by Max Brantley
Here's a less jaundiced view of Mormonism than was offered in the Dem-Gaz yesterday. The local angle remains Mike Huckabee's comment to a NY Times reporter, a seemingly innocent query about whether Mormons believe Jesus and Satan are brothers. It has had the salubrious effect, for him, of broadcasting and rebroadcasting a popular slur likely to resonate among the evangelical Christian voters who dominate the Iowa caucuses.
The question posed by Mr. Huckabee in an article to be published Sunday in The New York Times Magazine and available at nytimes.com/politics is one of the standard sensationalistic A-bombs often hurled at Mormons by their detractors, said Scott A. Gordon, president of the Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research, a group based in Redding, Calif., that defends Mormon theology.
“It’s an attack question,” Mr. Gordon said, “because it starts with a kernel of truth and shapes it into something that most Mormons wouldn’t recognize about their faith.”
The Mormon remark hasn't helped Huckabee much, in concert with evolution, AIDS, etc. Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post says Huck has defined himself as "anti-reason." Former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson finds his view of Huckabee shifting, too, particularly for Huckabee's embrace of the founder of a strident anti-immigration group.
This kind of stuff only helps The Huckster many places, such as South Carolina, where he now leads in CNN poll. Do you think the Rolling Stones really will play at the Huckabee inaugural?
Perhaps I shouldn't plan my inaugural wardrobe yet. Rich Lowry writes that Huckabee's nomination would spell suicide for the Republican Party's presidential hopes.
Like [Howard] Dean, Huckabee is an under-vetted former governor who is manifestly unprepared to be president of the United States. Like Dean, he is rising toward the top of polls in a crowded field based on his appeal to a particular niche of his party. As with Dean, his vulnerabilities in a general election are so screamingly obvious that it's hard to believe that primary voters, once they focus seriously on their choice, will nominate him.