Palmetto Conjuring

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How the GOP field will fare in South Carolina, with particular reference to the evangelical vote, is the subject of this piece in The central point is that the uninformed Yankee assumption that the Palmetto State will be easy pickings for Huckabee is well off the mark. The central idea is that evangelicals there are a different breed than in Iowa–more establishment, more militarily inclined, such that other candidates in the GOP field may give Huck a run for his money with them. Back when I was covering the 1988 presidential campaign for the Atlanta Journal Constitution, I remember only too well being fooled into thinking Pat Robertson would do real well in South Carolina after his stunning showing in Iowa. So shame on me if I get it wrong again. Then there’s 2000, when McCain thought he could capture the state by appealing to its military retirees and ended up getting high-lowed by the Rove attack machine and the evangelicals. How much do the latter still hold his denunciation of Falwell and Robertson as “agents of intolerance” against him? Let it also be noted that CNSNews is a creature of Brent Bozell’s Media Research Center, which is to say there’s a bit of a Beltway conservative spin on what it does. In short, I’m prepared to go out on a limb and say that anything can happen in South Carolina.

  • anxious anglican

    I think Mark Silk’s willingness to acknowledge that ‘anything’ can happen in South Carolina is a refreshing bit of journalistic humility. I wonder if whatever remains of a ‘social gospel’ consciousness even among Southern Baptists might give Huckabee some entree into some portions of South Carolina evangelical Christians who would otherwise be overlooked or, in the words of President Bush, mis-underestimated.