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.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Did you actually SEE his speech? Or are you just grabbing lines out of context. The rockstar quote was a joke. And he spoke forcefully about real changes that needed to be made to education. He has been consistent with everything he said to the NEA in other places. You CAN support public schools and homeschooling.

Glad to see you are active in the process. Just would like to see fair representation of candidates and thier issues. This post does not do this.

The Activist said...

Anon:

I watched a clip of his speech. Unfortunately, it was only a minute and a half. But it's the only thing I've been able to find. Can you provide a link to where you saw the full speech, or were you at the convention?

And, I acknowledged that you can support both homeschooling and public schools, but was merely noting that he tends to tailor his support on that (and other) issues to the audience he is addressing.

As far as the rock star comment, are you sure he was joking? I mean, how do you know he wouldn't like to be one if he had it to do all over again? He does seem to love playing in his rock back as often as possible!

Sorry you don't feel I am fairly representing the candidates (or is it just the case that you don't like to see anything negative posted about Huckabee?). But that is why I allow comments to the posts--so people can dispute my remarks and/or make their case.

I just know that the NEA's goals are at odds with those of conservative Republicans. So, when I see a Republican candidate getting a warm reception from them, it gives me pause. It's kind of like getting a warm reception from Planned Parenthood.

Mike Core said...
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The Activist said...

Mike:

The pro-life community has been trying to persuade people for 34 years that abortion is wrong. We haven't been very successful. I don't know what you think Huckabee could do to persuade people when everyone before him has failed. And the longer something is legal, the more people are likely to accept it as moral.

As far as homeschooling is concerned, parents don't need to be trained. Most homeschool parents don't have a degree in education, and many don't even have a college degree of any kind, yet homeschool kids, as a group, consistently outperform public school kids.

As far as requiring music and art for all kids, the federal government has no constitutional authority to be involved in education in the first place; I certainly don't want to see them expand their role!

We are in a culture war. And we aren't going to prevail through persuasion. The secular humanists are too entrenched in their ideology. I don't want to offend you, because I think you sincerely believe what you say and you have good intentions, but the reason the culture has decayed is NOT for the lack of trying to persuade people that we have the truth. It is because we have not been bold enough in standing for biblical values.

Mike Core said...
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The Activist said...

Mike, if you are going to consider making abortion illegal to be "the use of force", then you would have to consider other laws against murder to be "the use of force". One of the (few) legitimate roles of government is to restrain evil. Killing babies is evil, despite being framed by some as "a woman's right to choose".

If you can find a writing or mp3 file of Dr. Mohler's where he says he is opposed to making abortion illegal, I would like you to send me the link to it.

In fact, in one of his writings he said, "If nothing else, this analysis indicates once again that virtually unrestricted access to abortion is the law of the land only because of the unilateral action of the U.S. Supreme Court. The Court usurped the democratic process and acted in a manner that, even thirty years later, still does not reflect the convictions of the American people.

Take Ohio, for example. Pro-life legislators in the state are considering legislative initiatives that would restrict abortion. As Ohio House Democratic leader Joyce Beatty acknowledged to the paper, "If we voted on this tomorrow in this House, I would lose." She also admitted that at least a third of her fellow Democrats in the House would join Republicans in supporting the bills. Now, who is afraid of representative democracy?"

It doesn't sound to be like he is against laws outlawing abortion!

The Activist said...

Mike:

President Bush has tried appeasing Democrats/liberals on many issues, and it has always come back to haunt him. Most of them cannot be persuaded and they are not interested in compromise.

Beginning about 30 years ago, the Church in this country started embracing the philosophy of just loving everyone in order to win them to Christ. Very few churches these days talk about sin and our need for redemption. Very few are willing to speak out on the cultural issues of the day.

The result has not been good. Out culture has continued (even accelerated) its decline into immorality. The Church at one time was the moral conscience of this society. Now, we are merely tolerated, as long as we keep those bigoted biblical beliefs to ourselves. Any pastor or other Christian leader who dares to speak the Truth that offends is marginalized and despised by unbelievers, and disavowed by many Christians.

There are few true conversions these days. Many who profess to be Christians are false converts who don't even know what it means to be saved. Many raised their hand (while everyone's eyes were closed and heads down) to affirm that they wanted a better life that they were promised Jesus would give them.

Churches have gone from preaching the Gospel to entertaining the audience and telling them how to have their "best life" now. Even so, church attendance is down in total. Some churches are growing, but not because of new converts. It is primarily due to people switching from other churches.

Anyway, I didn't mean to get off on all that, and I'm not suggesting forced conversions. Obviously, acceptance of Christ has to be voluntary and from the heart. But the type of philosophy you seem to be espousing is the same as I see in others who are the product of the type of churches I am describing. I call it the "can't-we-all-just-get-along-and-not-offend-anyone" mentality.

Mike Core said...
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The Activist said...

Mike, I'm trying to think of what I said that led you to believe I support burning down abortion clinics? I merely pointed out that Huckabee answered the abortion question by saying he believed the strategy should be to win one heart at a time, rather than pass one piece of legislation at a time. I then said that ultimately winning hearts is best, but that is a long-term proposition and some hearts will never be won, so we need to also try to make it illegal, just as other forms of murder are illegal. Nowhere did I mention marching on Washington, burning abortion clinics, or civil disobedience.

Mike Core said...
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matt reisetter said...

OK, now that the Straw Poll is over, let's re-group. After all, most of us who read/post on this blog agree on about 98% of politics.

Here's the situation: Hunter should be out. Tancredo should be out. T. Thompson is out. And Sam Brownback is in the way and needs to get out.

If this all goes like it ought to, conservatives will have one great Republican choice to rally around: Mike Huckabee. He can speak well, he's got executive experience, and he's gaining momentum. And regardless of your view on his appearance at the NEA Convention, or your view on his supposed "fiscal liberalism" according to some group here or there, HE IS OUR BEST SHOT!

Are you going to go with Giuliani? Or Romney? Or Fred Thompson, who is supposedly going to ride in on a white horse and save the day?

If we want someone who represents our core beliefs best AND who is at least in the game, then Huckabee's our guy.

Conservatives, our strategy must be clear: First we must send a message to Brownback to quit splitting the conservative vote and tell him to get out of the race ... to put the cause above himself.

Second, we must rally around Mike Huckabee with our time, our votes and our money. In fact, I'm going to www.mikehuckabee.com right now to make another contribution to his campaign. Hope you'll join me!

The Activist said...

OK, Matt, you make a point, but let's think this through. First of all, to put things in perspective, the difference in straw poll votes between Huckabee and Tancredo (4.4 percentage points) is less than 1/3 of the difference between Huckabee and Romney (13.5 percentage points). So, if you are going to say that Huckabee's finish eclipsed that of Tancredo (and Brownback), then you would also have to say that Huckabee was totally blotted out by Romney's vote total.

The media likes to play the numbers game, and they seem to only be able to count to three--it's Romney, Huckabee, and Brownback when talking about the straw poll results (that is, when they mention the last two at all!). However, the difference between Brownback and Tancredo (1.7 percentage points) is statistically insignificant. I don't see Brownback getting out anytime soon, and I don't think Tancredo should either.

No, I don't want Guiliani, Romney, or Fred Thompson as our candidate. But I think it is too early for Tancredo to throw in the towel when he is so close to the #2 and #3 finishers. Huckabee's 2nd place finish was not that spectacular.

If Tancredo drops out, I'll be right there with ya. Until then, I'm going to hang on for awhile.

As a side note, I'm a little conflicted on Huckabee's comment, in which he compared his 2nd place finish to Jesus feeding the 5,000. I like that he is referencing the Bible, but it might be a bit misplaced. First of all, I wouldn't elevate his finish to the level of a miracle. Second, it is a bad analogy. Finishing stronger in a straw poll than some pundits predicted is not exactly analogous to feeding 5,000 people with two fish and five loaves.

matt reisetter said...

Activist -

You are correct that, purely by the percentage of votes won, Huck's win over Brownback and Tancredo wasn't spectacular ... and that, purely by the percentage of votes won, his loss to Romney was great.

However, the percentage of votes won isn't the only set of numbers I look at to make my evaluation that Huck's 2nd place finish was decisive. I also look at the number of radio ads, TV ads, direct mail, money spent preparing for the Straw Poll, buses rented for the Straw Poll, and signs up in Ames for the Straw Poll.

Obviously I don't know where Romney, Brownback and Tancredo all scored in those categories (I'm guessing one, two and three, respectively), but I do know where Huckabee scored: 4th out of 4! He did no advertising, he had no buses ... overall he spent very, very little money and still came out 2nd.

This tells me that his message and his style is resonant with conservatives to a much greater degree than the messages of the other 2 conservative candidates (Brownback and Tancredo) ... to a degree so great that it overcame his being outspent by the other top contenders. (And let's not even talk about Romney who we all know bought his victory.)

If you add up Huck's, Brownback's and Tancredo's Straw poll numbers, they equal 46% ... not that all of them would be with Huckabee if he were the only conservative candidate, but even if 7% of Brownback's and Tancredo's cumulative 28% went with Romney, who already had 31%, and the rest (21%) went to Huckabee, who already had 18%, Huckabee wins 39% to 38% over Romney!

Now that would've been something! Getting Brownback and Tancredo to bow out of the race prior to the Straw Poll - so that such a feat could've been mathematically possible, now that would've been analogous to 5 loaves and 2 fish!!! :)

The Activist said...

Your assessment of the numbers makes sense, but three points I want to make...

First, I'm voting my conscience this time, rather than voting pragmatically. I think Tancredo is the best candidate (i.e., the candidate who aligns the closest with my ideology and belief system). To quote one of his staffers who has to leave the campaign to start law school, "I truly believe Tom is the most principled, honest, and forward thinking man running for President today and our country needs him."

Second, even if I agreed with your position, I don't have influence to convince Tom to drop out of the race, even if I thought it was the best thing (which I don't).

Third, the media (and the rest of the country) is very much keeping alive the campaigns of certain candidates who didn't bother with the straw poll and didn't finish well, and that we would not personally support. This is a variable that cannot be ignored.

The Activist said...

I'm also still not happy about Huckabee wanting to promote music and arts in schools. First of all, the federal government has no business in education, and definitely shouldn't be expanding their role. Second, let's focus on improving the basics before we add more offerings. Third, how will this expansion be funded? His proposal would require massive teacher hirings, which is why he was so well received at the NEA convention.*

I don't think it is the role of the government to provide art and music education to every grade level, especially when the public schools are becoming more and more indoctrination centers and less institutions of learning the basics. That is NOT a conservative position. I think Huckabee is a bit too obsessed with music.

*Matt, how can you be waging a campaign against the NEA, while so strongly supporting a presidential candidate that is so appealing to them? :-)