Do you like Mike?

by Rachel Held Evans Read Distraction Free

Last week, at the 2009 Value Voters Summit, former Arkansas governor and presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee won a straw poll for the 2012 election. Now, as I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I don’t consider myself a “values voter,” at least not in the sense that the phrase is used in American politics today. To claim that the Republican Party (or any political party for that matter) represents the holy, radical teachings of Jesus Christ is just plain ridiculous in my opinion, perhaps even blasphemous.  And as much as I’d like to dismiss the folks at the Values Voters Summit as too extreme to be relevant, Huckabee is looking strong in several independent polls as well.

To get an idea of what Huckabee stands for, check out this transcript from his speech at the Summit.

In it, Huckabee assures conservatives that God is on their side and the source of their strength and power, comparing Republican Party purists to the Prophet Elijah and King David.  “Let others choose who they will serve,” he said. “But I hope you will join me in saying, as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” 

Ridiculing Obama’s efforts to engage the international community, Huckabee said, “There was once a time when our foreign policy was, ‘Walk softly and carry a big stick’… Our new policy is, walk softly and carry a great big olive branch, or maybe even a bag of Stay Puft marshmallows so that when we build around the campfire we can sing “Kumbaya” and have a lovely time holding arms and talking about how well we’re getting on.”

Referring to torture, Huckabee said, “God help us all when we’re more concerned about protecting the terrorists than we are the people in the CIA who were the ones whose information and intelligence helped secure us and it kept us safe for eight years not having another disaster.”

And, in a very strange reinterpretation of American history, Huckabee declared, “I believe America is an exceptional country created out of the providence of God because of the prayers of people who, on their knees, begged for a place where they could be free and raise their children in the freedom to worship and to speak out and to protest, and where every person was equal to every other person in intrinsic value and worth and no person was worth more or worth less because of how much land they owned, what their last name was, what their occupation was and what their bloodline was.” 

(…Unless you were a Native American, slave, or woman, of course!)

Speeches like these trouble me. The mixture of biblical allusions and politics. The culture war antics. The call to choose sides. The ridicule of international cooperation and peacemaking.  And, (by far the scariest and most serious), the absolute conviction that God is always on Mike Huckabee’s side.

So, what’s your opinion of Mike Huckabee? What are his chances for clinching the Republican nomination for 2012? Can you recommend any good, far away island locations where I can avoid a television at all costs should he be nominated?

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