Huckabee, the Front-runner

So Christian conservatives ARE rallying around one of their own, Mike Huckabee, who has now lapped Mitt Romney in Iowa. Polls show him leading in that state with 39%, compared to Romney’s 17%.

Now that he is the frontrunner in Iowa, the tone of his media coverage has changed from appreciative condescension to fear that one of “them” might get into power. Hardcore economic and libertarian conservatives do not like him for having raised taxes, being generous with immigrants, and holding to some nanny-state convictions. But hardcore conservatism may be a political liability now. Might his combination of moral conservatism with “compassionate” moderation become a winning formula? Do you think he could actually win the nomination? Or the election?

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • fwsonnek

    Yes he could win the nomination and the election.

    Interesting that at the spanish speaking debate he was nailed for his policy stand on AIDs in the early 90´s. It was a valid issue actually. His answer was evasively dishonest.

    On the other hand he “raised taxes” I understand only to cover unfunded federal mandates. He is not really about a nanny state as far as I can tell, and his stand on education and limited medical benefits (pre natal care, vacinations, treatment for TB and aids) are not compassionate so much as sane and rational. But I DO appreciate his rationale for these things for immigrants as being very compassionate in the true christian meaning of that word.

    No one, even christians, are perfect. As things progress, I would not like to see christians rule him or the other candidates out because of their seeming shortcomings on one or two issues.

  • fwsonnek

    Yes he could win the nomination and the election.

    Interesting that at the spanish speaking debate he was nailed for his policy stand on AIDs in the early 90´s. It was a valid issue actually. His answer was evasively dishonest.

    On the other hand he “raised taxes” I understand only to cover unfunded federal mandates. He is not really about a nanny state as far as I can tell, and his stand on education and limited medical benefits (pre natal care, vacinations, treatment for TB and aids) are not compassionate so much as sane and rational. But I DO appreciate his rationale for these things for immigrants as being very compassionate in the true christian meaning of that word.

    No one, even christians, are perfect. As things progress, I would not like to see christians rule him or the other candidates out because of their seeming shortcomings on one or two issues.

  • Bror Erickson

    Yes I think he can take the primary. The mud will come out now, slings at the ready. But I think he can wade through that too. He doesn’t speak in mormon monotone (Mormons do not have pastors, lay people give the messages, and they all seemed trained to speak in the same monotone voice that Romney uses, some worse than others. just in case you were wondering, you can watch these messages on T.V. here in Utah.) And he has a moral back bone, that doesn’t come off as self-righteous. It’s the best of both worlds really, character and personality.

  • Bror Erickson

    Yes I think he can take the primary. The mud will come out now, slings at the ready. But I think he can wade through that too. He doesn’t speak in mormon monotone (Mormons do not have pastors, lay people give the messages, and they all seemed trained to speak in the same monotone voice that Romney uses, some worse than others. just in case you were wondering, you can watch these messages on T.V. here in Utah.) And he has a moral back bone, that doesn’t come off as self-righteous. It’s the best of both worlds really, character and personality.

  • kerner

    Huckabee could win, but I don’t know whether that’s a good thing or not. OK, he’s a social conservative, in a theology of glory sort of way. I am probably out of step with a lot of other conservatives because I am pro-immigraton (I think the best way to solve the illegal immigration “problem” is to considerably expand legal immigration), so I like his position better than many candidates.

    On the other hand, I am a very small government/free market kind of guy, and I am very unenthused by Huckabee on those two subjects. The last thing this country needs is a president who thinks that raising taxes and growing the government in the name of compassion is a good idea. And does Huckabee have any clue about defense or foreign policy? If he has, I am unaware of it. And who would he appoint to the supreme court? We may assume it would be someone good, but how do we know?

  • kerner

    Huckabee could win, but I don’t know whether that’s a good thing or not. OK, he’s a social conservative, in a theology of glory sort of way. I am probably out of step with a lot of other conservatives because I am pro-immigraton (I think the best way to solve the illegal immigration “problem” is to considerably expand legal immigration), so I like his position better than many candidates.

    On the other hand, I am a very small government/free market kind of guy, and I am very unenthused by Huckabee on those two subjects. The last thing this country needs is a president who thinks that raising taxes and growing the government in the name of compassion is a good idea. And does Huckabee have any clue about defense or foreign policy? If he has, I am unaware of it. And who would he appoint to the supreme court? We may assume it would be someone good, but how do we know?

  • fwsonnek

    Huckabee committed to sign a nationwide smoking ban in public places, should such a measure win approval in Congress.

    So much for both federalism and personal choice. then I suppose he’ll go after alcohol, trans fats, foie gras, and kraft macaroni and cheese.

    I learned a wonderful Australian slang word today:

    “Wowser”!

    … around the beginning of the 20th century it shifted to its present meaning: one whose overdeveloped sense of morality drives them to deprive others of their pleasures.

    At this time, the term was particularly applied to members of temperance groups such as the antipodean branches of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union.

    The Australian writer C.J. Dennis defined it thus: ‘Wowser: an ineffably pious person who mistakes this world for a penitentiary and himself for a warder’.

    What a useful word this will be in the fight against the neo-Puritans in the USA with their crusades against smoking, drinking, eating, and ……

    Mike Huckabee here springs to mind!

  • fwsonnek

    Huckabee committed to sign a nationwide smoking ban in public places, should such a measure win approval in Congress.

    So much for both federalism and personal choice. then I suppose he’ll go after alcohol, trans fats, foie gras, and kraft macaroni and cheese.

    I learned a wonderful Australian slang word today:

    “Wowser”!

    … around the beginning of the 20th century it shifted to its present meaning: one whose overdeveloped sense of morality drives them to deprive others of their pleasures.

    At this time, the term was particularly applied to members of temperance groups such as the antipodean branches of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union.

    The Australian writer C.J. Dennis defined it thus: ‘Wowser: an ineffably pious person who mistakes this world for a penitentiary and himself for a warder’.

    What a useful word this will be in the fight against the neo-Puritans in the USA with their crusades against smoking, drinking, eating, and ……

    Mike Huckabee here springs to mind!

  • Bror Erickson

    Kerner,
    I share your concerns to a degree. I especially agree with you on the immigration issue. (Everyone says can’t they come in legally? Hmm, you practically need a PHD to come in legally, and if you don’t have one you will when you finish the paper work. These people are coming to work menial jobs. I don’t think toilet scrubber gets you in when that is your job description.)
    Problem for me being a nearly single issure voter, he has a record on abortion that is good, so the other issues come in a distant second. The fact that he agrees with me on a few of those is icing on the cake.
    So I think he would appoint good judges to the Supreme Court. His foreign policy which is crucial at this time I beleive would be better or as good as anyone else running. McCain might be better on that, but ….
    rigth now, I think Huckabee is the best choice.
    This whole smoking thing though, eventually the supreme court has got to hear that case. I tend to think of it as a violation of private property rights. I understand when it comes to federal or state owne buildings. But let the restraunteurs, and bar owners decide for themselves for smoking and non smoking, and let the diners, and drinkers themselves decide where they want to go accordingly.

  • Bror Erickson

    Kerner,
    I share your concerns to a degree. I especially agree with you on the immigration issue. (Everyone says can’t they come in legally? Hmm, you practically need a PHD to come in legally, and if you don’t have one you will when you finish the paper work. These people are coming to work menial jobs. I don’t think toilet scrubber gets you in when that is your job description.)
    Problem for me being a nearly single issure voter, he has a record on abortion that is good, so the other issues come in a distant second. The fact that he agrees with me on a few of those is icing on the cake.
    So I think he would appoint good judges to the Supreme Court. His foreign policy which is crucial at this time I beleive would be better or as good as anyone else running. McCain might be better on that, but ….
    rigth now, I think Huckabee is the best choice.
    This whole smoking thing though, eventually the supreme court has got to hear that case. I tend to think of it as a violation of private property rights. I understand when it comes to federal or state owne buildings. But let the restraunteurs, and bar owners decide for themselves for smoking and non smoking, and let the diners, and drinkers themselves decide where they want to go accordingly.

  • S Bauer

    While I agree that the public smoking issue should be decided by the owners and patrons of non-governmental establishments, I think the horse is already out of the barn on this issue. The states with the most population (and thus the most power in the House) are already well on the way to state-wide bans. If a western state like Colorado can enshrine such a ban in its constitution through the political weight of the metropolitan area along the Front Range, I don’t see how a national ban can be stopped. Tobacco and smoking are the ultimate bad boys now. Consider how, when the attempt to expand SCHIP for more children was made earlier this year (something I was for), the only thing Congress could come up with to fund it was a draconian increase in the tobacco tax (something was I against). It is only a matter of time.

  • S Bauer

    While I agree that the public smoking issue should be decided by the owners and patrons of non-governmental establishments, I think the horse is already out of the barn on this issue. The states with the most population (and thus the most power in the House) are already well on the way to state-wide bans. If a western state like Colorado can enshrine such a ban in its constitution through the political weight of the metropolitan area along the Front Range, I don’t see how a national ban can be stopped. Tobacco and smoking are the ultimate bad boys now. Consider how, when the attempt to expand SCHIP for more children was made earlier this year (something I was for), the only thing Congress could come up with to fund it was a draconian increase in the tobacco tax (something was I against). It is only a matter of time.

  • Don S

    To me, the issue of “compassionate conservatism” or “compassionate moderation” is a big deal, and is the biggest downfall of the Bush presidency. The idea that the tenets of the Sermon on the Mount are to be achieved through government action is an abomination to me. The Bible mandates individual accountability and Christ certainly was not advocating the implementation of governmental programs to feed and clothe the poor.

    Government only achieves its objectives through coercion. So anything the government is involved in will necessarily reduce personal liberty. Of particular concern to Christians is that those advocating separation of church and state have achieved their goal of forcing God out of anything in which government is involved. So any expanded or new governmental program necessarily forces faith further into the margins of society.

    I have not decided on a candidate yet, because I have problems with each of them. This issue of Huckabee’s tendency to increase the size and scope of government is my biggest problem with him.

  • Don S

    To me, the issue of “compassionate conservatism” or “compassionate moderation” is a big deal, and is the biggest downfall of the Bush presidency. The idea that the tenets of the Sermon on the Mount are to be achieved through government action is an abomination to me. The Bible mandates individual accountability and Christ certainly was not advocating the implementation of governmental programs to feed and clothe the poor.

    Government only achieves its objectives through coercion. So anything the government is involved in will necessarily reduce personal liberty. Of particular concern to Christians is that those advocating separation of church and state have achieved their goal of forcing God out of anything in which government is involved. So any expanded or new governmental program necessarily forces faith further into the margins of society.

    I have not decided on a candidate yet, because I have problems with each of them. This issue of Huckabee’s tendency to increase the size and scope of government is my biggest problem with him.

  • Pingback: The Rise of Huckabee . . . « Planet Augsburg

  • Pingback: The Rise of Huckabee . . . « Planet Augsburg

  • Joe

    Just so we don’t get upset with Huckabee for things he is not planning on doing – he signed a no tax increase pledge and the Fair Tax is not a tax hike it is a replacement of the current tax system with a new tax system.

  • Joe

    Just so we don’t get upset with Huckabee for things he is not planning on doing – he signed a no tax increase pledge and the Fair Tax is not a tax hike it is a replacement of the current tax system with a new tax system.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    He might have a chance, and the best thing he could do, IMO, is the fair tax; it would finally tax imported goods at the same rate at which we tax our own manufacturers, which could actually keep some decent, lower skilled jobs here. That and building a fence (about time!) to get immigration under control could be huge steps to keep costs down–it’s not an accident that the # of illegals is about the same as the # of people on various forms of welfare.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    He might have a chance, and the best thing he could do, IMO, is the fair tax; it would finally tax imported goods at the same rate at which we tax our own manufacturers, which could actually keep some decent, lower skilled jobs here. That and building a fence (about time!) to get immigration under control could be huge steps to keep costs down–it’s not an accident that the # of illegals is about the same as the # of people on various forms of welfare.

  • http://www.parentalrights.org Rich Shipe

    I think he would have a great shot. What an incredible communicator! After eight years of President Bush I’m desperate for someone who can clearly articulate what he believes and persuade the public. But if a well funded independent decides to run than it’ll be tough for him to win. I’m just hard pressed to believe Mrs. Clinton will beat anyone without outside circumstances coming into play. Hopefully I’m not too optimistic.

    Also, I think Bush has totally abused the “Compassionate Conservative” label. I’m not sure Marvin Olasky, the source of the term, would say President Bush has governed as a Compassionate Conservative. It might be fair to accuse Huckabee of being another Bush but I don’t think it is fair to accuse Bush of being a Compassionate Conservative.

  • http://www.parentalrights.org Rich Shipe

    I think he would have a great shot. What an incredible communicator! After eight years of President Bush I’m desperate for someone who can clearly articulate what he believes and persuade the public. But if a well funded independent decides to run than it’ll be tough for him to win. I’m just hard pressed to believe Mrs. Clinton will beat anyone without outside circumstances coming into play. Hopefully I’m not too optimistic.

    Also, I think Bush has totally abused the “Compassionate Conservative” label. I’m not sure Marvin Olasky, the source of the term, would say President Bush has governed as a Compassionate Conservative. It might be fair to accuse Huckabee of being another Bush but I don’t think it is fair to accuse Bush of being a Compassionate Conservative.

  • S. Bauer

    Don S @ 7

    “The Bible mandates individual accountability and Christ certainly was not advocating the implementation of governmental programs to feed and clothe the poor.”
    _________
    Well and good. But Christians have been so caught up in chasing the American Dream that they have failed to live up to the biblical mandate to such an extent that the government has been pressured to get involved with this work. (How that for opening up a can of worms?)

  • S. Bauer

    Don S @ 7

    “The Bible mandates individual accountability and Christ certainly was not advocating the implementation of governmental programs to feed and clothe the poor.”
    _________
    Well and good. But Christians have been so caught up in chasing the American Dream that they have failed to live up to the biblical mandate to such an extent that the government has been pressured to get involved with this work. (How that for opening up a can of worms?)

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  • fw

    huckabee suggested as late as 1992 that people with aids should be locked up and isolated……. like you are gonna catch somn from shaking hands or them sneezing near you….. LOCKED UP.

    I am sure you can appreciate that this single issue hits pretty close to home. think i could ever vote for him?

    hmmmmm let me think really hard on this……….

    Lets make this personal now.

    How many of you here think it would be a great idea to quarantine me. let´s see a digital show of hands here!

    On the other hand….. this WOULD be a highly efficient and clever way to get me from being so long winded on here…..

  • fw

    huckabee suggested as late as 1992 that people with aids should be locked up and isolated……. like you are gonna catch somn from shaking hands or them sneezing near you….. LOCKED UP.

    I am sure you can appreciate that this single issue hits pretty close to home. think i could ever vote for him?

    hmmmmm let me think really hard on this……….

    Lets make this personal now.

    How many of you here think it would be a great idea to quarantine me. let´s see a digital show of hands here!

    On the other hand….. this WOULD be a highly efficient and clever way to get me from being so long winded on here…..


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