Former President William Jefferson Clinton is not the subject of this post; although I am sure he still desires the Presidency. There is another son of Hope, AR who desires the office of President of the United States, and like Mr. Clinton, the man of whom I speak is also a Southern Baptist, a former Governor of Arkansas, and is a former chair of the National Governors Association.
Those are about the only similarities between Mr. Clinton and Mike Huckabee. Mike Huckabee (Doesn’t that name just scream Arkansas?) was a guest on MSNBC’s Jan. 28 Meet the Press. Tim Russert asked Mr. Huckabee why he was running for President. Here is Huckabee’s answer:
I think America needs positive, optimistic leadership to kind of turn this country around, to see a revival of our national soul, and to reclaim a sense of, of the greatness of this country that we love, and also to help bring people together to find a practical solution to a lot of the issues that people really worry about when they sit around the dinner table and talk at night.
Are you asking yourself, “Who is Mike Huckabee?” I’ll admit that until yesterday all I knew about him was that as a Republican he twice won the Governor’s office by a landslide in a yellow-dog democrat state. Here is what I learned today.
According to Wikipedia:
He graduated magna cum laude from Ouachita Baptist University, completing his bachelors degree in 2 1/2 years before attending Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Prior to his political career, Huckabee was pastor of several Southern Baptist churches in Arkadelphia, Texarkana, and Pine Bluff, Arkansas. He served as President of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention from 1989 to 1991 and as President of a religious-oriented television station.
You might think the above information alone would be enough for me to vote for him were he to receive the Republication nomination. You would be wrong. First of all, just because someone is a Baptist does not mean they automatically qualify for public office. Second, if God has called this man to the gospel ministry why is he running for President? Why was he the Governor of Arkansas? As you would expect, leaving the pulpit for politics was one topic Russert addressed, and he quoted Huckabee from early in his political career. Here are those quotes (taken from the MTP transcript linked above):
“Huckabee … explained why he left pastoring for politics. ‘I didn’t get into politics because I thought government had a better answer. I got into politics because I knew government didn’t have the real answers, that the real answers lie in accepting Jesus Christ into our lives.’” And then this: “I hope we answer the alarm clock and take this nation back for Christ.”
I wholeheartedly agree that the real answer is in repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. I disagree with the notion of “taking the nation back for Christ” on two levels. First, when was this nation ever Christ’s? Yes, I fully believe that our great nation was founded on Biblical principles, but it is a fallacy to refer to this nation as ever being truly Christian. Second, Christ ordained that we reach our communities through evangelistic not political effort. The greatest affect that a person can make on his community, his state, his nation is to honestly, exhaustively, passionately, boldly, and persistently proclaim the gospel. The government can’t save you, but the gospel does.
Listen, before you political activist types turn deep shades of red; I think that Christians should hold political office, but I think that “reclaim America for Christ” soundbites are just plain unBiblical and untenable on the national level. Accordingly, when Russert pressed Huckabee about that quote Huckabee said:
Well, I think I—I’d probably phrase it a little differently today.
Now that I have that off my chest, let me say this; Huckabee does have a solid conservative track record, especially on crucial social issues such as abortion and marriage, and he is a proponent of creationism. I’m all for that! Some conservatives have criticised his fiscal policies. The CATO Institute, a conservative think-tank, gave him an “F” for his last term as Governor and a “D” overall. The reason for such a low-ranking is mainly because he increased spending and raised taxes. You can read his fiscal policy defense in the MTP transcript.
Here is one final quote from Huckabee:
“One of the reasons that I’m running for president is because I think that America needs folks who understand what it is to start at the bottom of the ladder and climb their way to the top. We’ve got a lot of people who are born on third base and think they’ve hit a triple. “America loves an underdog. America loves people who have had to struggle and for whom every rung of the ladder has been sometimes three rungs up and two back down, Thank God for the one you’ve gained, and keep climbing”.
Will Huckabee receive the Rebublican nomination? I doubt it. As a conservative, however, I would feel much more comfortable with a Huckabee than a Giuliani.