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defending the First Amendment against the Christian right ...

Jews On First!

... because if Jews don't speak out, they'll think we don't mind

Additional coverage of Huckabee's quest for the presidential nomination is in our election section. See also Huckabee, Christian Zionist, an essay by Rev. Stan Moody, that we posted January 3rd.

Added January 16, 2008: Huckabee: "what we need to do is to amend the Constitution so it's in God's standards." Report and video clip here.

Fundamentalist Christian Mike Huckabee victorious in Iowa Republican caucuses

Christian right volunteers out-organize better funded campaigns to secure win for former pastor

Background by JewsOnFirst.org, January 4, 2008

Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee's strong victory in the Iowa caucuses was based on his appeal to Christian conservative voters in the state. Christian right activists turned out their networks to provide Huckabee's winning vote over the much better funded Mitt Romney,

In selecting Huckabee, a Southern Baptist pastor, those Christian conservative voters knew what they were voting for -- and now it's time that Jews also know about some of Huckabee's fundamentalist positions.

We have highlighted some of those positions below, followed by links to post-caucus news reports and analyses. We would like to gratefully acknowledge -- and acquaint our readers with OnTheIssues.org-- the awesome source for the first section of our material on Huckabee's positions. This volunteer-run website states that its mission is "to provide non-partisan information for voters in the Presidential election, so that votes can be based on issues rather than on personalities and popularity."

Below you'll find more material on Huckabee's positions, and following that, news reports and analyses of his Iowa victory.

Huckabee: "amend Constititution so it's in God's standards"

Huckabee, in Michigan Jan. 15th, calls for amending Constitution "so it's in God's standards."



Huckabee, on CNN Jan. 18th, acknowledges Constitution is "secular"


Huckabee calls for aligning Constitution with "God's standards," then backs off, slightly

Background by JewsOnFirst.org, January 19, 2007

Mike Huckabee lost the South Carolina Republican primary to John McCain today, 33% to 30%. But, with only 14,000 votes less than winner McCain out of 431,000 votes cast (details here), it can be said that Huckabee almost won in South Carolina. It can also be said that he almost retracted his call to "amend the Constitution so it's in God's standards."

On January 15th, Mike Huckabee roused his Michigan supporters to cheers saying "it's a lot easier to change the constitution than it would be to change the word of the living God, and that's what we need to do is to amend the Constitution so it's in God's standards rather than try to change God's standards." (See the top video on the right.)

On Thursday, the New York Jewish Week quoted Huckabee saying he was speaking about amending the Constitution to ban abortion and same-sex marriage -- not rewriting it. The Jewish Week quoted Abraham Foxman, director of the Anti-Defamation League calling Huckabee's statement "unreal" and saying Huckabee is "pushing the envelope" on religion in his campaign.

Also on Friday, when pressed by CNN, Huckabee stated that he believed the Constitution is a secular document. (See bottom video at right.)

Huckabee: Change Constitution, For God’s Sake
Sen. Mike Huckabee told The Jewish Week his comments about God and the Constitution were about the human life amendment. “I am not suggesting that we rewrite the Constitution,” he said.

by James D. Besser, New York Jewish Week, January 16, 2008

Some Jewish leaders are scratching their heads — and Jewish Democrats are gloating — over the latest religious pronouncement from former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, the ordained Baptist minister who has skyrocketed to the top tier in the race for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination.

Speaking Monday at a campaign rally in Warren, Mich., Huckabee said he wants to change the Constitution to be consistent with God’s word.

“I have opponents in this race who do not want to change the Constitution,” he told cheering supporters. “But I believe it’s a lot easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the word of the living God. And that’s what we need to do, to amend the Constitution so it’s in God’s standards rather than try to change God’s standards so it lines up with some contemporary view of how we treat each other and how we treat the family.”

In a statement to The Jewish Week, Huckabee had this to say about the controversy.

“Earlier this week, I was speaking about the human life amendment which I support and has been a part of the Republican platform since 1980 — and traditional marriage. I am not suggesting that we rewrite the Constitution." Continue.

Between Pulpit and Podium, Huckabee Straddles Fine Line

By David D. Kirkpatrick and Michael Powell, The New York Times, January 19, 2008

This report that says Mike Huckabee's "ability to harmonize both elements is under new scrutiny from the liberal and conservative sides of the pew," notes that "By Friday morning, Mr. Huckabee had backed away from his comments [on amending the Constitution], saying in an interview with CNN that he understood the Constitution as a 'secular document' and had described his support for those amendments 'a little more awkwardly than I have in the past.'" Click here.

Huck, the Constitution and 'God's standards'

by Domenico Montanaro, MSNBC Blog First Read, January 15, 2008

WARREN, Mich. -- Huckabee's closing argument to voters here this evening featured a few new stories and two prolonged sections on illegal immigration and Christian values.

These two topics usually feature prominently in Huckabee's stump speech, but last night he got specific, promising to build a border fence within 18 months if elected and elaborating on his belief that the constitution needs to be amended.

"[Some of my opponents] do not want to change the Constitution, but I believe it's a lot easier to change the constitution than it would be to change the word of the living God, and that's what we need to do is to amend the Constitution so it's in God's standards rather than try to change God's standards," Huckabee said, referring to the need for a constitutional human life amendment and an amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman. Continue.

Why Republican candidate Mike Huckabee worries Jewish voters

Shmuel Rosner, Rosner's Blog, Haaretz, January 20, 2008

Mike Huckabee isn't said to have a particularly good chance at snagging the Republican nomination. Irrespective of his achievements so far, the experts simply find it hard to believe he can take the big, important states with most of the delegates.

After his win in Iowa, 32 percent of Republicans surveyed in the National Journal's Political Insiders Poll said he was the candidate most likely to capture the nomination. Nevertheless, in this week's issue, a majority (56 percent) said that evangelical Christian voters would still be more important for clinching the nomination than "independent" voters, who are the main support base for candidates like John McCain.

If he fails to win the presidential nomination, Huckabee is considered the leading candidate for the position of vice president. He's from the South (Arkansas), he is an evangelical Christian and he could balance a ticket headed by Mitt Romney, a Mormon, or by McCain or Rudy Giuliani, neither of whom are popular with the Christian right because of their positions on issues such as abortion and immigration. Continue.

Huckabee's positions, researched by OnTheIssues.org

Huckabee on Reproductive Rights
It would be fair to say that I am in politics because I am pro-life. By no means am I a single-issue person, but on that single issue I am steadfastly consistent. The abortion issue goes to the very heart of what I believe and it is consistent with the American tradition of giving voice to the voiceless. Hope to Higher Ground, by Mike Huckabee, p.123-124 Jan 4, 2007

Huckabee on Families
I'm convinced that the reason the homosexual movement has become so strong is because the traditional family has become weak. When over half the marriages in this country end in divorce, it's hard for a lot of kids to grow up seeing the role models that kids need in order to become the replacements for those of use who are parents now. 2007 GOP Values Voter Presidential Debate Sep 17, 2007

As Governor of Arkansas, I led the successful effort to make our state only the third to adopt "covenant" marriage. While Massachusetts was allowing homosexuals to marry,I got Arkansas to become only the third state to adopt "covenant" marriage. My wife Janet and I upgraded our vows on Valentine's Day, 2005. Today, many churches in Arkansas will perform only covenant marriages, so I'm hoping we'll see a decline in our divorce rates. Campaign website, www.mikehuckabee.com, "Issues" Sep 1, 2007

Huckabee on War/Peace
Q: Why not withdraw the troops from Iraq?
A: Because we are winning. Civilians deaths are down 76% since the surge. Even the military deaths are down over 60%. And that's not the only way we know we're winning. We're winning because we see in the spirit of our own soldiers a sense of duty and honor that they are being able to carry out a mission that they were sent there to do. To take them out of it not only means we lose, but it means we totally destroy their sense of morale, and it may take a generation to get it back. But there's more at stake than just their morale. It's the safety and the security of the Middle East and the rest of the world. This is about every one of us being able to be free, to have a future, and to be able to know that we're not going to allow a vacuum there, which happens if we lose--and we lose when we walk away--to create an opening so that terrorists can build even greater cells of training there. That's why we have to stay. And it's why we have to win. 2007 Republican primary debate on Univision December 9, 2007

Huuckabee on government-sponsored prayer
Q: Recently, a federal judge ordered the Indiana legislature to censor their prayers. Specifically, the federal judge ordered the Indiana legislature to never allow anyone to offer an invocation prayer in Jesus' name. Will you as president consider impeachment a possible remedy for this judicial activism?
Huckabee: Yes. 2007 GOP Values Voter Presidential Debate Sep 17, 2007

Huckabee on evolution
Q: At a previous debate, you indicated that you do not believe in evolution. What do you believe? Is it the story of creation as it is described in the Bible?
A: It's interesting that that question would even be asked of somebody running for president. I'm not planning on writing the curriculum for an eighth-grade science book. I'm asking for the opportunity to be president. But you've raised the question, so let me answer it. "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the Earth." To me it's pretty simple, a person either believes that God created this process or believes that it was an accident and that it just happened all on its own.

Q: Do you believe literally it was done in six days and it occurred 6,000 years ago?
A: I believe there is a God who was active in the creation process. Now, how did he do it, and when did he do it, and how long did he take? I don't honestly know, and I don't think knowing that would make me a better or a worse president. 2007 GOP debate at Saint Anselm College Jun 3, 2007

Huckabee on religion in public life
How did we move in one generation from a society with a shared, confident sense of right to a society of relativism and moral decay? The first step to answering that question is to admit there isn't just one answer. I've heard that it all started when we took prayer out of schools. That's a simplistic answer. It wasn't just prayer in schools; it wasn't just TV; it wasn't just Watergate; it wasn't just welfare.
If any force is going to overcome a free, prosperous country like America, it won't happen all at once. Amreica has a solid foundation of liberty, personal dignity, and opportunity.
The only way to destroy something with that kind of foundation is to chip away at it, one value at a time. Take away its heart and essence. Bring doubt to what used to be confidence, denial to what used to be faith, death to what was life. I think that is what has happened. Character Makes a Difference, by Mike Huckabee, p.107-109 Jun 1, 2007

More about Huckabee's positions on the issues

Huckabee a patriarch
In '98, Huckabee signed on to an advertisement in USA Today supporting "biblical principles of marriage and family life," one of which stipulates that the "wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ." JTA December 23, 2007

Huckabee rise puts focus on religion talk

By Ben Harris and Ami Eden, JTA, December 23, 2007

NEW YORK (JTA) -- Mike Huckabee was a barely known former governor of Arkansas when he attended an October house party on his behalf at the home of Jason Bedrick, New Hampshire's first Orthodox Jewish state representative.

Despite the candidate's long odds, Bedrick was brimming with confidence in an interview he gave to an Orthodox news Web site.

"No one had ever heard of the last governor from Hope, Ark., Bill Clinton, the summer before he was elected," Bedrick told Yeshiva World News. "Huckabee is polling well in all the early states. He's a long shot, but he's the best shot we've got."

Barely two months later, those words seem prophetic. Continue.

ADL Calls On Governor Huckabee To Refrain From Using Holocaust Imagery

Press release, Anti-Defamation League, October 23, 2007

New York, NY, October 23, 2007 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) called on presidential candidate Mike Huckabee to refrain from invoking Holocaust imagery, following his recent use of the term "holocaust" to refer to abortion.

The former Arkansas governor was speaking at the Family Research Council's Values Voter Summit in Washington D.C. when he referred to the "…holocaust of liberalized abortion…".

In a letter to Governor Huckabee, ADL National Director Abraham H. Foxman said: "The Holocaust was a unique tragedy in human history – an attempt by the Nazis to exterminate the Jewish people that led to the deliberate murder of six million Jews. We find the use of analogies to the Holocaust in other contexts deeply painful, disturbing and offensive. Such analogies can only trivialize and diminish the horror, and cause further pain to Holocaust survivors and to those alive today who lost friends and loved ones."

A non-partisan organization that neither endorses nor opposes candidates for office, ADL urged Huckabee and all candidates to "resist this trend rather than exacerbating it." Click here.

Huckabee Linked to Controversial Bible Teacher Bill Gothard

Bob Allen, EthicsDaily.com, December 27, 2007

Presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee has ties to a controversial Bible teacher known for authoritarian views that critics say border on spiritual abuse. Most Americans never heard of Chicago-based teacher Bill Gothard until newspapers wrote about Colorado church shooter Matthew Murray's 2006 Internet rant about growing up under strict homeschool teaching developed as part of Gothard's Institute in Basic Life Principles. That piqued attention to a photo of Huckabee and Gothard together at a Houston fund-raiser posted to a family blog of a Gothard disciple.

The Cincinnati Beacon described Huckabee as a "long-time admirer" of Gothard. The former Arkansas governor wrote a letter used by Gothard to promote a program aimed at infiltrating city governments with core principles of the ministry stripped of overt religious references. Continue.

Mike Huckabee’s Ties To Known Extremists Comes Under Scrutiny After Victory In Iowa

Wayne Besen, TruthWinsOut.org, January 4, 2008

New York – TruthWinsOut.org today called on Mike Huckabee to explain his close association to prominent members of the Christian Reconstructionist movement – which believes Old Testament law should replace the Constitution and that the Bible also justifies corporal or capital punishment for adulterers and homosexuals, among others.

“Huckabee should explain why he is socially and professionally associating with known extremists and how this squares with his professed sunny and optimistic vision for America,” said Besen. “While Huckabee makes jokes on the campaign trail, his ties to the fundamentalist fringe is no laughing matter. We hope the media will continue to explore the radical associates of Mike Huckabee.”

In 1998, Mike Huckabee co-wrote the book, “Kids Who Kill” with Reconstructionist author George Grant. Grant is an ideologue with extreme, even dangerous religious views. The question is, does the former Arkansas governor share Grant’s view of the role of Christianity in government? This passage is from Grant’s 1987 book “The Changing of the Guard” (Ft. Worth, TX: Dominion Press, 1987), pp. 50-51.

“Christians have an obligation, a mandate, a commission, a holy responsibility to reclaim the land for Jesus Christ - to have dominion in the civil structures, just as in every other aspect of life and godliness. But it is dominion that we are after. Not just a voice. It is dominion we are after. Not just influence. It is dominion we are after. Not just equal time. It is dominion we are after. World conquest. That’s what Christ has commissioned us to accomplish.” Continue.

Huckabee on Armeggedon
"If you're with Jesus Christ, we know how it turns out in the final moment," he said. "I've read the last chapter in the book, and we do end up winning." Rolling Stone Magazine, November 14, 2007

Huckabee on heaven and who gets there
"Being president isn't about picking who goes to heaven and who goes to hell," he says. When none other than Bill O'Reilly hammered him on the same point a day later, Huckabee conceded that "I believe Jesus is the way to heaven." Rolling Stone Magazine, November 14, 2007

Huckabee on a constitutional amendment banning abortion and giving science a back seat to religion.
"Science changes with every generation and with new discoveries, and God doesn't," Huckabee says. "So I'll stick with God if the two are in conflict." Rolling Stone Magazine, November 14, 2007 .

Matt Taibbi on Mike Huckabee, Our Favorite Right-Wing Nut Job

Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone, November 14, 2007

Mike Huckabee, The Latest It Girl of the Republican presidential race, tells a hell of a story. Let your guard down anywhere near the former Arkansas governor and he'll pod you, Body Snatchers-style — you'll wake up drooling, your brain gone, riding a back seat on the bandwagon that suddenly has him charging toward the lead in the GOP race.

It almost happened to me a few months ago at a fund-raiser in Great Falls, Virginia. I'd come to get my first up-close glimpse of the man Arkansans call Huck, about whom I knew very little — beyond the fact that he was far behind in the polls and was said to be very religious. In an impromptu address to a small crowd, Huckabee muttered some stay-the-course nonsense about Iraq and then, when he was finished, sought me out, apparently having been briefed beforehand that Rolling Stone was in the house.

"I'm glad you're here," he told me. "I finally get to tell someone who cares about Keith Richards." Continue

Huckabee on supporting Writers Guild of America but also their crossing picket
"I support the writers, by the way. Unequivocally, absolutely," Huckabee said. "They're dead right on this one. And they ought to get royalties off the residuals and the long-term contracts."

"I don't think anybody supports the producers on this one," Huckabee added. "Maybe the producers support the producers, but I think everybody in the business and even the general public supports the writers." Media Matters, January 3, 2008 Writers Guild picketers carried signs asking: "What Would Jesus Do?." Huckabee crosses picket in Burbank, California for the Jay Leno Show on January 2, 2008

Nightly News repeatedly noted Huckabee's upcoming appearance on Tonight Show without reporting he crossed picket line

Media Matters, January 3, 2008

On January 2, despite numerous references on NBC's Nightly News to Mike Huckabee's appearance later that night on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, no one noted that Huckabee would be crossing a picket line in making the appearance. Continue.

Huckabee on "Christmas wars"
“Actually I will confess this, if you play this spot backwards it says ‘Paul is Dead, Paul is Dead, Paul is Dead,’” the presidential candidate [Huckabee] joked to reporters in Houston Tuesday. “So the next thing you know, someone will be playing it backwards to find out the subliminal messages that are really there."

The former Arkansas governor said the spot was last-minute and ad-libbed: “They had a bookshelf behind me, a bookshelf. So now I have these people saying, ‘ahhh there was a subtle message there,’” said Huckabee. "I never cease to be amazed at the manner in which people will try to dissect the simplest messages, can’t even say ‘Merry Christmas’ anymore without somebody getting all upset about it.” CNN recorded news conference, December 18, 2007

Huckabee at 3'19: "Paul is dead, Paul is dead, Paul is dead"

YouTube of Huckabee on CNN, December 18, 2007

Huckabee defends making a Christmas ad for his campaign. Huckabee's remarks seemed to affirm a new commitment toward encouraging the notion of a "war on Christmas." Huckabee pretends not see what he is fostering in moving toward Christian dominance in American society. Huckabee's clever use of the popular culture, in this case, calling to deflect questions with religious intent is quite charming. Continue.

Huckabee Wants to Be Everybody's President Despite Their "Lifestyle"

The Advocate, February 26, 2008

Talk show host Tyra Banks questioned Republican presidential candidate and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee about homosexuality and gay marriage in an interview scheduled to air on The Tyra Banks Show on Friday, February 29.

In response to whether he wanted the gay vote, Huckabee responded, "Sure, I want every vote. Seriously, I want to be president of everybody. And I can disagree with people over a choice they make in their life or a over a lifestyle and still be their president." The rest of Huckabee's answers about gay issues follow. Continue.

News and analysis about Huckabee's Iowa victory

Jewish Dems slam Huckabee

JTA, January 4, 2007 (Complete item)

Jewish Democrats slammed Mike Huckabee as an "extremist" after he won the Iowa caucuses.

The former Arkansas governor's wide margin over other Republicans Thursday was the surprise of the first vote of the season in the effort to select a candidate.

Huckabee drew strong support from Christian evangelicals who share his adamant opposition to abortion and to church-state separation. His advocacy on behalf of the poor and his break with Republican orthodoxies about reducing the role of government also cultivated independents.

"In choosing a candidate so beholden to the extremist elements in the Republican base, Iowa Republicans have sent a strong message about the role and power of the religious right in GOP politics," the National Jewish Democratic Council said in a statement. "Governor Huckabee's record and rhetoric would certainly not play well with Jewish voters in a general election campaign."

The release quoted Huckabee as once saying: "I got into politics because I knew government didn't have the real answers, that the real answers lie in accepting Jesus Christ into our lives." Click here.

NJDC: Iowa Republians Choose Extremist
Jewish Voters Would Reject Huckabee In General Election

News release and "Fact Sheet on Huckabee's Extremism," National Jewish Democratic Council, January 4, 2008

Washington, D.C – Today, following Mike Huckabee’s victory in the Iowa Republican caucuses, NJDC released an updated fact sheet on the former Arkansas Governor’s extremism. In addition, NJDC released the following statement from Executive Director Ira N. Forman:

“As our organization has documented over the past several months, Mike Huckabee is way out of the mainstream. In choosing a candidate so beholden to the extremist elements in the Republican base, Iowa Republicans have sent a strong message about the role and power of the religious right in GOP politics. Governor Huckabee’s record and rhetoric would certainly not play well with Jewish voters in a general election campaign. Continue.

Luckily for Chabad lawmaker in New.Hampshire Huckabee is too big for lobster joint

Ben Harris, JTA, January 7, 2008

Manchester, N.H. (JTA) -- Jason Bedrick, the first Orthodox member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives, loves former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. But he was going to have to skip a Huckabee campaign event Sunday in his hometown of Windham because it was to be held at the Lobster Tail restaurant.

Bedrick a member of a Chabad synagogue in Massachusetts and a fervent Huckabee supporter, informed the campaign last week he would be unable to attend the event at a non-kosher establishment.

A larger than expected turnout, however, led the Republican's campaign to relocate the rally to the Windham Center school, and Bedrick showed up with a reported 600 others. Continue.

The Huckabee Problem
Why his religious roots make some conservatives uncomfortable.

Column by Howard Fineman, Newsweek, January 14, 2008 Issue

Mike Huckabee advertises himself as a "Christian Leader." But he is loath to talk about his preacher days. On the campaign trail, it is the Lost Decade of his life. No one can find, or get access to, texts or video of his sermons. He is an ordained Southern Baptist minister; he led two congregations. Still, he'd rather talk about the guitar his folks bought him at JCPenney, or about the bravery of the Founding Fathers, or about his long (and in many ways impressive) track record as governor of Arkansas. I asked him what he had learned at the pulpit that he could apply to the presidency. Back came a wary, secular reply. "I saw the incredible range of human experience," he said. "When you're a pastor, you see heights and depths in people that you do not see in any other line of work." He made it sound like human car repair. Not a word about "taking this nation back for Christ." That was just something he had said years ago to jazz up his fellow Baptists at a convention. "You have to know the context," he told me.

I do. It was 1998. He was the top elected official in his state. He had his eye on national politics, if for no other reason than that his fellow Arkansan (and Hope native) was hunkered down in the Oval Office dealing with the way-too-Biblical Lewinsky affair. Huckabee, who was already on Don Imus's radar screen, knew precisely what he was doing: building his base by mixing a familiar—and explosive—Bible-belt cocktail of politics and religion. Now it may blow up the Republican Party. Continue.

Huckabee's Counterproductive Sweet Talk

Dick Armey, Real Clear Politics, January 08, 2008

With a definitive win in last week's Iowa caucus, Mike Huckabee talked himself into the frontrunner position for the Republican presidential nomination. His folksy demeanor and populist promises are central to his appeal, but they mask a strategy designed to divide the conservative movement. If the Republican party chooses to follow Huckabee's lead, it will allow political sweet talk to destroy its greatest electoral and policy-making advantage: the GOP's traditional political consensus built around limiting the size and scope of government.

Mike Huckabee abandoned conservative governance long ago. As governor of Arkansas from 1996-2007, his record on economic issues was long and dismal. He raised the sales tax and passed a tax on gasoline, increasing the state's overall average tax burden by almost 50 percent. Spending shot up more than 65 percent under his leadership. In the current campaign, he supports expensive, restrictive energy legislation, a misguided new national sales tax, and nanny-state notions like a federal smoking ban.

By now, these facts are well known. Fiscal conservatives have spilled gallons of ink decrying his record, and for good reason. Yet the social conservatives who support him should be concerned as well, for Huckabee undermines the GOP's longstanding unity between its traditional and economic wings, a coalition built to serve the goals of social as well fiscal conservatives. Continue

A new kind of evangelical

D. Michael Lindsay, The Immanent Frame (a Social Science Research Council blog), January 16, 2008

Mike Huckabee’s early success in the primary season shows that evangelicals have political muscles to flex in the post-George W. Bush era. Just as scribes across the country were ready to write Huckabee’s political obituary, he came out of nowhere and won the Republican Caucuses in Iowa by nine points over Mitt Romney. He also did better in New Hampshire than many pundits predicted, and with South Carolina and many other states up for grabs in the next few weeks, Huckabee’s political star will continue to rise—at least for a few more weeks.

In Iowa, Huckabee rallied support among evangelical populists—a base that will be critical to the race in South Carolina and several other states on Super Tuesday. But can the folksy governor from Arkansas translate his evangelical appeal into broader support? After all, a poll among Republican caucus goers revealed that 80 percent of his supporters self-identified as evangelicals. This will be an important question in evangelical-friendly states like Tennessee and Texas and even more critical in places like Florida and California. The national media has fixated on Governor Huckabee’s populist rhetoric about the economy and foreign policy. But in the days ahead, the key thing will be how well he appeals to a broader constituency. Can Mike Huckabee become a national candidate? Continue

Greenhut: Identity politics on the campaign trail
Mike Huckabee has campaigned as the only true Christian candidate, a dangerous evolution of the religious right's political movement

Column by Steven Greenhut, The Orange County Register, January 20, 2008

A lot of observers have wondered how ordained Baptist preacher Mike Huckabee won the Iowa caucuses this month, and why he has done so well elsewhere, given his transparent appeal to Christian fundamentalists – a group with only modest political influence in California and other urbanized states. I lived in Iowa when the religious right was ascendant in the early 1990s, and I saw up-close how religion could be used to win converts to a political cause. A consumer magazine editor in Des Moines by day, I spent my free time helping the conservative grass-roots. At that place and time, that meant working with the Iowa Christian Coalition.

Don't hold old mistakes against this libertarian, but do indulge a little personal history here, as it sheds light on the rise of one of the most influential modern U.S. political movements. It's also germane to the current presidential election. Continue.

Huckabee Splits Young Evangelicals and Old Guard

By David D. Kirkpatrick, New York Times, January 13, 2008

In this report on Huckabee's volunteer-driven campaign, Kirkpatrick writes that Mike Huckabee "is the only candidate in the presidential race who identifies himself as an evangelical. But instead of uniting conservative Christians, his candidacy is threatening to drive a wedge into the movement, potentially dividing its best-known national leaders from part of their base and upending assumptions that have held the right wing together for the last 30 years." Huckabee, writes Kirkpatrick, "has energized many young and working-class evangelicals. Their support helped his shoestring campaign come from nowhere to win the Iowa Republican caucus and join the front-runners in Michigan, South Carolina and national polls. And Mr. Huckabee has done it without the backing of, and even over the opposition of, the movement’s most visible leaders, many of whom have either criticized him or endorsed other candidates. " Click here.

President Mike Huckabee?

Column By William Kristol, New York Times, January 7, 2008

MANCHESTER, N.H. Thank you, Senator Obama. You’ve defeated Senator Clinton in Iowa. It looks as if you’re about to beat her in New Hampshire. There will be no Clinton Restoration. A nation turns its grateful eyes to you.

But gratitude for sparing us a third Clinton term only goes so far. Who, inquiring minds want to know, is going to spare us a first Obama term? After all, for all his ability and charm, Barack Obama is still a liberal Democrat. Some of us would much prefer a non-liberal and non-Democratic administration. We don’t want to increase the scope of the nanny state, we don’t want to undo the good done by the appointments of John Roberts and Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court, and we really don’t want to snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory in Iraq.

For me, therefore, the most interesting moment in Saturday night’s Republican debate at St. Anselm College was when the candidates were asked what arguments they would make if they found themselves running against Obama in the general election.

The best answer came, not surprisingly, from the best Republican campaigner so far — Mike Huckabee. Continue.

Huckabee: 'A new day in American politics'

David Jackson, USA TODAY, January 4, 2007

Des Moines — Long-shot Republican candidate Mike Huckabee declared "a new day in American politics" Thursday after riding strong support from evangelical Christians into a decisive victory in the Iowa caucuses.

Huckabee, an ordained Baptist minister and, like Bill Clinton, a native of Hope, Ark., managed to win despite trailing badly in national polls for most of the year. He out-hustled runner-up Mitt Romney and better-known candidates John McCain, Fred Thompson and Rudy Giuliani with a coalition of pastors, home schooling adherents, gun rights advocates and supporters of a new national tax system.

"This election is not about me. It's about we," the former Arkansas governor told supporters here. He said the victory would ignite "a prairie fire of new hope and zeal." Continue.

Huckabee Lies About SBC Family Statement

Dr. Bruce Prescott, Mainstream Baptist Blog, January 10, 2008

I didn't see tonight's presidential debate, but if news reports are accurate, then Mike Huckabee deliberately lied about the interpretation of the SBC family statement at a debate in South Carolina this evening.

The SBC's family statement calls for a one-sided submission by the wife to the rule of her husband. Huckabee gave the impression that Southern Baptists believe in "mutual submission" between husbands and wives within the family. Continue.

Huckabee Moves to New Hampshire, With Tweaks to His Message

By David D. Kirkpatrick, New York Times, January 5, 2008

HENNIKER, N.H. — Fresh from his victory in the Iowa caucuses, Mike Huckabee has to be considered a serious contender for the Republican presidential nomination. But that has not sobered up his distinctive Bible Belt-meets-Borscht Belt act on the stump.

After arriving in New Hampshire by chartered jets late Thursday night, most of the presidential contenders rose early to hit the trail. Not Mr. Huckabee. He gave morning interviews to no fewer than seven television networks, continuing his strategy of capitalizing on his folksy charm and self-deprecating wit to compensate for the fact that his shoestring campaign cannot afford much advertising. Continue.

Obama Takes Iowa in a Big Turnout as Clinton Falters; Huckabee Victor

Adam Nagourney, The New York Times, January 4, 2007

Des Moines — Senator Barack Obama of Illinois, a first-term Democratic senator trying to become the nation’s first African-American president, rolled to victory in the Iowa caucuses on Thursday night, lifted by a record turnout of voters who embraced his promise of change.

The victory by Mr. Obama, 46, amounted to a startling setback for Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, 60, of New York, who just months ago presented herself as the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination. The result left uncertain the prospects for John Edwards, a former senator from North Carolina, who had staked his second bid for the White House on winning Iowa.

Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Edwards, who edged her out for second place by less than a percentage point, both vowed to stay in the race. Continue.

Analysis: Evangelicals choose one of own in Huckabee but can he go the distance?

Liz Sidoti, Associated Press, San Diego Unon-Tribune, January 3, 2007

Washington – Evangelical Republicans in Iowa chose one of their own in Mike Huckabee.

The question is whether the former Southern Baptist minister is strong enough to win outside friendly Iowa territory, and go the distance to the nomination.

That test begins immediately as Huckabee heads to New Hampshire, where he will run head-on into town meetings full of secular voters, and John McCain. New Hampshire holds the nation's first primary in just five days.

Huckabee also will face a rematch with Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor who desperately needs a victory in neighboring New Hampshire to prove his candidacy isn't crippled after an Iowa defeat. Continue.