Everybody seems to have Mike Huckabee on the brain today. As he pulls up nearly even with John McCain in South Carolina leading up to the primary there tomorrow, political writers are trying to understand what voters are thinking about the Baptist bass player. Do the Evangelicals matter? Don't they? Will they even vote for him? It's a Huckanundrum!
• David Brooks reminds us that it can be looked at pretty simply: "It is no accident that the major candidates in the Republican field are a pastor, a businessman and a war hero. These are the three most evocative Republican leadership models." [NYT]
• But Rich Lowry says that this appeal as a pastor has begun cooling with non-Evangelicals. And now that it's becoming clearer that he lacks the planning to impress voters with his policy ideas. [NYP]
Rudy scored a huge coup today when, in a speech at the National Press Club, powerful evangelist Pat Robertson announced he would endorse the former New York mayor. Robertson's announcement will give pause to the many who assumed that if Giuliani won the Republican nomination, there would be low Values Voter turnout in support of him. Earlier this year, Christian leaders like Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission; Tony Perkins, head of the conservative Family Research Council; and James Dobson, leader of Focus on the Family all said they would not support Giuliani's run. But Robertson, who may hold the most sway of them all, will at least mitigate that influence. This is obviously great for Giuliani, but less so for Robertson. Giuliani is pro-gay and pro-abortion, two of the Values Voters' biggest no-no's. So why the plug? We can think of two reasons. One, it adds to the odds that the Christian right won't have to deal with a Mormon in the White House if the Republicans win, and two, now if Giuliani wins, Robertson can claim he is beholden to the evangelicals. Had he won without any of their support, he would be free of their influence while in power (unlike, say, Bush). Which is kind of a shame. We were sort of looking forward to a general election between two infidels next year, instead of just one.
Pat Robertson Endorses Giuliani [WP]