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Rod Dreher’s assessment that Huckabee’s appeal was “not just a triumph of theocon identity politics” seems to me a little bit like rewriting history. And though I will concede that Huckabee no doubt received many votes because of his populist appeal and his support of the fair tax he would not have won without the support of the Evangelical vote:
So much for the idea that evangelical Christians are a dispirited and declining force in the Republican party.
Last night they showed up in force — in stunning force, actually — in Iowa’s caucuses. They were the power that made a winner of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. And they now pose a challenge for Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani and John McCain — for every other serious contender, in other words.
Some six in 10 Republican caucus-goers described themselves as born-again or evangelical Christians, entrance polls showed. Almost half of them voted for Mr. Huckabee. Just two in 10 voted for former Massachusetts Gov. Romney. In a very real sense, evangelical voters, as much as Mr. Huckabee, won Iowa’s caucuses on the Republican side.
Identity politics won the day for Huckabee, he deliberately targeted Christians with his ads and with his rhetoric. How can anyone miss the blatant appeal in his speech to the value voters?
I think it’s important that the language of Zion is a mother tongue and not a recently acquired second language.
No one can speak the language of Zion without coming to Zion, can they (Hebrews 12:22)?
Will his appeal be broad enough to replicate his success in Iowa? Maybe, since the field is so cluttered and the national security and fiscal conservative voters will probably still split their vote amongst the remaining candidates. But is there really a desire for a populist candidate with no foreign policy experience and a spotty record on taxes and spending in the Republican party? Do our party members no longer care about smaller government and the empowerment of the individual (someone better tell Rush that he’s no longer the voice of the party if the answer to that question is, “yes”)? If that’s the case, then Huckabee may prevail.
But one thing is clear: Huckabee is the Christian candidate and there is no way we can distance ourselves from that. He made it an issue and the Iowa Christians voted for him because of it. He used the name of Christ to get elected. He will have to live with the consequences of that and so will we.