Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

December 24, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

THE HUCK....Gee, evangelical Christian and former George Bush speechwriter Peter Wehner thinks that maybe Mike Huckabee is just a little too Christian. "Is Mike Huckabee, a man of extremely impressive political gifts and shrewdness, playing the Jesus card in a way that is unlike anything we have quite seen before?" he asks.

I don't know. Is he? Huck's Jesus card sure seems awfully familiar to me.

Kevin Drum 2:26 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (48)

Bookmark and Share
 
Comments

A Republican candidate can SAY that Jesus is his favorite political philospher.

Just so long as they're lying and it's really Hayek or Rand.

Posted by: blatherskite on December 24, 2007 at 2:39 PM | PERMALINK

Well, at least the Huckster sounds a lot more sincere in his faith than you-know-who. Then again, what do I know about religious sincerity? I'm the guy who the other day proposed that replicas of Stonehenge be placed in public places alongside the kreshes and menorahs, in honor of Winter Solstice.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on December 24, 2007 at 2:39 PM | PERMALINK

Both parties play the Jesus card. Everyone knows about Jimmy Carter, but during the 2000 campaign, Al Gore said that WWJD was his primary decision rule. That's not so surprising, given that he briefly enrolled in Vanderbilt Divinity School.

Posted by: ex-liberal on December 24, 2007 at 2:44 PM | PERMALINK

Familiar, but dialed up at least a couple of notches. That "language of Zion" line was definitely not from the Michael Gerson playbook.

Posted by: penalcolony on December 24, 2007 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

The op-ed ends with

Mike Huckabee, by all accounts a faithful Christian, may not have crossed any bright lines yet -- but he's edging close to them. He should pull back now, before his political ambitions injure what he claims to care about, and undoubtedly does care about, most.
Does anyone have a sense of what the "bright lines" that Huckabee is almost to crossing? Scaring the independents? Being the nominee? Being populist?

He doesn't seem to say anything different than Bush -- is it just that he means it?

Posted by: travis on December 24, 2007 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK

They aren't uncomfortable because he's a Jesus freak. They're uncomfortable because he'd get slaughtered in the general, and they need to have him lose.

Posted by: Seitz on December 24, 2007 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

I heard from a commentor on another post (not a Huck fan) who said that although hep tapped in religious right support in Arkansas, his governership was fairly centrist.

I suspect he has been too blatant about this, in that supporters of the separation of churh & state will be repelled.

We are in the unfortunate situation that in our country, unless you convincing profess to have drank the coolaide, you are considered to be untrustworthy at best, and ally of satan at worst.

Posted by: bigTom on December 24, 2007 at 3:08 PM | PERMALINK

The more that Republican insiders attack the Huckster, the stronger candidate he becomes. What can hurt Democrats isn't the religion (they have probably lost most of those voters anyways), it is the populism. The thing that could really kill Democrats is that Mike Huckabee, and I guess Ron Paul, are probably the only Republican candidates who can seriously run against the sorry record of their own party. Hopefully, Huck will realize this too late and spend all his primary time inserting religious code phrases into his campaign.

Posted by: spiny on December 24, 2007 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

Both parties play the Jesus card

Really? Why are Democrats then assailed daily as godless secular heathens by the right?

Maybe you're thinking of "both parties" in another country.

Everyone knows about Jimmy Carter, but during the 2000 campaign, Al Gore said that WWJD was his primary decision rule

Yes, "everybody knows" this one example of a religious Democrat from forty years ago of a guy who was essentially a tree-hugging progressive and who did not make "Jesus" any part of his campaign. Really persuasive example there.

The converse is true, however, although you failed to state it clearly: "nobody knows" that Al Gore "played the Jesus card," because he didn't.

All they know is that he is another godless liberal Democrat tree-hugging heathen.

Seriously, why do you even post here? Closed head injury?

Posted by: trex on December 24, 2007 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

Huckabee should be able to use the insults and criticisms of hypocritical W. Bush Christians to his advantage. Attacks from W. Bush Christians about the use of religion should energize Huckabee's true believers. Huckabee ought to email that Wapo story to congregations that stood in line for hours to cheer for W. Bush with a note that he will not betray them like W. Bush has.

Posted by: Brojo on December 24, 2007 at 3:56 PM | PERMALINK

The status quo has been for GOP candidates to play the Jesus card, but then govern in ways that have little to do with WWJD. So you get pro-torture, screw-the-poor, warmongering sorts of administrations that are about as far from WWJD as you could possibly get.

Huck has his own bits of hypocrisy, but not enough hypocrisy to suit the GOP elite. Some of his "centrism" is simply the result of him trying to be somewhat consistent with his faith.

Posted by: bob on December 24, 2007 at 4:11 PM | PERMALINK

The line, of course, that the GOP elite are afraid of Huck crossing is the line that delineates the Golden Rule from the Rule of Gold.

Posted by: Disputo on December 24, 2007 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

Gee, d'ya think maybe this might shed a tiny little bit of light on why the guys who wrote the Constitution and fought the Revolution wanted to separate church and politics? Like they were barely out of several centuries of religiously inspired warfare, and they thought maybe it might be a good idea to keep these people from starting civil wars?

Personally, anytime somebody starts talking about "faith" to me in a political context, I write them off completely.

Let the GOP tear themselves to pieces over religious distinctions. And let the rest of us ignore it completely.

Posted by: bleh on December 24, 2007 at 5:01 PM | PERMALINK

Wehner is like most of the Republican money-worshippers - tolerant of "Christians" like W - who mouth the words, but deep down are $$$$$ lovers....as opposed to Huckabee who might actually BE a Christian...they couldn't have that!

Posted by: marty on December 24, 2007 at 5:08 PM | PERMALINK

What?

I dont recall Huckabee saying God spoke to him.

Posted by: Ya know... on December 24, 2007 at 5:23 PM | PERMALINK

Huckabee is a much more authentic Christian than George. And NOW the money-cons object to Huckabee?

Obviously

Posted by: Ya know... on December 24, 2007 at 5:26 PM | PERMALINK

That Huckabee would say that his newly found momentum is from God's will is downright scary, and way too reminiscent of Bush II's verbalized ideas that God wanted him to be pResident.

Posted by: cwa on December 24, 2007 at 5:38 PM | PERMALINK

...Mike Huckabee, a man of extremely impressive political gifts and shrewdness,...

Where do people get this shit?

Posted by: craigie on December 24, 2007 at 5:59 PM | PERMALINK

"Is Mike Huckabee, a man of extremely impressive political gifts and shrewdness, playing the Jesus card in a way that is unlike anything we have quite seen before?" he asks.

Meaning, he's sincere?

Posted by: anonymous on December 24, 2007 at 6:53 PM | PERMALINK

Scary stuff:

From Perrspectives.com's expose: " Huckabee Predicts Victory over Islam at the End of Times:

"Huckabee hasn't been content to turn to the Bible just for matters of domestic tranquility. The Good Book, it turns out, makes it clear (to Huckabee at least) that in the struggle against violent Islamic terrorism, the victory of Christianity and the West is pre-ordained.

That is the word from the former ordained minister. Last month, Huckabee told a Dallas area congregation:

"If you're with Jesus Christ, we know how it turns out in the final moment. I've read the last chapter in the book, and we do end up winning."

For Huckabee, as with John Hagee, James Dobson and others in President Bush's amen corner, fomenting conflict with Iran is apparently both biblical prophecy and inherently desirable.
Think of it as Armageddon as foreign policy.

"... Minister Huckabee is quick to champion his degree from tiny Ouachita Baptist University as uniquely qualifying him for the White House. His faith-based presidency would fight the dual threats from Charles Darwin and Osama Bin Laden. In November, Huckabee tried to claim the mantle of the GOP's leading terror fighter, arguing:

"I think I'm stronger than most people because I truly understand the nature of the war that we are in with Islamo fascism. These are people that want to kill us. It's a theocratic war. And I don't know if anybody fully understands that. I'm the only guy on that stage with a theology degree."

Posted by: cwa on December 24, 2007 at 7:03 PM | PERMALINK

For more background on Mike Huckabee the dangerous extremist and radical reactionary, see:

- "Top 10 Moments in Mike Huckabee's Extremism."

- "10 More Moments in Mike Huckabee's Extremism."

Posted by: Raging on December 24, 2007 at 7:12 PM | PERMALINK

I dunno about Huckabee and Armageddon, so won't speak to that.

But this Jesus card he's playing is pretty standard, and genuine as far as this Episcopalian can tell. What's changed is the GOP and the electoral landscape, for reasons that don't require recitation here.

So Huck is playing the Jesus card quite comfortably against GOP players with lousy hands and terrible poker faces. No wonder he's ahead in Iowa.

Anyway, It's a good card for Iowa and South Carolina. Therefore it's smart politics. Should Huck get the nomination (and this is gonna be tough for him), he would likely tack toward the more secular center to scoop up Independents susceptible to his message and convince moderate, better-educated Evangelicals he's not a fundie freak by speaking about environmental stewardship, mercy, the poor, the role of government, and so forth.

Pretty standard political strategy. First you win as many as you can, then you persuade a lot of others to like you and vote for you.

Posted by: paxr55 on December 24, 2007 at 7:19 PM | PERMALINK

"...Mike Huckabee, a man of extremely impressive political gifts and shrewdness,...
Where do people get this shit?"

Posted by: craigie on December 24, 2007

----------

Same place Oprah got her, "Is HE the one?" and all the messiah crap about Obama. Pathetic, isn't it?

Posted by: MarkH on December 24, 2007 at 7:41 PM | PERMALINK

So Huck is playing the Jesus card quite comfortably against GOP players with lousy hands and terrible poker faces. No wonder he's ahead in Iowa.

Yes, that makes a lot of sense. When you realize that this is the first Republican primary that hasn't had an anointed front-runner in decades and you've got an establishment that cynically pandered to the evangelistas in the last two election cycles you're bound to have a Huckabee sooner or later. This is going to be the most interesting election that I can ever remember, IMO. Hopefully the church/state separation issue can finally be fully addressed with the voters. Hmmm. If Huck gets the nomination, I wonder if the Dems (questioning Huck's judgement) will run some ads against Huckabee like they did against Goldwater in 1964?(Or allude to the Stillson character in "The Deadzone"

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on December 24, 2007 at 7:46 PM | PERMALINK

This is going to be the most interesting election that I can ever remember Doc at the Radar Station

Isn't there a curse about "may you live in interesting times?" Oh, to live in a place or time where politics is boring... That should have been a verse in John Lennon's "Imagine."

Posted by: thersites on December 24, 2007 at 8:25 PM | PERMALINK

Weher may be right on this but he's not a trustworthy dude. One of his jobs was communicating with the Roman Catholic right wing during the '04 election. Consider:

"Writing days after the release of the final report on Saddam Hussein’s weapons programs …, Neuhaus chose to base his analysis not on the report itself but on a heavily redacted and deceptively interpreted version … provided … by Karl Rove’s White House deputy, Peter Wehner."
Damon Linker, The Theocons. Secular America Under Siege (New York: Doubleday, 2006), 137.

During the period leading up to the Iraq War, I was in regular conversation with the White House as part of what is called the Catholic Working Group. Karl Rove asked me to create this group after the 2000 election.

We had many discussions with White House and Defense Department personnel about just war theory and the proposed invasion of Iraq. They were all well-versed in the basic principles.

Our central concern . . . was not the issue of whether all other means had been exhausted -- we thought they had -- but whether there was an immediate danger to the United States.
That's where WMDs came in.

On one call with the White House we were all assured by a senior administration official that he had "absolute and certain proof" of WMDs. I asked if he could share the evidence with us. He said "no" but that we should "trust" him.

Since this was someone I had known for a number of years in other circumstances, I had no reason not to believe him. (He, perhaps, had no reason not to believe the person who told him he had "absolute and certain proof" and so on.)
We believed him.

WMD's and the Iraq War, by Deal Hudson. April 17, 2007 http://catholicjustwar.blogspot.com/2007_04_01_archive.html. Accessed June 22, 2007.

Dan Tompkins

Posted by: Dan Tompkins on December 24, 2007 at 8:35 PM | PERMALINK

Huck a populist? Lessee here, I just watched an interview on the TeeVee and he...

(1.) Called for the "fair tax" (national sales tax in lieu of income taxes).

(2.) Said it was OK for hedge fund managers to have their fee income taxed at capital gains rates.

(3.) Praised the Bush tax cuts and called for them to be made permanent.

(4.) Called for the permanent abolition of the 'death tax'.

(5.) Renewed his faith and support for 'supply side economics'.

WTF is it about those positions that qualifies this idiot to be characterized as a 'populist'?

Posted by: bobbyp on December 24, 2007 at 9:19 PM | PERMALINK

John Edwards for President -- Progressive Democrat with a people-first perspective!

Posted by: MarkH on December 24, 2007 at 9:22 PM | PERMALINK

If you can believe it, Bill Donohue of the Catholic League ranted about Huck, saying "Sell yourself on your issues, not on what your religion is."

Pot, kettle, black.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on December 24, 2007 at 9:46 PM | PERMALINK


A Republican candidate can SAY that Jesus is his favorite political [philosopher.]

Just so long as they're lying and it's really Hayek or Rand.

Posted by: blatherskite on December 24, 2007 at 2:39 PM

Yesss! So well put. The plutocracy are *terrified* of genuine religion, that maybe someone will literally care about "the sheep and the goats", the eye of the needle, and so forth!

BTW Happy Holidays/Merry Christmas/Happy New Year, and check out the following link:

Holiday e-card

Posted by: Neil B. on December 24, 2007 at 9:54 PM | PERMALINK

If Huck gets the nomination,

This raises an interesting question: what happens in the General, if two white southerners (Edwards and Huckabee) are nominated?

I say the election goes to Edwards. Huck is too vulnerable as a fundie candidate.

Posted by: paxr55 on December 24, 2007 at 10:09 PM | PERMALINK

Yup, Salma Hayek's my favorite philosopher, too.

Posted by: anonymous on December 24, 2007 at 10:45 PM | PERMALINK

Theyre afraid he'll win the nomination and then lose the general in a landslide. Thats why theres concern all the sudden about being "too christian". It would finally tell the truth about the republican party too, that all this time (since around 1980) they were being stealthy and this is the true face of the party. Scary.

Posted by: Jonesy on December 24, 2007 at 10:55 PM | PERMALINK

Too Christian? No way. One cannot be too Christian. I know, I am one, and to prove it, I hit the misbehaving kid in church tonight with my Bible. It's the only way to make them learn. He thought dinosaurs, but I disabused (emphasis on the "abused") him of that notion.

Posted by: lk on December 24, 2007 at 11:01 PM | PERMALINK

Make that: "hit the misbehaving kid with a Masonic Bible." Now that would put a serious ouch on ya.

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on December 24, 2007 at 11:05 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, GWB was not the second coming of Christ. He was just the prophet, say George the Baptist, who prepared the way of the Lord.

Huckabee is The Christ.

Armageddon here we come!

Posted by: Nancy Irving on December 25, 2007 at 1:59 AM | PERMALINK

"Kreshe" reminds me that "creche" is actually a French word! If we're going to put these things up at every city hall, shouldn't we be calling them "freedom mangers"?

Posted by: Nancy Irving on December 25, 2007 at 2:02 AM | PERMALINK

Imagine Jesus waterboarding the Philistines.

Posted by: Nancy Irving on December 25, 2007 at 2:08 AM | PERMALINK

Yup, unlike W, Huckabee is the real Jesus-freaky thing, and that scares the *#$% out of them!

Posted by: Nancy Irving on December 25, 2007 at 2:14 AM | PERMALINK

travis:
"The op-ed ends with

' Mike Huckabee, by all accounts a faithful Christian, may not have crossed any bright lines yet -- but he's edging close to them. He should pull back now, before his political ambitions injure what he claims to care about, and undoubtedly does care about, most.'

Does anyone have a sense of what the "bright lines" that Huckabee is almost to crossing? Scaring the independents? Being the nominee? Being populist?

He doesn't seem to say anything different than Bush -- is it just that he means it?"

It's a veiled threat, IMHO - that if Huckabee keeps going, the GOP insiders will do their best to make life painful for him.

Posted by: Barry on December 25, 2007 at 8:52 AM | PERMALINK

a religious Democrat from forty years ago...

Try thirty-one years ago. I realize that's a long time ago for someone who wasn't even born at the time. Do try to learn remedial math.

Seriously Trex, why do you even post here? To be a rude, pompous ass?

Posted by: Ken on December 25, 2007 at 11:52 AM | PERMALINK

Since at least the end of the 19th century the business class has had to side with the rather religious and the rather authoritarian voter to control the state. In Germany they bet everything on the Hitler movement because they liked the fact that Hitler broke the communists and gained control of the workers. Before the beginning of the hostilities of WWII everyone in Europe thought the Hitler movement was just another form of conservatism. But when Hitler gained power it became clear the mob that backed him could rule without the industrialists. The megalomania of the Fuehrer State, which invested life with meaning, destroyed the state along with class society including the grand bourgeois order and other forms of traditional authority.

There has always been a minority within the religious authoritarian community that rejects the power of the bosses. They tend to be, in their Protestant and Catholic manifestations, more authoritarian than others. In Spain the Fascists, and their business allies, took up the language of Catholicism for no other reason than it would provide a propaganda language that appealed to the Spanish masses. The Spanish fascist were not as megalomaniacal as the Hitler movement; they ruled with the traditional authorities without destroying tradition and the state.

In the US the business class cannot rule without the authoritarian religious community. The business interests have tried to cultivate a laissez-faire philosophy against the older populism of the labor and rural religious. This requires the religious avoid some of the central tenets of Christianity. This works out fine if you pay attention to authority and not to scripture. Clearly the Huckabee challenge shows a limitation to program. The bosses are too greedy and populism of traditionalist religion creeps in.

Posted by: bellumregio on December 25, 2007 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK

bellumregio, I agree about the bosses getting too greedy, and the BS detectors this election are going to be more sensitive then in previous elections. It looks like Romney is getting trashed by an "anti-endorsement" editorial in the Concord Monitor: (I found this through McClatchy's blog)

"When New Hampshire partisans are asked to defend the state's first-in-the-nation primary, we talk about our ability to see the candidates up close, ask tough questions and see through the baloney. If a candidate is a phony, we assure ourselves and the rest of the world, we'll know it.

Mitt Romney is such a candidate. New Hampshire Republicans and independents must vote no."

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on December 25, 2007 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

BTW the plutonians are also afraid of Ron Paul. Even though not religious, he believes in simple and literally honest small government, not the tricked up scheme of reward that the big-government conservatives now rely on. Real religion and real libertarianism are both toxic to the corporatist state - indeed, RP picked on "corporatism" during his Russert interview IIRC - that means they can't let him get far.

Posted by: Neil B. on December 25, 2007 at 5:09 PM | PERMALINK


RP picked on "corporatism" during his Russert interview IIRC - that means they can't let him get far.

Posted by: kjgf on December 25, 2007 at 9:37 PM | PERMALINK

"...as opposed to Huckabee who might actually BE a Christian..."

Maybe this isn't the right time of year to ask this, but is anyone on earth a REAL Christian -- or Jew, or Muslim, for that matter? Sorry, but what place should tribal superstition have in federal politics? Other than that, have a happy festivus!

Posted by: Kenji on December 26, 2007 at 8:05 AM | PERMALINK

I love the way pundits enjoy pretending that naked religious chicanery for amoral political gain is such a new thing when it's older than the Crucifixion. Huc Slim Fast and Mitt Griswald are just a winning pair of the most recent flagrant abusers of the craft who are unconvincingly bad at it. Somewhere the real Jesus is laughing to keep from bitterly weeping the way Poppy Bush did that day he fell apart, wherein he all but lamented the brutal unfair hand life had dealt him in the form of so many pathetic losers for natural born sons. Somewhere, Jesus is severely grieved.

Posted by: rage on December 26, 2007 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

I can't know the exact quote, but there was an artist in "Hannah and her Sisters" who mentioned that if Christ returned tomorrow he wouldn't be able to stop vomiting after finding out all the stuff that's been said in his name.

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on December 26, 2007 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK
Post a comment









Remember personal info?










 

 

Read Jonathan Rowe remembrance and articles
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

Advertise in WM



buy from Amazon and
support the Monthly