Should Mormons Hate Huckabee?

February 7, 2008 | 121 comments
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For the first time in American history, a Mormon had a serious shot of making it to the highest office in the land. But no more: Mitt Romney has pulled out of active competition for the Republican nomination and thus for the presidency. How should us Mormons feel about that?

I never was a Romney supporter; his “conservatism” (business-oriented, technocratic, globalist, classically liberal, only nominally cultural) wasn’t the kind I particularly trust or like, and his style and preferences and stratagems left me cold. But that doesn’t change the fact that I was fascinated with the man; that as a member of his tribe, I thought often (and even had some recommendations) about what he should say and who he should try to be. And consequently, I can understand one reaction many American Mormons may be feeling right now:

Pissed at Mike Huckabee.

Leave aside the fact that Huckabee was (unaccountably, but somehow truthfully nonetheless) a passing friend of Senator McCain’s, and thus predisposed to take on someone else as the contest narrowed. Leave aside the fact that it was perhaps inevitable that they would clash: with Thompson a cypher, Ron Paul too much on the fringe for most even rather serious conservatives, and McCain and Giuliani occupying a moderate, pro-war, foreign-policy heavy middle, that left Huckabee and Romney alone seriously shooting for the Christian right vote. No, putting all that aside, there remains the question: did Huckabee undermine Romney’s campaign through and because of bigotry?

I have a good friend, another Mormon, who has lived pretty much all his life in the South, and so despite my years in Mississippi, Arkansas, and now Kansas, I usually defer to him when it comes to interpreting Southern Baptist habits and words. And he is convinced that Huckabee’s relentless attacks on Romney and his candidacy–attacks that at the very least played a not insignificant role in keeping some social conservative voters from straying over to the Romney camp, especially in the lead-up to South Carolina, Florida, and Super Tuesday–were not primarily the result of political calculation, but rather the result of religious prejudice. I quote from two recent e-mails of his:

I haven’t seen any polls on the Mormon issue; but in listening to Huckabee supporters on TV and radio for the past month, it’s clear that most of them have a profound distrust and often contempt for Romney, which makes it easy for me to assume that anti-Mormon sentiment plays at least some role–possibly a big role–in Huckabee’s success. His continued Romney baiting–often in expressly religious terms–suggests that he’s not unaware of that prejudice. (“Tonight, we are making sure America understands that sometimes one small smooth stone is even more effective than a whole lot of armor.” So he’s David to the evil Goliath. “And we have also seen that the widow’s mite has more effectiveness than all the gold in the world.” He’s the hero of Jesus’ parable and Romney is a Pharisee.)….Huckabee will stay in at least as long as Romney stays in. If he does, I’m sure at some point we’ll hear him talking about how his campaign walks through the primaries “without purse, and scrip, and shoes”….Overtly religious rhetoric and posturing–especially on a consistent basis over the duration of a campaign–is an extremely unusual thing in American politics–even in the Republican party. Not even Pat Robertson in his ’88 bid went as far as Huckabee has gone with the religious rhetoric, despite having a much more ambitious “moral” agenda. The thought that this decision is just a natural outgrowth of having once been a preacher, rather than a deliberate rhetorical strategy to consolidate a certain segment of voters and differentiate himself positively from his chief competitor, just seems like a stretch to me….They really do hate Mormons, man.

As I had to confess to my friend, I may be in the grips of an odd prejudice here (a doubly odd one for a Mormon to hold), but I just can’t buy this. I have no doubt that more than a few of those evangelicals who turned out to vote for Huckabee on Super Tuesday did so because of anti-Mormon bigotry; I’m also quite certain that Huckabee and at least some of his people know this, and haven’t gone out of their way to squelch it. But then…well, I don’t know what to say beyond that. Obama is most certainly benefiting from votes coming from both Democrats and independents who loathe Hillary Clinton as some kind of communist lesbian vampire; sure, he treats her with respect, but neither is he going the extra mile to make sure everyone knows that Senator Clinton is a perfectly fine and decent candidate. Politics makes use of prejudices, both honorable and dishonorable ones. Should the fact that there are (maybe a few, maybe a lot of) anti-Mormons voting against a Mormon candidate for a presidential nomination be something that derails the legitimacy of a whole campaign?

Well, maybe. Maybe if you can show that Governor Huckabee, in choosing his words and his target, is implicitly (or maybe even explicitly) making his opponent seem like an unChristian, untrustworthy, unauthentic human being, and doing so in ways that align very well with anti-Mormon rhetorical tropes. That is, maybe if you can show that Huckabee really has been stoking the fires of bigotry, then you might have a case against him.

I just don’t think you can do that. Huckabee–like every candidate–has done some slimy and dishonorable things. Given the block of voters he was competing for, and given the sorts of rhetorical reservoirs he has to draw upon, his slimy and dishonorable things have often had a religious cast to them. Predictably, that religious cast has been an evangelical, Protestant one, and hence can easily be presented as anti-Mormon. But again…where do you go from there? You could, of course, insist upon a level of integrity, decency, and honesty from your presidential candidates. Yet besides the obvious things (like not playing fast and loose with the basic rules of the game, as Bush and his people did long ago in Florida, and as Clinton and her people appear to be trying to do with Florida and Michigan delegates now (see Timothy Burke and Ezra Klein for details)), such expectations often come to ground on subjective matters: did you attack someone’s wife, did you lie about someone’s record, did you say a mean and cruel thing? Too often, the result is school-yard taunts, of which we all get enough of every two or four years. In the end, I can’t complain if it turns out that Huckabee’s rhetoric, maybe even his occasional asides to his core audience, are basically tribal–as I recently said, I not only don’t object to a little non-violent tribalism, I actually think it can often be a necessary and good thing. Mormons do it too, that’s for certain (go ahead, get a random bunch of Mormon missionaries together, and ask them their honest opinion of Jehovah’s Witnesses). And so, if a Mormon takes to the public square, especially the biggest public square of them all, he may find his tribe employed against his will or even against his notion of fair play in order to go along with the self-definition and get-out-the-vote drives of someone else.

As for me, well, I’ve never met Huckabee; I voted for him once for governor of Arkansas, but as I’ve said a couple of times before, I wouldn’t vote for him for President. But I like the man because he reflects, at least potentially, a populist conservative sentiment that I can intellectually get behind, a sentiment that our country needs more of. Romney, in my view, didn’t do any of that; hence, I’m not sad to see Huckabee remaining a player in the Republican contest and Romney throwing in the towel. I would be sad–I would be angry, I would be frustrated and depressed and pissed–if the only message here was “no one will listen to a Mormon, because they hate us.” But at most, I think the message here is “if a Mormon without any deep roots in or even much of a relationship with the Christian rights decides, for some mix of personal conviction and political calculation, to make a play for Christian right voters against a former Southern Baptist preacher, one that will not be above making jokes and comments here and there to demonstrate his bona fides to his core supporters, prepare to not win.” The anti-Mormonism out there–which surely is real, but is just as surely, I think at least, to be mostly implicit and/or subconscious and/or in the eye of the beholder–is just going to the icing on your farewell cake.

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121 Responses to Should Mormons Hate Huckabee?

  1. Mark IV on February 7, 2008 at 3:30 pm

    Is the pope Catholic?

    Seriously RAF, after Huckabee’ shenanigans and Dreher’s citiations of what he appears to think are substantive critiques of the Book of Mormon, what’s next? The Bavarian Mormon Illuminati?

  2. manaen on February 7, 2008 at 3:49 pm

    I’d like to share a personal outgrowth of the current presidential election. I have voted for Evangelical candidates in the past:
    .
    I DON’T SEE VOTING FOR AN EVANGELICAL CANDIDATE AGAIN.
    .
    I used to be happy joining common cause where possible with Evangelicals, like I do with anyone else, but I find myself unable to do so anymore because:
    .
    (1) So many of them have been so insistent that they could never support an LDS candidate, regardless of his/her qualifications, simply because of theological differences that I can’t support putting into office of a government under which I am to live anyone who acts like that when they need LDS votes to become elected. If they they’re so hateful, prejudiced, and willing to disenfranchise LDS people when they want/need our support, how much worse would they treat us — in office! — after they’re elected and do not need our votes? Even if all Evangelicals do not feel this way, the lack of an Evangelical backlash, to protect my rights, against those who do feel like this warns me off voting for any Evangelical. I’ll support candidates who’ll step up to support me, thank you.
    .
    (2) They continue to insist on misstating my beliefs and to extend false arguments against them, after I’ve corrected them about my beliefs and countered their arguments. This tells me that these are not free-thinking people who I can trust to listen to me and to respond to what I say — two characteristics that I want in office holders!
    .
    (3) Such were the ministers who led the mobs that killed Joseph Smith and persecuted the early Saints, including my ancestors. It would be foolish and would dishonor my ancestors to turn to vote for like-minded antagonists now.
    .
    I thank Mr. Huckabee for opening my eyes to this. I seriously was considered supporting him — until he turned on us. What was he thinking? That we’d decide to vote for him anyway? Either that or he thought he didn’t need us and wouldn’t bother to include us. Either way, I no longer see voting for him or any of his fellow travelers.

  3. BBELL on February 7, 2008 at 4:01 pm

    I do think Huck played the “mormon card” esp in the south. Shame on him.

  4. ECS on February 7, 2008 at 4:03 pm

    I’m not buying what Huckabee is selling, but the answer to your question is no – for the reasons you state in your final paragraph. Nice analysis, RAF.

  5. Steve L on February 7, 2008 at 4:04 pm

    Romney did not represent Mormons well. I am not speaking to his ideology, but the fact that he was PERCEIVED as lacking backbone, conviction… chose your adjective. He did not put church’s best foot forward (and what do we cultists fear more than that?) and for all the talk, I think his campaign has had very little impact on America, the church and all the interfacing twixt them. I think few in our country will care that he dropped out, and that church members would do well to follow that example.

  6. se7en on February 7, 2008 at 4:09 pm

    You couldn’t support Romney?

    Shame on you.

  7. se7en on February 7, 2008 at 4:10 pm

    #5: Joseph Smith was PERCEIVED as a liar, bigot, and womanizer.

    Romney was the best presidential candidate out there. Easy.

    Hope to see him in the office in 2012.

  8. James on February 7, 2008 at 4:13 pm

    The Vanderbilt study (http://www.vanderbilt.edu/news/releases?id=39047) indicates that anti-mormon bigotry was a significant drag on Romney’s campaign prospects. I grew up in the midwest and saw how much anti-mormon vitriol passes through evangelical churches. You have to get down to the county and precinct level but comparing primary and caucus results with religious demographics is very interesting. For example, in Iowa Romney won eastern Iowa, which is heavily Catholic, and much of the western border counties as well as the county where Lamoni, IA is located. That county is heavily Community of Christ and it seems that they went for the candidate that was most like them. The rest of the state, which is heavily baptist and Assemblies of God went for the Rev. Mr. Huckabee. The same applies in other parts of the country, educated, non-evangelical conservatives voting for Romney and the evangelicals went for a Pastor-in-Chief. Hating the Rev. Mr. Huckabee would be unbecoming and counter-productive but voting for a presidential ticket with him as a member is another matter all together.

  9. Naomi Sloan on February 7, 2008 at 4:14 pm

    How can you hate him when he’s just so dang likeable? I’ve really enjoyed watching and listening to him in the campaigns and in his occasional appearances on the Colbert Report and other comedy shows (he really did miss his calling in life). And I respect the sincerity of his Christian belief, which he’s stated in no uncertain terms during the debates.

    BUT I have to admit that I was really disturbed when I heard (although I haven’t independently confirmed) that he’s participated in several large anti-Mormon conferences. However, if I’m not going to hold Romney’s changing of political positions against him (which I don’t), I’m not going to hold Huckabee’s past against him.

    Besides, if we’re going to demonstrate ourselves to be the TRULY superior Christians, we would forgive and have charity, right? :)

  10. Matt Donaldson on February 7, 2008 at 4:14 pm

    As a supporter of Romney, I was upset with the way Huckabee ran his campaign. Anti-Mormon attitudes certainly played a significant role, especially in Iowa. But I think other prejudices were at work as well. Anyone who has experience in the South knows that there is a predisposition against Northerners, especially those from New England, and especially ‘slick-talking,’ financially successful New Englanders. Much of Huckabee’s rhetoric was aimed at casting Romney in that light. He played on religious prejudice, class envy, and regional hostilities.

  11. Ray on February 7, 2008 at 4:17 pm

    I have no doubt, based on what I’ve seen and heard from Huckabee that he is bigoted toward Mormons. My vote against him, however, is based purely on his actions as governor of Arkansas and his politics with which I disagree.

    Of course, we shouldn’t hate him, but I don’t think we can discount his stoking of the anti-Mormon flames. Imo, it is blatant and hard to deny. In the end, I just don’t like what I know of the man and his politics.

  12. Dave on February 7, 2008 at 4:17 pm

    Hate is kind of a strong word; contempt is the better word. It’s not because he ran against Romney or caused Romney’s candidacy to fail that Huckabee deserves contempt, that’s just part of politics. It’s because he used a sly form of religious bigotry to drum up support for himself (a bad thing on general principles) and because it was directed at my religion (a bad thing for me and my family). Huckabee merits contempt and I’m happy to oblige him. He’s a religious edition of Richard Nixon.

  13. David H. Sundwall on February 7, 2008 at 4:25 pm

    Huckabee’s exploitation of the Mormon issue and his affirmative campaign as a Christian leader deserves contempt.

    And so does his overly personal attacks on Romney. Almost as obnoxious as refusing to denounce religious bigotry is his jealousy and use of class warfare. His rhetorical attacks were personal, petty and exclusively directed at Romney.

    It will be interesting to see if Huckabee continues to campaign as McCain’s VP or if he will actually run against him.

  14. Chris Laurence on February 7, 2008 at 4:26 pm

    And the mobbers just had policy disagreements with Joseph Smith. It’s all the victims’ fault now?

  15. CraigH on February 7, 2008 at 4:29 pm

    It hurts, even strips you of part of yourself, or endangers your sense of individuality, when you’re the object of bigotry and prejudice. All the more reason for Mormons who’ve felt this very thing to try to understand others better, rather than simply exercise their own forms of prejudice. When I no longer hear, as I have for decades in Sunday School and Priesthood and Sacrament meeting, comments that reflect prejudice and ignorance toward Blacks, Indians, Latinos, Jews, Catholics, Evangelicals, Democrats, Intellectuals, Homosexuals, and others, as if they are that easy to categorize and as if all members of that group are one and the same (and no, not all Mormons are one and the same on these subjects obviously), then I’ll feel that Mormons have a stronger leg to stand on when it comes to defeating bigotry. Plain old ignorance we can all accept, as long as we’re trying to overcome it, because we’re all guilty of ignorance to some degree toward members of groups we don’t know well at first. What seems a greater obstacle is the unthinking, sure-fired certainty of prejudicial attitudes, a certain unwillingness to learn about and take members of other groups seriously–just what we sense many Evangelicals haven’t done toward Mormons. I get the feeling that what many of my fellow ward-members want in the context of this presidential race is defeating bigotry against Mormons, not bigotry per se. When we take a broader view of it, which I think plenty on this board do, then I think as a culture we will in turn be better understood. And if not, then we will at least have done our part and can complain with greater moral indignation.

  16. kumquats in clover on February 7, 2008 at 4:30 pm

    How should Mormons feel about Huckabee? Should Huckabee’s wins in the Southern primaries be viewed as rabid anti-Mormonism?….I would counter, should Romney’s 90% to 1% margin of victory over Huckabee in the Utah primary be viewed as even more virulent anti-Evangelical sentiment?

    Look, we need to develop a little thicker skin.

    The charge of anti-Mormonism is, I think, an attempt to make sense of a much more amorphous gut-level dislike that is hard to pin down.

    I will admit there evidently is something about Romney that bugs a lot of Evangelicals. As both a Mormon and a Tennessee native, I’m beginning to suspect it is not exactly the fact of Romney’s church membership, but something about his “Mormon-NESS.”

    Think about how Romney has presented himself to the base of the Republican party with these familiar lyrics in mind…..

    “I’ll go where you want me to go….”
    “I’ll say what you want me to say….”
    “I’ll be what you want me to be……”

    As Mormons we look at those words and see a commendable willingness to serve with all one’s heart and soul. Evangelicals (or anyone with even a passing knowledge of Romney’s past campaign for governor of Massachusetts) see the same words and see disingenuousness in the extreme.

    Discussions of doctrine can similarly go off the rails quickly, as Mormons and Evangelicals use the same words but define them differently. Mormons seem to be lying when in actuality the words available aren’t sufficient to bridge the gap in understanding.

    In looking at Romney’s abject failure to win over an understandably skittish Evangelical populace, it may actually be that Evangelicals are not saying to Romney……”I hate you and all your co-religionists.”

    They may just be saying, largely because of stylistic or cultural cues….”I’m just not that in to you……I kinda like the guy that reminds me of my favorite youth minister growing up. He was a really smart guy, but lots of fun, too.”

  17. Mark IV on February 7, 2008 at 4:32 pm

    RAF,

    Could you please develop the idea that Huckabee repersents some kind of authentic populism? Besides an anti-Mormon animus, I don’t see much there except contempt for somebody who is smarter, richer, and better looking. Nothing to be proud of, really.

    If that is what we are calling populism these days, I’ll pass.

  18. Adam Greenwood on February 7, 2008 at 4:33 pm

    I agree that Mormons shouldn’t politically despise Huckabee because Huckabee went after Mitt or even because an anti-Mormon fraction in the south or elsewhere supported Huckabee. The real question is whether Huckabee himself is anti-Mormon or deliberately tried to fuel prejudice against Mormons for political advantage, and the evidence is less clearly exculpatory on that count then you let on. There is no excuse for the Mormons-Jesus-Satan comment, for instance. You can’t blame that on Romney. I will admit, though, that my own view is perhaps unduly influenced by the never-suppressed, never-discouraged* hate against Mormons in his campaign’s forums.

    In general I don’t think anti-Mormonism has played a central role in this campaign but it has played a role.

    *to my knowledge.

  19. Drew on February 7, 2008 at 4:36 pm

    I fear too many of us are suffering from a \”persecution complex\” in regards to Huckabee. Did he play the Mormon card? Absolutely. Did he use religious rhetoric? Absolutely. But politics is a dirty sport. The nature of the game is to use everything you can get your hands on to knock the other candidate off of their pedestel. Mormonism was a justifiable target for an evangelical minister. Just as evangelicals have a hard time voting for a Mormon, wouldn\’t we have a difficult time putting a Buddhist in office? Huckabee saw that and used it just as many politicians that were former ministers would.

    I think we should focus on the success Romney has had and how he has brought huge amounts of attention on the Restored Gospel.

  20. Nate Oman on February 7, 2008 at 4:36 pm

    RAF: If Romney had been the great populist hope and Huckabee had been a technocratic, global, fiscal conservative, I suspect that your subconscious anti-Mormon radar would align differently on this. For my part, I think that anti-Mormonism was a part of Romney’s defeat, especially in the South, and I do think that Huckabee played on this fact, most egregiously in his NYTM interview. That said, I agree that much of what was driving Huckabee’s success was the fact that he was a member of the tribe for southern evangelicals and Romney most definitely was not. On the other hand, a huge part of what made Romney “not” one of them was the fact that he was Mormon. It was ot the only thing, but it mattered. Hence, I am more inclined to side with your southern Mormon friend. Romney had lots of other negatives, but unquestionably Mormonism was one of them. Of course, I probably distrust populism more than you distrust classical liberalism, so we both have reinforcing ideological biases here.

    What is more important, I think, is that Romney’s defeat very much leaves the “Mormon question” alive. It doesn’t matter that there were other reasons and it is difficult to pin down anti-Mormon bias. What matters is that the next time there is a Mormon candidate, everyone will say, “Hmm. Remember Mitt Romney. I don’t know if a Mormon is viable.”

    And I do think that you underestimate the extent to which there is a hard core within the religious right that dislike Mormons and regard Mormonism with contempt and loathing. I would be surprised if they wielded no influence at all.

  21. Adam Greenwood on February 7, 2008 at 4:39 pm

    Your idea, CraigH, is that Mormons can’t oppose Huckabee’s candidacy because of his percieved anti-Mormonism as long as some Mormons strike you as prejudiced in their own ways? That’s out there. It can’t be what you’re saying but I don’t see what else you mean.

  22. Doc on February 7, 2008 at 4:41 pm

    In answer to the post title, I was taught to love my enemies, bless them that curse me and spitefully use me, so I guess the answer is yes. It’s the Christian thing to do.

  23. Doc on February 7, 2008 at 4:41 pm

    But I won’t vote for him ;)

  24. Mark IV on February 7, 2008 at 4:44 pm

    Doc, I hate you.

  25. Chris Bigelow on February 7, 2008 at 4:51 pm

    I have no doubt that Huckabee\’s main purpose in running as long as he has was to undermine the Mormon\’s candidacy, which he successfully did. Now that Romney\’s out, it will be interesting to see what Huckabee does. If he drops out or concedes or whatever soon, then that will confirm the idea that his main role and purpose was simply to take out Romney.

    As a former missionary, I\’ve seen enough of how Southern Baptists and evangelicals think and behave and communicate that I do personally feel a fair bit of contempt toward them, including Huckabee. I\’m not necessarily proud of this.

    Bottom line, I personally don\’t feel that this nation should have a president who is as tied up in religion as either Romney or Huckabee, because that doesn\’t accurately reflect the overall character of the country. We deserve someone for whom religion is more of a background thing.

  26. Cordeiro on February 7, 2008 at 4:52 pm

    I don’t hate Mike Huckabee. I loathe him entirely. He comes across as folksy and has an easy-going demenor for public consumption. Having said that, he went to the posionous well of anti-Mormon bigotry when it suited him and when he needed to generate a few headlines.

    For those of you who doubt that to be the case, can you honestly believe that his “Don’t Mormons believe Jesus and Satan are brothers?” line was an accidental slip of the tounge made in the presence of a New York Times Magazine reporter? That’s not a line you just pick up anywhere. You’ve got to be well versed in anti-Mormon rhetoric to throw that line around. As a Baptist pastor, I’m sure Huck read his fair share of anti-Mormon literature. I served part of my mission in the south – I know what was out there in my day and I’m pretty sure it hasn’t improved much since.

    Huck’s website – specifically his official blog is a virulennt cesspool of religious bigotry. You can say he’s not responsible for what people write on his blog, but anyone who seeks this nation’s highest office should take great interest in what people say on an officially sanctioned website.

    This campaign had a very serious religous undercurrent. As long as Huck stays in this race – though at this point his motivation for doing so eludes most everyone – he will play his religious credentials as long as he can. But for Huck’s religion, he would have been an political footnote long ago. Without Romney to assail, Huck will start to fade – and it will be much to slow of a fade – hopefully one that relegates him to the ash heap of history’s also-ran’s.

  27. Josh Smith on February 7, 2008 at 4:53 pm

    I still haven’t recovered from Iowa. An image that will forever be burned on my naive-Republican-raised mind is the image of Huckabee and Chuck Norris celebrating arm-in-arm. At that moment, I knew something had gone terribly wrong in my upbringing. At some point I had been deceived. Those stacks of National Review. Those afternoons watching grandfather listen to Rush. And now … I can’t bear it.

    I don’t hate Huckabee. It’s not his fault. I just have a serious case of cognitive disson, cognitive dis, cog … I’m just a bit conflicted since Iowa.

  28. Doc on February 7, 2008 at 5:02 pm

    Mark IV,
    LOL, bless you.

  29. Jason Steed on February 7, 2008 at 5:04 pm

    Should Mormons hate anyone? No.

    Should Mormons have supported Romney’s candidacy? Only if they agreed with his politics — certainly not just because he was a Mormon.

    I, for one, hold liberal/progressive/Leftist views on most things precisely because of my Mormonism (or, at least, my interpretation of Mormonism). So I did not support Mitt’s candidacy. But I understand how others’ interpretations of Mormonism might lead them to the kind of libertarian or conservative views that would then lead them to support Mitt. Fair enough.

    I just don’t like the widespread assumption among Mormons that we all ought to have supported him, and that we all ought to be conservative/libertarian Republicans. I believe the exact opposite, and I’m still a “good” Mormon.

  30. James on February 7, 2008 at 5:05 pm

    Chris (#25), are you suggesting that no active member of the church should be president of the United States? That we should consign ourselves to second or third-class citizenship? Gov. Romney never wore his faith on his sleeve like the Rev. Mr. Huckabee does. He just refused to repudiate being an active, serving member of the church.

  31. JonW on February 7, 2008 at 5:14 pm

    Subtle use of bigotry is still bigotry.

    Some feel that Reagan gained the Southern Democrats though subtle messaging against blacks. It has been felt that a lot of the nativist approaches in the USA are about racism or bigotry. Building a fence to keep out illegal immigrants does nothing to secure the USA from terrorists who are let in on legitimate visas.

    To say the evangelicals have no bigotry toward Mormons is denying the obvious, they have in my own experience do not like Mormons in leadership roles. They fight against them in those positions for reasons which are usually about religion.

    Huckabee is no different. The Mormons = Jesus as Satan’s brother was about subtle bigotry to send a message to flock.

    Mormons have their own stumbling blocks, but they are generally not as religiously bigoted. The Islamic hatred expressed by some Mormons is mild compared to what evangelicals call them.

    And I do not think Mormons as a whole would be that upset with a Buddist leading the country.

  32. Don on February 7, 2008 at 5:16 pm

    Huckabee spoke at an anti-mormon conference in SLC back in 1998. But now he lets his surrogates do most of his talking:
    \”Don’t Mormons believe Jesus and the Devil are brothers?\”
    \”But the more people investigate the beginnings of the Mormon church, the more uneasy they will be, and there\’s nothing he [Romney] can do about that.\”
    \”Most evangelicals, including myself and my church, agree with Governor Romney\’s stand on most moral issues in our country. Our objection with his candidacy is not so much with his public stance as it is with how the Mormon faith has tried to disguise the tenets of their faith.\”

  33. Ben H on February 7, 2008 at 5:23 pm

    Huckabee clearly used religion in ways that are opposed to the fundamental idea of America. This was wrong, and to my mind completely disqualifies him for the presidency. Part of how he used it was against Romney. That was low and petty, though sadly that sort of lowness and pettyness is not that uncommon in political campaigns. It has been clear for some time that Huckabee would not be the nominee; he should have dropped out before Tuesday. He pressed on, splitting the conservative vote with Romney, and handing state after 36%-or-so-for-McCain state to McCain. Huckabee wouldn’t back down to make way for a better candidate. Romney, on the other hand, has. Bravo, Romney, shame on Huckabee.

    That said, there are a lot of ways that religion has been excluded from public life over the last few decades that are also opposed to the fundamental idea of America. Huckabee’s amazing degree of success, on a shoestring to boot, was a very illuminating and timely demonstration of the importance of religion to a huge portion of the American electorate.

  34. California Condor on February 7, 2008 at 5:23 pm

    Romney’s most unique trait was his Mormonism, and it was his Mormonism that brought him down. Hopefully Romney’s campaign helped Americans get used to the idea of a Mormon president. I hope Romney runs in 2012 or 2016.

    I really don’t blame Huckabee; you play with the hand you’re dealt and politics is a blood sport.

  35. mpb on February 7, 2008 at 5:39 pm

    I think the tone of this post and a majority of the ensuing comments is, as Nate and a few others have tried to express, is very unbecoming of Mormons. And believe me, I am mostly in agreement, but at the end of the day most of the feelings expressed are an outgrowth of our clannishness and our persecution complex. It might not be my place to say so, but I imagine President Hinckley, who fought so hard to overcome this tpye of cultural challenge, would be dissapointed that any of us felt this way.

    In the end, Mitt lost because he made a lot of mistakes, but also because people were simply not ready for him. Huckabee did nothing illegal, and he did nothing that the average, literate and sincere-in-heart voter would not be capable of seeing past.

  36. joshua madson on February 7, 2008 at 6:01 pm

    yes, of course. he eats fried squirrel.

    the real reason we should oppose is not his anti-mormon statements. It is his claiming his campaign is endorsed by God when he associates his polling surge with the with miracle of the fish and loaves. It is his using Isaiah 54 in reference to his campaign and that his enemies will not overcome him, making himself the suffering servant.

    The Mormon thing is just an outgrowth of a more fundamental problem

  37. Josh Smith on February 7, 2008 at 6:05 pm

    mpb,

    Thank you. Yours is the voice of reason and understanding. For my part, Huckabee’s particular views of Mormons is water off my back. I don’t care. Similarly, any animosity Evangelicals have towards us may be partially our own fault–I lived in Texas for 7 years and can appreciate how Mormon missionary efforts are a bit intimidating/presumptuous/arrogant (can’t find the right word) … Southern Baptists don’t want to be proselytized to, by anybody. I can appreciate that.

    As an American, I think Huckabee is a boob. I wouldn’t trust him to run a car wash. It amazes me that he appeals to so many Republicans. If he runs as vice president, I will not vote Republican.

    (If you are related to a guy named Josh Smith, and if you just thought about calling him because he suggested he wouldn’t vote Republican, then surely it is another Josh Smith)

  38. mpb on February 7, 2008 at 6:16 pm

    Thanks Josh. I actually think I initially missed the point of this post (and Nate’s comment). I often read these things too fast when I am at work–sue me. But I stand by my overall sentiment that nobody should get too hung up on the Mormon question for any other reason than that it is intellectually and culturally interesting.

  39. DavidH on February 7, 2008 at 6:46 pm

    I am an Obama supporter, but will vote for Clinton if she is nominated.

    Of the republican candidates, though, Huckabee, apart from his lack of religious tact, is (and remains) the most appealing to me. I like his populist sentiments, as RAF points out, as well as his greater compassion for immigrants (included undocumented workers) as well as his criticisms of the Bush administration’s (in his words) “arrogant bunker mentality” in foreign affairs. I like his sense of humor (I loved his appearance on Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me), and the fact that he issued a gubernatorial pardon of Mick Jagger. What more can you ask?

  40. Mark B. on February 7, 2008 at 6:47 pm

    Huckabee likeable? Only if you ignore his slimy comment in the NY Times Magazine. After that, his folksiness turned into phoniness (not that I found it particularly compelling before that) and every attempt to show himself the nice guy, man of the people, just drove the dagger deeper.

    Detestable. We’ve had too many years of Clintons and Bushes and former governors of no account southern states. And we don’t need another smooth-talking snake-oil peddling Arkansan in the White House.

  41. Visorstuff on February 7, 2008 at 6:58 pm

    Russell , you mentioned that you didn’t think there was any blatant bigotry on Huckabee’s part, but that he “has been stoking the fires of bigotry.” You are correct on both parts, but bigotry was definitly there – even many non-Mormons see it and have discussed it. We simply live in a world of political correctness.

    Did Huckabee ever attack McCain? Not that I can find – in fact, he defended McCain on a number of issues. He seemed almost fixated on tearing down the Romney campaign (and an occasional punch at Guliani on moral grounds).

    I have a hard time thinking that one of the men who organized the SBC’s mass assembling of anti-mormon missionaries to Utah a decade ago to tear down the Mormons doesn’t still hold that prejudice. His Christmas ads, his showing commercials attacking Romney to journalists saying that he wasn’t going to air them because they alluded to Romney’s Mormonism, and his constant religious rhetoric leads many to think he wanted to prevent a Mormon from entering the white house more than he wanted to win it.

    I’ve had a hard time leading up to the primaries. I definitely wouldn’t have voted for Romney just to get (as one member of my stake put it) “a priesthood holder in the White House.” At the same time, Huckabee has flamed the anti-Mormon sentiment, if even subtly, to achieve his purposes.

    Personally, I think Huckabee has been betting on a VEEP position with the McCain ticket from the beginning. But I also think his bigotry was pretty transparent. And he knows there is no way he’ll pick up all of Romney’s delegates at this point….

    If he was doing it just to stop Romney from winning the ticket, I give him five days to pull out himself. If he was not just doing it to tear down Romney, he’ll stay in until the convention. I think that will be the most obvious show of his motivation.

  42. Russell Arben Fox on February 7, 2008 at 7:11 pm

    Visorstuff,

    You mentioned that you didn’t think there was any blatant bigotry on Huckabee’s part, but that he “has been stoking the fires of bigotry.”

    Mmm, no I didn’t. I wrote:

    “Maybe if you can show that Governor Huckabee, in choosing his words and his target, is implicitly (or maybe even explicitly) making his opponent seem like an unChristian, untrustworthy, unauthentic human being, and doing so in ways that align very well with anti-Mormon rhetorical tropes. That is, maybe if you can show that Huckabee really zhas been stoking the fires of bigotry, then you might have a case against him.”

    But as my post makes plain, I actually don’t believe that to be the case, though I can understand the ire of those that do.

    I have a hard time thinking that one of the men who organized the SBC’s mass assembling of anti-mormon missionaries to Utah a decade ago to tear down the Mormons doesn’t still hold that prejudice.

    I trust that therefore you also hold it to be the case that the prophets and apostles who regularly meet with and speak with missionaries around the world–like Elder Oaks, who visited my mission in South Korea–are also guilty explicit (in Elder Oaks’s case, I guess it would be anti-Buddhist) prejudices.

    At the same time, Huckabee has flamed the anti-Mormon sentiment, if even subtly, to achieve his purposes.

    How do you subtly flame something?

    If he was doing it just to stop Romney from winning the ticket, I give him five days to pull out himself. If he was not just doing it to tear down Romney, he’ll stay in until the convention. I think that will be the most obvious show of his motivation.

    On that, my Southern friend that I mention in the post agrees with you. In an e-mail he sent to me this afternoon, he said that we should know within weeks, if not days, whether or not Huckabee understood himself (and was understood by others) as anything other than anti-Romney (and thus anti-Mormon) candidate. He’s betting that he’ll pull out soon, lending support to his position. I’m going to wait and see.

  43. Chris Bigelow on February 7, 2008 at 7:16 pm

    James asked: “Chris (#25), are you suggesting that no active member of the church should be president of the United States? That we should consign ourselves to second or third-class citizenship? Gov. Romney never wore his faith on his sleeve like the Rev. Mr. Huckabee does. He just refused to repudiate being an active, serving member of the church.”

    On an idealistic level, no, I’m not suggesting that. An active Mormon should ideally be able to serve as president.

    On a practical level, though, I think Mormonism is just too strange and powerful a part of a person’s life to make it compatible with being president of this nation, even if the person is low key about it like Romney was. I think it would be distracting and polarizing and undermine the president’s effectiveness. Big swaths of the population could handle a Mormon president, but equally big swaths could not. Mormonism is just not good baggage for a president to have.

    Personally, I just simply can’t imagine it ever happening. Mormonism is just too religiously strange and potent to be widely tolerated enough for a Mormon to even get elected, let alone serve effectively. I think this nation will continue to elect people with some mild-mannered mainstream Christianity in their background, but nothing too weirdly potent like Mormonism or even Huckabee-style evangelism.

  44. Visorstuff on February 7, 2008 at 7:28 pm

    Russell, sorry if i read your post to quickly on the first point I made – my apologies.

    I do think that what the SBC does en masse is very different that our missionary effort. their message was “Mormons will go to hell” ours is “let us add to the truth you have.” Anti-anything (Anti-Mormonism, Anti-Catholicism, Anti-Semitism) is very different than what Mormons, JWs and most christians do in other parts of the world. What the SBC did in Utah was very different.

    As for my “Huckabee has flamed the anti-Mormon sentiment, if even subtly, to achieve his purposes,” what I mean is that he is not currently blatantly saying “Down with the Mormons” but he is making subltle comments that most southerners and most evangelicals will interpret to mean, don’t vote for the heretic, the christian cutlist Mormon.

    Don’t get me wrong, I probably agree with Huckabee’s political positionss much more than I do Romney’s, but my conscience can’t support someone who doesn’t like my church family, or as was said previously, my tribe. If he subtly targets Mormons, he’ll do the same to Catholics, Muslims, gays and anyone who doesn’t believe as the SBC does.

  45. Visorstuff on February 7, 2008 at 7:29 pm

    By the way, I would say your Southern friend is very astute.

  46. Bob on February 7, 2008 at 7:47 pm

    I saw this a little different: For me, it wasn’t that Bigotry won the day. But, for whatever reasons, Huckabee’s religious life, sold more tickets than did Romney’s life. It was not so much a bigotry against his Mormon life, as a disinterest in it.

  47. Mark IV on February 7, 2008 at 7:50 pm

    An apostle going to Korea is not at all comparable to the SBC convention in Salt Lake City.

    If we held a general conference in Vatican City, with workshops which emphasized the Mormon Doctrine position on the whore of the earth, it would be correctly interpreted as a slap in the face to Roman Catholics. That is the correct comparison.

    I’m still waiting for somebody to explain how Huckabee is a manifestation of vox populi.

  48. Adam Greenwood on February 7, 2008 at 8:07 pm

    Josh Madson,
    I don’t think Huckabee’s claim is as bad as all that. See here–its about the fourth or fifth point down:
    http://www.timesandseasons.org/?p=4294#more-4294

  49. Trevor on February 7, 2008 at 8:46 pm

    There are a couple of crucial facts here that have passed unmentioned.

    First, Romney’s rivals for the Republican nomination cooperated with each other to sink Romney. Their staffers traded messages saying, essentially, “regardless of who wins, let it not be Romney.” As Giuliani exited the primaries, he threw his support behind McCain with the explicit object of defeating Romney. Giuliani, like McCain, is more moderate, but it apparently did not matter to Romney’s rivals where they stood in comparison with each other. They were out to get Romney.

    Before I go on, I should let you know that I am not an active, believing member of the LDS Church. I have not voted Republican since the year 2000. I will likely vote for Clinton or Obama. At the same time, I am convinced that there was something rotten going on in the effort to defeat Romney, which amounted to personal animus against the man, intolerance for his religion, or both.

    Next, for those of you who consider Huckabee’s swipes at Mormonism anything like subtle bigotry, consider the following:

    The infamous Willie Horton ads did not directly attribute its criticism of Dukakis to George H. W. Bush. Its use of racism, while deplorable, was implicit, if thinly veiled, especially compared with Huckabee’s comments about Mormonism.

    When W defeated McCain in South Carolina, his campaign phoned South Carolinans to claim that McCain had fathered an illegitimate black child, when McCain had in fact adopted a child from Bangladesh. Although more direct and reprehensible than even the Horton ads, these comments were not directly voiced by W.

    Mike Huckabee, a man of the cloth and a major party candidate, knowingly and deliberately spoke on the record using highly prejudicial anti-Mormon rhetoric.

    I am not entirely certain which bothers me more, the fact that he did it, or the fact that so little has been made of what is surely a new low in dirty campaigning. And although I am no longer a believing Mormon, I have to say that attempts here to minimize Huckabee’s blatant pandering to anti-Mormon bigotry mystify me. To pretend that there is some kind of parity between SBC anti-Mormonism and religious proselyting is also bizarre. Finally, to say that Mormons would not vote for a Buddhist candidate is nonsensical. I know one thing for certain: Mormons overwhelmingly voted for an evangelical candidate named George W. Bush and supported his presidency consistently. The fact that evangelicals would sooner vote for a man without a prayer for winning the nomination than a Mormon candidate doesn’t say much for Evangelical acceptance of Mormons.

  50. Paul Mouritsen on February 7, 2008 at 9:04 pm

    The cooperation between Huckabee and McCain recalls the election of 1824 when John Quincy Adams and Henry Clay entered in a “corrupt bargain” to keep Jackson out of the White House, an arrangement that John Randolph characterized as “the unheard of combination of a puritan and a blackleg.”

  51. Ken K on February 7, 2008 at 9:09 pm

    according to these numbers in the Washington Post published on 2/7/09, Romney held his own with evangelical Christian voters:

    Vote among evangelical Christians:

    Total McCain Romney Huckabee
    Iowa 60% 10 19 46
    N.H. 23% 28 27 28
    Mich. 39% 23 34 29
    Nev. 24% 9 39 22
    S.C. 60% 27 11 43
    Fla. 39% 30 29 29
    Ariz. 38% 46 30 16
    Calif. 35% 33 32 26
    Ga. 62% 27 28 43
    Ill. 41% 38 27 28
    Mass. 14% 26 53 16
    Mo. 55% 24 30 41
    N.J. 16% 38 28 26
    N.Y. 19% 38 25 30
    Tenn. 73% 29 20 42
    *Total=percentage of all GOP voters who consider
    themselves a \”born-again\” or evangelical Christian

    see http://blog.washingtonpost.com/behind-the-numbers/?hpid=topnews for a complete analysis

  52. Rob on February 7, 2008 at 9:19 pm

    I’d like to see a catalog of statements that Huckabee made against Romney, and see just how prevalent or pointed the anti-Mormon statements were compared to all the other mud he threw Romney’s way. While anti-Mormon bigotry may be alive and well in many parts of the country, don’t underestimate the regional biases, which may have been a bigger factor. It would probably be hard for _anyone_ from MA or MI (let alone UT) to win in GA, AL, AR, etc.

  53. Trevor on February 7, 2008 at 9:24 pm

    Perhaps I overstated the case on evangelicals, although I would guess Mormon support of Bush was far more united and enthusiastic. Still, I think that evangelical bigotry against Mormons played an important role in the primaries. Huckabee knew that, and I think his continuing candidacy carried on with that fact in mind. Huckabee in the race was bad for Romney. My respect for Huckabee is exactly nil.

    Also, I think that the continuation of the Huckabee campaign says very little about whether or not there was collusion with McCain to sink Romney. The fact that the conservative Christian Huckabee has had little negative to say about a relatively liberal McCain (can you say stem cell research?) and much to aim at Romney, added to the McCain-Huckabee mutual appreciation society, says a lot more. In the end, Huckabee knows he will not get the nomination. A few southerners and evangelicals will never deliver it to him. Also, everyone knows that evangelical excitement needs to be sustained just long enough to get them to vote in the presidential elections. If you get them out to vote, they will vote against either Hillary or Obama.

  54. Trevor on February 7, 2008 at 9:29 pm

    #52- I guess the Jesus and Satan being brothers doesn’t register sufficiently with you. Here’s the thing- it does with evangelicals. And in the recent history of American political campaigns there hasn’t, to my recollection at least, been a more direct, dirtier sling o’ mud against a candidate.

  55. Jake on February 7, 2008 at 9:32 pm

    How does someone vote for a candidate that the firmly believe is going to hell?

  56. Jason J on February 7, 2008 at 9:54 pm

    I’m a practicing Mormon living in Massachusetts, and I’ve been behind McCain for months now. I don’t think that Romney lost b/c of anti-Mormon prejudice. I think the loathing that Giuliani and McCain apparently harbor for Romney shows that many people opposed Romney for other reasons. I think Ken K’s stats also show that Romney did about as well with Evangelicals as any other non-Evangelicals could do against a Baptist minister. So I don’t think Romney lost on Tuesday because of anti-Mormon bigotry.

    But I do think that Huckabee tried to use anti-Mormon animus to sink Romney’s campaign. Most of Huckabee’s shenanigans have been adequately discussed in this thread, but one of Huck’s more subtle shots at Mormonism has received little play. When asked by CBSNews whether Mormons are Christians Huckabee responded that it “is for them to determine whether they accept Jesus Christ as the only revelation of God on Earth.” On the surface, it appears that Huck is just dodging the question. But the phrase “only revelation of God on Earth” sends a clear signal to certain Evangelicals. Huck knew that this shot would go under the media’s radar, but he also understood that anti-Mormons would hear the following: “Mormons are not Christians, b/c they try to pass off their heretical tenets as revelation.” Huck knew how to speak in code to stoke the flames of anti-Mormon bigotry.

    I might have accepted that he was just trying to appeal to values voters with his “Christian Candidate” commercials and the white cross in his Christmas ad. I might have even chalked up the “Don’t they believe Satan and Jesus are brothers” gaffe as a sincere slip-up by a curious Christian. But the “only revelation of God on Earth” double-speak tells me that Huck knew what he was doing. He knew how to exploit anti-Mormon prejudice for his own political gain, and that is why I could never vote for him.

  57. Rob on February 7, 2008 at 10:00 pm

    Trevor (#54), I’m not denying that the Jesus and Satan thing was an deft anti-Mormon swipe. And perhaps it is one of the dirtiest mud slings in recent memory. But it was only one mud pie in a long string of mudpies that Romney was hit with. I think the anti-North, anti-money, and flip-flopper mud stuck at least as much, and perhaps even more so for lots of people, than the anti-Mormon jabs. Despite the labeling, Huckabee (and McCain) are far tougher and dirtier political players than Romney ever was. McCain shrouded his with his “straight-talk” Holy Vet shtick, while Huckabee played the aw-shucks good ol’ preacher boy.

    Romney never controlled his message, and let the attacks define him. All in all, he was either a) not ready for the big time or b) really too-nice for the rough and tumble play with these guys (with decades of campaigning under their belts).

    BTW, next time, if there is a next time, Romney should a) hire more comedy writers (why he didn’t scoop up a whole slew of out-of-work screenwriters is beyond me) and b) use someone else’s money to do it. What kind of shrewed business person doesn’t take advantage of excess labor markets and uses his or her own money to bail out a failing enterprise?

  58. Bookslinger on February 7, 2008 at 11:00 pm

    Big changes usually come in stages. We should be grateful that Romney got as far as he did. He laid the groundwork for another run in 4 years, or for someone else.

    Does anyone see this parallel ?

    Obama = Jimmy Carter.
    McCain = Gerald Ford.
    Romney = Ronald Regan

    Ford defeated Reagan in the primary. But lost to Carter in the general. When America woke up to what it got with Carter, we turned to Reagan who was patiently waiting. Obama and Carter both played to an America anxious for change after an unpopular republican.

    Most of you probably weren’t old enough to have been paying attention when/if you lived through that. But I think it’s an interesting parallel

  59. paula on February 7, 2008 at 11:19 pm

    Gerald Ford came into office because of Spiro Agnew’s disgrace as Vice President, and Richard Nixon’s disgrace as President. It seems like a very different situation to me. Obama is charismatic and smart, and Jimmy Carter was, well, nice. And I’m really pretty sure that Romney is no Reagan.

  60. Daniel Peterson on February 8, 2008 at 12:38 am

    I wouldn’t recommend that anybody hate ANYONE.

    But I personally find Governor Huckabee appalling, not only for his aw-shucks reliance on cunning appeals to religious sectarianism (“who, ME?”) but for his divisive rhetoric of envy and class warfare.

  61. Trevor on February 8, 2008 at 12:55 am

    Obviously the reasons Romney bowed out are ultimately complicated, but I have a hard time understanding what it is that motivates every other contender in the race for the Republican nomination, no matter where they stand on the issues or the political spectrum (moderate to conservative) to gang up on a single candidate, particularly one that had strong support from staunch conservatives.

    It could be that in the calculations it was determined that Romney would/could not beat Hillary, and that McCain of anyone had the best chance. It could be that the rest of them really did hate Romney personally (I don’t like him particularly, but hate?). And, it could be the case that on some level, maybe not fully conscious, or at least that people would admit, there was sufficient reservation about electing a Mormon president that is was not going to happen.

    In any case, my anger at McCain and Huckabee is stoked hot enough now that I may break with tradition and actually hit the streets for either Clinton or Obama. Either one was more likely to get my vote than McCain, but McCain and Huckabee have made me very angry. Sure, Romney didn’t lose simply because of Mormon bigotry. He made a lot of his own mistakes. Still, McCain was happy to coordinate efforts with a man who was eager to stoop to open bigotry in order to tank Romney. Whatever I can do within good, solid moral and ethical boundaries to see that McCain loses the presidency I will do. That (the moral and ethical part) is more than we can say for either McCain or Huckabee.

    Think of it this way. If Huckabee were running against Lieberman for a presidential nomination, and he made this kind of remark against Lieberman’s faith (maybe… “aren’t these the folks that killed Jesus?” or similar nonsense), his viability as a candidate would have ended as the words escaped his teeth. The man he cooperated with would have had a lot to answer for. Just because you can get away with it and win does not make it right, and it doesn’t mean no one should raise a stink about it. I may not hate Huckabee, but I’ll fight him.

  62. Clark on February 8, 2008 at 2:02 am

    I fear too many of us are suffering from a \”persecution complex\” in regards to Huckabee. Did he play the Mormon card? Absolutely. Did he use religious rhetoric? Absolutely. But politics is a dirty sport. The nature of the game is to use everything you can get your hands on to knock the other candidate off of their pedestel.

    That might be true but then politicians have to suffer the consequences of their dirty tricks. So the Clintons have to deal now with how their comments a few weeks back affected the African American community. And Huckabee has to deal with how his and his campaign’s strategy affects Mormon voters.

    You can’t have it both ways.

  63. Jon Warren on February 8, 2008 at 2:23 am

    C\’mon everybody, deal with it. The first Mormon president will never be a national milestone. For a numerically insignificant group like ours, the Law of the Pack prevails–the only thing more annoying to many people than a Mormon is one who cries about mistreatment. Anti-Mormon prejudice is overcome by outclassing and outworking it, not by some Million Mormon March.

    Like others in the race–including Huckabee–Romney had to convince people not of his kind to vote for him. I think everyone here wanted him to be just a little more inspiring, just a little more commanding, just a little more consistent. Romney\’s exceptional but just couldn\’t get the job done.

    I\’ve never voted Republican so this race is working out just fine. Romney would have been better for Dems as the GOP nominee, but Republicans as a whole will regret their nomination by the time the general is done. I think the Republican party is going to really struggle now that conservative principles have been repudiated in favor of \”character,\” economic populism and Christian identity. With McCain-Huckabee (Huck stays in long enough to secure VP on the ticket over Crist), the party drifts leftward toward the center, which is exactly where the Clintons made eight years of success. I\’m not saying that Republicans should have chosen Mitt Romney–in the end he lost because he couldn\’t make enough people want to vote for him either as a custodian of conservatism or as a superior manager. But it doesn\’t change the fact that the party\’s about to pick a set of losers that will pull the party away from a coherent sense of principles while trying to accommodate them and their records. Unless something big happens (Dem super delegates snatch a win for Hillary over an Obama delegate lead), I think the Republicans will be lucky to win 10 states in November. Congrats for picking the 2008 GOP Dream Team–Dole-Quayle.

  64. matt b on February 8, 2008 at 2:32 am

    Jason, I’m curious as to what ‘doublespeak’ you’re referring to. Personally, I think the “revelation of God” interview shows Huckabee being nothing more than theologically consistent. Creedal Christians have good theological reason (accepting their premises) to be suspicious of Mormon Christology. And vice versa, of course.

    Further, Huckabee apologized to Romney for the Satan and Jesus comment; Romney said he accepted the apology as sincere. I, having no reason to doubt either man’s good faith, thus am less inclined than most to ascribe Huckabee’s actions to malice, just as I think Romney was being entirely sincere when he claimed Jesus as his “personal savior” to the consternation of some evangelicals. As someone else said above, I find the Huckabee-Romney religious tete-a-tete simply illustrative of the problems of religious pluralism in a democratic society.

    And as someone else said, being hyper-sensitive toward what we perceive to be ‘anti-Mormon’ rhetoric ultimately hurts us, as a people and as individuals, more than it helps.

  65. Ben on February 8, 2008 at 3:36 am

    Comments on evangelicals (a mormon perspective)…
    1. A baptist church in SLC, Utah protested the funeral of President Hinckley (our mormon prophet). For perspective this is like protesting the pope. Just because you don\’t believe in him, does not mean you disrespect the man and his family at his funeral!
    2. Baptists hold a convention every year to discuss the mormon faith and attempt to convert people. In this and other meetings misleading films and literature are produced. I have no problem with sharing the message, but discussing another religion brews prejudice.
    3. Evangelicals have formed a coalition to claim who is christian. For me this is their way of saying that mormons don\’t believe in Jesus Christ. The truth is the church bears his name, where many evangelical churches do not. \”The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints\” Another tool to mislead the common believer.
    4. Our neighbor went to the a large evangelical church here in Las Vegas one time. She brought home a DVD called \”my mormon friend\” We wanted to watch it with her, but never got a chance. We used be able to talk about Jesus Christ and share a common interest with her. Now religion is just an uncomfortable topic for no apparent reason. I think this prejudice is a great divider. This is the same type of misunderstanding that causes the whole world to hate the united states for standing up to tyrants around the world. They are told that we americans are being greedy, when we are paying for the freedom of others with our blood and treasure.
    5. I don\’t understand the purpose for seeking to destroy a fellow religion. I can speculate that churches nowadays are a business. If they fail, food is taken off of the preachers table. Mormons are active in spreading our message. Perhaps this is simply an effort to survive.

    I could go on with more stories. I hope that by reading this somebody understands that even today sometimes religion is used for purposes that are far from the intents of God. We should not fear the gospel that Jesus Christ taught, but we should question those that would pretend to be his messengers.

    As a recipient of intermittent prejudices I hope that I am as trusted as the friend of the author. All in all I believe that as the mormon church grows prejudice is weakened. We always fear most that which we don\’t know and understand.

    As for Mike Huckabee, if he were to deny that he had not been approached regarding a religious interest in his campaign, it would surely be a lie. I think his denial of knowing much about mormons rings false, but I don\’t know how he would have changed the subject if he answered in the affirmative.

    My personal assessment is that he is a good man. He may be mistaken in his intents with his campaign, and he may even have some anti-mormon sentiments. Even if he does, all in all I think he\’s a good guy. I must admit his foreign and economic policies scare me to death, but that has nothing to do with the intents of his heart.

    God Bless Us and God Unite Us!

  66. miles on February 8, 2008 at 3:41 am

    I have never before commenting on this website even though I visit it often. I can’t pass up commenting on this blog. This blog is a prime example of the persecution complex suffered by the Mormons in general. While I was at institute this morning and before anyone had heard the news that Romney had dropped out of the race, a conversation broke out about how Romney hasn’t been given a fair chance because he is Mormon and that Huckabee has stuck in the race just to keep Romney from wining. They couldn’t have been more wrong.

    Romney being a Mormon has helped him out more than anything and there is plenty of evidence of this. He simply being Mormon got him loads of free media. His “speech” which was so highly publicized would have never happened had he not been a Mormon. He got HUGE financial contributions from fellow church members. Utah has never given so much money towards a campaign. Further, look at what happened in Nevada. There only 7 percent of the population are Mormon and far less are active, yet of those that voted in the primary an almost unbelievable 25 percent were Mormons and even more astonishing, over 90 percent of them voted for Romney. If Romney hadn’t won in Nevada he would have never even had a chance in Florida, much less on Super Tuesday. The Mormons didn’t just vote for Romney, they swarmed the poles with the single purpose of getting one of their own voted in. (May this be why some fear that the Mormons are trying to take control of the government)

    I am ashamed to say that the Mormons have proved to be more biased and bigoted than the evangelicals did. Huckabee didn’t enjoy the kind of monopoly on the evangelicals that Romney had on the Mormons. Yes, most of Huckabee’s supporters were evangelicals but just look at the exit polls in the states that Huckabee won and compare them with the polls where Romney had won and you will see that the evangelicals proved much more likely to vote for Romney than the Mormons were to vote for Huckabee.

    Romney’s down fall wasn’t his religion. His down fall was his lack of character and honesty. This life long hunter who saw his father march with MLK proved himself to be a complete opportunist absolutely unworthy of anyone’s trust, always willing to tell you what you want to hear rather than what he believes.

    I find it amazing that the only people who fail to see Romney’s phoneyness are the members of the church. Its interesting that in another post on this web site Mormons were identified to be the most pro-life yet the overwhelming majority chose to support the candidate with the most extensive pro-choice record. Go figure.

  67. Sara\'s Mom on February 8, 2008 at 7:17 am

    The politics of fear are the basest form of campaigning, IMHO. Huckabee–strategically or otherwise–chose to play the Mormon card, however subtly, to tweak the fears of evangelicals who are often saturated in anti-Mormon indoctrination. His tactic backfired in the case of the Jesus/Satan thing (again MHO) and he apologized. I haven’t seen exit polling data that justifies the conclusion that Romney lost because of anti-Mormon fervor stoked by Huckabee. Romney was a problematic candidate. A good, decent guy, but a problematic candidate. He might be a better one in 2012 if he’s learned some lessons from this round.

    Huckabee’s willingness to wallow in lowest common denominator tactics to score points disgusts me. The same way the Clinton backhanded playing of the race card in South Carolina disgusts me. One of the reasons some self-identified conservatives are looking seriously at Obama is their disgust with the Huckabee-Clinton style of politicking and their desire to change the tone. People want a different way. Eight years of exploring the sewers of the Clinton family personal and professional dealings were followed by eight years of Bush Derangement Syndome. Enough is enough. If a candidate wants to fall back on soft-core bigotry, of any kind, to win votes (as Huckabee seems to be willing to do) he or she won’t get my vote. I don’t hate Huckabee–I disagree with most of his positions on the issues. The fact that he has attempted to score points off misrepresenting my religious beliefs just makes it easier for me to walk away from, say a McCain-Huckabee ticket should that nightmare happen.

    If I turn a blind eye to Romney’s shortcomings and pin the blame on Huckabee and an alleged anti-Mormon bias among his followers, I’m guilty of the same ad hominem arguments I find so repulsive coming from the candidates. Watching President Hinckley’s funeral last weekend helped remind me of my obligations as a member of the church in the public realm. It inspired me to rise above my inclinations to fight back, meeting hate with hate or argument with argument. I want to be better than than my basest inclinations: to meet bigotry with tolerance, to meet fear with compassion, to meet contention by turning the other cheek.

  68. Russell Arben Fox on February 8, 2008 at 8:57 am

    Daniel,

    I personally find Governor Huckabee appalling, not only for his aw-shucks reliance on cunning appeals to religious sectarianism (”who, ME?”) but for his divisive rhetoric of envy and class warfare.

    One man’s “divisive rhetoric of envy and class warfare” is another man’s honest appraisal of the socio-economic situation and needs of the rural and working classes. To each their own.

    Jon,

    Unless something big happens (Dem super delegates snatch a win for Hillary over an Obama delegate lead), I think the Republicans will be lucky to win 10 states in November. Congrats for picking the 2008 GOP Dream Team–Dole-Quayle.

    I think even if Senator Clinton is the nominee, the GOP is going to crater in November. I bet that would have been the result no matter who the Republicans ultimately choose. They have President Bush to thank for that.

    Miles,

    I am ashamed to say that the Mormons have proved to be more biased and bigoted than the evangelicals did. Huckabee didn’t enjoy the kind of monopoly on the evangelicals that Romney had on the Mormons. Yes, most of Huckabee’s supporters were evangelicals but just look at the exit polls in the states that Huckabee won and compare them with the polls where Romney had won and you will see that the evangelicals proved much more likely to vote for Romney than the Mormons were to vote for Huckabee.

    I wouldn’t say I was “ashamed” of the way Mormons behaved–as I argued in the original post above, I think a little group-identity rhetoric and voting is both inevitable and often a good thing; this is why I ultimately don’t think Huckabee’s clearly evangelical Protestant rhetoric amounts to anti-Mormonism. But you’re right that, when it came right down to actual votes, the record suggest that Romney failed to win the evangelical voters he was trying to win for lots of reasons besides whatever Huckabee may or may not have said.

  69. John Taber on February 8, 2008 at 10:09 am

    For a former Southern Baptist minister, Huckabee was very restrained in dealing with Romney. What he threw out (including “J and S are brothers”) was part of his latent vocabulary.

  70. Joel on February 8, 2008 at 10:31 am

    I have to admit that I, for one, trusted Romney because he is an active Mormon. Maybe I’m just too cynical about politics in general, but I think that all campaigning is based on a gross-simplification of extremely complex issues. Because these issues really are so complex, politicians try to frame their own positions regarding these issues both in a way that makes their ideas easily digestible and consistent with the belief of as many people as possible. I think the political rhetoric of elections says little about how politicians will react to the complex, real-world problems that our country faces. I try to vote based on a man’s character and conscience because if a politician acts based on what he genuinely feels is correct, I can live with his holding a position that is different than mine. Romney’s Mormon beliefs helped me to trust his character. I cannot fault evangelical voters for voting the same way for Huckabee. I think that Mormon support for Romney was more about an implicit trust in his character than any semblance of tribalism. We’ll never know whether he merited such trust or not. I now find myself looking for another candidate whose character I can trust. It might be Obama or McCain or Clinton, but I don’t think that might vote will be based on religion, it will be based on perceived integrity.

  71. WillF on February 8, 2008 at 10:53 am

    You know what really bugs me about election season? All of the unsubtantiated generalizations people make when talking about groups of people. Assigning a motive to an entire group (e.g. Mormons or Evangelicals, or even Democrats or Republicans) is fallacious.

  72. Nate Oman on February 8, 2008 at 11:11 am

    “Yes, most of Huckabee’s supporters were evangelicals but just look at the exit polls in the states that Huckabee won and compare them with the polls where Romney had won and you will see that the evangelicals proved much more likely to vote for Romney than the Mormons were to vote for Huckabee.”

    That is true, on the other hand Mormons turned out in droves to vote for GWB, who is an evangelical, so I don’t think it is right to say that Mormons-hate-evangelicals. On the other hand, I think that Mormons are probably more tribal rather than less tribal than evangelicals, so that Mitt being a Mormon gives him a bigger bounce among Mormons than Huckabee being an evangelical gives him among evangelicals. More than that, I think that Utah Republicans refusal to vote for Huckabee stemmed not from the fact that he was evangelical but from the perception that he was an anti-Mormon, or at least was willing to play on anti-Mormon sentiment.

  73. Russell Arben Fox on February 8, 2008 at 11:22 am

    I think that Utah Republicans refusal to vote for Huckabee stemmed not from the fact that he was evangelical but from the perception that he was an anti-Mormon, or at least was willing to play on anti-Mormon sentiment.

    You really think so, Nate? I’m doubtful. I strongly suspect that a Republican primary race in Utah without Huckabee in it–indeed, any hypothetical race involving Romney and any set of non-Mormon Republican candidates; take your pick of whomever you can imagine–would have had the exact same, enormously lopsided turnout in Utah for Romney. Sure, there was Huckabee’s supposed (and I think mostly imagined or at least highly exaggerated) anti-Mormonism as a small additional incentive, but really, conservative Utah Republicans (the most unified and tribal section of an already highly unified and tribal people–you don’t see Utah Democrats, who are already an alienated minority, expressing anything like that kind of like-mindedness) were going to give the National Review-and-Rush-Limbaugh-endorsed Romney over 80% of their vote, without question.

  74. Jared on February 8, 2008 at 11:23 am

    Post number 66 gets it right, and like Miles, I have been simply amazed that most Mormons (at least in my ward) buy into the persecution complex that Romney’s mormonism was his downfall. It wasn’t! Romney proved himself to be a phony, using a campaign strategy that backfired. That he was a MORMON phony didn\’t matter much to people, in my opinion – – what they objected to was perceived political/strategic opportunism on his part. The downside was that his approach had the secondary effect of not representing the church that well. (See comment #5.)

  75. James on February 8, 2008 at 11:26 am

    Miles

    This blog is a prime example of the persecution complex suffered by the Mormons in general.

    In college I had a poster that said “just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean that they aren’t out to get you.” When your history includes events like Haun’s Mill, the Extermination Order, Joseph Smith’s martyrdom, the artillery shelling of Nauvoo by the Illinois Militia, and the murders of Parley P. Pratt and Joseph Standing it is a little hard to not be suspicious of your fellow citizens.

  76. Nate Oman on February 8, 2008 at 11:36 am

    RAF: I definitely think that the fact that Romney was a Mormon was much more important than the fact that Huckabee was percieved as anti-Mormon, so no I don’t think that the outcome would have been different had Huckabee not been in the race. On the other hand, I have talked to lots of Republican Mormons who have said that if Huckabee is on the GOP ticket they will not vote for him. Is this because they hate evangelicals? I doubt it given their support of GWB. So why is it? Is it because they dislike Huckabee’s populism, having all been snookered by those evil classical liberals? Unlikely. I think that the simlest explanation is that they think that Huckabee is an anti-Mormon or at least an anti-Mormon panderer. You seem to reject (kinda sort of) this characterization of Huckabee. Fair enough. On the other hand, there are lots of Mormons who disagree with you.

    To boil it down to three simple points:

    1. Mormons really like other Mormons and any Mormon candidate gets a big bounce out of this.
    2. Mormons do not dislike evangelicals per se, so long as they are willing to treat Mormons with some respect. (See, e.g., Mormon support for GWB.)
    3. If you are percieved as anti-Mormon, then regardless of whatever other virtues you might have, Mormons will treat you like a pariah.

  77. Russell Arben Fox on February 8, 2008 at 11:45 am

    I can’t contest any of your three points, Nate. Even I can’t pretend that Huckabee did everything he could to prevent the anti-Mormon label from being attached to him and/or the people around him. Perhaps he thought it wouldn’t be worth the time or the effort, assuming (probably wrongly, as you observe in connection with Mormon support for Bush, though it should be noted that Huckabee’s social and economic policies are much more aggressively informed by his particular kind of Christianity than Bush’s ever were) that in running as an outsider against well-positioned Mormon candidate, he was going to get cast as an anti-Mormon regardless; or perhaps he or someone close to him did the math, and decided that fighting to make certain Mormons don’t dislike would cost him some marginal but still important primary votes amongst his core (the same way that, as I noted above, Obama doesn’t say anything hateful about Clinton, but doesn’t go out of his way to disabuse people of their hateful beliefs about Clinton. Or, as you say, maybe’s just an anti-Mormon, and that’s just the way he rolls. I reject the last explanation; I can see some possible truth to the first two.

  78. Russell Arben Fox on February 8, 2008 at 11:49 am

    When your history includes events like Haun’s Mill, the Extermination Order, Joseph Smith’s martyrdom, the artillery shelling of Nauvoo by the Illinois Militia, and the murders of Parley P. Pratt and Joseph Standing it is a little hard to not be suspicious of your fellow citizens.

    Now, you know, if Romney hadn’t run so hard to the Christian right, but had tried to develop a campaign message that, while socially conservative, took this kind of suspicion seriously, it would have made Romney a much more interesting candidate. There’s the chance he would have ended up being cast into the Ron Paul-fringe camp, but still, at least no one would have thought he was a soulless phony.

  79. Don Murphy on February 8, 2008 at 11:50 am

    If Mitt Romney lost the nomination because of his faith and if it was the evangelical vote that did him in, then we as a nation deserve what we get. Since many wont vote for McCain or Huckabee based soley on their political record (I certainly wont) that means we will probably suffer through at least 4 years of Obama. You think the whole religious issue between Romney and Huckabee was bad? Wait till Obama gets the nod and we see how entrenched reverse racism is!

  80. Russell Arben Fox on February 8, 2008 at 11:54 am

    Anyone interested in the substance of the post, particularly the point about Mormon and evangelical self-identification through their respective languages, ought to check out–if you haven’t already seen it–this post by the evengelical Christian writer Alan Jacobs, here.

    (P.S.: Hey, Don! You very well may be right about Obama.)

  81. Nate Oman on February 8, 2008 at 11:55 am

    RAF: I suspect that Huckabee’s calculus went something like this:

    “Mormons? Who cares what they think about me. They don’t have enough numbers to be politically important. They are not a constituency whose ire the media will sympathize with and play up. They just don’t matter. Also, what’s so wrong with being an anti-Mormon anyway. Don’t they think Satan and Jesus are brothers?”

  82. Jason J on February 8, 2008 at 11:56 am

    #64 Matt B

    Perhaps “double-speak” was not the right word for it. What I meant is that when Huck says something like ‘It’s not for me to decide whether Mormons are Christians, only they can decide whether they accept Christ as the only revelation of God on Earth,” he sends a signal to certain anti-Mormons that flies under the media’s radar. To me, Huckabee was quite subtly playing on Evangelical disdain for Mormon belief in continuing revelation. And the message was subtle enough that nobody in the media caught it. I’m glad Huckabee apologized for the NYTimes comment, but I think he only apologized b/c that comment got so much attention. It was just so obvious that he had to answer for it.

    I just can’t support any candidate who attempts to play on the public’s fears and prejudices for political gain. One of the main reasons I did not support Romney was that he was far too willing to stoke the flames of xenophobia to gain support. I find the anti-immigration frenzy repugnant, and Romney tried to exploit it. I don’t think it’s quite as nefarious as what Huckabee has done, b/c the immigration problem is more complicated.

    I also have to agree that the way the Clintons have used race in this campaign is equally troubling. I’m just glad we didn’t have to see what the Clintons would have done with Mormonism.

  83. Nate Oman on February 8, 2008 at 12:00 pm

    “I just can’t support any candidate who attempts to play on the public’s fears and prejudices for political gain.”

    Jason, I suspect that you are going to find democracy a perpetual disappointment.

    (Don’t worry, however, you are in good company and it is not as though monarchy and aristocracy don’t have something to be said for them.)

  84. Jeremiah J. on February 8, 2008 at 1:04 pm

    Don: “Wait till Obama gets the nod and we see how entrenched reverse racism is!”

    RAF: “(P.S.: Hey, Don! You very well may be right about Obama.)”

    Please, do say more, Russell. I’m willing to allow Romney supporters their 24 to 48 hours of self-pitying victimhood, but it seems to be getting worse, not better.

    Nate: “They are not a constituency whose ire the media will sympathize with and play up”

    You’ve got it right I think except this part. The media, liberal and conservative (with a few exceptions), seemed to agree that anti-Mormonism was bad. Huckabee may nor may not have known that, but I’m fairly sure he knew that evangelical voters (or any other conservative with a Mormon problem) being called bigots by Hugh Hewitt and the NY Times was not going to hurt his chances with them. In fact it could have stiffened their resolve.

  85. Timer on February 8, 2008 at 1:16 pm

    Mormon Republicans vote 95% for Romney according to some exit polls I’ve seen.

    Evangelicals are roughly split between Romney, McCain and Huckabee.

    And here we are accusing evangelicals of prejudice/tribalism?

    What sort of Alice in Wonderland universe are we living in here?

    I think Romney himself put it best when he declared his religion a non-issue and said “I think people have pretty much moved on to my other weaknesses.” Anyway, he got 33% of popular vote to McCain’s 40%. It was close, as primaries go, and could easily have gone differently, and maybe will in 2004.

  86. Nate Oman on February 8, 2008 at 1:21 pm

    From a purely tactical point of view, I think that folks like RAF, Don, and others who want Mormons to give Obama a good hard look and start voting democratic ought to play up the Romney-lost-because-of-anti-Mormonism meme for all it is worth.

    Jeremiah J.: Point well taken.

  87. Adam Greenwood on February 8, 2008 at 1:31 pm

    And here we are accusing evangelicals of prejudice/tribalism?

    Nuance, old son. Complexity. Maybe you don’t see a distinction between voting for a Mormon because you’re Mormon, and voting against a Mormon because you’re against Mormons, and voting against an anti-Mormon because you’re a Mormon–and that may be a legitimate point of view–but I do. Change the religious affiliation around, the second is the most problematic.

    Anyway, I agree with you that the evidence is against evangelicals as a group being anti-Mormon or even very tribalistic. The question I have in voting for Huckabee is whether he was willing to stoke anti-Mormon prejudice for his political gain and I’m afraid the answer is probably yes.

  88. Russell Arben Fox on February 8, 2008 at 1:43 pm

    Nate,

    I think that folks like RAF, Don, and others who want Mormons to give Obama a good hard look and start voting Democratic ought to play up the Romney-lost-because-of-anti-Mormonism meme for all it is worth.

    First, I don’t want people to start voting Democratic. I want them all to run out and join some Christian social democratic party. In the meantime though, I don’t want any part in making Hillary Clinton, decent public servant though she may be, the next president of the United States. Thank goodness Nader has promised to get in the race if she gets the nomination.

    Second, I don’t understand your tactical logic here. How does thinking Huckabee beat Romney with anti-Mormonism help out the Democrats? Please explain.

  89. Nate Oman on February 8, 2008 at 2:36 pm

    “How does thinking Huckabee beat Romney with anti-Mormonism help out the Democrats? Please explain.”

    Because it alienates Mormons from the Republican party which is a precondition for getting them to join the Dems or whatever Christian socialist neo-WJB alternative you have…

  90. Jon Warren on February 8, 2008 at 2:46 pm

    [I]”First, I don’t want people to start voting Democratic. I want them all to run out and join some Christian social democratic party.”[/I]

    In other words, you want them to vote for a McCain/Huckabee ticket?

  91. Spencer on February 8, 2008 at 2:46 pm

    I’m very disappointed with how this whole election has gone. Very sad to see such an amazing candidate like Romney have to leave the race. Hopefully his potential isn’t wasted and he pulls a Ronald Reagan a la 1976 and run again in another four years. But more than disappointed, I’m even more shocked and insulted that Mike Huckabee could honestly ask Romney supporters to join his campaign. The gall he must have after all the attacks and insinuations against Romney. Of course Mormonism had something to do with it. There is absolutely no way I could ever vote for him as president. I can’t believe more people don’t see through him.

  92. Russell Arben Fox on February 8, 2008 at 2:57 pm

    In other words, you want them to vote for a McCain/Huckabee ticket?

    I don’t think McCain is open-minded enough to let the nascent populism of Huckabee blossom, do you? He’s smart on campaign finance reform and a few other things, but really, he’s basically a loyal soldier in the pro-business, small-government party, don’t you think? Still, American could definitely do worse (assuming he doesn’t start a war with Iran…)

  93. Jeremiah J. on February 8, 2008 at 3:23 pm

    “RAF, Don, and others who want Mormons to give Obama a good hard look and start voting Democratic…”

    I guess I’m misunderstanding Don’s point about “reverse discrimination” then.

    “…ought to play up the Romney-lost-because-of-anti-Mormonism meme for all it is worth.”

    My partisan feelings might lead me to pump this line, but I’d be ashamed to do so since I don’t believe it, and besides I think it’s bad for us (Mormons) spiritually and politically to display this level of self-pity and dillusion over relatively small slights. So, as a non-Republican, I tell LDS Republicans: Huckabee is a crazy reason to stop voting Republican. I’m sure almost every LDS Republican will eventually realize this anyway.

    RAF: “Christian social democratic party”

    Wha? We’re communitarian enough to prefer living within the institutions which actual exist and actually do constitute our political and ethical life (in a pretty decent society), over tiny enclaves of conscience which don’t constitute any common life. aren’t we? I’d readily identify with the GOP if that were the best existing option available. No creed will circumscribe my mind, but I’m fine being in a party.

  94. Jonovitch on February 8, 2008 at 3:43 pm

    Matt (10) nailed it: “[Huckabee] played on religious prejudice, class envy, and regional hostilities.” To wit:
    1. If you’re an evangelical, you’re taught to hate Mormons (whether they believe it is another issue, but it is indeed fair to say that evangelicals in general are taught to hate Mormons)
    2. If you’re poor, you don’t like the guy with all the money, whether out of envy, jealousy, spite, etc. (it’s the crab-in-a-bucket syndrome)
    3. If you’re from the South, you have a distrust of Northerners

    It wasn’t just number one, but that rang true with a lot of Iowans, for example. It wasn’t just number two, but that rang true with a lot of financially struggling voters. And it wasn’t just number three, but that rang true for a lot of the Super Tuesday states (some of whom also fit in well with numbers one and two).

    Mitt git hit with a 1-2-3 knockout — he’s a rich Mormon from the North. Ouch.

    Jon

  95. Adam Greenwood on February 8, 2008 at 4:03 pm

    My partisan feelings might lead me to pump this line, but I’d be ashamed to do so since I don’t believe it, and besides I think it’s bad for us (Mormons) spiritually and politically to display this level of self-pity and dillusion over relatively small slights.

    Hear, hear.

  96. Bob on February 8, 2008 at 4:05 pm

    # 92: “Bomb, bomb, bomb..bomb Iran”, “We may be there a hundred years.” = John McCain. Take the man for his words.

  97. Trevor on February 8, 2008 at 4:15 pm

    Apologizing for such things as Huckabee’s NYTM comment during a presidential campaign is close to meaningless. One calculates commenting and apologizing before the comment is made. The point is to place one’s opponent off balance and prejudice people against that opponent. It wasn’t a mistake. None of it was. Don’t buy the likable rube preacher garbage and think it was.

  98. matt b on February 8, 2008 at 4:17 pm

    “1. If you’re an evangelical, you’re taught to hate Mormons (whether they believe it is another issue, but it is indeed fair to say that evangelicals in general are taught to hate Mormons)”

    I take issue with this, actually. Barack Obama is an evangelical. So is Jim Wallis. So is George Bush. So is Billy Graham. “Evangelical” is a loose, loose category. You’re referring, I think, to a subset of fundamentalists, who are themselves an evangelical subset.

    Jason – Referring to Christ as the revelation of God is common in Protestant discourse; it means to understand Christ as the sole manifestation of God’s salvific power in human history. He means something different by it that Mormons mean by ‘revelation.’

  99. Trevor on February 8, 2008 at 4:22 pm

    #87- I’ll go with voting against the anti-Mormon because you know that it is a despicable tactic. Hate politics pure and simple. You don’t have to be a Mormon to reject that.

  100. Jonovitch on February 8, 2008 at 4:39 pm

    Jason (56 &82), when Huckabee said it “is for [Mormons] to determine whether they accept Jesus Christ as the only revelation of God on Earth,” a few things were said that the journalist failed to pick up on.

    1. Huckabee had a clear chance (and this wasn’t the only one) to state unequivocally that “yes, in my opinion, I think Mormons are good, hard-working Christian people and I think any religious prejudice against them is unfair and irrelevant to the campaign — now I disagree with Romney on some political issues, but his Christianity isn’t one of them” but he didn’t. He dodged the issue time and time again, and used his non-answers to his advantage with prejudiced evangelical voters (note I did not say all evangelical voters).

    2. It wasn’t so much the “only revelation” phrase as the “whether they accept Jesus Christ” phrase that was the “coded message” in your words. You recall that Romney tried to use similar terminology (“I accept Jesus Christ as my personal savior”) because that’s what evangelicals say. I had a friend in high school use that exact sentence on me, in question form, and I answered “yes” of course, but she still didn’t buy it (because she had been trained to distrust me outright — see my previous post [94]).

    2b. Saying “it’s for them to determine whether they accept Jesus Christ” can easily be interpreted by evangelical ears as saying, “they haven’t yet accepted Jesus Christ, because they’re still Mormon, but they still have time to yet determine whether they’re going to abandon that evil religion and saves their souls by ‘accepting Jesus Christ’ as God’s only revelation.”

    3. The “God’s only revelation” part brings with it many other doctrinal meanings that evangelicals can latch on to vis-a-vis (anti-)Mormon teachings — you already covered some of that, and there’s even more to this phrase, but the point is already made.

    The fact that (1) he blatantly and repeatedly balked at the chance to refute prejudice to benefit his personal campaign and (2) used veiled rhetoric to take subtle swipes at Mormons in the process, smacks of religious intolerance and opportunism, both of which true Christianity proscribes, especially when Christianity itself is the tool of the intolerant and opportunistic.

    Huckabee knew exactly what he was doing with this answer, every time he gave it (to say nothing of his dirty mudball “Jesus and Satan” comment). Although he had every chance to do otherwise, he chose repeatedly to prolong and support well-known prejudices, which was rotten and shameful, especially for someone who claims to be a man of the cloth.

    All this having been said, we are to bless those who curse us and pray for those who spitefully use us, etc., and we would do well to review the Savior’s teachings to his disciples on the mount: http://scriptures.lds.org/matt/5/44-47#44 Else how much better are we than they?

    Jon

  101. Jonovitch on February 8, 2008 at 4:57 pm

    matt b (98), I thought I was clear enough, but I’ll try harder here: In general, evangelicals are taught from a number of sources to believe that Mormons are not Christian and that they are doomed to hell. A massive amount of time and money is invested in church classes, sermons, videos, books, pamphlets, blogs, web sites, web rings, etc., all devoted to that purpose. Whether or not evangelicals buy into it is a different issue, but in general, evangelicals encounter those teachings in some way or another at some point in their lives, usually during the teenage years.

    Whether or not a few famous individuals can be identified as part of the larger grouping of evangelicals is irrelevant.

    Incidentally, I fielded many odd questions from my evangelical friends (and even those who weren’t, which shows the reach of such stuff) while I was in high school. I continue to field such questions in the workplace. I have long studied what I could in order to fight the vast amount of misinformation that flows out of many sources in order to correct the errors and bridge the gap where I could.

    Jon

  102. Adam Greenwood on February 8, 2008 at 5:12 pm

    Jonovitch, you’re stereotyping evangelicals. Some are taught that, some aren’t.

  103. Chris Laurence on February 8, 2008 at 5:15 pm

    No one should hate Huckabee. Furthermore, he is not politically viable, and therefore not worth the effort of discussing much. Evangelicals’ reasons for voting for him are their own. They can grapple with those decisions individually, perhaps supporting Romney again at a later time if they like him as much as Latter-day Saints seem to like him today, if he runs again. Huckabee may serve the purpose of drawing Romney and McCain together considering he does not plan to quit running.

  104. Chris Laurence on February 8, 2008 at 5:19 pm

    Clarification: Those evangelicals that voted for Huckabee will evaluate their reasons for doing so, and they will no doubt run the gamut of reasons, just as evangelicals that voted for Romney or another candidate, Latter-day Saints and their respective votes, and all other voters. The reflection on your own vote can be its own stongest indictment or affirmation of that decision. This election will have repercussions for years to come, with an awful lot of time to think about why we all did what we did, and whether our reasoning was justified.

  105. BBELL on February 8, 2008 at 5:35 pm

    Adam,

    I disagree. Evangelicals ARE consistently taught negative things about Mormons. Some are more strident then others but essentially its fair to say that some degree of anti mormonism exists in every evangelical congregation. Usually they lump us in with JW’s and 7 Dayers

  106. Adam Greenwood on February 8, 2008 at 5:42 pm

    BBell,
    I am friends with evangelicals who aren’t. A lot may have to do with the part of the country you’re in.

  107. matt b on February 8, 2008 at 5:51 pm

    Jonovitch – You were quite clear. However, the subculture you describe there is representative only of a distinct subculture within evangelicalism – generally separatists and southern Baptists. There are many varieties of evangelicalism; Obama and Jim Wallis are heirs to a more northern, historically liberal strain; Jerry Falwell is descended from Southern Baptist conservatives, Pat Robertson’s a Pentecostal. All these groups have different positions on ecumenicism. There is no single ‘evangelical’ mind. ‘Evangelicalism’ is not a denomination; it’s a interdenominational movement.

    In short, I think you and bbell have an inaccurate, overly narrow understanding of what ‘evangelicalism’ means.

  108. cyril on February 8, 2008 at 6:01 pm

    Should we hate the Huckster? No. He is a disingenuous bigot whose grasp of foreign policy is as firm as feather, but we should not hate him.

    However, we need to make no mistake here — the fight between Mitt and Huck has just started. Round 1 goes to the Huckster. He blatantly and surreptitiously used religious bigotry and identity politics to deny Romney the nomination this time. But Romney delivered a great parting blow by bowing out graciously and without warning yesterday at CPAC, giving a tremendous speech, garnering a lot of conservative thinker support, and by leaving Huckleberry in a precarious spot — stay in and lose badly and look like a selfish non-party man; leave and confirm that he had a secret combination all along with McAncient.

    The fact that Mitt and Huck will likely do battle again means, I think, that the hate by evangelicals towards us will only increase in both the public and private arenas. But we can’t hate back or we are who they erroneously say we are.

  109. cyril on February 8, 2008 at 6:11 pm

    Re-reading RAF’s post, I am really shocked at the naiveté. Maybe it’s because I have been in the South my entire life and have seen so much anti-Mormon vitriol, but if you don’t get the obvious signs of thinly veiled religious animosity that pours from Huckabee’s mouth when talking about Mitt Romney, you need to adjust your antenna.

    And what the Huckster and 90% of his co-religionists say about you and me behind our backs (and I know because I have been in meetings and at cocktail parties and other similar gatherings where I was thought to be evangelical) would pull you up by your philosophical short hairs and make you realize that the extermination order may not be in effect in practice it is still in force in principle.

  110. BBELL on February 8, 2008 at 6:13 pm

    matt b,

    Its fair to say that I grew up in the North and now live in the South. I see Obama as belonging to an afro centric congegation of a mainline denomination and not an evangelical at all.

    Anti-mormonism comes from all strains of Christianity from catholicism-mainline protestant-pentecostal-whatever. The issue is to what degree. The subset you are describing is particularly anti-LDS. An element of anti mormonism runs thru all sections of Christianity in the US. It ranges from mild to severe.

  111. Trevor on February 8, 2008 at 7:39 pm

    #108- I am surprised there remains any doubt that he and McAncient were cooperating against Romney. Truth is that they all were. In the end, however, it was the pact between McAncient and Chuckleberry that was most directly damaging to an already faltering Romney campaign. When did Chuckleberry ever attack McAncient? What did McAncient do with his delegates in West Virginia? How have the two behaved toward each other in the direct aftermath of Super Tuesday, even though Chuckleberry is supposedly the competition? What is the point of that ‘competition’ at this stage anyway? I don’t need to be hit over the head to take notice.

  112. Visorstuff on February 8, 2008 at 8:01 pm

    While I agree that we as Mormons do have a persecution complex, I don’t think that discussing this complex is the point of most of this thread’s comments. the question has been raised by this post if we should “hate” Huckabee (I think hate is a strong word, and interpreted skeptical of and don’t trust him).

    The post has been full of examples of Huckabee’s use of Anti-Mormonism in his campaign. I think that is obvious for anyone familiar with views on Mormons in the south (incidentally #51, those stats on evangelicals are not favorable to Romney as you state — at least in the south. Most Southern evangelicals more than doubled their votes for Huckabee, the Northerers just tend to be more tolerant). it is obvious that there is a difference between southern evangelicals and northern evangelicals.

    I for one know of the discrimination that comes from church membership, but I also realize that it exists to other groups and that i’m not special in being discriminated against. That said, it is still wrong.

  113. matt b on February 8, 2008 at 8:45 pm

    According to an ABC/Washington Post poll, 45% of Romney’s supporters were self-described evangelicals. Just throwing that out there.

    bbell: Obama’s denomination, the United Church of Christ, formed in 1957 from a merger of the Congregational Churches and the Evangelical and Reformed Churches, identifies itself as evangelical in the historic sense; Obama’s congregation is evangelical in the mission sense.

  114. Trevor on February 8, 2008 at 10:01 pm

    matt b,

    I don’t think most of us are saying they were all buying it. We’re simply saying that Huckabee was trading in it, and it was just effective enough.

    And, I am not here to defend Mormonism per se. I am here to decry the abuse of religion and religious rhetoric in American politics. I also didn’t think that much of the pseudo-Kennedy speech by Romney. Still, it doesn’t hold a candle to the way Huckabee has used bigotry against Mormons and Catholics (remember the Brownback episode?) to appeal to his base.

  115. Jonovitch on February 9, 2008 at 1:27 am

    Adam (102), I understand that I was generalizing. That’s why I used the words “in general.” I also understand that you have good evangelical friends who don’t believe that you are going to hell simply because you’re a Mormon. So do I. That doesn’t mean that somewhere along the line, from some source, they haven’t been taught otherwise.

    matt b (107), I understand perfectly well that the term “evangelical” is a broad categorization that is sometimes confused with the more specific “Southern Baptist Convention.” (I don’t think there’s any doubt that that particular strain is taught to hate us.) But I live in a “more Northern, historically liberal” area, and here, too, evangelicals, in general, are taught to distrust those dastardly Mormons. It’s not confined to specific regions or specific groups of evangelicalism — it’s broad and widespread.

    There might be certain congregations who couldn’t care less about what we believe, and there are certainly many who reject the blatant misinformation on the basis of their personal interactions with good Mormon friends, but (again) in general, at some point in their lives, from some source claiming to have “the truth about Mormons,” evangelicals (as most people in America understand that term) will encounter false teachings about our faith.

    I’m sorry that this side debate has drawn away from my original point, which was that Romney wasn’t attacked only with veiled anti-Mormon material (some of it not-so-veiled), but that he also suffered from anti-rich and anti-Northern sentiment, as Matt Donaldson (in comment 10) so astutely noted.

    Jon

  116. Jonovitch on February 9, 2008 at 1:33 am

    matt b (113), that statistic simply shows that of the people who voted for Romney (mostly upper-Midwest and Western states, where the anti-Mormon rhetoric is not nearly as virulent, yet still present, and where there’s a bit more tolerance for and possible interaction with Mormons), 45 percent were evangelical. It says nothing of the many, many millions of voters who would not, could not, ever vote for a Mormon because we’re a bunch of lying, polygamous, hell-bound, soul-stealers.

    Once again, not everybody buys it, but that doesn’t mean it’s not being sold.

    Jon

  117. matt b on February 9, 2008 at 1:58 am

    Jon – I also live in a predominantly Protestant area. I know three evangelical pastors personally – a Methodist and two Episcopalians. I have attended some of their worship services. They all self-identify as evangelicals, yet they all believe that Mormons are Christian.

    None of them, in their pastorates, have ever taught nor sanctioned anti-Mormon lessons in their congregations; indeed, the UMC as an institution has never even considered such a thing. One of these congregations even cooperated with the local LDS congregation in charity work. The ‘anti-Mormon’ material you claim is so prominent among ‘all’ evangelicals is the product of only some evangelical networks. Evangelicalism is nowhere near centralized enough to imagine that this stuff gets around any more than, say, Cleon Skousen’s atonement ideas pervade all of Mormonism. Indeed, one of these pastors had never heard of Jack Chick till I pointed him out. Thus, you might imagine I take your blanket, hostile, and frankly angry generalizations as rather extreme.

    It’s rather akin to anti-Mormons dragging quotations out of _Mormon Doctrine_ and the Journal of Discourses and stating that, well, racism pervades Mormonism; all Mormons have been ‘exposed’ to it, therefore, they’re all tainted by racist ideology. I’m sure you’d percieve that as anti-Mormon; I hope, perhaps, this gives some indication why I’m percieving you right now as anti-evangelical.

    Anyhow, I’m glad to see that you’ve backed off on your earlier statement that “all evangelicals have been taught to hate Mormons.”

  118. Jonovitch on February 9, 2008 at 3:33 am

    matt b (117), I’m sorry you took my generalizations as hostile and angry — I am not. I’m sorry you perceive me as anti-evangelical — I am not. I never claimed that “all evangelicals have been taught to hate Mormons” — that was a misinterpretation (on your part) of a too-vague statement (on my part). I have tried (apparently in vain) to clarify that.

    I have many good and dear friends here in the Upper Midwest who are evangelical (their megachurch had “evangelical” plastered across the sign). In this specific case, they were most certainly presented, either in church or by church leaders, with anti-Mormon dirt. Some of them were very conflicted about it based on their association with good Mormons. One of my girlfriends had to dump me because of it (her dad loved me until he found out who I really was). I’m still good friends with her and some of the others, and I do not believe they hold any animosity toward me because of what they were at one time taught.

    But I never meant to say that this specific type of in-church indoctrination is the only source of falsehoods to touch each and every evangelical in America — which is why I didn’t say that, but rather, “evangelicals in general are taught to hate Mormons” (see comment 94) and later clarified that with such sources as “videos, books, pamphlets, blogs, web sites, web rings, etc.” (see comment 101).

    Again, I’m sorry if I offended you or your Methodist friends or my evangelical friends, none of whom are among the haters. But my claim stands. In general, evangelicals (through some source, at some point) are taught (by devious and misguided people, but not necessarily by their local pastors) to hate Mormons. There are simply too many books written, too many videos produced, too many Web sites run, too many conferences held, too many people (across the broad spectrum of evangelicalism, and from coast to coast) trying to save my soul from eternal damnation to claim otherwise. It’s everywhere and it’s out in the open and it’s widely accepted by millions of evangelicals. Parallels with obscure passages in ancient journals of discourses are not accurate.

    Jon

  119. Jonovitch on February 9, 2008 at 3:34 am

    “A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll in late January revealed that 50% of Americans said they would have reservations or be “very uncomfortable” about a Mormon as president. That same poll found that 81% would be “enthusiastic” or “comfortable” with an African-American and 76% with a woman.”

    Just throwing that out there.
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120243323721852411.html?mod=hpp_us_inside_today

    Jon

  120. Adam Greenwood on February 9, 2008 at 11:10 am

    I also understand that you have good evangelical friends who don’t believe that you are going to hell simply because you’re a Mormon. So do I.

    For all I know my friends do believe I’m going to hell. My point is that they were never taught anti-Mormon stuff in their churches.

  121. Russell Arben Fox on February 9, 2008 at 11:28 am

    I think we’re beginning to repeat ourselves; perhaps by this point, we’ve said everything there is to say about Huckabee and Romney, at least for the moment. Thanks for playing, everyone.