December 19, 2007

THE SHAPE OF THE RACE:

Mormonism an issue for Romney in South Carolina (DAVID LIGHTMAN, 12/19/07, McClatchy Newspapers)

Something about Mitt Romney just isn't right with Bill Burdette. And something about Mike Huckabee is.

"Romney's from Utah and he's Mormon," said the 41-year-old software engineer from Iva, S.C. "Huckabee's from the South and he's Baptist."

Understand, Burdette said, he's not choosing his candidate based on religion, but Huckabee, a Baptist minister who was the governor of Arkansas for 10 and a half years, is someone he's comfortable with.

That's Romney's problem throughout this crucial early-voting state, where a win Jan. 19 by the former Massachusetts governor would give him a huge boost in his quest for the Republican presidential nomination.

An estimated 63 percent of Republican primary voters in South Carolina are "born again" or evangelical Christians, so a Romney win would be hailed as dramatic proof that his Mormon faith wasn't a big factor in voter judgments.

Except that evidence from polls and visits throughout the state shows that it is.


Here's an entirely plausible scenario for how this plays out:

IA:
Huckabee
Romney
Thompson

That would be a body blow for Governor Romney and a surprisingly good showing for the Senator.

NH:
McCain
Romney

Which would end the Romney candidacy.

SC:

Would become an elimination race with Senators McCain and Thompson probably having to win to survive, though Governor Huckabee could likely survive a 2nd place finish if he played it like a comeback after NH.

That will leave two conservatives to fight it out for the big pots that follow.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 19, 2007 6:36 PM
Comments

I can't believe what I am hearing from Huckabee supporters. Cute Christmas cards are supposed to prevent the coming recession?

SCARY THOUGHT FOR THE DAY #26:
Huckabee and Guiliani have nothing for the economy compared with Romney's business and economic acumen. Will you still be complaining about Romney's faith when they lay you off and foreclose your home? Get real, and don't get me started about Huckabee as a foreign policy disaster. Huckabee and Ahmadinejad sitting across at a table???? That's classic, what a nightmare.

Take all of the t-shirts mocking Bush you see at the mall and insert Huckabee's face. That's what college kids may be wearing until 2012. Bush haters are going to FEAST on Huckabee, what a goober...there's a good image for the Republican stigma. Are you kidding me??

Why don't we all vote for an inferior candidate merely because he's not LDS. Evangelicals are going to ruin this nation.

Posted by: Jenner at December 19, 2007 7:26 PM

HAAHAHAH!!!

OJ is so right. Just replace Huck with Reagan and that is what the Easterners used to say about him.

Can you imagine Reagan sitting across from the Russians? They'll eat positively eat him alive!

Posted by: Benny at December 19, 2007 9:30 PM

Jenner:

You've stumbled into the truth--Huckabee is 8 more years of W.

Posted by: oj at December 19, 2007 9:38 PM

Well guys, you've pretty much proven insanity is not a sole provence of the leftroots.
Of course none of you have ever read what the Huckster has said about the WoT, foreign policy, immigration?
Wait, he lost 110 #'s and believes the Federal Government should pass laws requiring you to to do the same or whatever!
G-d yes, join with NYC Mayor Bloomberg & CA Governator to pass laws denying personal rights!
RR's Estate and GW should be suing you all for slander for comparing Arkansas Huckster, ala Billie C., to either W. or RR.

Posted by: Mike at December 19, 2007 10:44 PM

Blog talk. They hate Christians.

Posted by: oj at December 20, 2007 12:45 AM

You're right about the 2 conservatives left in the race after SC but that disqualifies McCain as he's not a conservative and has never been one.

Posted by: Captain Marvel at December 20, 2007 1:49 AM

His record begs to differ.

Posted by: oj at December 20, 2007 7:06 AM

It's funny to watch all the analysis of the "evangelical" community over the rise of Huckabee.

The media is pumping Huckabee because they think he is a rube who will lose big to any Democrat. The pundits are horrified because they think he is rube (or worse) who will lose big to any Democrat. Some Baptists, like Mr. Burdette in the article above, like him because he's from the South and he's Baptist. Most conservative Presbyterians and Methodists and Anglicans won't like him because he is a high-tax nag who just could be a Republican Jimmy Carter. And the Pentecostals probably haven't been polled yet (they tend to frighten the media). What the Jews and Quakers think hasn't been considered, either.

Me, I think Huck is probably personally much nicer than Rudy, more ambitious than Fred, more churchy than Romney, and I don't know how to 'compare' him to McCain. Huckabee is like Pat Robertson with some government 'experience'. But was his experience effective? Probably not - he carried his personal compassion too far with prisoners, with taxation, and with immigration issues. He is more like Jim Wallis than James Dobson, and I know which of them I would prefer running the country (and I am no fan of Dobson's politics).

OJ, you should have posted on Gerald Seib's page 2 article in Tuesday's Journal. His analysis of the GOP race was only about 180 degrees off course. These guys are supposed to be experts? Bah!

Posted by: jim hamlen at December 20, 2007 8:32 AM

I doubt if Thompson is going to run 3rd in Iowa. He's in too late and not making enough of an effort. I wouldn't be surprised if Ron Paul did, though.

Romney's second place finish to the Huckster is going to be lost in the coverage of Hillary running third behind Obama and Edwards.

Guliani is more likely doomed by not doing well in either IA or NH than Romney.

Posted by: Chris B at December 20, 2007 9:15 AM

First, I'm not sure where the idea came from that W and Reagan were evangelicals. If the word has any real theological meaning, neither is evangelical. W seems to be a pretty much standard issue Methodist, though he takes it more seriously than most Methodists. Reagan was basically unchurched.

Second, the most evangelical president we've had was Jimmy Carter. That doesn't mean that an evangelical president would necessarily be disastrous, but it does seem to prove that being evangelical isn't sufficient to make a man a good president.

So we need to look at what Huckabee says, and what he says is problematic. His domestic policies are pro-life socialism. That's great for OJ, since he, too, is basically a pro-life socialist. But that wouldn't stop me from voting for him, because the Dem nominee will be a anti-life socialist, so that's a pretty easy decision.

The real problem is foreign policy, where Huckabee is clueless. (Read his recent article in Foreign Affairs to see exactly how bad it is.) It is entirely possible that Hillary Clinton would be a better foreign policy president than Huckabee. At least she's used to not being liked, and not caring.

So, the best thing for the country is to nominate someone else. Maybe Fred Thompson but I think I'm going to have to start getting myself ready to pull the trigger for John ("My battered pride is going to cost you your constitutional rights") McCain. (Anyone who hasn't seen his new campaign video should go watch it right now.)

Posted by: Ibid at December 20, 2007 9:22 AM

I think there's a good chance Ron Paul will do quite well in both Ethanol and Little Canada. Hopefully that will finally kill off the stupid idea that two small, non-representative states, with systems easy to game, automatically get to decide who the "front-runners" should be.

And I won't be surprised to hear of reports of Paulbots invading and disrupting various Iowa caucus sites. If there's one group that'lll descend into brownshirt tactics, they're it.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at December 20, 2007 9:47 AM

To be fair Ibid, everyone though W was clueless in foreign policy during the 2000 runup, too. Remember that interview where he couldn't name the leader of Pakistan? It is why W had to pick a man like Cheney for his 2nd. Though I'm still no Huckabee supporter, and I agree with most of what you said. He is funny and quick, and he is not afraid to talk about Jesus, but that is all he's got. It all fine to make a joke about 30 million hippies wanting drugs, ha-ha, but now what's your actual, detailed, position on health-care again? I said a few years ago on this site that I would never vote for McCain, and now I'll have to eat those words since there are only two serious conservatives in the race, and I don't think Thompson can plod hyard enough to get the nomination.

Posted by: Shelton at December 20, 2007 9:49 AM

To be fair Ibid, everyone though W was clueless in foreign policy during the 2000 runup, too. Remember that interview where he couldn't name the leader of Pakistan? It is why W had to pick a man like Cheney for his 2nd. Though I'm still no Huckabee supporter, and I agree with most of what you said. He is funny and quick, and he is not afraid to talk about Jesus, but that is all he's got. It all fine to make a joke about 30 million hippies wanting drugs, ha-ha, but now what's your actual, detailed, position on health-care again? I said a few years ago on this site that I would never vote for McCain, and now I'll have to eat those words since there are only two serious conservatives in the race, and I don't think Thompson can plod hard enough to get the nomination.

Posted by: Shelton at December 20, 2007 9:59 AM

OK, I give. However, in 2000, as mad as it seems, we didn't think that foreign policy would be much of an issue in the next four years and we figured that W would get good advice from his father in the one area in which it seemed his father could legitimately claim expertise.

Posted by: Ibid at December 20, 2007 10:23 AM

But was his father's advice any good?

Posted by: ratbert at December 20, 2007 11:07 AM

I think most everyone against Huckabee is terrified he'll win the whole thing...

Even the Democrats despite what they say...

Posted by: Benny at December 20, 2007 12:27 PM

That's the press caricature, not the reality.

Reagan was Disciples of Christ, as his mother raised him, and believed his own presidency might be the End Times.

Recall that the focus of evil speech was delivered to the Annual Convention of the the National Association of Evangelicals:

americanrhetoric.com/speeches/ronaldreaganevilempire.htm

Posted by: oj at December 20, 2007 12:32 PM

Reagan was a Presbyterian who attended church irregularly. That doesn't make him a bad man, or an atheist, or even unreligious. I think he felt himself to be a religious man who was, in Fred Thompson's phrase, right with God. On the other hand, it does mean that he was not an evangelical Christian. In the phrase evangelical Christian, "evangelical" does not mean "very." Reagan, as far as I know, never spoke of a conversion experience, never proselytized and didn't believe in bible inerrancy. In other words, he was not evangelical.

Posted by: Ibid at December 20, 2007 2:10 PM

Read Patti Davis's book. He was a fundamentalist, born again again after he was shot, proselytized her, indeed, his political career was a proselytization.

And, of course, W was not only born again but feels that God made him president specifically so he'd be there after 9-11.

Posted by: oj at December 20, 2007 4:35 PM

Not even with your eyes.

Posted by: Ibid at December 20, 2007 5:15 PM

I agree with the president. He was right there when and where we needed him and I won't argue that it was divine will.

Posted by: erp at December 20, 2007 8:43 PM
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