McCain’s Evangelical Enthusiasm Problem

huckabee19.jpgfarris.jpgBob Novak writes today that a well-placed Christian Right source says that Mike Huckabee, who has publicly endorsed and campaigned with John McCain, has floated the idea that an Obama candidacy might be just what the American people need, perhaps to set the stage for the Arkansas governor to run again in 2008 as the GOP’s savior:

One experienced, credible activist in Christian politics who would not let his name be used told me Huckabee in personal conversation with him embraced the concept that an Obama presidency might be what the American people deserve. That fits what has largely been a fringe position among evangelicals that the pain of an Obama presidency is in keeping with the Bible’s prophecy.


Huckabee told Novak that the report was hooey. So did evangelical activist Michael Farris (pictured, right), the supposed ringleader of what Novak calls the “let Obama win movement”:
….at the heart of the let-Obama-win movement is longtime Virginia conservative leader Michael Farris — the nation’s leading home-school advocate, who is now chancellor of Patrick Henry College (in Purcellville, Va.) for home-schooled students. He is reported in evangelical circles to promote the Biblical justification for an Obama plague-like presidency.
God-o-Meter phoned Michael Farris to follow up on Novak’s report and he denied it, just as he did to Novak. He told GOM:

The one thing we know about the plagues from the Old Testament is that they’re highly undesirable. And I just don’t talk in those terms. I’m not supportive of the Obama presidency for any reason.


Still, Farris has declined to endorse McCain. Farris told God-o-Meter that he is likely to pull the lever for the Arizona senator in November, but that he won’t organize evangelicals for him like he did for George W. Bush. To God-o-Meter, that’s McCain’s problem: not that evangelical activists are actively rooting for an Obama victory to teach the GOP a lesson or because they want to pave the way for a Huckabee candidacy in 2012, but simply because they’re not excited about McCain. To wit, Farris:

There’s a difference between endorsing somebody and willing to vote for somebody. I probably would vote for [McCain] unless he appointed a pro-choice or pro-abortion running mate or something of that sort.
But he hasn’t sought my endorsement. I’ve been part of a group that’s trying to talk to him several times both before he got the [presumptive] nomination and after, and he has flatly refused to talk to us. So it’s pretty evident that he really doesn’t want to work with a lot of the social conservatives
Even if you’re not supportive of it, is there a school of thought among evangelicals that an Obama presidency would be preferable to McCain because of what Novak has identified as this plague theory, that the political picture has to get worse before it gets better?
I haven’t heard anybody that feels that way, that an Obama presidency could be preferable for any reason. I’ve heard people talk about what happens if we do have an Obama presidency, but that’s people trying to make the best of a potentially bad situation. People have said if he does become president, maybe he’ll be so radical that he’ll turn a lot of people off, but nobody’s hoping for that. No sensible person would hope for that.
The evidence that nobody wants it to happen is that people keep trying to meet with McCain. We want to have a reason to support him, but given his past record on embryonic stem cells, on attacking the First Amendment with his campaign finance shenanigans, and given his effort to thwart the President’s judicial nominees with the Gang of 14, coupled with his open repudiation of evangelicals in the last president cycle and his refusal to meet with [conservative evangelical] leaders, you add it up and you say, this guy doesn’t’ want our help.”
Do you know who’s in charge of conservative Christian outreach on McCain’s campaign?
No. And that’s a statement all by itself.


Comments read comments(2)
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andrea useem

posted May 12, 2008 at 4:27 pm

Just wondering if you buried the lede here… Did Farris call an Obama presidency “a plague?”

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Mike Farris

posted May 19, 2008 at 7:18 pm

No I didn’t.

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