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December 20, 2007

Huckabee's 'Bunker Mentality'

In the (at present inaccessible) comments of my last post, I was criticized for using scriptural references to criticize the pardoning history of former Governor Mike Huckabee. Such criticism, they said, was inappropriate in the context of a campaign, since Huckabee is running for a political office, not a spiritual one.

I certainly hope my critics are prepared to send similar messages of disapproval to the Huckabee campaign. When asked about his lack of campaign infrastructure as compared to the Romney and Thompson campaigns, this was his response:

There's nothing I can do about that other than use what resources we have and to try to tell the truth and get our message out there, but ultimately what I sense is happening - people everywhere will come to me, look me in the eye and say "We are claiming Isaiah 54 for you that the weapons formed against you will not prosper." And you know I just have to deep down believe that there is just a hunger in this nation for truth. There is a hunger in this nation for authenticity. They want to necessarily vote for somebody because he's told everyone what a lousy guy the other one is.
Remember, he was asked about his campaign infrastructure and spending, not anything having to do with faith. And his response was to invoke a scripture that speaks of spiritual battle, a scripture that is completely inappropriate in a political context.


This is not just my opinion. In his "Commentary on the Book of the Prophet Isaiah," John Calvin says this of verse 17:

He [Isaiah] again infers what has been already said, that wicked men, even though they exert themselves to the utmost, will gain nothing; for their attacks are guided and restrained by the secret, purpose of God. He makes use of the word “every,” meaning by it that wicked men will have the means of attempting many and diversified methods for destroying the Church, but that their efforts shall be vain and fruitless, for the Lord will restrain them.
Emphasis mine.

Now, I'm not accusing him of being a "bad Christian," or having poor theology, but I do think his invocation of this particular scripture against his political opponents is improper, even if he is attempting one degree of separation by saying it's what he's being told. Romney and Thompson are not attempting to destroy God's church, they're simply trying to win a campaign against another candidate. In using this particular scripture, Huckabee is playing the "cute with religion" card again that is making him a rather divisive figure in the Republican party. His passive-aggressive campaign style is getting noticed.

Huckabee's rhetoric seems aimed at creating an "us versus them" mentality among evangelicals in the GOP. This is different from running as an outsider candidate - Huckabee has expanded that. He's not just saying the GOP establishment is against him - he's claiming they are against his faith, and evangelicals in general. This may be a winning strategy in the short-term, but the long-term repercussions threaten the unity of what is becoming a fragile coalition.

I don't mind Huckabee talking about his faith. It does bother me, however, that he's using that faith as a wedge.

Like Allah says, "He can’t win on the issues so he’ll try to win on antagonism and spite, all the while professing to be the picture of innocence. Awful."

Indeed.

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posted by Slublog at 11:13 AM

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