I’ve done quite a bit of writing about Huckabee recently, both at The Wild Hunt and at the Washington Post. I specifically found his deep admiration for pseudo-historian David Barton, who denies that religious minorities are protected by the Establishment Clause, especially troubling. He even jokingly said that he thinks Barton’s views should be taught at gunpoint in public schools.
Nor was Barton the only controversial friendship he nurtured. His ongoing silence concerning similar views voiced by Bryan Fischer, the Director of Issue Analysis for the American Family Association, a man who, like Barton, claims the Establishment Clause only applies to Christians, that Native Americans are mired in alcoholism and poverty because they won’t all become Christians, and that the environmental movement is a stalking horse for Paganism, made him uniquely unsuited in my mind to lead a pluralistic and secular nation. So let us all breathe a collective sigh of relief that Huckabee isn’t running.
The question now is who will take up the Christian social conservative banner during the Republican presidential primary race? Jon Ward at The Huffington Post believes the baton will largely pass to Minnesota Representative Michele Bachmann (if she wants it).
“Perhaps no one will benefit more than Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), if she decides to run. She has the capability, probably more than any other potential GOP candidate, to unite social conservatives in Iowa in a way similar to the way Huckabee did last election.”
Unfortunately, Bachmann is also a big David Barton fan, and is, if anything, more radical in her views than Huckabee. The only potential upside to all this for Republicans who aren’t married to Christianity and their culture war issues is that all the social conservative candidates flooding the field might just cancel each other out.
“But it is more likely now, even if Bachmann runs, that the social conservative vote in Iowa will be more splintered in 2012 than it was in 2008, with votes going to former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), former Godfathers Pizza CEO Herman Cain, and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum. In the end, this splintering could benefit other more moderate candidates like Pawlenty, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels if he decides to run, or former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, if he decides to campaign in the Hawkeye State.”
That analysis might be overly optimistic, but it does show a potential way forward for more socially moderate candidates. In any case, religious minorities must remain vigilant that any politician who would deny us equal treatment not be allowed to move forward unquestioned and unscrutinized.