So far, Republican voters haven't been able to muster much enthusiasm for any of their candidates. In Iowa, Republicans consist largely of the most socially conservative elements of the party: evangelical Christians and undereducated rubes that view the world beyond their limited horizons with suspicion. Rudy Giuliani's cross-dressing and big city ways make them nervous. Mitt Romney is a flip-flopper and a Mormon. John McCain earned their mistrust and comtenpt when he dared to challenge their heir apparent in 2000 by appealing to moderates. And even Fred Thompson can't get enthused about his own campaign.
So, is Huckabee going to be their savior? Is he the one they will choose to save them from the godless liberals? I can't answer that. But I can say that progressives and Americans opposed to the policies and philosophies of the Bush administration would be well-advised to see Huckabee for what he is: an extremist who is ready and willing to pick up where Junior Bush leaves off.
Recently, Huckabee was asked what he imagined was behind his recent rise in the polls. Check out his answer:
There's only one explanation for it, and it's not a human one. It's the same power that helped a little boy with two fish and five loaves feed a crowd of five thousand people. And that's the only way that our campaign could be doing what it's doing. And I'm not being facetious, nor am I trying to be trite. There literally are thousands of people across this country who are praying that a little will become much. And it defies all explanation. It has confounded the pundits, and I'm enjoying every minute of their trying to figure it out. And until they look at it from an experience just beyond human, they'll never figure it out. And that's probably just as well. That's honestly why it's happening. --Mike Huckabee, December 6, 2007So much for separation of church and state, eh?
Well, the Bible-thumping rubes in Iowa eat that kind of stuff up with a spoon. Huckabee knows that. He also knows how to play on the fears and suspicions of those people. Check out what he said about the future of evangelicals in politics:
Listen up, evangelicals! If Huckabee doesn't win, your dream of a Christian nation is kaput. Time to soldier up!
And, lest any Christians might think that the deeply-religious Mitt Romney offers an alternative, here's what Huckabee said about Romney's faith:
"He [Romney] has said that he is a Mormon and also says that he follows Jesus Christ. I take him at his word."--Mike HuckabeeGet it? Romney is a Mormon and he follows Jesus Christ. In other words, Huckabee graciously accepts that Romney is a follower of Christ in spite of his being a Mormon. That's big of you, Mike.
Right now, things are looking good for Huckabee in Iowa. But frontrunner status is fraught with peril. And the vicious GOP power-brokers on Wall Street and the shadowy neo-conservative kingmakers are afraid of him. Already, stories have been emerging regarding Huckabee's clemency record as governor of Arkansas and about his bigoted past statements regarding AIDS victims. And then, there's the particularly ugly story about the release of rapist Wayne Dumond. There will be more to come. But we've already seen that Huckabee can give as well as he gets on this front. (He's a Republican, after all).
Huckabee comes off as a nice guy. He's got an affable personality; he has overcome a big weight problem; he even plays bass in a band, for Christ's sake! (Er--strike that.) But make no mistake about it: behind the everyday Joe facade is a power-hungry fanatic who is more than willing to play to people's fears and bigotry to get what he wants.