There’s a very blurry line between God and politics.
Huckabee realizes this and continues to be very open about his faith. He has even made his faith the focal point of his Iowa ad which has sent a surge of supports from the state. In the ad, Huckabee states, “Faith doesn’t just influence me — it defines me.” His strength of supporters in Iowa comes from evangelicals who agree with his pro-life and marriage stances. This shouldn’t come as a surprise because Iowa is largely constructed of very conservative individuals who value pro-family choices.
The long term issues Huckabee faces is how his conservative-religious based views will go over in more liberal states. Some feel that his faith may be offensive and controversial if not handled correctly.
John Green, a University of Akron professor who studies the role of religion in politics, recently had an interview with CNN. As of now, Green gives Huckabee brownie points on how he has handled the situation.
“Up to this point, [former Arkansas] Gov. Huckabee seems to have done a very good job of talking about his faith and politics in a very comfortable and apparently sincere fashion — that’s a bit unusual,” Green said. “There are many politicians who have a hard time putting those two things together.
However, Green does note that the Republican party values religious views greatly and his success with the Republican primary voters is most likely due to these values. This approach, however, may not work once the debates continue into the general election when the Democratic party gets involved.
There is no doubt that Huckabee is a charming individual and is quite humorous with his comments on “What Would Jesus Do?” and space travel.
When asked “What Would Jesus Do?” on the issue of the death penalty Huckabee replied, “Jesus was smart enough to never run for president.” His comment definitely brought laughter among listeners and was coined by many the best answer of the night. He also said that he would be more than happy to place Hillary Clinton on a rocket to Mars, also bringing laughter among the crowd.
Fred Thompson did take a shot at Huckabee with his campaign video which showed Huckabee agreeing with tax increases while he was governor of Arkansas. Huckabee is quoted saying on the commercial, “Others have suggested a surcharge on the income tax. That’s acceptable. I’m fine with that. Others have suggested perhaps a sales tax. That’s fine.” Huckabee, however, did not allow the strike to lead him astray. He replied with by saying that as a governor for 11 years in Arkansas he was able to cut 90 taxes, income taxes remained the same, and sales tax was only raised one penny.
Time.com gave Huckabee a B+ on his performance last night. Mark Halperin says, “Overall, he was unrattled, patient, and charming – but nevertheless still faces an uphill fight.” According to this article on Time’s website by Mark Halperin, Huckabee’s score was tied with John McCain who also received a B+. The rest of the candidates scored lower than these two.
Most analysts agree that Huckabee got a huge boost from the Republican debate despite his religious views. Most do not think that his value of faith is an issue at the moment.