Coinciding with his rise in the polls, Mick Huckabee seems to have developed a two-pronged message that highlights his faith at every opportunity while complaining about the unfair coverage his faith is receiving.
The first part of this message can be seen on his own campaign website:
My faith is my life – it defines me. My faith doesn’t influence my decisions, it drives them. For example, when it comes to the environment, I believe in being a good steward of the earth. I don’t separate my faith from my personal and professional lives.
The flip-side of this faith-based messaging is Huckabee’s tendency to complain, as he started doing a few weeks ago, that he is “being questioned about the details of my faith like no one else” and insisting that the appeal of his campaign is about much more than simply his faith.
Huckabee appears to want to have it both ways: making explicit appeals for electoral support based on his faith and then complaining that he is being unfairly targeted for it. But as it stands now, it doesn’t seem as if he is willing to forgo the former in order to stop the latter:
Huckabee Counts on Pastors for Iowa Help
Republican Mike Huckabee, the former Baptist preacher, is depending on more than a leap of faith to win the Iowa caucuses.
Leading in polls, Huckabee is determined to make up for his skimpy organization in the state by enlisting national evangelical Christian supporters to rev up Iowa pastors and coax voters to the Jan. 3 caucuses.
Word of mouth in churches and among Christian groups can be a powerful force in Iowa politics. Christian believers make up the core of Huckabee’s support in the state, said Rick Scarborough, a well-known Texas preacher who has endorsed the former Arkansas governor, though he adds that “it’s not his only constituency.”
Huck uses Christmas debate to mobilize base
Mike Huckabee brought Christmas cheer to Iowa on Wednesday, as the newly appointed front-runner gleefully defended his controversial Christmas ad released this week.
“If I had used the name in Jesus Christ in vain and blurted it out as profanity no one would be talking about it,” said the former Arkansas governor. “Because I invoked his name on his own birthday … somehow everyone sees in it something that isn’t even there. Have we so lost our national soul?”
The hotel, packed with roughly 200 Huckabee supporters, erupted in applause, hollers and Amens.
Touting Christmas is smart strategy for the former preacher, whose evangelical base drinks up the holiday rhetoric as they would a big glass of eggnog. In the evangelical world, the ad strikes back at the so-called “war on Christmas.”
Huckabee’s two-pronged strategy is pretty well summed up in this quote from ABC News:
Does it bother Huckabee that unwillingness to vote for a Mormon is one of the factors helping him?
“You know, it’s not something that I agree with,” Huckabee says. “But I agree with the final outcome. I just have to believe that there’s still a reason that a lot of people are connecting with me and I don’t think it’s religion.”
He may not agree with voters supporting him only because of their own anti-Mormon view, but he’ll take it and just believe it is something else.
And while he may wish to believe that there is more to his campaign than his appeal to faith, he can’t deny, as he told CBN’s David Brody, that voters driven by “spiritual motivation … certainly represent a broad part of my base.”