With the Republican presidential campaign seemingly narrowed to a race between John McCain and Mitt Romney, one wonders what will become of Mike Huckabee’s more high-profile Religious Right backers? While Janet Folger appears busy starting up her own anti-Romney front group, Huckabee’s other most vocal and committed supporter, Rick Scarborough, seems to have been reduced to complaining and finger-pointing:
Scarborough was scathing in his assessment of U.S. Sen. John McCain of Arizona, who picked up Rudy Giuliani’s endorsement Wednesday (and might haul in the backing of Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who had supported Giuliani).
Scarborough told me: “We are left with a candidate for president who showed his disdain for the Christian Right in 2000 when he tried to salvage his candidacy by trashing Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson while campaigning in South Carolina. He destroyed any attempt by (Senate Majority Leader) Bill Frist to end once and for all the unconstitutional requirement of 60 senators to affirm judicial appointments by joining the Gang of 14 (senators from both parties agreeing to avoid frequent partisan wars over judges) and his McCain/Feingold (campaign finance) bill was a direct assault on grassroots activism while McCain-Kennedy (an immigration act) revealed his true convictions about amnesty. Oddly enough, the ‘establishment’ candidate once threatened to leave the party he now will likely represent.”
Scarborough took issue with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney too, saying Romney “was wrong on every pro-family issue his entire career until he decided to run for the Republican nomination.”
Scarborough rued: “The most visible Christian leaders in our movement decided that Huckabee was ‘unelectable,’ which became a self-fulfilling prophecy. I am angered and frustrated by that reality, but secure in God’s sovereignty.”
It has been a tough campaign for Scarborough, who has been struggling from the very beginning to figure out how best to position himself in order to maximize his influence and visibility. Initially, Scarborough sounded like he was supporting Sam Brownback and announced that he’d be launching a “70 Weeks to Save America” crusade to mobilize “100,000 Values Voters, 10,000 key leaders, 5,000 Patriot Pastors and 5,000 women” – an effort that almost immediately put the organization deep in debt.
Over the coming months, he went on to suggest that none of the top-tier candidates was going to be acceptable to the GOP’s Religious Right base and that they should consider leaving the party all together. But then, when others began suggesting the same thing, Scarborough flip-flopped and told them to “grow up,” hold their noses, and support the Republican nominee for the sake of judges … only to flip-flop back again and say that his political work was not about winning elections but “honoring Christ.”
He then got involved with the Values Voter Debate, where Mike Huckabee firmly established himself as the “David among Jesse’s sons” and soon he was serving on Huckabee’s Faith and Family Values Coalition and hard to work organizing pro-Huckabee get-out-the-vote rallies and joining the candidate at fundraisers.
But now that Huckabee’s campaign seems to be winding down, Scarborough is on the verge of being left without a candidate or a coherent set of principles on which to move forward. What, oh what, is a Christocrat to do?