The EFM Feature

It’s tough to improve on Steve’s great post on the Governor’s confrontation with Iowa talk show host Jan Mickelson. I agree with all his points below but want to add just a couple of additional things:
1. The exchange highlights the challenges the Governor faces in reaching not the bulk of conservatives, but a particular type of (disproportionately outspoken) grassroots activists. For lack of a better term, I’ll call them the “I read a book once” conservatives. These are the guys that opine with nearly absolute authority on a huge variety of topics, including (as in the radio interview) constitutional law and Mormon theology. They read books here and there, gain a bit of knowledge superior to the average (less politically obsessed) citizen, and then proceed to absolutely browbeat you with their unassailable wisdom.
The “I read a book once” conservative is the primary critic of EFM and most other more mainstream social conservative outlets. They often (angrily) purport to tell me “what I don’t know” about Mormonism or “what I should understand” about the Constitution. When the Governor asked the host whether the host thought that he knew more about Mormonism than the Governor, the point struck home.
Senator Brownback is building an entire campaign around “I read a book once” conservatism — the guys who were always right and not afraid to tell you; the guys who know “what’s really going on,” the guys who think that any disagreement with them is not just proof of your ignorance, but also your active compliance with evil. Sadly for Senator Brownback (and happily for the country), the “I read a book once” conservative movement has never even elected a dogcatcher.
2. I not only think it was good that Governor Romney got a bit angry in the video, I think it was vital. Here is living proof that the man is no bloodless technocrat. You challenge his faith, and he’ll respond. The MSM is trying to define the Governor as “Mr. Perfect,” the person so calm and cerebral and well-dressed that he can’t possibly connect with Joe Sixpack. Well, Joe Sixpack knows how to respond to insufferable arrogance, and Mitt Romney did it just the right way.
3. (And this is off-topic, but I have to say it anyway) Can I just pause for a moment and say that it is just sad — yes, sad — how unbelievably unappealing Sam Brownback is in this race. Here’ s a guy running as, basically, the “real Christian,” and his campaign has been petty, vicious, and downright deceptive. Mike Huckabee is running this race the right way. He’s giving it his best and — at the same time — showing America a side of the Christian conservative movement that it needs to see. Mike Huckabee is a tremendous combination of good-natured, passionate, principled, compassionate, and eloquent. He conducts himself like the wonderful Christian people I know and interact with every day. Just think how much better this race would be if every candidate who publicly (and proudly) defines themselves as Christians behaved the way Mike Huckabee has.

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