Via BuzzFeed, I’m trying to think of another case where a member of a movement as prominent as Huckabee is among politically active evangelicals has turned around and basically accused the rest of the movement of being money-grubbing frauds. Because that’s what he’s doing here, no? Listen to the clip and tell me I’m wrong. Six weeks ago, this guy was desperately seeking the support of many of the same Christian conservative leaders, most notably Bob Vander Plaats, who endorsed him in 2008. But it hasn’t gone his way; a coalition of influential evangelicals decided at a meeting in early December to back Ted Cruz. Huckabee was bitterly disappointed but the political calculation was straightforward. Huck had his chance in 2008 and proved incapable of winning despite facing a weaker field. Cruz is younger, better organized, has raised funds far more ably than Huck, and can unite evangelicals with small-government conservatives in a way that Huckabee simply couldn’t. And evangelical leaders were resolved this time to try to maximize social conservatives’ leverage by uniting behind one candidate rather than have everyone go their own way and dilute the movement’s power. It was tough luck for Huck, but it made sense.
But Huckabee can’t admit that Cruz is a better bet to win than he is. So he has to reach for an alternate theory, and the one he’s reached for is that most of the same people who backed him eight years ago are actually charlatans who want the Christian right’s agenda to fail so that they can keep lining their own pockets.
“A lot of them, quite frankly, I think they’re scared to death that if a guy like me got elected, I would actually do what I said I would do, and that is, I would focus on the personhood of every individual. We would abolish abortion based on the Fifth and 14th Amendment. We would ignore the Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage decision.”…
“A lot of these organizations wouldn’t have the ability to do urgent fundraising because if we slay the dragon, what dragon do they continue to fight? And so, for many of them, it could be a real detriment to their organization’s abilities to gin up their supporters and raise the contributions, and I know that sounds cynical but, Todd, it’s just, it is what it is,” Huckabee said.
Give him another couple of weeks and he’ll be wondering if Vander Plaats has ever personally performed an abortion. But that excerpt above only covers half the clip; you need to listen to all of it to hear Huckabee “explain” how their refusal to endorse him suggests that they’re not really praying on their decisions. “[I]t seems like the criteria that I’ve been told for selecting candidates seems very secular,” he says. I don’t know what’s worse about that, the idea that prayerful consideration couldn’t possibly lead a believer to support anyone but Huckabee or the idea that evangelical voters should exclude any “secular” criteria in choosing a candidate. One of the most reliable stereotypes in media is that Christian conservatives are suckers for the “values” candidate who delivers the most fire and brimstone on the stump. In this case, they weren’t; as Huckabee says, there are sound “secular” reasons to think Cruz is a better choice with a better chance of winning. Does Huckabee want social conservatives to be the stereotype of themselves or are they entitled to consider the totality of a pol’s agenda when voting? It takes some ego to tell a bunch of devout believers, who’ve supported you before and who are telling you now that prayer has led them in another direction this time, that that’s not God they’re hearing, it’s the sound of hundred-dollar bills rustling in their wallets. Sheesh.
Exit question: His announcement next month that he’s dropping out of the race is going to suggest that the hand of Satan was at work, isn’t it?