Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Fishes and Loaves: The Rise of Mike Huckabee

I welcome you to what I hope is the first of many blogs covering a range of topics. I hope to blog regularly, so please check back often.

A few weeks ago, I wrote an opinion piece about the hypocrisy of Pat Robertson’s endorsement of Rudy Giuliani and I concluded my piece by stating, “If conservative leaders are true to their purported values, their only real choice is between Kansas Senator Sam Brownback, who withdrew from the race, and Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, who trails in the polls because of the failure of Christian leaders like Robertson and Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council to embrace him.” Since then, Mike has surged in the polls and gotten the endorsement of many Christian leaders. No doubt Pat Robertson rues the day that he made his endorsement. A wiser and more chastened Robertson has turned over the leadership of CBN’s 700 Club to his son Gordon.

For some people, it is a miracle that Mike Huckabee is leading in the Iowa poll despite being an underdog candidate with only a fraction of the funds of the leading Democratic and Republican contenders. He is truly David up against Goliath and his campaign funds brings to mind the miracle of the 2 fishes and five loaves of bread that Jesus multiplied to feed the 5,000 (Matthew 14:13-21).

Although I am an independent, Mike excites me in a way that I have not been excited since I was a child enamored with Robert F. Kennedy’s campaign for the presidency that ended tragically with his assassination hours after his winning the California primary on June 6, 1968. I like Mike because he strikes me as a man of substance and virtue who is willing to unshakably stand for his deeply held principles. Here is a man who is not ashamed of his Christian roots and beliefs and shows evidence of attempting to practice what he preaches.

Huckabee is pro-life and pro-heterosexual marriage as would be expected of a former Baptist pastor and a conservative Christian. However, he is not mean-spirited or driven by a single issue or desire to transform America into a theocracy. Instead, he strikes me as a populist candidate with genuine compassion and concern for ordinary Americans, a rare breed of Republican with a proven ability to garner the votes of blacks and Hispanics.

A recent column by David Broder makes the case for a McCain/Huckabee ticket. Reverse it, and Huckabee/McCain would be the ideal ticket for me. A few people would reject this ticket solely because of the candidates’ previous stances on immigration. Immigration reform is important for me and for millions of Americans who value and respect the rule of law and would like to see something done about illegal immigration and porous borders. Many of us recognize that, at the end of the day, there will be a compromise on this issue. Whatever we do as a nation must pass muster with a now galvanized public. I believe that the political system itself and the influence of leaders such as CNN’s Lou Dobbs can and will force drastic change upon the political system.
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