Huck Not Out

While he is clearly trailing, and I don’t think he will get the nomination – especially as the media have already nominated McCain – Huckabee showed last night that he’s not Hucka-been just yet. Sadly I have to agree with the pundits that he is working himself into position for the VP nod. But the good news is McCain will be the oldest President if elected. That gives Mike a shot at the top spot before ’12 or ’16.

I was looking at the exit poll data from Missouri – always noted as a bellweather state. Huckabee was favourite candidate of Protestants generally. He was the overwhelming favourite amongst small city and rural voters (38% as opposed to 26% for McCain). He was by far the favourite amongst the “very conservative” (41% to 17%). He was the favourite of voters under 30 (35% to 27%). Not surprisingly, he was the choice of those absolutely opposed to abortion (40% to 29%). He was the choice for those voters who said what mattered most was for a candidate to share their values (41% to 21%). Amongst those who called themselves “born again”, Huckabee doubled McCain’s vote (44% to 22%). In all these categories, Romney falls somewhere in the middle.

If McCain wants to motivate and mobilise the vote, he needs Huckabee. This is especially true if Obama gets the Democratic nomination. Even though his voting record is more liberal, Obama hasn’t built up the negative feeling that Hillary has.

As I noted in a comments to the previous post, I stopped watching BBC coverage after while and switched to SkyNews. After the insightful comments of comments of Christopher Hitchens, the Beeb didn’t have much time for Huck. They didn’t even carry his speech live. They were much too enamored with Clinton and Obama. To be fair to Hitchens (even if he doesn’t feel obligated to be fair), he did note that for all the talk of Obama being the first black president, he is only half-black and that half wasn’t descended from forced migration to the US (as he refers to the Peculiar Institution). Thus he shares nothing more than skin tone with the vast majority of African-Americans.

BBC Says Huckabee Won By Bribery

I’m watching the BBC News coverage of Super Tuesday. As usual, it is all reported with an air of British superiority – or more exactly that of American inferiority.

Washington correspondent Matt Frei is anchoring the coverage of what he calls “an absurdly byzantine electoral system”.

Occupying a spot on his commentating panel, there is no surprise seeing British-born naturalised American Christopher Hitchens. His view of the Iowa caucues: “It’s not illegal to offer bribes and inducements to elect and that’s what made Mike Huckabee a front-runner.”

Yeah, that’s it. Mike Huckabee threw his millions and millions (that he doesn’t have) into bribes for Iowa GOP caucus voters.

But it’s not just Huckabee that’s the recipient of Hitchen’s ire. He was also happy into inform us that if John McCain gets the nomination, he will campaign for any Democrat.

That’s the sort of unbiased coverage we get here.

Searching for Mike

Once again I have been getting lots of traffic from various Mike Huckabee searches. It is interesting to see the sort of searches that bring people to my blog. So far today it has included “huckbee + gay rights”, “Mike Huckabee theocrat”, “huckabee theocrat”, “Michael huckabee”, “mike huckbee evolution”, and “mike huckbee immigration”.

Seems a lot of folks are worried about Mike, afraid he is going to persecute gays, ban the teaching of evolution, and do all sort of other dastardly theocratic things. Of course he’s never suggested these things.

The closest thing might be when in 1992 he suggested that those with AIDS should be quarrantined. Since AIDS was generally associated with the gay community due to the nature of the transmission of the disease, particularly in the early days, I suppose this could be considered a persecution of gays.

Most Americans don’t believe in evolution, so like the majority of the electorate, Mike Huckabee is a creationist. Of course the liberal elite (even those who call themselves Fiscal Conservatives) can’t imagine that someone who holds high political office actually holds the same views as the unwashed masses. This is really why they can’t stand Mike. Politicians all talk about being public servants – but they don’t really mean it.

The only weakness I see is the immigration issue. There seem to be an awful lot of people for whom immigration is a very hot button issue. Mike is trying very hard to be anti-immigrant as possible, while still obeying the directive to love his neighbour as himself. It is certainly a hard row to hoe. If he shows a Christ-like attitude toward immigrants it could cost him the votes of many of his natural constituents who are anti-abortion, favour the traditional family, and don’t believe in evolution.

Watching Iowa Everywhere

In the run up to, or even on the night off, a British general election, the American press couldn’t care less. I am watching BBC News 24 and the Iowa Caucuses have taken the first 10 minutes of a 30-minute programme. Even in the days leading up to tonight, it has been a major news story.  The level of coverage on Sky News has been similar.

With these two we also get the CBS Evening News and ABC’s World News Tonight. I have seen Iowa from every angle. Because the Republican procedure is a bit different from Democrats, it is a matter of minutes before the GOP results should be known.

It seems so strange that everyone in the world is putting so much stock in what a few hardy Midwesterners do on a cold, snow blanketed night. Though it seems like it shouldn’t make that much difference, I’m still hoping Huckabee shows well. Other the other hand, I’m of two minds about Hillary. I hate to see her win anything, but I like the idea of a Democratic nominee with such a high negative ratings.

So we await the results.

Remember That You Were Strangers

Once again, I’ve been found using “Mike Huckabee theocracy theocrat” as a search string. It is always hard to tell if this is used by someone who thinks any Christian values in civil government is the equivalent of theocracy, or whether it is someone who can use it in the more specific sense of a particular set of views within Christian theology.

Since the former is really a straw man argument, it is pointless to argue with it. However, I am pretty sure that Huckabee would not fit within the usual bounds of the theocratic view, which is used as a synonym for – or close relative to – theonomy or Reconstructionism. That is not to say that he hasn’t been influenced by it – or even that he doesn’t have books by R J Rushdoony on his bookshelf, but he has not come across as a theonomist.

That being said, he does take the most theonomic view when it comes to the hot-hot-hot-button issue of immigration. It is one of the few policy areas where the other Republicans can “fault” him. After all, Tancredo and Hunter helped build the wall in California. Guiliani is protesting as much as he can that he didn’t run a sanctuary city and Romney that he didn’t hire undocumented aliens to work for him. Huckabee just keeps explaining over and over why he chose the policy about in-state tuition in Arkansas.

In my view, Huckabee is the only one approaching a biblical view on immigration. I don’t think he has one or supports one, but he comes the closest. I think he put the bar too high on the in-state tuition. I think a child of an undocumented adult who is domiciled in the state, has always lived in the State, and has no personal connection to any other jurisdiction should automatically get in-state tuition, whether or not they achieve a level of academic excellence not required of other children in the state. “One law shall be for the native-born and for the stranger who dwells among you.” (Exodus 12:49)

The treatment of aliens in the Old Testament, both legally and spirirtually, is a matter of God’s keen interest. They are not to be oppressed. “You shall not oppress a hired servant who is poor and needy, whether one of your brethren or one of the aliens who is in your land within your gates. Each day you shall give him his wages, and not let the sun go down on it, for he is poor and has set his heart on it; lest he cry out against you to the LORD, and it be sin to you.” (Deut. 24:14-15)

Just like the Israelites, we should remember that we were and are aliens. We were alienated from God, yet Christ died for us and gave us citizenship in heaven. And now that we have that citizenship, we have become strangers and aliens in this world.

One blogger criticised Huckbee as ridiculing the religious views of his opponents because they disagreed with his policy toward immigrants in Arkansas. Well, I’m not going to ridicule anyone; I’m just going to say they are wrong. There is no place in the heart of the believer for Nativism. It is a tenet of that form of idolatry known as American Civil Religion.

It is a patriotism that fails to acknowledge that every founding father was a stranger and an alien. They showed up in a place that didn’t belong to them without being invited, and in many cases stole the land from the previous inhabitants, driving them out with a combination of conventional and biological warfare. Native Americans were not even legally recognised as people until 1879 and did not have the full rights of citizenship until 1924.

The current influx of strangers in the land may have an impact on the current culture, but not nearly as much as the previous culture was impacted and nearly obliterated. How conveniently that is forgotten.

God doesn’t forget. He hears the cry of the oppressed and answers them. Those who fail to recognise this will have a lot to answer for.

“You shall not oppress a stranger, for you know the heart of a stranger, because you were strangers in the land of Egypt.”

Real Limited Government

I was looking at the Facebook profile of one of my new Facebook and old blogging friends and he described his political views as “apathetic”.  Another Orthodox friend recently mentioned that his wasn’t sure if the third party he usually supports has a candidate for President yet. As much as I like to blog about and otherwise support political (and in this season, particularly presidential) candidates, I can understand their feelings and attitudes.

Too often we expect too much. While I do think it is important that a nation be led by godliness, and various candidates may reflect that in various ways, as hopefully we all do, no President of the United States or any other elected (or non-elected) official is going to create an environment perfect for [insert constituency here, whether it is Christians, the unborn, the family, everyone, the planet] because they can’t. It is not within their power.

Beyond that, for Christians, our citizenship isn’t even primarily here anyway. Mike Huckabee probably shouldn’t run a TV saying that, but it’s true. We’re just passing through on our way to a city whose builder and maker is God.

But in whatever phase of our eternal life we are in, our hope is in the name of Lord, who made heaven and earth. We have to live out our faith in active ways, but we still have to remember God is in control.  Whoever gets elected president may be the most powerful human on the planet, but the world is still ultimately run by an absolute Monarchy.

Character and Moral Leadership

I wish I could remember which blog (or blog combox) I read that said Mike Huckabee seems to be running for America’s pastor rather than American’s president. I don’t do lots of blog surfing, so it may be a sentiment that has been oft-repeated or picked up from an MSM expert or pundit.

Tonight as I was washing the dishes, I realised that if that’s what Mike is trying to do, then he has the right idea. What are Americans looking for in a president? They are looking for someone who is caring and comforting in time of need. They are looking for someone who can articulate a vision and inspire hope and courage. They are looking for someone who is not afraid to call evil “evil” and good “good”; someone with a fixed moral compass.

Should voters care about a candidate’s view on foreign policy? Not really. It doesn’t change much from administration to administration, because each has to deal with the exigencies of the day in a pragmatic way. Bush policy didn’t different much from Clinton policy until 9/11 and there’s nothing to say that Gore dealing with post 9/11 would have done it any different than Bush. Would Gore have been more forbearing of Saddam’s flagrant disregard for sanctions and the no-fly zones? Frankly, we don’t know who he would have had running State, Defense, and the NSA, so we don’t know which ways he would have been pulled. Had he invaded (an idea most everyone loved at the time), would he have been stuck in the same mire as the Bush administration? Probably so.

So much of the hype and focus by the MSM is based on red herrings. I would hope for more honesty in the blogosphere. From what I can see, the bloggers of the Northeast and the West Coast, as a few wannabes caught in the Red States in between, are stropping around the blogosphere, furious that a lot of Republicans don’t want gee-everyone-makes-mistakes-like-two-openly-adulterous-relationships Guiliani. They can’t for the life of them understand why Americans might not want a contest between a pro-gay marriage, pro-abortion Republican and a pro-gay marriage, pro-abortion Democrat.

Both sides know that these issues and others have little to do with the Presidency. It’s like Mike Huckabee’s answer about evolution. Why is somebody asking this of a candidate for president when it has nothing to do with the presidency? Those asking the questions are trying to show that Huckabee is a religious idiot – that’s what Blue Staters want to see and will see regardless of how he answers questions on evolution. No one in the Red States believes in evolution anyway, so all it does is convince them that Mike’s their man.

And for all of Bill Clinton’s “It’s the economy stupid” slogan, the Chief Executive actually doesn’t have a lot of control of that either, the OMB and the Departments of Treasury and Commerce notwithstanding. At the end of the day, it is about character.

It is not about competence. Just about every candidate running in the two main parties is competent to be president. All the Republicans want to be like Ronald Reagan and he slept through much of his second term, still managing to combine his moral leadership with that of some pastors in Eastern Europe to being down the Iron Curtain.

All the Democrats want to be like JFK, whose presidency was about fiascos and philandering. Oh, and he got himself killed. Assassination is the civil religion equivalent of martyrdom, so he’s now a saint.

No, it’s about character. It’s about moral leadership. I’m a firm believer that elections give the electorate what they deserve. If the Red States lose their focus on values, they deserve to get a valueless president.