Alex Blaze

Religious Right for Huck

Filed By Alex Blaze | November 28, 2007 4:31 PM | comments

Filed in: Fundie Watch, Politics
Tags: endorsed candidates, Harry Jackson, Janet Folger, Jerry Falwell Jr., Kelly Shackelford, Mike Huckabee, Republicans

Or at least some of them.

Jerry Falwell, Jr., endorsed Huckabee this morning. Besides being his father's son, he's also a minister, a lawyer, and the current president of Liberty University, which his father founded.

Huck's been unable to get some of the huge names in the Religious Right to endorse him even though his record on their issues is the strongest of anyone running on that side. But he has pulled some small to medium names that are probably more effective at getting the crazies on his side than Rudy's Robertson endorsement.

Sarah Posner has the break-down:

Mike Huckabee announced the formation of a Faith and Values Coalition last night, with a former Southern Baptist Convention president and radio show host and activist Janet Folger at the helm. The coalition's members will be both cheerleaders and advisers, and the list represents considerable reach into different constituencies on the Christian right.

For anyone waiting for the Rapture, there's Jerry Jenkins, co-author of the enormously popular apocalyptic Left Behind book series. For activists whose memories go back to the 1980 Washington for Jesus rally on the National Mall, which supported Ronald Reagan for president, there's rally organizers Anne and John Gimenez of Virginia Beach. Last spring, the Gimenezes hosted a three-day conference devoted to commemorating the 400th anniversary of the settlement of Jamestown as evidence of America's heritage as a "Christian nation." Among their featured speakers were two targets of Sen. Charles Grassley's (R-Iowa) investigation into alleged misuse of church donations for lavish personal lifestyles, Kenneth Copeland and Paula White. Harry Jackson was also there, and the Harvard MBA shared a story of how the Washington for Jesus rally convinced him to forego a Wall Street job for a life in ministry. Christians United for Israel's John Hagee was also on hand, and afterwards Anne Gimenez agreed to become the Virginia state director for CUFI.

The Gimenezes represent a long-term link between conservative charismatics/Pentecostals and the largely white evangelical leadership of Christian right organizations like Campus Crusade for Christ. At his conference last spring, John Gimenez paid homage to late CCC founder Bill Bright, whom he credited for helping to organize the Washington for Jesus rally, and for embracing the tongue-talking, hand-raising, and dancing charismatics into the political fold.

Publisher Stephen Strang, one of the earliest evangelical supporters of Huckabee, is also in Huckabee's coalition, and he, too, has long been a player in Republican outreach to evangelicals and particularly his charismatic audience. Likewise Copeland protege, Detroit preacher, and former Republican Senate candidate Keith Butler, long cultivated for his potential star quality among African-American Republicans. Butler also serves on CUFI's executive board.

To counteract Mitt Romney's support from Christian right legal powerhouses Jay Sekulow (of Pat Robertson's American Center for Law and Justice), David French (of James Dobson's Alliance Defense Fund), and James Bopp (a long-time lawyer for anti-abortion causes), Huckabee announced support from Matthew Staver of Jerry Falwell's Liberty Council and Kelly Shackelford of Texas's Liberty Legal Institute.

A few of those names stand out for their homophobia. Harry Jackson's been trying to make a name for himself as a leader in the the Black Christian fundamentalist movement and has been outspoken in his opposition to the Matthew Shepard Act; Janet Folger is signed, sealed, delivered right-wing insane after helping organize the Faith2Action coalition in support of Jim Naugle (of bathroom stall fame), put together the Value Voters Summit, and writing complete insanity; Kelly Shackelford has been working for years on getting anti-gay legislation on the books.

It's pretty obvious the direction Huck's going with his campaign on gay issues - a lot less "love the sinner, hate the sin" and a lot more "homosexuality will destroy the Earth so kill them now." And a lot less media friendly than the homophobia of some of the other candidates.

None of the endorsements is going to drive voters to Huck by the millions, but it does show that he has some fringe workers willing to organize for him. He's also been picking up some momentum in Iowa, which could translate into him putting on a good show.


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The Democrats presidential clown car is full of slick, slicker and slickest versions of the usual suspects. They’ve all cemented their connections to big business, lack the courage or the ability to end the war and they all pander to bigots.

The Republican clown car is different; its occupants are sick, sicker and sickest. Sickest of all is Giuliani, connected not just to big business but to more ominous types through his gangster bud Kerik. McCain, who is panting to pay back the Vietnamese by murdering Iraqis falls into the ‘Sicker’ category.

Huckabee is somewhere between sickest and sicker. An article by Matt Taibbi, a writer for Rolling Stone, describes Huckabee as representing “… a marriage of Christian fundamentalism with economic populism. Rather than employing the patented Bush-Rove tactic of using abortion and gay rights to hoodwink low-income Christians into supporting patrician, pro-corporate policies, Huckabee is a bigger-government Republican who emphasizes prison reform and poverty relief. In the world of GOP politics, he represents something entirely new -- a cross between John Edwards and Jerry Falwell, an ordained Southern Baptist preacher who actually seems to give a shit about the working poor.”

Politicians like Huckabee abounded in the depression period and were a sign that politics were being realigned along the lines of class against class and profoundly shaken up. Today we’re in the very early stages of a similar development. In the depression Democrats Father Coughlin and Huey Long both combined religious superstition and populist demagoguery and attracted large followings.

Beyond his populism though, we have to keep in mind that Huckabee, like Hillary Clinton is profoundly religious. Matt Taibbi again. “He believes the Earth may be only 6,000 years old, angrily rejects the evidence that human beings evolved from ‘primates’ and thinks America wouldn't need so much Mexican labor if we allowed every aborted fetus to grow up and enter the workforce. This God stuff isn't just talk with Huck. One of his first acts as governor was to block Medicaid from funding an abortion for a mentally retarded teenager who had been raped by her stepfather -- an act in direct violation of federal law, which requires states to pay for abortions in cases of rape. "The state didn't fund a single such abortion while Huckabee was governor," says Dr. William Harrison of the Fayetteville Women's Clinic. "Zero."

Huckabee, a southern baptist, worked for gay basing evangelist James Robison who claims that ‘gays seduce and kill children’. He supports the FairTax plan which would abolish progressive income taxes and replace them by a very regressive 23% federal sales taxes. The rich would soon get much, much richer and the poor would get poorer.

The time is not yet ripe for rightwing populists like Huckabee to be hazardous. However, any number of uncontrollable events could send the economy and our standards of living into a steep nosedive. That and the economic and human costs of losing in the Middle East are potent destabilizing factors. What we can say is that sometime during the next administration American political life will begin to shift and buckle in earnest. By that time we have to have an independent political voice and a party in place to prevent an out of control rightward shift.

Right now both those requirements can be met if we join and build the labor union founded and funded US Labor Party.

It's funny - I'm watching the YouTube debates now and so far Huckabee seems the most polished, professional and personable. (How's that for alliteration? A Democrat was in office when I went to school.) I catch myself thinking, "He'll be the one they choose in the end." I dunno.

I'd think the same thing too, Bil, if it weren't for the fac thtat he can't fundraise well and the Club for Growth hates him. Has the Club for Growth ever been bucked when it comes to picking a GOP nominee?

Alex--

I don't think the CfG has been around long enough to draw reliable trendlines. I doubt their types were too fond of selecting Bob Dole, though.

The one thing he might be able to get away with, though, is to swing an Iowa win as a fundraising coup. Kerry '04 was out of money going into the Iowa caucuses, too

He's obviously the best campaigner. His delivery at the debate was practically flawless - although he was given some easy questions. (Ask the preacher about the Bible? Geez.) He made the audience laugh and I even caught myself nodding along to a few of his more reasonable points. And I laughed when he answered the Log Cabin Republicans question "I need all the endorsements I can get."