That Old Planted Cross?

Huckabee and Cross (AP)

Did he or didn’t he? Only the big guy upstairs knows for sure.

The ‘he’ is Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee, who was in Cedar Rapids last night. He spoke to roughly 200 people gathered for an Iowa Christian Alliance fundraiser at Elite Homes.

You could give some money to the ICA, hear the Baptist preacher who would be president and pick out some darn nice window treatments. Now that’s one-stop shopping.

What Huckabee did, according to some pundits, is make sure the camera shooting his latest Merry Christmas TV ad caught a cross created by  shelves on piece of furniture in the background. Staged or not, the bright white cross does sort of float eerily next to his talking head.

Chattering meaning searchers from the left clear over to Peggy Noonan on the right say it was a blatant/shrewd use of imagery for a candidate trying to seal the deal with evangelical voters, especially in Iowa.

The way Huckabee tells it, the cross was an accident. He swears on a stack of Bibles. Well, maybe not.

He says the ad was shot hastily in one take because he was suffering from a throat infection and wanted to call it a day. The spot, he says, was intended for his Web site and only later did the campaign decide to put it on TV as an antidote to a swarm of negative campaign ads.

“Let’s change the tone of the conversation,” he said.

He said the crew shot it in front of a Christmas tree and didn’t give any thought to the white bookcase and it’s religious background. Huckabee also gives a birthday shout-out to Jesus Christ, which many have noted is somewhat unusual for an American campaign ad.

Planned or not, Huckabee’s flock has to be pretty pleased how this is working out. Perhaps it was divine intervention.

For one, he gets to riff before righty crowds about how dumb, godless and out of touch the news media is. “I’ve been called a fascist and a knuckle-dragger. And those are the nicer things,” Huckabee said, arguing that we wouldn’t have batted an eye if he had taken the Lord’s name in vain.

(In this atmosphere, I respectfully disagree with that one. I think swearing in an ad would draw some ink and Web space. How about you?)

Second, he gets to re-stoke the`war on Christmas’ story line that dark secular forces are trying to take Christ out of Christmas and silence Christians. “Even if we shut up, the stones will cry out,” Huckabee said, paraphrasing the Good Book to cheers and a few amens.

Maybe his campaign is indeed just a spontaneous lark where ads are shot with little planning or thought. Sure.

What is clear is that the tone of Huckabee’s surging campaign is different than it was back in the Summer when he was running in the single digits.

 Perhaps it was just his audience last night, but the compassionate, hopeful stuff he used to say about health care for the poor, about caring for people even after they’re born and how  government shouldn’t leave the less-fortunate hanging out to dry was noticeably absent.

Instead, he was channeling Sam Brownback.

“The Bible was not written to be changed. The Constitution was,” Huckabee said to cheers while arguing for an amendment to ban gay marriage, which he said threatens to destroy civilization as we know it. As does legal abortion and the IRS.

 I’m a Christian, but that line is sort of scary. I like my Bible and my Constitution to sit on different shelves in the bookcase. Even the holiest of bookcases.

Huckabee, who was once a fresh voice, is starting to sound like the same old stale communion wafers. I pray I’m all wrong.

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3 Comments

Filed under Iowa Caucuses, Uncategorized

3 responses to “That Old Planted Cross?

  1. Doug

    Ah…the old church and state routine. Never bought it, never will.

    Nah. The only reason Huckabee is starting to sound old now is because of the “Mormon” thing.

    On another note, anyone ever going to discuss the recent Gazette shakeup, other than a tiny note in the paper?

  2. Steve Hanken

    When it comes to “values” be they the “family” variety of otherwise, it looks like there can be no moderation, you are for um’ or agin’ um. With that said, the “Huckster” has lots of explaining to do. On numerous occassions he has spouted off about his divinity degree which he doesn’t appear to have, and there are other gliches in his philosophy that appear to be more in line with “do as I say, not as I do.” With this “magnet” sitting somewhere close to his moral compass, I find it somewhat upsetting the choir he is preaching to hasn’t picked up on this and dismissed him as the cross slipper he really is.

  3. Hello from Canada!
    Happy Holidays to every citizen of Iowa! Please vote wisely in your primary election because what happens in the United States will affect the rest of us around the world!
    Personally, I have read about and listened to all of your political leaders over the last few years and the one person that stands out above the rest is your Democrat: John Edwards. He is the one person who has taken least from the Oil corporations. Every other front running Presidential candidate has accepted larger political donations from the Oil corporations.
    For a world seriously threatened by global warming and with fact based evidence piling up daily, I would choose the polician with the better ideas and with the most integrity. Thanks for reading!
    Signed: Joseph Raglione
    Executive director: The World Humanitarian Peace and Ecology Movement.

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