Beliefnet
God-O-Meter

Huckabee7.jpgBack in the 1990s, the Christian Coalition was known as an “invisible army” for its ability to go undetected by the news media until delivering dramatic GOP victories on Election Day, including 1994’s Republican Revolution. The Dallas Morning News’ Wayne Slater says a similarly undetectable but potent force is behind Mike Huckabee’s rise:

Mike Huckabee’s political rise has been fueled by a vast network of local Christian leaders largely unknown to the general public but powerfully influential in evangelical circles.
That strategy – methodically rolling up the support of these grass-roots networks – has paid big dividends, helping catapult Mr. Huckabee ahead in Iowa and boosting his prospects in the Republican field.
“All these leaders that most of the national media don’t recognize, they’re all coming to Huckabee,” said supporter Kelly Shackelford of Plano-based Liberty Legal Institute.
On Sunday, the former Arkansas governor was in the pulpit of a San Antonio megachurch, where he made no apologies for the religious tone of recent holiday campaign commercials and delivered a sermon on the birth and resurrection of Jesus.
Although Mr. Huckabee lost some big-name endorsements, including 700 Club founder Pat Robertson, his campaign has successfully tapped the organizing apparatus of numerous religious figures whose local endorsements carry considerable weight.
“You’ve got the home-school network. You’ve got the right-to-life network. You’ve got networks of megachurches,” said John Green of the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.
“The Huckabee campaign apparently understands something about the evangelical community that people outside don’t – that it’s highly decentralized,” he said.
“And if they hear something good about a candidate from someone they trust through a religious network they’re a part of, it can be quite effective.”

Hmmm. It seems to God-o-Meter that the big difference between Huckabee’s and the Christian Coalition’s armies is that while Ralph Reed’s ’90-s era operation was invisible, Huckabee’s has been making front-page headlines for weeks now. In fact, God-o-Meter feels that the evangelical army’s challenge in 2008 will be living up to the hype about its ability to boost Huckabee above better-funded Republican opponents.


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