Tuesday, December 04, 2007


Richard Cohen wrote in WaPo What could be called "The Huckabee Moment" occurred Sunday morning when ABC's George Stephanopoulos asked the former Arkansas governor, suddenly and ominously the front-runner in Iowa's GOP contest, whether Mitt Romney is a Christian. Mike Huckabee knew precisely what was being asked of him,
He was challenged by a Secular Humanist to say someone is not a Christian.
and he also knew, because he is a preacher, what the right -- not the clever, mind you -- answer should be. But Huckabee merely smiled that wonderful smile of his and punted.
In other words he was smart enough not to fall in Stephanopolis's trap.
This, with apologies to George W. Bush, is the soft demagoguery of low expectations. Until just recently, the expectations have indeed been low for Huckabee. He is more famous for losing more than 100 pounds than for any towering political accomplishment. But he is an ordained Baptist minister, and Romney is a Mormon -- a member of a church that some conservative Christians consider heretical.
And if some think that way, Richard thinks all must.
Huckabee has presented himself as the un-Mormon. Pardon me for saying so, but that is the chief difference between the two. On about all the social issues you can name -- abortion, stem cells, gun control -- Huckabee and Romney are in sync. So their religious differences are not about morality.
Does Richard Cohen think that a man's belief should control how he would govern?
They are about belief -- religious belief, precisely the issue that is not supposed to matter in this country. Huckabee, though, clearly thinks it ought to.
But he did not fall in Stephanopolis's trap.

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