The Confusing Rick Scarborough

Say what you want about Vision America’s Rick Scarborough, but when the man sets his mind to something, he sticks with it … at least until he’s had a chance to think about it and then changes course.  

From his inability to decide whether he liked Alexandra Pelosi’s documentary “Friends of God” to his ill-fated and seemingly defunct “70 Weeks to Save America Crusade,”  Scarborough has a remarkable ability to announce grand plans one week only to watch them quickly collapse and to make bold declarations only to turn around a short time later and say the exact opposite.

For example, as part of his “70 Weeks” campaign, Scarborough planned on traveling Iowa in order to generate support for Mike Huckabee but had to reevaluate once his partner, Alan Keyes, decided to run for President.  So then Scarborough scrambled to put together a different tour with fellow Huckabee-supporter Janet Folger, but then that folded due to mechanical and weather problems.  

While many of the problems plaguing Scarborough’s operations appear to be beyond his control, his efforts to make an impact heading into November probably aren’t being helped by his tendency to constantly change his mind about just what those efforts ought to entail.

Back when the pundits were declaring Rudy Giuliani a lock for the Republican nomination, Scarborough was having none of it, declaring

And we should be ready to go outside the Republican Party if it refuses to give us such a candidate. Christians must always remember that we are followers of Christ, not pawns of a party which often wants to dance with us before the election but then ditches us right after the final vote count.

But then, when his allies on the Right started to suggest that they might actually ditch the GOP, Scarborough flipped and began chastising them, telling them to “Grow UP!!!”:

I for one do not intend to sit idly by and allow evil to triumph because good men choose to do nothing–or worse, do the wrong thing. I have often said in speeches to churches, “the only thing worse than not voting, is voting without a clue as to what you are voting for.” When it comes time for the ‘08 elections, we must be armed with truth and determined to vote our values. If enough of us do that, we will get a president who will make the right choice when it comes to nominating judges. In ’08, it’s all about the judges! … We may have to hold our nose as we vote in ‘08, but we must and we will vote.

But then, a short while later, Scarborough changed his mind again, proclaiming that his work was not about “winning elections. It’s about honoring Christ”:

“I am not going to cast a sacred vote granted to me by the blood of millions of God-fearing Americans who died on the fields of battle for freedom, for a candidate who says it’s O.K. to kill the unborn,” he said. “I just can’t.”

Shortly thereafter Scarborough signed on with Huckabee’s campaign, and while his efforts in Iowa didn’t quite pan out as planned, he did manage to stump with the candidate in Texas.  But then Huckabee dropped out of the race and Scarborough seemed to have dropped off the radar.  

But today he reappeared to assure us that his position regarding supporting the Republican nominee has now morphed from won’t, to will, to back to won’t, to finally back to will:

My message from now till the election will be–we have a two party system in America for better or worse.  Voting third party in my estimation is a waste of your vote, and we must never forget, every vote is two votes.  You are voting for someone and you are not voting for someone else.  That means that when you vote for someone you know cannot possibly win, you are adding strength to someone who will win and you may be withholding a vote for someone who could have won.

Politics is not church.  In church we search for doctrinal purity as best we understand it, but in politics compromise is often the reasonable solution short of war or division. It is better to get 80 percent of what you desire than to get zero percent–which is what you get when you don’t participate or you participate ignorantly.

I cannot tell you how to vote, but I urge you to vote.  I urge you to be mindful that this is still a two party system and you and I must vote for the candidates and the party that best represent our values.  The time to discuss the pros and cons of a third party effort is on November 5th, right after the election, when there is time to actually make a difference.  I pledge to be at that meeting if it’s called, as it appears that both major parties no longer see conservative Christian as an asset–beyond getting their vote.

Do not lose sight of the goals which got us into this arena to start with: to end abortions in America in our lifetime; preserve marriage as the Bible defines it; preserve freedom by saving America as a sovereign and free nation; and increase the Kingdom of God on earth by being lights that shine in the midst of a crooked generation.

I am traveling every day to make that message known.  Later today, I will be speaking in Denver, Colorado.  Am I happy with the current field of candidates? Absolutely not!  But am I going to sit home and sulk?  Absolutely not!  Beyond the presidency there are U.S. Senate seats, U.S. House seats, state elections and judges to consider, and when the church stays home or acts foolishly everyone loses.

Scarborough prides himself on being a “Christocrat” who is not beholden to the Republican Party.  And nothing demonstrates that commitment to principle like incessantly waffling on whether or not to continue to support the GOP, and then deciding to do so while vaguely threatening to consider a third party option … but only, of course, after the election is over.