Monday, September 24, 2007

Mike Huckabee, Fred Thompson and Evangelical Extremists

Note: Tomorrow I'll be reprinting two e-mails I've received: one from Matt (of SenseinPolitics) about the positive qualities of Mike Huckabee, the other from John Hawkins (of The Forgotten Street) about the conservative credentials of Fred Thompson. Here's the e-mail I sent to them today:

Matt & John, could I reprint your e-mails (one each)? John Hawkins in Florida, a long-time associate of mine who's a supporter of Fred Thompson), wrote a thoughtful e-mail. Matt, your supportive comments about Mike Huckabee are pretty much in line with my own views of him. I just don't believe he or Fred can win a year from November. (In the early part of 1992, I didn't believe Bill Clinton had a chance against Bush, Sr., who was coming off a period of great popularity after the Gulf War.) What has changed since then is the huge amount of money needed to advertise on TV in the Super Tuesday states (including California and New York, as well as several other large states).

Super Tuesday comes shortly after the Florida primary, which will also require a lot of money. I expect Giuliani and Romney to have significant amounts of campaign cash, and Thompson MAY have enough to keep afloat. McCain is always a question mark, but he seems to be doing better.

One candidate in modern times has had an amazing take-off, and that was John Kerry, who was at 9-10% in late November, 2003, and was at 52% in February, 2004.

(Howard Dean screamed himself out of the running, and John Edwards was always more popular with the media than with voters, so it was relatively easy for Kerry to move up quickly.) Kerry it turned out was "everybody's second choice" among the Democrats, which may also be the case with Mike Huckabee.

Remember, however, that Kerry won Iowa and New Hampshire, which I don't believe is possible with Mike. If Mike doesn't win Iowa, he should withdraw and begin planning for the next campaign.

The only real movement in the polls in the last several months has been by Hillary Clinton with her putting distance between herself and Obama. Giuliani has been at 30% since the last Ice Age.

There was one poll that showed Romney with higher unfavorables than Hillary Clinton. She has high favorables (high 40s) and high unfavorables (mid-40s). The highest favorables of any candidate are those for Giuliani. People who aren't going to vote for him in the primary still have a favorable view of him.

I've heard that 59% (think that's it) of the American public hasn't seen so much as ONE debate. The campaign started very early, but it's still mainly of interest to political junkies like us.
Of note: Evangelical-type candidates in the Northeast and West (Dreier in Cal., Irey in PA) tend to be going toward Rudy.

Hard-right evangelicals like Dobson are attacking Thompson, mostly for his virtues rather than his faults. He's not for an amendment banning gay "marriage," mainly because such an amendment doesn't have a snowflake's chance in Hades of passing. He's against a total ban on abortion because (1) it wouldn't pass either the Senate or the House; (2) it would criminalize women and doctors involved in early-term abortions. There's massive national support for allowing such abortions -- 84% believe it should be allowable.

Romney said that abortion should be left up to the states, because that's exactly what would happen if SCOTUS overturned Roe v. Wade. To Romney's credit, he told people the truth, even though some evangelicals didn't want to hear it. Despite Dr. Dobson's and Rev. Larry White's rants, there is never going to be an amendment overturning Roe. If it happens, it would be the result of actions by by SCOTUS, not by Congress and the states.

The problem with the extreme evangelicals -- the "absolutists" as my friend Sanity102 calls them, is their appalling egoism. The define their own form of Christianity as the only type of belief acceptable to God. They believe that because they want a certain political action to take place that the system has failed if it doesn't. I've compared them them to naughty two-year olds, individuals who start screaming if they don't get their own way.

The absolutists do harm to a campaign like Mike's. One evangelical on the main Huckabee blog said that Mike was heading to perdition because his band played some Willie Nelson songs. Another individual said that the election of Hillary Clinton (herself a liberal Christian) would lead to "the persecution of hundreds of Christians." Other supporters deserted Mike because he said essentially that DC residents were being subject to taxation without representation. Still other evangelicals got in an uproar against Mike because he said there was SOME racism in the opposition to immigration reform.

Perhaps Mike's most controversial statement was when he said, "Life begins at conception, but it doesn't end at birth." This was a slap at evangelicals and others who claim to be "pro-life," but show no concern for children outside the womb who need assistance.

As I've said before, Mike is a better candidate than some of his strongest supporters could ever imagine.

steve maloney

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