Conservative Christian activists in Iowa are playing a key role in the sudden success of Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, through groups like the Iowa Christian Alliance, the Iowa Family Policy Institute, and now the Iowa Pastors Coalition. It was Pat Robertson’s quixotic presidential run in 1988 that first developed the Religious Right as a political force in that early-caucus state—indeed, the Iowa Christian Alliance used to be the Christian Coalition of Iowa, a chapter of the national group Robertson founded after the campaign with his hard-won mailing lists.
So it’s hard not to compare Huckabee’s rise to Robertson’s strong second-place finish in the caucuses (ahead of George H.W. Bush, the eventual nominee). Huckabee, like Robertson ordained as a Baptist minister, shares Robertson’s views on social issues, and he even had a brief career in televangelism, working for culture warrior James Robison.
But the connection between the two men will apparently stop at that, since this year, Robertson has already endorsed Rudy Giuliani, citing terrorism as reason to ignore differences over abortion and gay marriage.
So when Robertson brought commentator Dick Morris on the “700 Club” Tuesday to wax nostalgic over how similar Huckabee’s run is to Robertson’s, the two were sure to bring it back in the end to the importance of eventually nominating Giuliani.