December 4, 2007
The Base Chase (Bob Franken)
@ 11:47 am
The problem for a candidate when he moves from quirky curiosity to the top of the pack is that we start paying attention to more than his cute one-liners.
So here we are with Mike Huckabee, who has employed his Baptist-preacher gentle humor, honed over years of pastoring, to propel himself right into the thick of things in Iowa. But what does he stand for?
To his credit, Huckabee has never tried to hide the fact that his political beliefs are the same as his religious beliefs. Why should he, since the Republican campaign in Iowa could be described as “The Race for the Base”?
But for those who might be, uh, baseless, it is probably important to know who is organizing some events for Huckabee.
I’m referring to Tim La Haye. He is co-author of the Left Behind series of novels, which are so wildly popular with religious conservatives.
In a nutshell, the books’ story lines are based on the premise that when the end of the world happens, the rest of us will be in deep doo doo.
Mike Huckabee probably has more charm than any of the other candidates, certainly the Republican ones. But that is certainly not running on a fast track. Is it?
It is arguable that we elect people more for their appeal than their policies. George W. Bush and Bill Clinton are two who come to mind who used their personalities to great advantage. And both of their presidencies were filled with bitter controversies.
Here we are again. Mike Huckabee’s insurgency is based, to a great degree, on his gentle humor. But we should not overlook the fact that he advocates social policies many would consider anything but gentle.
In another time his approach was called “Compassionate Conservatism.” Are we ready to proceed down that road again? Maybe we are, but let’s not be misled by anyone’s warm-and-fuzzy style that obscures a stark social agenda.