By Daniel Kay
A common statement among Huckabee supporters is “I feel like I can connect with him.” Such is the privilege of most Male, Middle Class, White and Evangelical candidates. Perhaps it is Romney’s money that prevents some voters from ‘connecting.’ Realistically, however it has much more to do with another M word, Mormon. Indeed, how much more money does it cost a Mormon to compete in the Republican Iowa Caucus than a Baptist? Just ask Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee. Neither will acknowledge that if Romney were any type of Christian than a Mormon Christian, he would have the nomination sealed by now. I know how much more personal blood, sweet and tears are required as a Mormon to achieve the same as a Protestant Christian who has the benefit of entitlement from fellow Protestants or someone that lacks the persecution inextricable from being a Mormon. Money aside, the fact that Romney, a Mormon, is competing in Iowa is remarkable. A recent study out by Vanderbilt University showed that there is greater discrimination against Mormons than blacks or women in America. No other candidate in this race has had to over come so much.
Romney’s Iowa rival Mike Huckabee, has obtained the Evangelical grass roots support not by self merit but by Evangelical entitlement. Evangelical entitlement comes with gratuitous loyalty that allows him to get away with more antics. First, Huckabee recently fooled the media into disseminating his Anti-Romney attack ad. This slick move saved Huckabee from having to spend the money to air it, while maintaining the good-guy image. Second, Huckabee left his secure stalwart Evangelical gold claim to cross the writers strike line for an appearance on Jay Leno the day before the Caucus. This would have been caucus suicide for Romney, but for Huckabee, Iowa support assured, it was a chance to expand his national support. Third, Huckabee has allowed his web site post column to be a cesspool for Anti-Mormon vehemence. Imagine the outcry if Hillary allowed her web site to be a forum for racism to help her bet Obama?
I have come down hard on Huckabee, but in the spirit of this blog I will leave a few nice, positive thoughts about him and his supporters. First, Huckabee is a stalwart social conservative. If he gets the nomination I will most likely support him in the general election because I believe that social issues outweigh all others. Second, though Evangelicals despise me and my faith and continue to push us away, most Mormons, including myself, will stand next to them politically for the common good and as fellow Christians.
Romney is an idealist to believe that his faith is a non-issue for most Americans but that is what makes him great. He has a vision of America that is brighter than most of us realize. America has come a long way in overcoming discrimination. This is perhaps one more chance for America to move beyond bigotry.