The EFM Feature

I read Charles’ post about Governor Huckabee with great interest. With John McCain trying to make nice with evangelicals and with his continued, forceful, and principled support of a war that the media hates, his days as media wonderkid may be numbered. But who can take his place? Perhaps Rudy, but he is so obviously contemptuous of the left and so obviously hawkish that he has almost no chance to enjoy the kind of adoration that was once reserved for McCain. It can’t be Governor Romney. We already know that the media (especially the Globe) is pursuing him with the kind of grim vindictiveness that it reserves for only the most dangerous conservatives (you know, the ones that could actually win).
But what about Huckabee? He’s an evangelical, sure, and a devout one at that. That’s strike one. He’s undoubtedly pro-life. That’s strike two. But, wait! He’s also more “moderate” than many of us. He’s not afraid of taxes! He loves the arts! He talks a lot about the poor! The guy’s got promise!
There are basically three kinds of evangelicals the media likes (or can tolerate):The unabashed religious leftist (think Jimmy Carter), the evangelical who loathes other evangelicals (think Tony Campolo), and the big-government evangelical–the guy who takes Jesus’s undeniable call to help the poor and then dumps immense sums of money into inefficient and counterproductive government programs.
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Mike Huckabee, big-government evangelical. The sad thing, of course, about big-government evangelicalism is the paucity of evidence that relevant government programs actually do much to help (especially compared to the abundance of evidence of the negative side effects of the welfare mentality). But those are just details. The important thing–to the media–is your motivation. Big government programs are just so darn well-intentioned.
At any rate, the big-government evangelical (often inadvertently) validates a key media critique of the “values voter”–that we are too busy worrying about abortion and gays to care about the poor. Such critiques are emprical nonsense (no one gives more money or time to the poor than evangelicals), but they burn nonetheless. And they burn even more when one of our own fuels the fire.

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