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December 01, 2009

"Fisking" a lukewarm "fisking" of Mike Huckabee's statements

I'm torn here. This article for The Iowa Republican was written by a former friend of mine, and I was really conflicted about criticizing his point of view. On the other hand, it took me most of the day to get to the point where I'm not simply "channeling my Inner Eddiebear" and addressing his piece with a baseball bat & a laundry basket full of obscenities.

Yes, I referred to Steve Deace as a "former" friend. We still correspond in a civil manner, but when he called me out for "thinking like a politician, and not a Christian" because I dared to support Fred Thompson instead of Mike Huckabee, that was pretty much the equivalent of pouring gas on our friendship and then dancing around the room to "Stuck In The Middle With You". And when a guy goes after Congressman Steve King (R, Straight Outta' the 1950's) for being INSUFFICIENTLY CONSERVATIVE and actively solicits people to primary him, you've got to wonder if the inmates have taken over his asylum, so to speak. But, just because the guy did me wrong, it still doesn't feel right to go after him. I'll have to comfort myself with the knowledge that my differences with him are in areas of public policy, and that speaking my mind is necessary to help frame the debate.

For the vast majority of you who don't live in Iowa, Steve is the afternoon drive time talk radio host for WHO (1040 AM). This is a 50,000 watt radio station where Ronald Reagan got his start in broadcasting back in the 1930s. Needless to say, the big reach of this powerful station, combined with Iowa's "First In The Nation" status because of the caucus means that his political influence extends beyond the borders of our state. He's always been a big advocate of conservative values, but his religious awakening of a few years ago really focused his views. About 3 years ago, he switched from sports talk format at a smaller affiliated station to a permanent slot on "The Mothership" where he is free to talk politics 24/7/365.

If you take the "jump" into the extended entry, you'll be faced with a LONG "fisking" of an article written by a BIG Huckabooster from the '08 Iowa Caucus. If you're sick of the issue, maybe you should just skip ahead to a nice, short AGW thread, or even the ONT, where I hear that Maetenloch has finally started to bring enough chewing gum for EVERYONE. Just please don't be "that guy". You know the one: the guy who just has to tell you that "I (voluntarily) read your whole article, and I can't believe that you wasted my valuable time".

The great thing about the blogosphere is that you don't HAVE to read anything you don't want to read. With that said.....here I go.

I'm giving you background because I want to be fair. A person's convictions are formed by their life experiences, and Steve has become a man who strongly believes that America needs a strong Christian leader to help dig us out of the hole we've slipped into over the last few decades. He's so good on so many issues that I really feel bad about the few issues where we diverge. Which brings me to his latest work:

First, Huckabee proved during the 2008 Iowa Caucuses that sincerity and clear moral convictions trump money and organization in his huge upset of Romney. Second, his presidential campaign revealed to the Republican Partyís Christian Conservative base just how hated it is by the party establishment, and that Republican media bias against people of faith is just as ugly and prevalent as it is among the Democrats. Third, his political ascension also revealed just how cowardly and compromised many so-called ďChristian leadersĒ are when it comes to their political activity.

OK, I agree with darn near everything he says here. Romney's Iowa campaign was largely based on buying off Iowa's political leaders, Huck's win was a demonstration of how to run an insurgent campaign, and many of the alleged "Republican" media figures have shown more hostility to the "godbothering rubes" in their own base than they have EVER shown to socialists like Obama. Plus, he's got a damn good point about the failings of many "so-called Christian leaders". Not much to argue about......yet.

However, just when it seems as if Huckabeeís star is about to go supernova, his entire ministry and future political ambitions are now at risk because of this story.

Predictably, the Republican establishment and its various media cronies who hate Christians more than the Democrats do have pounced on this story.

The exact same people who said nothing while Palin put a Planned Parenthood official on the state supreme court where she could kill babies from the bench with little difficulty, or still havenít come clean about Romneyís far left record in Massachusetts, now suddenly canít wait to expose Huckabeeís poor judgment and the tragedy that at least partially resulted from it.

There it is. Only seven paragraphs into his article. The implication that everyone who has "pounced on this story" hates Christians more than the Democrats do. And then he slides right into the standard "Well, before I tell you about my differences with Mike Huckabee, let's drop a non sequitur about his former and possibly future political opponents" playbook. I could see the reason for bringing up these two politicians if either one of them had ANY relevance on the issue of Huck handing out clemencies to violent felons in Arkansas like an ACORN worker handing out voter registration forms in a Democratic neighborhood. Did Mitt Romney grant clemency to violent rapist Wayne DuMond? Was Sarah Palin the politician who thought that making Maurice Clemmons elgible for parole was a good idea, even after he brought weapons to court and lashed out during hearings? No, both of those sub-genius ideas sprung forth from the brain of one person: Mike Huckabee.

The early appearance of this "Yeah but look at what THESE people did!" line of thinking darn near wipes out ANYTHING good that he may or may not say in the remainder of the nearly 40 paragraph article. Like a house built on the sand, this poor foundation dooms his whole piece. If Tiger Woods had used this sort of a rhetorical foundation for his conversation about his (alleged) infidelity with his wife this last weekend, I can imagine that it went a little like this:

"Honey, I think we need to talk about how I've sinned against you and come up short as a husband; but first I'd just like to say that your mother is a really annoying witch, and all your siblings are just leeches living off my generosity."

Yeah, what could go wrong with starting a conversation that way? He then goes on to criticize Ron Paul & his vast army of winged monkeys, which I don't want to get into for two reasons:

1. He tempers his criticism of Paul with several compliments, which make his points all the more valid.

2. Ron Paul and his supporters often act ........oh what's the phrase I'm looking for ............ crazier than shithouse rats? Yeah, that about covers it.

On the other hand, as a vocal Huckabee supporter, itís not as easy for me to just dismiss this as another case of media bias and the establishment having it in for my man. Thatís not critical thinking. In fact, itís the same kind of cult of personality Huckabee supporters often accused Romney supporters of when they kept believing him to be the second coming of Ronald Reagan despite his far left record.

As Christians, we donít hold ourselves and each other to the standard of the world, and we are to aim higher than the lowest common cultural denominator. We donít get to say because your guy did this and my guy did that itís not as bad and I am better than you. Thatís moral relativism and that isnít Biblical.

This is damn good stuff. DAMN good, other than the slight dig at Romney (which I don't begrudge him, as long as its kept "on a leash"). If he hadn't started off with attacks on Palin and Romney and kept the tone of his article along these lines, I wouldn't be writing this piece. I'd be posting a link to it instead, with something like "You've got to read this piece; he really gets it." But, like I said earlier, this good material has been placed on a shaky foundation, and the whole structure is unstable.

This is why I hesitated to "fisk" this article: I agree with huge chunks of what he says. The problem is that in order to get the good stuff, you've got to swallow all the poisonous content as well, and I just can't do that. After all, this is a guy who ridicules Republicans who believe that "you should support someone who agrees with you 80% of the time", so he should be honored that I'm with him in thinking that some minor disagreements disproportionately overshadow all the agreeable content of an article.

So what is the proper Christian response to these grisly murders, and a national Christian leaderís role in it? Letís start with what I think itís not.

We should avoid at all costs the fleshy temptation to make this about Huckabeeís political future, pro or con. Let me be among the first to say Iíve already violated this suggestion, because my first inclination when I heard about this story was to gauge its political ramifications as well. Mea culpa.

We should also avoid the temptation to lecture our fellow Christian about his support for Huckabee, unless we decided to support nobody last election because nobody was good enough, because the simple fact of the matter is none of these candidates holds up 100% to the scrutiny of the Scriptures.

DID I ALSO MENTION THAT MITT ROMNEY IS A LYING LIAR WHO LIES ABOUT ALL THE LIES HE'S TOLD? Because that's how Jesus would tell the story. I mean "our" Jesus, not "Jesus, Satan's Brother" that all those polygamists who like to wear magic underwear & worship Zenu believe in.

I especially like his assertion that the only people who are qualified to say "I told you so" are those who supported NONE OF THE ABOVE in the 2008 election. In the wise words of Rush (the band, not the talk show host): "If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice". I believe that God still acts in the lives of his children, but I also believe in that old folk saying "God helps those who help themselves". Simply throwing your hands in the air & shouting "Take over God, I trust you!" doesn't work very well when you're cruising on a crowded interstate, and I don't really think it works any better as a method for dealing with political issues.

The problem is that Biblically that is not the role of the state, not to mention the fact itís a theological error. The state exists to punish evil-doers, which the Seattle killer commuted by Huckabee clearly is, and not to redeem them. Frankly, that is the sort of thinking liberals base their flawed ideology on, and we have the welfare state, open borders, generation family dysfunction, and overcrowded prisons to thank for it.

It is THE CHURCH that is called to redeem, not the state, and it is the state that is called to administer justice, not THE CHURCH.

Therefore, as Arkansas governor Huckabeeís first job wasnít to be a minister of the Gospel, but a minister of justice. Itís not the governorís job to hand out second chances, thatís the pastorís. Itís the governorís job to make sure those that blew their first chance donít have another chance to hurt more people and property before theyíve been adequately punished and are sufficiently repentant.

Huckabee blurred the ministerial lines here, and a tragedy happened because of it. His intentions were good, but so are the intentions of most liberals that engage in the same thinking with American taxpayer money. Besides, didnít someone once point out the road to Hell is often paved with good intentions?

Damn, this is GOOD stuff. I linked it because I think these four paragraphs are filled with power and good sense. To quote one of my old co-workers, they're "shining like a diamond in a goat's ass". I told you that the guy agreed with me MOST of the time, and I'd love to have been the man who wrote this portion of the article.

Unfortunately, he doesn't end on a high note:

That then leads us to what we should do. For that I have one simple suggestion. Take Huckabeeís advice and make the Gospel the one and only priority we filter all other things through, including (and perhaps especially) our political involvement.

"In order to prevent any future military leaders from losing sight of the BIG PICTURE and biting off more than they can chew, I think we should take some advice from collected writings of General George Armstrong Custer."

Are you kidding me? The lesson we need to take away from this whole brouhaha comes from.....Mike Huckabee? There's nobody else who has EVER said anything similar? Of course, if you think about it, the only politician who's sanctified enough to offer a critique of Mike Huckabee's actions is........Mike Huckabee!

Steve proceeds to close his article with an email from a listener to his show who was also a Huckabee supporter:

His critics were waitingÖÖÖ..waiting for something to happen. Like I said, I hope they remember that there are four mourning families out there. I donít have an answer for what this will all mean for Huckabee and his future in politics. Godís ways are not our ways. Although I believe most everything hinges on if Huckabee admits it was his action that set the whole thing in gear.

All I know is that our prayers should be with Huckabee that he will handle himself in a way that shows the world why we all support him. He is a good man who was a good Governor. Even if this event takes away his political future, I donít want those things taken away from him. He has worked too hard and does not deserve to have what good he has done and still is doing to be stripped from him.

The listener's email is very powerfull, and I sympathize with all the concern for the families of the victims; HOWEVER, I just can't help noticing the implication that the critics of Mike Huckabee are willing to "throw the victims families under the bus" (not a quote, but a summary of the writer's thoughts, IMHO, placed in quotes because of the use of a common saying), to discredit the Governor.

It's the same problem I had with the early part of the article: Too many Huckabee supporters find it impossible to express ANY critism of their fair-haired boy without also including shots at Giuliani, Romney, Palin, Gingrich, et.al.

Like I said before: a very good article that is hamstrung by a fatal flaw. If he could just focus on Mike Huckabee's positives and negatives, I think we could have a civil conversation. Unfortunately, that's not going to happen anytime soon.

Criticism of Mike Huckabee's fiscal policies from the Club For Growth? Motivated by personal animus towards Huck. AND ROMNEY IS A LIAR!

Criticism of Mike Huckabee's policies regarding illegal immigrants while Governor of Arkansas? Why it's all "un-Christian, un-American, irresponsible and anti-life".

Don't like the fact that Mike Huckabee treated ethics laws in Arkansas the same way Rick Neuheisel treated NCAA recruiting rules while he was at Colorado? You're thinking like a politician, not a Christian. Oh yeah, and Romney's a liar!

Do you think that Huckabee's "Don't Mormons believe that Jesus and Satan were brothers?" dig at Romney? Why don't you take your magic underwear clad ass back to Provo, and say hi to your WIVES while you're at it.

See what I mean? The one common thing with EVERY negative story about Mike Huckabee is Mike Huckabee's assertion that the whole thing is an attempt by his enemies to tarnish his righteousness. In the words of Auric Goldfinger: "Once is chance. Twice is Happenstance. Three times is enemy action."

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posted by Russ from Winterset at 09:51 PM

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