Monday, December 17, 2007

Huckabee Doesn't Have Time for the Whole Sermon

I'm getting a bit frustrated with hearing from conservative talk show hosts, that Mike Huckabee sounds too liberal. This is especially true of THE conservative talk show host, Rush Limbaugh. However, I can't fault Rush too much for that. I have to lay it at Huckabee's doorstep.

I'm not agreeing with those who say Huckabee is too liberal, just that he sometimes sounds too liberal in the media sound-bites. After reading and listening to many of the former baptist minister's whole speeches; it seems he often starts with a "centrist"/liberal sounding introduction, and then develops a case for his conservative solution.

I suspect this is the result of both having to deal with a heavily Democrat legislature in Arkansas, and the "sermon" format he was used to in the pulpit. In those situations, he had to make the message sound appealing to the listener he was trying to engage; and then as the speech developed lead them to the details of the real solution.

A perfect example of what I believe Huckabee is doing is found in the Bible itself, in John 3:16-18; which begins; "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

Most Christians can quote John 3:16, but how many remember that in verses 17&18, Jesus makes the point that he didn't come to bring condemnation to those who wouldn't believe in Him, but that all were already condemned before He came; and His sacrifice offers the chance to escape that universal condemnation. Now how many would recite that passage if John 3:16 began with; "He that believeth not is condemned already"; even though that's really the reason Christ came to begin with. If we were not in peril we wouldn't have needed saving.

As this applies to Huckabee's speeches and answers to press questions; he's got to realize that they're only going to report the conservative details of his speeches if he makes them an integral part of the quotes they are going to pick. Most voters will not look for, nor pay attention to, the extended details contained within sermon-length speeches or articles.

One example I can think of is Huckabee's view that arts and music are an important part of a well rounded education. He makes statements such as "Music and the arts are not extraneous, extra-curricular, or expendable - I believe they are essential." But in more extended articles and interviews has also said things like "education is a function of the states, not the federal government".

The latter, more conservative statement is not in conflict with the former; but one would certainly not expect the latter from hearing only the former. Now which of those statements do you think a liberal media is more likely to report? And which part will conservative commentators see, especially if the second is buried ten or more paragraphs into the story?

I'm no political speech-writer; but let's try something like this:
I believe that education is a function of the states, not the federal government; just as strongly as I believe that music and the arts are an essential part of education. So as President, I would use the "bully pulpit" to emphatically recommend that the States include these in their education programs. But I would not make this a Federal mandate nor create a new Federal program for this purpose.

Get the idea? I'm sure Mike Huckabee will do a much better job of articulating such; if he will just realize he doesn't have time for the whole sermon.

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