Today’s Washington Post story about Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney attending services yesterday in their respective churches includes this key line about Huckabee’s preacher strategy:
On Friday, three national religious leaders backing Huckabee — Tim LaHaye, Michael Farris and Rick Scarborough — convened a conference call with Iowa pastors to urge them to use Sunday’s services to drive up participation by Christian voters, who polls suggest favor the former Arkansas governor by comfortable margins.
God-o-Meter realizes this strategy is straight out of the 2004 Bush campaign’s playbook, but it is still struck by the brazenness of a presidential campaign openly coordinating directly with preachers. Though the Huckabee campaign will surely claim that it’s just trying to increase evangelical turnout–as opposed to urging pastors to promote Huck from the pulpit–God-o-Meter wonders if the IRS will wind up investigating such campaign-preacher strategizing as a violation of its rules against certain kinds of church politicking. Of course, God-o-Meter realizes that such an investigation would come far too late to matter in this election cycle.