Saturday, February 02, 2008

Why a Democratic scientist is noticing Mike Huckabee (in a good way)

I am a scientist, and a Democrat, and in general I respect people who value scientific knowledge. So, it was with great surprise that I recently found myself interested in Mike Huckabee's presidential run. I know that at this point he doesn't have much of a shot of actually receiving the nomination, but I think he will do respectably in some contests come super Tuesday. He will probably win Arkansas, I think, and he at least has a small shot at Georgia and Tennessee, and maybe Oklahoma. I was surprised at my interest because Mike is nearly unapologetic about not believing in evolution. I am pretty sure that we would be on opposite sides of the stem cell research debate and abortion, but I feel like I am still rooting for him, nonetheless.

There are a few reasons why I found myself hoping another man from Hope would be nominated for president:
1) My main reason for defending Mike Huckabee is because I feel like I know what guides him, and can appreciate and anticipate how he will make decisions. He is foremost a Christian, and secondly a Republican. So many of his political leanings are rooted in the Bible, and can be anticipated. The Bible is, I think, a generally good guide to life, so why wouldn't I support a candidate who chooses to follow the Bible in his daily life, both personally and politically?

This is a sharp contrast to Mitt Romney, whom I can not anticipate at all. I have a feeling that Mitt Romney uses not the Bible to guide his hand in his day to day decisions, but instead uses political polling. When he was running for the Senate against Ted Kennedy, he sounded like a Democrat, and when he ran for Massachusetts governor, he sounded like a moderate Republican. Now that he is running for the Republican nomination, he sounds like a conservative Republican. I anticipate, if Mitt receives the nomination, that he will tack hard to the center, and start to reclaim those past liberal credentials, in order to win over Democrats and independents. As a Democrat that ought to make me happy, but it just feels like Mitt is slimy enough to say anything to win any election, and I can't stand that. I'd rather vote for a candidate with whom I disagree, but respect, than someone with whom I agree (somewhat more) but don't respect.

2) Secondly, I have found Mike Huckabee to break with his party enough for me to consider him a good leader. This harkens back to my first point a bit, because when "Republican" gets in the way of "Christian", I know Christian will win. In my state of Arkansas, Huckabee proposed and pushed through the biggest creation of child health care through ARKids. Republicans chide him now for expanding the government, but making sure kids have health insurance was more important, as a Christian, than limiting the growth of government. I don't know if he has spoken on the subject, but I feel pretty sure that Huckabee would have stayed his veto pen when considering the expansion of the children's health insurance program that Bush recently vetoed, even though it would have been paid for with tobacco taxes.

I have also beamed with pride as fiscal conservatives have attacked Huckabee six ways to Sunday. I always thought the fiscal conservatives and evangelicals, whose Christian values should direct them to help people, were strange bedfellows. Huckabee basically kicked the Wall Street types out of the bed. He is much more internally consistent than the other candidates, in my opinion.

2) Finally, I would be joking if I didn't mention that the biggest reason I am interested in Huckabee is because he is from Arkansas. I love my state, and I love seeing people from my state succeed. If I were from somewhere else, I think I'd be deriding Huckabee as ignorant and ill-prepared for the White House. However, as it stands, I am excited for him.

Like I said before, I don't think Huckabee has much of a chance on super Tuesday, but I think he will pick up a few states. At this point, I hope he does well, and I hope McCain considers him in choosing a Vice President. With McCain's paucity of religious credentials, Huckabee might just fill out the ticket to secure a certain victory. Just a couple of days and we will see.

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