Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Huck Rising

Although I liked Huck in the early debates, his recent rise in popularity is extremely disturbing to me. And while I don't think he'd be a good president, that's only part of the reason. The main reason is personal: Huck is riding a wave of anti-Mormon sentiment among evangelical Christians, and he doesn't quelch it. In fact, he makes every effort to court evangelicals through their shared faith, rather than their shared Christian values.

Huck, himself, will never say anything overtly anti-Mormon. The "Christian leader" reference in his recent commercial , which I believe was a thinly veiled differentiation between his Christian religion and that of his main rival in Iowa, Romney ("not Christian"), was as close as Huck will get. But the rhetoric coming from Huck supporters is starting to get to me. It makes me wonder why I stick with a political party whose members insist I'm a member of a cult that disqualifies me for public office-or at least the highest public office.

Interestingly, Huck had this to say in a recent NY Times article:

"It was time when I realized that a lot of people, evangelicals, had sort of been pushed aside, had been considered as almost disenfranchised citizens," Huckabee said. "They were to go to church, pay their taxes, and shut up and just be happy with what was going on, even if it violated everything they truly believed in."

The irony is bitter, since now I feel I am being disenfranchized by Huckabee on the basis of my religion.

Now, I support Romney. I would love to see what he would do with our federal government. I think he would have an open and efficient government and would make wise choices. Still, I understand those who can't trust him because they think his conversion to pro-life and the change in rhetoric regarding homosexuality are too fresh and timely to be sincere. That's a perfectly reasonable reason to oppose Romney.

But when voters attack Romney's religion, I get angry. Because I don't think I want to be a part of a party of religious bigots, but I don't think I want to be a part of a party that supports widespread abortion. And I'm definitely not a libertarian.

Essentially, I'm left without political representation. Is this how democrats felt during the Bush years?

I said I don't think that Huck would make a good president. The reason the religious attacks are more important to me is that the presidential election will come and go. Someone will win, and I'll survive. But my political party will stay around after the election is over. Do I stay in the party of bigots, do I jump ship, or do I somehow try to influence my party to shed its bigotry against me?


  1. Good writeup, brother. I agree with a lot of the things you've expressed here. My make concerns about Huckabee are the following: 700 pardons/commutations as governor? This tells me one of two things. Either Arkansas' legal system is seriously flawed in which these commutations are required in order to keep the system in balance, or Huckabee does not respect the decisions of his people as I would suspect the majority of these were for people convicted in jury trials.

    The more slippery idea that falls into the religious realm is that he thinks that if a person has found God or feels true sorrow for their crime, they can be pardoned. I don't think that is safe as there is no law for religious repentance being enough to commute a civic penalty. But since that seems a little unfair, I'll stick to my 1st two arguments.

    As for how the Republican party behaves, I think it is worth while to push a major party toward your values. Romney effectively did this with The Speech. The same effect can be had on the democrats. There are Mormons in that party, and I think they like the party because of the social compassion and assistance they push for. I think we agree with the idea of welfare assistance, equal opportunity, etc. The question becomes how do we want to implement it. So no, we don't completely feel at home in either party, but I think its our job to push our values into the debate on these issues, thereby bringing the groups we associate with more in line with what we think. If it doesn't work, we find a new home.

  2. These are big issues for us, indeed. I must say that I have never engendered any real hopes for Huck, but I have engendered hopes for the Republican party if Mitt doesn't win it, which I strongly assume will be the case. But I digress.

    The issue of Huck being supported by the strong evangelical religious hand of the republican party is a scary thing. As you mentioned, it is a form of political hijacking. I think it is ruinous for republicans in the eyes of Democrats, independents, and Moderate Republicans. That kind of backing is enough to spark my contempt of the candidate. What do you do? Probably vote for Mitt, who at once rejected religious hijacking of politics and embraced religion as a dictator of values in politics- the wisest (and right) ground to stand on, in my opinion.

    You have led me to reexamine my party standing. I'm registered independent for all of the reasons you describe about each party. I may register Republican and try to change the world...