Huckabee and CHRISTIANS?

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In a post on who gets the vote of “religious conservatives,” Steve Waldman writes:

That leaves Huckabee. As a former Baptist minister himself, he has
standing to criticize Palin without being cast as anti-Christian.
Mainstream media mistakenly assume that Huckabee failed last time
because his base was too limited to religious conservatives. Actually,
he fared no better among Christians than McCain and Romney early on. He
was distrusted by many in the party for being too liberal, not for
being too conservative.

This is entirely misconceived. As any examination of the exit polls from last year’s GOP primaries will show you, Huckabee did fail because he had trouble drawing beyond his base of white evangelicals. They loved him. The distrust came from so-called leaders of the religious right, whose suspicion arose, at least in substantial part, because they didn’t think he could win. His “liberal” moment was over after Iowa. As for faring no better among Christians than McCain and Romney, that’s only if you include all Christians–Catholics and and Mainline Protestants and Mormons as well as Evangelicals. Huckabee couldn’t win the former, for sure. But Catholics and Mainline Protestants do not constitute the conservative religious base of the GOP. C’mon, Steve!

The big question for GOP big shots at the moment has to be whether Mitt Romney can manage to garner enough rank-and-file evangelical support to marginalize Huckabee. So look for Romney to play a big role in fighting the Proposition 8 repeal referendum. Where has Romney just bought a new home? La Jolla, California.

Update: I don’t appear to be the only one with this thought.

  • Gayle

    It’s interesting that you pose the perception that Mormons misrepresent themselves as being a major reason why evangelicals won’t vote for Romney. As a Mormon myself, I really liked Huckabee and would have voted for him, until he began to to present himself as an authority about my faith and subsequently misrepresent my faith. The crazy thing is that there was no reason for him to do so except to turn evangelicals against Romney. Now, I would never vote for the man.
    It appears that there is a very unusual perception of what members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe. I believe Jesus Christ is my Savior, and don’t question the sincerity of others’ belief in Jesus Christ. I find it odd that people would question mine when they don’t even know me. I also find it odd that people would accept a non-Mormon’s opinion about what Mormons believe over a clear statement by a member of the church. It’s like going to a Chevy dealer to find out about a Ford. Even if the Chevy dealer is someone you admire or respect you have to know that they have no incentive to say anything positive about Fords.

  • Mark Silk

    For a full treatment of anti-Mormonism among evangelicals and how that affected Romney in the 2008 Republican primaries, see this article by John Green and myself: I would say, Gayle, that Huckabee did what he did to remind evangelicals that he was their candidate, and that Romney wasn’t. That may have been ugly, but it wasn’t crazy.

  • Brent

    It is also the constant reminding the he was their “christian” that makes him a non-viable canidate.
    Huckabee basically played the “vote for me I go to the same church as you” card with evangelicals. That backfired as soon as he was standing in front of those of other faiths. His whole campain was built on him being a folksy evangical and for voters who don’t think being evangical is the biggest reason to vote for a canidate all we were left with is a folksy guy who can jam with Chuck Norris.

  • kath

    Huckabee may claim to be a Christian — but he doesn’t act like one. I wouldn’t dare vote for him because he gives me the feeling that “all men are NOT created equal”