Barack Obama, for all the media's obsession with his pastor, enjoys a distinct advantage over John McCain this fall ... okay, he enjoys several of them (his age, vigor, excitement, ability to draw a crowd, fundraising, speaking ability and the fact that he's not super creepy and a lackey of the Bush administration like Johnny Mac...)
But the advantage I'm getting at here is that Barack Obama is a religious man (a Christian, righties, not a Muslim...) and that means he can speak the language of faith in a way that infrequent church-goer McCain cannot. And so...
In a new interview with Dan Gilgoff for BeliefNet's God-o-Meter, DeMoss explains the lack of religious enthusiasm for McCain and predicts a potential major shift to Obama.
You represent some of the nation's most powerful evangelicals. What do those leaders say about McCain?
This is one guy's perspective, but I am surprised by how little I've seen or read in conservative circles about McCain since February. I don't think I've gotten one email or letter or phone call from anybody in America in the last four months saying anything about this election or urging that we unite behind John McCain and put aside whatever differences we have. Back in the fall and winter, you'd get several things a day from conservatives saying, "The future of the Supreme Court is at stake. We have to stop Hillary Clinton. Get behind so and so--or don't' go with this guy." It's just very quiet. It could meant there's a real sense of apathy or it could mean they're' waiting for the general election to begin. But it's a surprise, given the way email networks work now.
Barack Obama is trying hard to win evangelical voters. Does that effort stand a chance?
If one third of white evangelicals voted for Bill Clinton the second time, at the height of Monica Lewinsky mess--that's a statistic I didn't believe at first but I double and triple checked it--I would not be surprised if that many or more voted for Barack Obama in this election. You're seeing some movement among evangelicals as the term [evangelical] has become more pejorative. There's a reaction among some evangelicals to swing out to the left in an effort to prove that evangelicals are really not that right wing. There's some concern that maybe Republicans haven't done that well. And there's this fascination with Barack Obama. So I will not be surprised if he gets one third of the evangelical vote. I wouldn't be surprised if it was 40-percent.
Another issue is that younger Christians, including evangelicals, are beginning to embrace faith issues of the Book of Matthew variety -- issues that broaden the conversation beyond gay marriage and abortion. Those include environmentalism, peace, and caring for the poor. It's interesting that Republican voters and establishment types rejected the one GOP candidate who, like Obama, speaks the language of faith fluently, and whose pleasantnes and communication skills would have made him a fresh, compelling candidate for president: Mike Huckabee. And you know why they dissed the guy who probably could have given Barack a real run for his money? Tax cuts. Huck raised taxes in Arkansas once, and it was the kiss of death from the Club for Growth hard liners.
Give a man a fish, and you still can't stop him from being stupid.
I really like Mike Huckabee, which is why stories like this one are so disconcerting:
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Republican Mike Huckabee responded to an offstage noise during his speech to the National Rifle Association by suggesting it was Barack Obama diving to the floor because someone had aimed a gun at him.
Hearing a loud noise and interrupting his speech, Huckabee said: "That was Barack Obama. He just tripped off a chair. He's getting ready to speak and somebody aimed a gun at him and he — he dove for the floor."
There were only a few murmurs in the crowd after the remark.
Here's the video:
And he just HAD to wrap by saying that "the future of our democracy depends on people who understand that policy cannot act in a moral vacuum."
I'm assuming Reverend Huckabee, who remains an ordained minister, I must remind folks, will clarify his remarks, and apologize. He seems like too good of a guy to really mean what this seems to mean. It's just way too RFK circa 1968, Huck. Not cute.
Just when I thought I'd get no more Mike Huckabee, he shows up on Morning Joe and makes some good bloody sense on the issue of Rev. Wright:
MIKE HUCKABEE: ... Sermons, after all, are rarely written word-for-word by pastors like Rev. Wright, who are delivering them extemporaneously, and caught up in the emotion of the moment. There are things that sometimes get said, that if you put them on paper and looked at them in print, you'd say, "Well, I didn't mean to say it quite like that."
MSNBC HOST JOE SCARBOROUGH: But, but you never came close to saying five days after September 11 that America deserved what it got -- or that the American government invented AIDS...
HUCKABEE: Not defending his statements.
SCARBOROUGH: Oh, I know you're not. I know you're not. I'm just wondering though: For a lot of people ... would you not guess that there are a lot of independent voters in Arkansas that vote for Democrats sometimes, and vote for Republicans sometimes, that are sitting here wondering how Barack Obama's spiritual mentor would call the United States the US-KKK?
HUCKABEE: I mean, those were outrageous statements, and nobody can defend the content of them.
SCARBOROUGH: But what's the impact on voters in Arkansas? Swing voters.
HUCKABEE: I don't think we know. If this were October, I think it would have a dramatic impact. But it's not October. It's March. And I don't believe that by the time we get to October this is going to be the defining issue of the campaign and the reason that people vote.
And one other thing I think we've got to remember: As easy as it is for those of us who are white to look back and say, "That's a terrible statement," I grew up in a very segregated South, and I think that you have to cut some slack. And I'm going to be probably the only conservative in America who's going to say something like this, but I'm just telling you: We've got to cut some slack to people who grew up being called names, being told, "You have to sit in the balcony when you go to the movie. You have to go to the back door to go into the restaurant. And you can't sit out there with everyone else. There's a separate waiting room in the doctor's office. Here's where you sit on the bus." And you know what? Sometimes people do have a chip on their shoulder and resentment. And you have to just say, I probably would too. I probably would too. In fact, I may have had a more, more of a chip on my shoulder had it been me.
Spoken like a man with sense, and sensitivity (which is why so many Republicans dislike him.)
I'm gonna miss you, Huck. Sure, he doesn't believe in evolution, but he is the only Republican in public life that I know of (unless Rick Warren is a Republican...) who actually lives out Jesus' call to care for the poor, who talks about real compassion, not fake electoral compassion and corporate welfare (a la GWB) and who can deliver a deadpan straight line with perfect comedic timing. The now former Republican candidate for president is giving a most gracious concession speech now. Godspeed Huckabee. See you tomorrow on "Morning Joe."
Question: how is Mike Huckabee in such high double digits long after this race is supposedly other? And shouldn't John-boy be cracking 50 percent in any poll, in any state, at this stage? Sounds like some little party doesn't dig it's nominee...
A bit more on that ARG poll:
Hillary Clinton leads Barack Obama among self-described Democrats 47% to 42%. Obama leads Clinton among self-described independents and Republicans 24% to 71%. Obama leads among men 55% to 29% (47% of likely Democratic primary voters) and Clinton leads among women 54% to 42%. Clinton leads Obama among white voters 51% to 40% (53% of likely Democratic primary voters), Obama leads Clinton among African American voters 76% to 17% (22% of likely Democratic primary voters), and Clinton leads Obama among Latino voters 44% to 42%.
22% of likely Democratic primary voters say they would never vote for Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary and 20% of likely Democratic primary voters say they would never vote for Barack Obama in the primary. 30% of men say they would never vote for Clinton in the primary.
Those internals look about right, although I wouldn't bet money on that large Obama lead...
John McCain is supposed to be basking tonight. He came back from the political dead to storm to the front of the pack, leaving his supposed betters in Fred Thompson and Mitt Romney behind. He cut a field of eight men down to three (including Ron Paul) and he did it all without the help of right wing talk radio, the right wing blogs, and right wing intellectuals. In fact, all three groups hate his guts. (Unless you believe Rush Limbaugh's feint, that he's really helping McCain ...)
And yet, despite having come so close to wrestling the presidential primary prize out of the hands of the George W. Bush wing of the Republican Party (and even coming away with Bush's endorsement -- and his brother's,) McCain, tonight, looks like a loser. He's going to beat Mike Huckabee in Virginia. (Update: he's winning by 9 points.) But exit polls show he has done so largely without the votes of conservatives -- particularly evangelicals, but also tax cut zealots and immigration jihadist conservatives, all of whom appear not ready to accept him as their nominee. He's also won Maryland and Virginia, although the press corps, in the wake of twin three-fold victories, only has eyes for Barack. In fact, when you compare Obama's 18,000 supporters crammed into a college auditorium in Wisconsin, McCain spoke to a smallish gathering of what looked for all the world like a cigar club consisting of geriatric white men and their wives...
In fact, one almost suspects that the vaunted "base" -- Bush and Rush Limbaugh's "qaida" in Virginia (where nearly half of the voters classified themselves as "conservatives" -- have been going out of their way to try and rob McCain of the joy of victory -- even to humiliate the war hero -- the man who survived the Bush onslaught in 2000, only to become Bush's bunker buddy on the war -- this year's version of Bob Dole (Dole likes him, too...) They know McCain has strength with just two groups: moderate Republicans and Republican leaning Independents -- both constituencies he could well lose to Barack Obama, should Obama be the Democratic nominee. So McCain gets another joyless win, gives a thoroughly joyless speech (it's not about hope, it's about serving a cause greater than you -- like tax cuts and the 100 year war in Iraq...) and despite all his travails, he can't begin basking, at least not yet.
Update 2: What is the message in John McCain's 1) failure to see major turnout for what was supposed to be his victory march to the nomination in tonight's caucuses and primaries... and 2) big losses to Mike Huckabee in Louisiana and especially in Kansas, where he blew Baghdad John out? (Not to mention his failure to do better than a quarter of the Republican vote in Washington state, where he marched to a three-way tie with Huckabee and Ron Paul???) Is it GOP buyers remorse? The natural effect of the absense of Mitt, and proof that his voters will not go McCain's way? Revenge of the Dittoheads? (Oh yeah, wingers don't like Huckabee, either... but perhaps any port in a storm...?) Or is it that McCain inspires nothing so much as total ambivalence or apathy from voters in his own party? Damn, John, man does not win the White House with Independents alone. You've got to turn out some Republicans somewhere along the line...
As balloting progressed, political maneuvering came into play. John McCain's campaign conceded and asked its supporters to join Huckabee's, giving the former Arkansas governor a majority of the convention ballots. On Politics has more. Stay tuned there for full Super Tuesday coverage.
And you didn't believe that Huck and Mack are playing tag team...
What are they putting in the water in Hope, Arkansas? Mike Huckabee is the best retail politician I've seen on the stump since Bill Clinton. Nice third place speech, complete with Huck's now standard pop culture reference (Elvis' birthday -- funny, he left out R. Kelly's...)
New poll out! And apparently, God wants Mike Huckabee to be the Republican nominee for president...
He's in a statistical tie with Rudy in the Reuters/Zogby poll... which we all know is sanctioned directly by God ... and that Muslim guy, John Zogby ... moving on!
He's ahead by a healthy margin in Iowa, buttressed by strong support from the women GOPers who are supposed to be crushing on Willard, but who aren't because they fear that as not quite a Christian, he might have a tail...
And Jesus' very own cross ... er ... bookshelf ... appears in his Christmas ad.
You probably don't understand that if you're not a Christian, but that's okay, you're still a good American ... even if you're going to Hell... :)
Republicans duking it out over their nominees. What's incredible, is the consensus that the worst two candidates for "the base" are Giuliani and ... Huckabee? Yep, Huckabee. The fiscal conservatives hate him because he's an "economic populist" who raised taxed in Arkansas, and who has criticized Club for Growth Republicans as "greedy" (yeah, he's right on that one) ... and social conservatives dislike Rudy because he's ... no, not the cad part, or the dumping his wife, or having NYC cops chauffeur the mistress around on the public dime, or lobbying for Citgo, or taking on the Qatar government as clients ... no, they hate him because of abortion.
Go figure, they're Republicans.
Anyway, on the RS thread, one Fred Thompson supporter calling himself "redneck hippie" writes:
I made a commitment that if nominated I would vote for (not support) EITHER Rudy or Huck. I also made a commitment that if they team up I will stay home. Eight years I might stomach. Sixteen, never."
Wow. That post was followed by this one:
Guiliani's propensity for authoritarianism scares me more than Huckabee's.
I'd rather have my trans fat taken away than my guns.
Okay, clearly a gun nut, but I agree with the first part.
Given how the media (and many voters in 80% pro-Bush Republican Iowa) have fallen in love with Huck, it's pretty shocking to see comments like this:
As a SoCon and FisCon ...
Huckabee is wrong on 100%. He's following a track with HLA and FMA that do nothing but energize the opposition (remember the ERA?) and he will get nothing, including good judges.
On the Fiscal side, he's a budding socialist. On the war... let's close Gitmo! On cooperating with Congress... let's investigate Bush on Plame.
He is the most unacceptable candidate I can possibly imagine. Ron Paul has better points than Huckabee.
Ouch! On to my favorite comment in the thread:
What is Rudy's foreign policy experience, again? What is his governing experience? Mayor of a city?
Oh wait....it's a really big city he was Mayor of....LOL....maybe Koch and Dinkins were Presidential material after all.
How about his military experience to be Commander-In-Chief? How did Rudy handle it when his number was called back in the day? Was he tough on those Communists? What are his National Security credentials again - nominating Bernie Kerik to run DHS?!?!
Every one of these GOPers would fight the War - except for Ronpaul. It's just that with Rudy - you get to stick your thumb in the eye of those dreaded SoCons and GunCons at the same time. Their issues don't matter in a time of war, after all, and we've declared perpetual war.
And yet I have to hear the laughable - utterly ridiculous - gut-bustingly hilarious meme that the next Preisdent will reduce the size of the federal Government - even in the face of Two Dem Houses. It's never been reduced, but the next guy will do it - this time for sure! Heck, Rudy will do it just based on the sheer strength of his personality!
The other Man from Hope says his fellow GOP presidential candidates might need a Prozac ... or an ambulance:
LITTLE ROCK (AP) - Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee joked Tuesday that other candidates might be considering suicide because their level of support doesn't match their fundraising. The former Arkansas governor, exaggerating, said other GOP presidential hopefuls were raising $100 for every nickel he had raised. "If I were some of these guys, I'd have to be sitting in a warm tub of water with razor blades," Huckabee said on MSNBC-TV.
The ratio is closer to $10 for every $1 raised by Huckabee.
A poll released Sunday by The Des Moines Register showed Huckabee and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani fighting for third place in Iowa, behind former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson. Romney and Giuliani lead GOP candidates in fundraising.
All jokes aside, watching Mike Huckabee tonight, I have to say that he is perhaps the most dangerous of the Republican candidate. Even though I disagree with his views, his folksly delivery, affable demeanor, and incredibly un-scary delivery makes him someone American voters could get comfortable with. He's not bug-eyed crazy like Rudy, or used care salesman-y like the Mittster. And he's not an all-out nut like Tancredo ... hell, why am I mentioning him? Other than Ron Paul, who is the only one of these vanilla beans whose policy positions I actually find coherent, I'm now starting to think that Huckabee is the best that the GOP has got. Oh, and he doesn't put me to sleep, like Fred Thomps...zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.....