Monday, January 21, 2008

Catholic Backlash Against Mike Huckabee: Come Again?

I am a political moderate. That being said, I've been consistently impressed with presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee, who, no matter what you think of him, definitely stands in contrast to the rest of the Republican establishment. The reasons I am impressed with him (and consistently unimpressed with Ron Paul), however, are material for another post.

What I'd like to bring up for discussion is the seeming explosion of anti-Huckabee sentiment, sometimes bordering on hatred, arising from traditional Catholic circles. What gives?

I read political commentary every day, but this goes far beyond that. I'm a reasonable man; I don't ask everyone to agree with my stance on Huckabee. What I've been finding, more and more, though, is that Catholics hate Huckabee not because they disagree with him on the issues, but because he's an Evangelical Protestant and has a Southern accent. You think I'm kidding. I'm not.

The majority of what I read from Catholics about Huckabee shows a remarkable ignorance of the issues, as well as a decided lack of tact and common charity. In the course of this election year, I've seen Huckabee labeled as a right-wing extremist, an evangelical nut job, who "wants to replace the Constitution with the Bible" (actual quote) and who is just "crazy." Most Catholics I've read won't even talk about him, simply saying things like "he scares me."

Why? Nobody will tell me. This isn't political debate, this is just embarrassing.

This is not to say that all Catholics who dislike Huckabee are doing so for non-rational reasons. Of course not. I'm impressed with Huckabee, but I'm not asking everyone to be. All I'm asking is that we as Catholics hold ourselves to the same standards we hold others to. Let's judge a person on his own merits, which in politics is obviously a tricky thing. Huckabee may be a lot of things some Catholics disagree with, but he is not a right-wing nut job or an evangelical theocratic dictator. Catholics, you have the fullness of truth. Now get up to speed on your politics.


James H said...

Excellent post. I ahve been saying th same thing

healthily sanguine said...

I think one of the things that is unimpressive about Huckabee is his willingness to use his religion for political ends. Obviously, the two spheres are not opposed to each other, but it's very off-putting to me the way he seems to tout himself as the only Christian candidate; and I think a lot of people feel the same way. For instance, whatever we may think about Mormonism, Huckabee's subtle digs at Mitt Romney were, in my opinion, out of order.

Fezzick said...

What subtle digs? Huckabee made an ignorant (and politically stupid) comment on Mormonism which was definitely out of order, but he apologized for it afterwords. Other than that, it's been Romney who has been consistently sniping all of his opponents, Huckabee included.

I think that Huckabee makes no bones about the fact that he is an evangelical Christian, and, unlike Romney, admits that his religion IS going to influence his public decisions. The media is constantly harping on the fact that Huckabee is a Christian (not to mention the fact that debate moderators seem to throw irrelevant religious questions at him right and left), but he consistently refuses to take the bait. His standard answer is always something like: "I don't see how [insert random theological question] has to do with public policy, but I'll answer it to the best of my abilities." That impresses me.

healthily sanguine said...

Well, I was not so much referring to that comment as to something he said in an earlier debate, which I can't quite remember. I only remember that while it was subtle, it was calculated to hurt the other's reputation. I suppose I would just expect better of Huckabee since he claims his faith will inform his public actions. In principle, obviously, I am not against Christianity being the source of public life (this is what we must hope for), but I feel Mike Huckabee gives us a false, dare I say hypocritical example of it. Moreover, his overall policy (and here I do not mean his pro-life stance, which is what puts him above McCain and Romney in my book) will not help our country. Perhaps if I really believed he had the moral high-ground, I would be influenced to vote for him but as of yet I have not seen that. That might also be why some Catholics say, "He scares me," without any apparent justification--it's the intuition that this man is hiding his snakelike politician qualities under a veneer of Evangelical Christian homeyness.

healthily sanguine said...

Also, I am curious exactly what about Mike Huckabee "definitely stands in contrast to the rest of the Republican establishment." Would you care to elaborate?

Fezzick said...

I'm really curious to hear what specifically about Huckabee gives you the impression that:

(A) He "is hiding his snakelike politician qualities under a veneer of Evangelical Christian homeyness."

(B) His overall policy "will not help our country."

Like I said, I'm not asking everyone to agree with me about him, but he does seem to provoke vitriolic reactions from a lot of people, and for the life of me, I can't figure out why.

By the way, I can post about why I like Huckabee over Ron Paul in a seperate post, but I wanted to make sure that was ok with everyone before I took up another post with this subject.

healthily sanguine said...

(A) Well, first of all, I did say it was intuition for the most part, but I have also heard things about multiple ethics violations and Huckabee lobbying for a rapist to be released from prison which do not speak favorably to me of his character.

(B) may be a matter for another post as well. I will say that if we elected Huckabee president, I would imagine him to pretty much follow in Bush's footsteps. He would not be able to introduce legislation, and I fear he would not be liberal with his power to veto pork-laden bills. I certainly do not mind if you post about Huckabee--we don't have that much activity on this blog at present so anything helps! :)

healthily sanguine said...

Oh, I also think Huckabee's view on immigration is inconsistent.

Brian said...

I don't know of any Catholics who dislike Huckabee because he is evangelical, in fact I know many Catholics who support him. I disprove of his stance on life issues (heavy on death penalty), the war (U.S. is "honor bound" to stay as an occupying force as a result of an illegal invasion, etc - thats a long discussion), says he lowered taxes but also raised them in AK, and perceptions of disrespect for the church vs. state boundary about bringing religious bias into civil matters (wrt marriage, etc). Otherwise, he's has a fine personality and is a great orator, importantly believes in _small_ government and remove the IRS (however more short sighted in this than Ron Paul), and generally has good morals. I just wish he wasn't such a war monger like the rest, especially with Iran. Wouldn't that be a mistake!!! (Read Adm Fallon's early recent retirement and stance on Iran as USCENTCOM commander)