Over the weekend, Mike Huckabee jaunted off to the Cayman Islands to deliver a speech at the Young Caymanian Leadership Foundation’s awards banquet because … well, he needed the money:
“No taxpayers pay for me to have health insurance, to pay my mortgage, to pay my bills,” Mr. Huckabee said. “And so to me, it’s not just absurd, it’s beyond absurd — it’s insulting — to think that there’s something nefarious about my being here when nobody has raised the question about sitting U.S. senators taking their full paycheck and enjoying all the magnificent perks they get from the U.S. taxpayers.”
Obviously, Huckabee needs to earn money when and where he can, since his only job at the moment is running his long-shot presidential campaign, especially since he thinks that this very campaign just “may be killing my political career.”
Of course, rather than “killing” his career, this quixotic endeavor has actually made his career. After all, had he not run and managed to outlast much bigger names like Mitt Romney, Fred Thompson, and Rudy Giuliani, nobody would be speculating as to whether he might be tapped to serve as John McCain’s vice-presidential nominee or to serve as Secretary of Health and Human Services.
On top of that, he has built up a large base of right-wing supporters that could easily propel him into a position as one of the nation’s leading, most high-profile Religious Right leaders once the race is over, much as Pat Robertson did following his own run for president.
“This is Texas,” declared Rick Green, a Mike Huckabee supporter. “In Texas, we don’t cut and run. In Texas, we don’t give up and go home before the fight is over.”
Although the Huckabee camp has worked to define its candidate more broadly as a tax-cutting economic populist, Monday’s supporters made it clear why they were there.
“Protecting life and protecting the family,” said the Rev. Steve Washburn, pastor of First Baptist Church of Pflugerville. “We are to vote for the candidate who will best champion this cause of the Lord, this moral cause.”
Brent Bullock, who works for a Christian nonprofit group, warned of corrosive “secular humanism and socialist ideologies.”
Green works for Wallbuilders along with renowned pseudo-historian David Barton, while Bullock happens to run the America Bless God Campaign of Texas which seeks to “reestablish the Word of God as the moral standard in America”:
America’s predominate population of Christians has been influenced by Secular Humanism and contemporary American culture, which has damaged the testimony of the church and the foundations of civil government. We live in an age where each man does what is right in his own eyes, and there is a great struggle over the standards by which we should live. Many lives are being damaged by man’s immoral standards. We believe that God’s moral standard, as revealed in the Bible, should be the standard we live by; not my standard or yours. Biblical standards, understood in the full contextual interpretation of the Old and New Testaments, provide for a blessed society.
Once his campaign is officially over, Huckabee will find himself well-positioned to join the ranks of high-profile Religious Right leaders such as James Dobson and Tony Perkins, should he so choose. In fact he would probably be quite capable of not only joining them, but outright challenging them considering that the “values voters” they claim to represent have been flocking to his campaign while the leaders have been glaringly slow to embrace him.
As Janet Folger, one of Huckabee’s biggest supporters, put it:
There is something this political race is doing that nobody would have expected. Among conservative and pro-family leadership the sheep are being separated from the shepherds.
There are those in “leadership” in the pro-family movement who follow the pundits, the polls or the politicians instead of leading on principle. I could list them, but, well, you already know who they are. The ones sitting on their hands or convening to the candidate of compromise.
There are sheep, and there are shepherds. Sheep follow the pundits, the polls, political expediency and promised perks. Shepherds follow principle. Gov. Mike Huckabee is such a man. So are those who stand on principle with him.