Forcing a narrative

huckabee 01When former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee officially ended his bid for the presidency on Tuesday night, he said he’ll do whatever is necessary to get Republican nominee John McCain elected. But Washington Post reporter Perry Bacon — who has been on the Huckabeat — had an interesting story. Huckabee’s staffers have already begun preparing for a future run:

Using as a model Ronald Reagan’s time between his failed run in 1976 and his success in 1980, the former Arkansas governor plans to help Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) and Republican congressional candidates win over conservative Christians in the fall, while looking for a national radio show or other forum that he can use to expand his influence within the party.

And though Huckabee has said that he doubts McCain would offer him the vice presidential slot on the Republican ticket, he has not denied interest in the job. The head of his campaign’s faith-and-values coalition, conservative radio talk show host Janet Folger, said she is broadcasting the phone number of McCain’s campaign office so callers can demand that Huckabee be placed on the ticket. Folger said McCain “needs” to pick Huckabee to ensure that conservative Christians will turn out in November.

A few weeks ago, Karl Rove was on Fox News saying that McCain picking Huckabee as a running mate would be “doubling your trouble.” His point was that the folks who didn’t find McCain conservative enough certainly would not be assuaged by someone who wants to expand the scope of government as much as Huckabee claimed.

No matter what Huckabee’s future, though, this will be an interesting story to follow. But Bacon’s story had another part worth looking at:

Whatever his future in elective politics, Huckabee became a political leader in a conservative evangelical movement that is going through a generational change, shifting its focus from issues such as same-sex marriage and abortion to global warming and poverty.

So I guess this narrative is now being accepted as a statement of fact — including that key word “from.” Is that accurate? What would an accurate wording be, if you actually study what the polls say?

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  • Irenaeus

    “[Rove's] point was that the folks who didn’t find McCain conservative enough certainly would not be assuaged by someone who wants to expand the scope of government as much as Huckabee claimed.”

    That’s rich, coming from the mastermind who would increase gov’t as much as possible so long as it would help GWB.

  • Glynn Young

    The “from” is indeed a significant word. I don’t think younger evangelicals are moving “from” issues like abortion to poverty and the environment. If the polls are accurate, younger evangelicals are even more conservative on abortion. It may be more a case of “younger evangelicals oppose abortion even more than their elders, and they’re broadening their thinking to apply their faith to other critical issues as well.”

  • Lowell

    After the Tanker fiasco caused by McCain, there is zero chance I will ever vote for him, no matter who he is running against. On the other hand if Huckabee was on the ticket then there is a chance I could be persuaded.

  • Warren Kelly

    I think that the better, more accurate analysis would be “Huckabee became a political leader in a conservative evangelical movement that is going through a generational change, broadening its focus beyond issues such as same-sex marriage and abortion to include global warming and poverty.”

    The conservative evangelical movement still cares about abortion and same-sex marriage. We’re just realizing that there are other issues that we need to concern ourselves with.

  • Jonathon

    The so-called “conservative evangelical” movement needs to move beyond abortion and same-sex marriage if they want to keep pace with the American population and not become a mere footnote in our history.

    Most Americans disapprove of abortion, but support a woman’s right to have one and don’t believe that the government should interfere. Many Americans still have bias and prejudice against gays and lesbians, but a growing number is supportive of gay equality in general and marriage equality in particular. Young people support gay rights and equality in much larger percentages than older people do.

    There are many, many things for “Christians” to be concerned about. Jesus laid out his priorities in his teachings – none of which had anything to do with abortion or homosexuality. Jesus spoke of helping the poor. He spoke of loving one another. He spoke of peace and peacemakers. Yet those who claim to follow his teachings and worship in his name seemingly care little for Jesus’ priorities. “Feeding the hungry” isn’t as sexy a position as is hating on gay people. Political conservatives, while they are pleased as punch to have the religious vote, get turned off easily when talk turns to helping the poor, the sick, the naked, the hungry. Those are “liberal” ideas and values!!

    It is very sad to read Warren Kelly’s comment that “We’re just realizing that there are other issues…” (emphasis mine)

    Where have these people been? It’s been 2,000+ years since Jesus was crucified and yet hunger, poverty, sickness, suffering, etc. still exist. And these people are “just realizing” that there are issues beyond social conservatism? What Bible have they been reading? Do their churches even teach about Jesus anymore? How could Christians have fallen so far astray from the core message of Jesus?

    One day these people will wake up and realize that they sold their souls to Mammon for political power in order to attempt to use the power of government to force their views on everyone else. Jesus taught us to “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s”, not to lust after Caesar’s power. It is the love of money, power and control that has led these people astray – along with their own internalized hatred and their failure to follow Jesus’ commandment to not judge lest we also be judged. By failing to follow Jesus, these “Christians” have truly lost their way.

  • Chris Bolinger

    Hey, Jonathon…wrong board, dude.

    I will wait in eager anticipation for Bacon to produce the extensive polling data that backs up his claim.