Monday, July 9, 2007

Huckabee at the NEA Convention

Huckabee received a warm reception at this year's NEA (National Education Association) convention. I get a bit concerned when a Republican candidate is well received by the NEA, whose positions on almost every social issue are diametrically opposed to those of conservative Christians. You can watch a clip of his comments here.

Huckabee talks not only about increasing teacher pay (what about accountability?), but also says that music and art should be taught at every grade level. When a presidential candidate talks like that, it sounds like he is advocating more involvement in education by the federal government. We need less, not more, of the federal government in our schools. Tom Tancredo would seek to get the federal government out of the education business.

At the convention, Huckabee said, "I'd like to tell you I became a rock star". Really? I'd rather just hear him say that he is grateful for the positions in which God has placed him.

Oh, and one more thing. To Christian audiences, Huckabee speaks of his support for homeschooling, but at the NEA convention, he bragged about being the first Arkansas governor in 50 years to send his own kids to public school from grades 1 through 12. I'm not saying that he can't be an advocate for homeschooling even though he sent his own kids to public school; I'm just saying that I have noticed he tells each crowd what they want to hear. Besides, I'd rather have a candidate who is not afraid to stand up and say that public education is broken and needs a major overhaul, not minor tinkering and throwing more money into the system.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Why I am supporting Tancredo instead of Huckabee

I had originally planned to support Mike Huckabee, and was still somewhat undecided until the ICA/ITR forum on June 30, but he is kind of waffling or hedging on some of the important issues, in my opinion. A lot of what he says sounds good, especially to a conservative evangelical Christian such as myself. However, you have to listen carefully to hear what he is NOT saying, and note the questions about the issues that he is not really answering directly, even when asked directly. Some might wonder why I, as a conservative Baptist, have chosen to support Tom Tancredo over a Baptist minister (Huckabee). Here are a few of the reasons:

1) While I do appreciate some of what Huckabee has said on the evolution issue, and his boldness to say he believes there is a God who created things, and his refusal to back down, he does hedge somewhat. If he really doesn't know how long it took God to form creation, or how long ago he did it, then he apparently doesn't take the Bible literally. It seems, though, that he is trying to give a "safe" answer. No doubt he knows that, while the majority of people may not believe the literal account of creation, only a small minority believe there is no god or that God had nothing at all to do with creation. So his somewhat vague answer played to the majority, while offending probably only a small percentage.

Huckabee said he believed God "created this process". What 'process' is that? Calling it a 'process' makes it sound more like evolution than creation. God didn't create the "process", he created creation! Maybe I'm splitting hairs, but I have high expectations of him because of the fact he is an evangelical, conservative Baptist pastor. I understand that Christians disagree on this issue, but I would at least expect that--being a pastor--he would have a position on it! And he seemed irritated that the question was even asked at a debate.

2) Huckabee has refused to say same-sex marriage is wrong, saying instead that we need to fix heterosexual marriage before we talk about whether or not to change the definition of marriage. In the meanwhile, the courts ARE changing the definition of marriage.

3) He refuses to say adoption by same-sex parents is harmful to a child, instead saying that "we just don't know yet", and saying we need to look at what is best for the child, whether the parents are heterosexual or homosexual. I agree that we need to look at what is best for the child, but he is avoiding answering the question about same-sex adoption.

4) He wouldn't directly say that homosexuals serving in the military was not a good thing. When pressed with the question two or three times, he would only say that "it is already covered by the Uniform Code of Military Justice", and he didn't think that needed to be changed.

5) He does not appear to be very strong on trying to make abortion illegal, instead saying, "We need to look at changing one heart at a time, rather than passing one piece of legislation at a time". While I agree winning hearts should be the ultimate goal, many hearts will never be won. Meanwhile, thousands of babies are being killed every day.

6) Finally, although many would disagree with me, and it wouldn't be an issue for most, as a conservative Baptist Christian it bothers me somewhat that a supposedly conservative Baptist minister would play songs like "Born to be Wild" in his secular rock band. A lot of people would probably think it "cool" that a presidential candidate--especially a Baptist minister--would not be so stuffy, but instead is willing to get in touch with his "wild side" through the music he plays. However, I am ready for someone who is more interested in espousing conservative principals than embracing pop culture.

Maybe he is just being a smart politician, but aren't we ready for someone who isn't afraid to boldly proclaim their positions on the issue, no matter to whom they are speaking? Haven't we had enough of politicians who change their rhetoric to fit their audience? How do we know what they really believe? I know electability is a factor, but I believe Tancredo IS electable, AND he shares his same core beliefs unabashedly with every audience. Look what happened when Nussle was anointed our candidate for governor because of his perceived greater electability. If we would have gone with Vander Plaats, we could very well have a Republican governor now. I'm not trying to second guess, but I'm just saying that the "electability" factor doesn't always serve us well. I am looking for someone I know is a true conservative on every issue. I want someone who is not afraid to take a stand on the controversial issues. Like Tancredo says, "When conservatives run ON our principles, we win. When we run FROM them, we lose".

If Huckabee becomes the Republican candidate, I will certainly support him with passion in the general election, but he is not my first choice of candidates. From what I know of all the candidates, Huckabee might be #2, but not a close #2 at this point. I don't know enough about Duncan Hunter, but he might bump Huckabee if I knew more about him.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Tancredo Winner at ICA/ITR Forum

At the presidential forum held in Des Moines on June 30, 2007, Tom Tancredo was the clear winner, receiving two standing ovations. According to the LA Times, "Of the six candidates who spoke, Tancredo received the best reception, coming and going to standing ovations." (Full article here). I'm not sure about the standing ovation as he was coming, but I know that he received one during his speech, as well as at the end.

Tancredo, without question, energized the crowd significantly more than any of the other candidates. The rest of the candidates were Tommy Thompson, Sam Brownback, Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney, and Duncan Hunter. You can watch Tancredo's speech here: Team Tancredo website.