tax cuts Bush had passed were emanignless gestures.

    David Ehrenstein (5f9866)

  80. “Under the DE regime, the model economy would have success taxed out of existence and a Soviet style mediocrity would stifle initiative”

    He look everybody — it’s Alice Rosenbaum back from the dead!

    David Ehrenstein (5f9866)

  81. What was the highest tax rate in the boom years post WWII?

    blah (fb88b3)

  82. Well David, you prove that liberals know as little about economics as they do about, well, just about everything.

    Smarty (7a2278)

  83. The corporations aren’t taxed nearly enough.

    Nearly enough to do what? They only exist on paper, so it’s not as though they’re running up some huge costs for government services being paid for by others. Did you mean “aren’t taxed nearly enough to cause the economy to come to a grinding halt?”

    Xrlq (b65a72)

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