Guest Post: Huck, the Wannabe Kingmaker
A secret behind Huck’s rise is that it could have gone completely different. Imagine if you will, had Huckabee, as an ordained minister, come out and put people’s minds at ease about Mormon beliefs. What if instead of asking “Don’t they worship Satan?,” he had said, “Mormons do believe in Jesus, just like you and I.” The rumor is that Huckabee was floating this offer to the Romney campaign a few weeks ago.
Huckabee knows he can’t win the nomination, he’s too fiscally liberal for economic conservatives. But, he knows he has assets to offer as a Vice Presidential candidate. To Romney, he would put the Mormonism question to bed. Romney has had significant evangelical endorsements, but one from Huckabee would have united the conservative factions. On the other hand, Giuliani lacks the social conservative street cred because of his personal baggage. For him, Huckabee erases that concern. Basically, the minister could accept Giuliani’s confessions and absolve him in the eyes of the Religious Right.
Apparently, Huckabee either rescinded the offer, or was rejected by Romney. Which is why Huckabee has picked up on the track used by Ted Kennedy to defeat Romney in their Senate race. That is: toss out a lie about Romney’s faith, let the story run, offer an apology, let that story run, then repeat. Kennedy used staff and family to spread lies, just as McCain did early this year. As the media know, people read the lie, but don’t read the retraction. Since the race isn’t between just the two men, Huckabee can risk being seen as a bigot and turning voters off of himself and still benefit in the end by being picked as a running mate.
On a similar note, there is a YouTube clip of Lawrence Odonnell on the McLaughlin Group (one of my favorite shows) that I think is frighteningly telling about perceived Mormon beliefs. I can’t stand watching it. It makes me sick. It’s as if a cloud comes over his face. Still, it would be sad if we didn’t learn a few things from it. First, we should be resolved to be more tolerant of other people’s beliefs. We should certainly seek to understand other faiths. We should embrace truth wherever it is found and look for things to agree on rather than to divide ourselves. Secondly, we should speak up more about our own faiths. One of the rules of politics is that if nobody knows your opponent, you should define him for everybody in the worst possible light. What we don’t tell people will be replaced by what others like this guy say. Lastly, this rant is basically a look behind the curtain. We have a LONG way to go before people understand LDS faith and we are fighting VERY strong opinions. It may not be enough just to be “the nice neighbor.” So know your facts and don’t be shy.