Monday, January 07, 2008

Huckabee - The ABC Candidate

I have watched in awed amazement as the bigots of the chattering classes on both sides of the American political spectrum have set about to destroy Gov. Mike Huckabee’s presidential aspirations. It is ABC (Anything But Christian) politics at its worst. Huckabee’s problem is that he is too Christian for the chattering classes who never let their faith get in the way of good politics and too compassionate for doctrinaire conservatives who prefer pristine theoretical politics over doing the right thing in a bad situation.

Let me begin by defining Mike Huckabee politically. He is a social conservative and a political populist. To establishment Republicans that is a singularly frightening combination.

Establishment Republicans have long used social conservatives to fuel the flames that heat the issues that keep them in power while granting them almost no real power in the administrations they have elected. And, in the process they have convinced many Christians that should know better that doctrinaire political conservatism is indistinguishable from the tenets of the Christian faith when nothing could be farther from the truth.

Huckabee’s actual work as Governor of the State of Arkansas frightens establishment Republicans as well. He approved a number of death sentence commutations. Well, there is a reason that the Governor of a state has that power. It is entirely possible to convict and execute an innocent man in state court. John Grisham proved that in his recent non-fiction blockbuster about an Oklahoma murder case. Would we really want a Christian governor to execute a man when there was doubt about the facts or due process his conviction was based on?

Huckabee fixed the roads in Arkansas. Arkansas used to be the only state in the union that had worse roads than Oklahoma. Bad roads cost the citizens a fortune in car repairs and discourage business and travel. The money to fix the roads had to come from someplace and if you want to wait for Wal-Mart or Tyson to fix the roads through trickle down instead of direct taxes you had better buy a Land Rover.

Arkansas, despite the spectacular economic growth in the northwest corridor, is still a very poor state. Arkansas was one of the few states in the nation with poorer public schools than Oklahoma, particularly in rural areas. Through a series of lawsuits in the Arkansas Supreme Court, Huckabee was forced by court order to "equalize" education funding in Arkansas. If you want better schools and better teachers you have to pay for them, even if they are going to vote against you. Huckabee followed court order. Frankly, given my intimate personal knowledge of the quality of education offered in many poor district rural schools in the South, I would have applauded Huckabee for doing it without the court order. I attended one of these "problem" rural schools and started college with good grades but nevertheless two years behind my city classmates in key areas like mathematics and hard science.

Huckabee’s position on illegal immigration is problematic but so is the problem itself. The illegals are here. While they are here they should be treated fairly. The Scriptures demand it. But, they should not be allowed into the U.S. to start with and once they are here they should be subject to all U.S. laws including immigration laws. The business about a Mexican Consulate in Arkansas concerns me as well. But, I suspect that wherever Huckabee is on the issue that he would not ignore the American public on it as the Bush dynasty has.

Some Christians may have a problem with Huckabee because of his Rock and Roll hobby. All I can say to that is, “To each his own.” Rock and Roll doesn’t bother me one bit. I play the blues every chance I get. Huckabee is a gifted bass player and does not shy away from getting down. A few years back, I attended a private party where he and his garage band, The Capitol Offense, played. They were good and they knew how to have a good time. The attendees were an influential group of oil industry representatives and associated regulatory officials from all over the U.S. Don’t ever think Arkansas doesn’t produce skilled politicians. Huckabee and his people worked that meeting like the pro’s that they are.

I am also amazed that so many Christians are supporting Romney or Thompson. Their faith, or lack of it in Thompson’s case, is far less of an issue than their actual performance in real life. Romney has had more positions on abortion than I have neckties. He is facing real credibility problems on a number of issues. For several years, Thompson made his living as an actor on the disgustingly left wing “Law and Order” series whose writers never saw a conservative or Christian they wouldn’t vilify or a liberal cause they wouldn’t champion. Week after week, Thompson was one of the key players in one of Hollywood’s most effective and biased left wing propaganda organs. I have quit more than one job because my conscience wouldn't allow me to be associated with that organization or its people. Thompson’s lack of conscience concerning his long running Law and Order gig concerns me deeply.

At the end of the day, Huckabee’s real problem is that he is not predictable. He just might rule in office according the dictates of his conscience as informed by the Scriptures and nobody in politics wants that …. except a lot of thinking Christian Conservatives who are tired of being used the GOP during the election cycle and then being ignored.


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