George Will Lowers the Hammer on Huckabee

George Will’s recent column about Mike Huckabee gives us some pertinent information as we size-up the race for the Republican nomination for president. Here’s a piece of George Will‘s broadside against Huckabee:

“Huckabee’s campaign actually is . . . a comprehensive apostasy against core Republican beliefs.”

I have many friends who would vehemently refute this description of Huckabee and who could set forth a mountain of arguments as proof of Huckabee’s conservative bona fides. And I might even agree with them that Will’s rhetoric is way overdone. But to argue either for or against that proposition is not what I find “pertinent” in Will’s essay.

What’s important to note is that it has become increasingly clear that Mike Huckabee will have a hard time uniting the tripartite Republican coalition for a victory in the general election. The only way that a Republican can win the nomination is by bringing together social, fiscal, and national security conservatives. If any one of those constituencies gets left out, then the nominee will lose in the general.

Can Huckabee bring all of these three together? It looks doubtful to me.


  • nate

    Rush Limbaugh raked him over the coals today saying Huck is trying to redefine conservatism.

    Fortunately none of this will change my mind because I picked my guy a long time ago and it’s never been Huckabee. So he hasn’t lost my vote, he never had it.

  • Joe Blankenship

    The pragmatism of Will’s article is consistent with what I have read of George Will over the years. Your pragmatism on this issue almost seems to belie the deep rooted principles that permeate your blog.

    Doesn’t our confidence in God’s sovereign hand allow us to do what is right not simply what looks best? “Whether a tree falls toward the south or toward the north, wherever the tree falls, there it lies…but you do not know the activity of God who makes all things.”

    Should we make our decision on what is right or what is most consistent with our understanding of God’s character? I’m sure you are making your decision based on God’s character, dear brother, but if I didn’t know you – I am not sure I wouldn read what you have written ON THIS ONE TOPIC ALONE, and come away with a sense of your deep conviction in God’s sovereign purposes.

    I have no investment in any candidate and have not decided who I will vote for. I do care about the way we (pastors/profs/spriitual leaders) teach people to think and make decisions. I am confident that God’s purposes will triumph. We may well think the best way to get a “conservative” elected is by “bringing together social, fiscal, and national security conservatives”. That seems like it would be good but it might end up being bad! We don’t know where the tree will fall. What we can do is cheer God on in His sovereign purposes and strive to do what magnifies Him. Isn’t that a better motive for choosing a candidate than whether he is the most electable (within my framework of non-negotiables)?

  • Ranger

    This presidential election will be a good test of how many evangelicals have become so caught up in Republican politics over the last twenty years that their perception of the line between political values and Christian values have blurred.

    Huckabee’s “apostasy against core Republican beliefs” and willingness to go against the party on certain issues represent the internal conflict of most Southern Baptists sitting in the pews on Sunday, which is why he continues to gain support. The reality is that many, if not most, evangelicals are populist in their convictions. They will always vote for the socially conservative candidate, but truly wished they could have voted for a candidate that was moderate on economic issues (especially in regards to helping the poor both locally and globally), and conservative socially.

    Unfortunately, there are many in the evangelical community that assume the Scripture is against any global poverty initiative, against raising taxes and against supporting free trade, simply because their view of Scripture has become blurred by their political view. Furthermore, it’s a shame that so many evangelicals are turning their back on their conscience and voting based on “winnability” and “likability.” I am of the opinion that we should act as our Baptist forefathers, acting and voting based on conviction, and leaving the results to God and His sovereignty.

  • Paul

    well, what makes this truly interesting is the fact that what social, fiscal and national security conservatism are today are not at all what those on the traditional right had in mind.

    socially, a real conservative is a libertarian, believing that the government has no place dictating how one’s life should be lived. That’s about 180 degrees away from where we’re at now.

    fiscally, a lot of people talk a good game, but it’s an all or nothing proposition. Either you’re conservative and you want to cut all (federal) spending that has nothing to do with the security of the country, or you don’t. Anything less than that equates to not being a fiscal conservative. So, any conservative that thought that the faith based initiative was a good idea ain’t much of a conservative. sorry.

    national security wise, the only candidate running who is conservative on the issue is Ron Paul. Everyone else is supporting some degree of empire building. Conservative foreign policy is isolationism, pure and simple.

    Huckabee isn’t conservative on any of those three.

    If you want to vote for him because you think he’s morally the best choice, that’s fine and dandy. But don’t call him a conservative, because he isn’t.

  • Don

    Paul, this may be a bad news for you but I agree with you.. Huck made {or his people} made a big mistake trying to sell Rush as a Washington Ny insider following GOP talking points. I listen to his show every day and he has not gone out on a limb for any guy yet. He has asked some questions on each. Once he asked a few about Huck they have tried to cut his legs out from under him. Not a good idea..When Huck stops doing a stand-up rountine and really answers some questions then we will see him..

  • Ben Stevenson

    I generally think limited government is a good idea. But how would a Christian what is a libertarian think of these Bible verses:

    “For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.” — Romans 13:4 (NIV)

    “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right.” — 1 Peter 2:13-14 (NIV)

    I don’t see the idea that government has “no place dictating how one’s life should be lived” in the Bible.

  • Paul


    exactly. A Christian and a Conservative are two different things.

    The sooner you realize that, the sooner you’ll truly vote with a conscience instead of a wallet.

  • Quixote


    You stated, “What’s important to note is that it has become increasingly clear that Mike Huckabee will have a hard time uniting the tripartite Republican coalition for a victory in the general election.”

    Are you saying or implying that if Huckabee wins the nomination, registered Republican voters will vote for a Democrat in the general election?

    I doubt it.

    What I DON’T doubt, is your dislike for Mike Huckabee. You’ve made that obvious in your blog posts. What you HAVEN’T made obvious, is WHY you dislike him so much.

  • Nick

    If Huckabee gets the nomination, of course they’ll rally behind him.

    Also, bravo to Ranger on the below quote, very true:

    “This presidential election will be a good test of how many evangelicals have become so caught up in Republican politics over the last twenty years that their perception of the line between political values and Christian values have blurred.”

  • Denny Burk

    Dear Joe (in #2),

    To be sure, I could do a lot more to make much of the glory of God’s sovereignty over all things, including Presidential elections. I believe that the Lord causes nations, kings, and presidents to rise and to fall (e.g. Daniel 4:31). I’m thankful that we share that in common.

    I not sure, however, that our differences here have to do with God’s sovereignty. As I consider the choice between Romney and Huck, I don’t think it’s correct to make it into a choice between expediency (Romney) and doing the right thing (Huckabee), which is how I think you have it. If I thought God’s revealed will directed me to favor one candidacy over another, then obviously the choice would be to follow what God has revealed, regardless of the consequences. But in this case, I don’t think it’s a “right or wrong” decision, but a “right or left” decision.

    Having described the choice between Romney and Huck as a “right or left” decision, I think the moral calculus changes when you throw Giuliani into the mix. Because Giuliani supports the legality of killing unborn humans, to vote for him would be a wrong decision. But I think the choice between Romney and Huck is different.

    Thanks for the comment.


  • Joe


    You are mistaken if you have taken my post to be pro-Huckabee.

    I’m responding to this post, at least in part, because it has been a topic of conversation in our home over the holidays. We have 2 college students living with us and 3 of our own home for Christmas – with numerous others over nearly every night. I am NOT pitting Huckabee against Romney – as right versus wrong. The more I’ve read over the past couple of weeks the more interested I am in other candidates.

    My comments on this post and in the home are attacking (gently, I hope) the thought process behind the choice of a candidate. Romney’s mormonism and belief in another God creates an interesting teaching tool. Even more so, when he brought his faith into the discussion with his religion/politics speech. How does his false religion compare with McCain’s? How does it differ if there were an atheist? Is the pluralism of the candidates something that should factor into my consideration of a candidate?

    Is being fiscally conservative a Christian virtue? Is the cause of Christ in America better off with a Republican or conservative president? To what degree has the cultural Christianity of Bill Clinton and other presidents further advanced pluralism and moral relativism – or do we simply get the kind of leaders that reflect who we are as a nation?

    Looking at those kinds of questions from a God-centered biblical perspective sits better with me than the pragmatic – which candidate is most electable?

    I think your intent is just different than mine on this issue. I respect the difference.

    Merry Christmas brother

  • Denny Burk


    You are correct. I have not endorsed a candidate. I’ve merely been discussing the kinds of things a person might weigh in the balance when deciding who to vote for. Chances are, by the time we Texans vote (March 4, well after Super Tuesday), the nomination will be a forgone conclusion. I’ll make my final decision sometime before then.


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