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Parsing the Polls: Huckabee's Do or Die Moment

Former Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-Ark.) is approaching a critical moment in his presidential campaign. If he can manage a second place showing in Saturday's Ames Straw poll he can claim an organizational victory and potentially build momentum heading into the state's caucuses next year. A third or fourth place (or worse) showing on Saturday may well foreclose any chance he has at becoming a serious contender.

With so much on the line for Huckabee this weekend, we closely studied the recent Washington Post/ABC News survey of likely Republican caucus-goers.

On its face the numbers are surprisingly good for Huckabee. Former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-Mass.), who has been on television in Iowa for months, led the way with 26 percent followed by former Sen. Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.) at 14 percent and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani with 13 percent. Huckabee, who is far less well known than those three candidates and has spent very limited amounts of money in Iowa, was tied for fourth with Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) at eight percent.

And, as the Post's Dan Balz and Jon Cohen noted in their story about the poll, Iowa Republican voters are decidedly non-committal about their preferred candidate, with just 19 percent calling themselves "very satisfied" with their choices in nominees.

It would seem from those numbers that Huckabee might just have an opening -- assuming he can exceed expectations at Ames. But, when you dip further into the Post's poll does it still paint a rosy picture for Huckabee?

Let's parse the poll!

A series of so-called "attribute" questions give us our jumping off point. Most polls ask these sorts of questions to glean voters' perceptions about the candidates beyond generic support. Poll respondents are typically asked:

- who they consider to be the strongest leader
- which candidate best understands the problems of "people like you"
- which candidate is best able to handle the situation in Iraq (particularly apt for today's political situation)

Huckabee regularly scores highest on question regarding personal attributes and far less well on experience/policy matters.

Asked which candidate best "understands the problems of people like you" Romney led the way with 21 percent followed by Giuliani at 13 percent and Huckabee at 10 percent. The most "honest and trustworthy" candidate? Romney led again at 21 percent followed by a three-way statistical tie between Thompson (11 percent), McCain (10 percent) and Huckabee (10 percent). The trend continues when voters are asked who is the most likeable candidate. Romney places first with 27 percent followed by Giuliani at 20 percent. Thompson is at 11 percent and Huckabee is at eight percent.

Those numbers stand in stark contrasts to the substantive policy "attribute" questions where Huckabee struggles to break from the pack of second tier candidates. Just three percent said Huckabee is the candidate best able to handle the situation in Iraq, while just four percent said he has the experience to be president.

As troubling for Huckabee is that Iowa voters don't think he is trying all that hard in their state or has much of a chance to be elected president. One percent of the Post/ABC sample said he had the "best" chance of winning the White House, tying him with longshot Reps. Ron Paul (Texas) and Tom Tancredo (Colo.). Huckabee scored a similar one percent when voters were asked who has campaigned the hardest in Iowa. (Romney dominates that category with 49 percent of voters saying he has paid the most attention to the state.)

What do the attributes tell us about Huckabee? That the people who know him like him and believe he is one of them. But, they don't really believe he has the experience to be president and don't think he has the capacity to get to the White House. That's a major problem; Huckabee is seen as a good guy but not taken seriously by voters yet.

The news is better when the sample is trimmed to either evangelical voters or conservatives -- two of the blocs most likely to vote in next year's Iowa caucuses.

Among evangelicals, Romney leads with 25 percent but Huckabee is in second place with 17 percent -- ahead of Fred Thompson (13 percent) and Giuliani (12 percent). One in five evangelicals considered Huckabee the most honest and trustworthy of the field, roughly the same percentage who said he best understands the problems of people like them and is closest to them on the issues.

The numbers are similarly encouraging for Huckabee among conservatives. Again Romney leads with 28 percent followed by Thompson at 18 percent. Huckabee placed third with 12 percent, a statistical dead heat with Giuliani (10 percent).

Huckabee's relative strength among evangelicals and conservatives in Iowa gives him a real chance to surprise in next year's caucuses. His challenge between now and then is to convince these voters as well as the broader caucus electorate that he is more than good debater or a genial guy. Right now Iowa voters don't see him as presidential. Can Huckabee convince them otherwise?

By Chris Cillizza  |  August 8, 2007; 10:07 AM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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Comments

Chris - you look younger & thinner on TV ... or were you on opposite Dr. 90210? Slogan for Mike Huckabee: H NOT F!

Posted by: Philip V. Riggio | August 9, 2007 9:46 PM | Report abuse

I noted that GOP voters are looking for "experience"....is that what the lunatic that sits now in the WH possesses?

God Help us all.

Posted by: Hub Galliker | August 9, 2007 5:40 PM | Report abuse

I here you MArk. That wasn't so hard, was it.

I here you. So your with the Bush is incompetant crew. That's fine nothing wrong with that. I just think certain individuals are making to much money for this to be a mistake. In terms of 9/11, who are our enemies? Who are our allies. Again, Bush' allies/enemies are not americas.

The GOP has choosen poorly. I personally think they are saboturs AND incompetant. Potato PotAto. To each their own. Thank you for the post. Still doesn't make sense in light of your normal posts. Why do people come in here and defend bush and his party daily? Mark, if you think what you said why not speak out?

Does money have anything to do with it? Fear? Nobody can be on the sidelines for this one. Bush said one thing right "You are with us or against us". There is no in between.

I know it must be hard out ther ein texas. I live in reno and it's hard. I get fired, looked at strangly, less pay. But at least I can sleep at night. At least I know I am still a patriot. How do they sleep out there in texas? Knowing what THEY'VE done to this country the last 8 years/15.

Posted by: rufus | August 8, 2007 6:17 PM | Report abuse

Maybe you're right about that.

Posted by: Mike | August 8, 2007 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Mike: "I'm certainly not condoning Romney's behavior. I'm merely pointing out that every candidate does it, it's not unique to Mitt Romney."

The difference here is that no other candidate has such a well-documented track record of doing so. Mitty is a joke.

Posted by: Loudoun Voter | August 8, 2007 5:43 PM | Report abuse

I'm certainly not condoning Romney's behavior. I'm merely pointing out that every candidate does it, it's not unique to Mitt Romney.

Posted by: Mike | August 8, 2007 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Mike writes of Romney "I don't necessarily think that was the right thing to do, but I can at least understand why it was necessary - to win in the most radically liberal state in the country."

The moral relativism with which you so casually accept his explanation is quite remarkable, don't you think?

That's like saying - I don't think it's right to fix the game of basketball, but I understand why they would do it - to win.

Posted by: I'm just sayin... | August 8, 2007 5:26 PM | Report abuse

I'm whistling in the wind, but I remind everyone that the only presidential candidate who is serving in either house of Congress who has not asked for earmarks is John McCain.

Of the others, I can see Obama's position [he fully discloses all earmark requests] and Biden's [he discloses the earmarks the leadership allows] as consistent and ethical, if not as pure as McCain's.

The others hide their earmarks, from what I have read. Correct me if I am wrong and you have a source.

Posted by: Mark in Austin | August 8, 2007 5:23 PM | Report abuse

I hate to say it cause it sounds so mean but if huckabees biggest mistake is not taking care of himself shouldn't we see this as an indicator he does not reflect on his actions and would be powerless to terrorists. Just a thought sorry.

Posted by: Jared | August 8, 2007 5:21 PM | Report abuse

>>Insert Random Ron Paul Supporter Here, right?<<

Posted by: Mike | August 8, 2007 5:13 PM | Report abuse

bsimon - you made the exact point I was going to make. Yes, if he did it once, he's likely to do it again -- but so are the other guys/gal as well. All of them are fakes, to a degree.

Posted by: Mike | August 8, 2007 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Mike writes
"My take is that he doesn't need to misrepresent himself to win the Presidency, at least on this issue. If he really is pro-life, he doesn't need to hide it to win a R primary or even the general.

Of course, your final question is the most important one: "is [changing positions to win in liberal mass] understandable and acceptable?"

I don't know. I'm torn. absent of all other factors, what do you think?"


I wasn't specific, sorry. I meant to ask if he misrepresented on that issue in Mass, might he be misrepresenting now on other issues in order to win the GOP primary and/or the general election?

I think his 'epiphany' is nothing more than a convenient change in position to get elected. Even if he doesn't find the issue as important as so many make it out to be - which is my position - I think it is wrong to misrepresent yourself in order to win an election. I think that if he has misrepresented himself on one issue, he is likely doing so on other issues. Though, on the other hand, this is clearly a rather common behavior among politicians - I think the nominees from both parties, whomever they end up being, will step back from some of the positions they take during the primaries.

Posted by: bsimon | August 8, 2007 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Mike- One more thing...I'm actually a McCain supporter, but sadly the handwriting is on the wall since the unbelievably ill-timed immigration debate.

The base cannot tolerate too many concessions or compromises with the likes of Ted Kennedy, and I can't blame them. Unfortunately, the grand compromise was, as Rudy so rightly pointed out, "a Washington mess".

The key values shared by McCain and Guiliani, imo, are absolute fiscal conservatism and pro-military, strong foreign policy.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | August 8, 2007 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Proud -- his socially moderate positions represent the exact departure from conservatism that you, I, and others, complain about.

The only way to rejuvinate the GOP, the way Ronald Reagan did, is to elect a CONSERVATIVE.

Rudy is more flawed than Mitt, from that perspective. And the last thing I want is a ("R") President who departs from the base as much as Bush (Sr. and W). They are destroying the party, and Rudy would be more of the same.

Besides, how much of Rudy's crossover appeal would be vaccumed up by evangalicals who won't vote pro-choice?

My vote is for Huckabee :)

Posted by: Mike | August 8, 2007 4:41 PM | Report abuse

proud, at 1:52P, that sounds likely to me.

Posted by: Mark in Austin | August 8, 2007 4:40 PM | Report abuse

rufus at 1:55pm -

I supported the invasion of Iraq, but I was w-w-rong. I never bought the neocon line about bringing democracy to the benighted Arabs, but I did buy Blair's speech to Commons and Powell's presentation to the UN. I agreed with McCain and Biden in the beginning that we were going in with too small a force to pacify a tri-ethnic tribal country, and I was afraid Iraq would become our equivalent of Israel's woes with Palestine.

I did not vote for GWB for President. GWB is a failure as President. Now the next prez, R or D, will have to dig us out of an enormous hole. I do not think the GOP - one third of this nation claims membership, although I do not - are sabouteurs, traitors, or criminals. I do think the GWB Administration is incompetent and reckless, and I do not think the expansion of executive power is wise, although the Congress continues to accede to it.

I do not think there is a conspiracy of Yale graduates. My cousin is a Yale graduate. I was offered a scholarship to Yale but Rice was in Houston, and offered me a better scholarship.

I think there are 5 flavors of Rs and 4 flavors of Ds, and that this occurred because we take all manner of special interests and lump them into 2 big political parties.

I cannot usually understand what you write, but I have tried to reply to that which you have written to, or about, me in the past, and today.

Posted by: Mark in Austin | August 8, 2007 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Mike- Rudy's got a successful track record of fiscal restraint as mayor of NYC. That's the kind of conservative this country needs. A fiscal conservative, military hawk. Plus, his socially moderate position puts him more in line with the vast majority of Americans.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | August 8, 2007 4:30 PM | Report abuse

bsimon -- it seems to me to be an either-or scenario. This is a bit simplistic, but you're either pro-life or you're not. So I don't see how it is possible to misrepresent your pro-life beleifs as pro-choice, then to turn around and misrepresent your pro-life beleifs as pro-life - if that makes any sense.

Of course, there's always the possibility that he just doesn't care either way and just wants to get elected, as Mark in Austin fears.

My take is that he doesn't need to misrepresent himself to win the Presidency, at least on this issue. If he really is pro-life, he doesn't need to hide it to win a R primary or even the general.

Of course, your final question is the most important one: "is [changing positions to win in liberal mass] understandable and acceptable?"

I don't know. I'm torn. absent of all other factors, what do you think?

Posted by: Mike | August 8, 2007 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Mike writes
" I think Mitt Romney has always been pro-life, and that he made himself out to be more moderate than he is to win in Mass.

I don't necessarily think that was the right thing to do, but I can at least understand why it was necessary - to win in the most radically liberal state in the country."


So, if you think former Gov Romney misrepresented himself to win the Mass Governorship, do you think he might be misrepresenting himself to win the Presidency? If not, why not? If so, is that understandable and acceptable?

Posted by: bsimon | August 8, 2007 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Proud -- You support Rudy, right? I am wondering how much crossover appeal he has, and, more importantly, how he represents a return to conservatism that we both think is needed to win.

Posted by: Mike | August 8, 2007 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Mike- I beg to differ. Liberal bloggers will attack any R, not just the one they fear most. Romney has absolutely no cross-over appeal, and would be unable to pull substantial numbers of independant votes, let alone moderate Ds. Why would they worry about him?

IMO, he does not represent a change from the neocon religious conservative mantle, and that's what is called for if we want to win.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | August 8, 2007 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Proud -- I think Mitt Romney has always been pro-life, and that he made himself out to be more moderate than he is to win in Mass.

I don't necessarily think that was the right thing to do, but I can at least understand why it was necessary - to win in the most radically liberal state in the country.

If you agree with that analysis, then it is plausible that his current beleifs are actually his true ones, which explains why he is such an attractive candidate in the eyes of many conservatives.

Moreover, because he's taking so much flak from liberal bloggers and other critics, it must suggest that he is their main fear -- like the way CC posits Obama as a "winner" because he was attacked by the Republicans.

Posted by: Mike | August 8, 2007 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Huckabee's a good man. I think if more conservatives knew who he was and where he stands, he'd have a lot more support.

Posted by: Antigone | August 8, 2007 3:21 PM | Report abuse

proud: My take on Mitty is that he's not even a waffler on most issues -- meaning that he changes his mind on them -- but that he couldn't care less about any of them. He'll just say whatever is expedient.

Now, given his vast and still-growing body of flip-flop work, how he still has anyone's support is beyond me.

Add to that the dog incident and his latest -- mind-boggling -- remarks about his sons, this guy has got to be toast. He's an empty, soul-less pretty boy.

Posted by: Loudoun Voter | August 8, 2007 2:42 PM | Report abuse

On Romney's stem-cell "epiphany", cynical observers long suspected Romney had his eyes on 2008. Why else would Romney suddenly decide to stake out this controversial position in 2005, when it was not likely to help him win state re-election in 2006?

Back in his days as governor of Mass, it was noted that if he were to run for president, he would obviously need to appeal to Republican primary voters well to the right of the Massachusetts electorate.

But, will it work? "In long years of taking stands tailored to their state, Democrats Mike Dukakis and John Kerry clearly hurt their national chances," opined the Globe's Scott Lehigh.

Janet Jeghelian, one of Romney's vanquished rivals for the GOP senatorial nomination, accused him of "talking out both sides of his mouth" on abortion (she has since become convinced of his pro-choice bona fides).

Don Feder, on the other hand, dismissed Romney in his Boston Herald column for offering social conservatives "thin gruel."

Is Mitt Romney another abortion waffler, or he has just been holding back all these years?

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | August 8, 2007 2:36 PM | Report abuse

"I would hope that the citizens of the early primary/ caucus states can see the difference between flip-flopping for votes, vs. changed opinion based on new information or changes on the ground." -- proud, it's a unintended trap which the GOP regulars created for themselves. Flip-flopping worked so well on the simplistic level as a catch phrase used against Democrats, that within the GOP regulars now have a difficult time distinguishing between "whichever way the wind blows" politicians and those who truly have evolved opinions.

The easy test is, if it's my candidate they had an epiphany, if it's your candidate they're flip-flopping.

Posted by: NonP | August 8, 2007 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Alright mark. Just so everybody knows. you think bush's plan is sound and is just incompetance in the execution? Not sure what your getting at.

Either the gop are saboturs or they are incompetant. Whcih is it?

Posted by: rufus | August 8, 2007 1:55 PM | Report abuse


"The good news is that we have a volunteer Army," Romney told some 200 people gathered in an abbey near the Mississippi River that had been converted into a hotel. "My sons are all adults and they've made decisions about their careers and they've chosen not to serve in the military and active duty and I respect their decision in that regard."

He added: "One of the ways my sons are showing support for our nation is helping me get elected because they think I'd be a great president."

Romney's five sons range in age from 37 to 26 and have worked as real estate developers, sports marketers and advertising executives. They are now actively campaigning for their father and have a "Five Brothers" blog on Romney's campaign Web site.

Posted by: sickening and pathetic | August 8, 2007 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Mark- Citizens of Iowa and the Midwest in general seem like honest, hard-working folks who are quick to give people the benefit of the doubt. This may explain how they can believe Mitt Romney when he tells them about his change of heart on abortion rights and gays.

These type of honest folks cannot actually wrap their brain around the idea that politicians will lie right to their face. It is a basic naivete on the part of Iowans - one that urban dwellers and East coast people have long-since purged from their world view. Replacing that is a learned cynicism; a function of politicians and ordinary citizens they come into contact with who are really sociopaths and serial liars, even convincing themselves of their own b.s.

The problem is, explaining away a change of heart on matters of social conscience is not the same thing as explaining a changed opinion on other matters, or an informed decision that changed based on new facts or developments in the area of, say, foriegn policy.

Romney has made three changes regarding his views on abortion, which coincided with the elected office he was running for each time.

I would hope that the citizens of the early primary/ caucus states can see the difference between flip-flopping for votes, vs. changed opinion based on new information or changes on the ground.

The selection process being what it is today leaves little room for this distinction, and the flip-flopping mantle is too easily thrown about sometimes. Romney is truly deserving of the title, and I hope the folks in Iowa will see through his shiny exterior and salesman pitch.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | August 8, 2007 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Mark in Austin writes
"when I watch the Ds talk to Big Labor I kneejerk swing to the right... So I must count to ten figuratively before I can tell you who those centrists appear to be. You and I both think Biden is one.
I have thought that Obama had the potential. I think McCain is one. Dodd may be. Richardson may be. Huckabee may be. The HRC who appeared on the "Fortune" cover may yet be. Its hard to tell when they are all preaching to the choir."

It is your conclusion with which I mostly agree. When the Dems are vying for the Labor endorsement, or the Repubs are trying to look toughest & most willing to torture, its rather difficult to determine who is just pandering the audience, and who is being honest. I suppose at the Labor rally, Kucinich was speaking from the heart, but he's not in the running for 'moderateness'.

Posted by: bsimon | August 8, 2007 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Bookkeeping deficiencies allowed thousands of weapons issued to Iraqi security forces in 2004 and 2005 to then go missing, Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, said yesterday.

"Some percentage" of weapons the U.S. military provided to the Iraqi army and Iraqi police units were not tracked by serial number because there were no procedures in place to do so within the Iraqi units, Petraeus said in an interview broadcast last night on Fox News Radio's "Alan Colmes Show."

Posted by: Anonymous | August 8, 2007 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Rufus at 1:25P, were you suggesting that I am hypocritical because I agreed with you that it seems hypocritical for the right to criticize Obama about no safe haven for AQ?

If so, I must say that it is difficult to have a conversation with someone who refuses to take "yes" for an answer.

Gotta work now. Bye.

Posted by: Mark in Austin | August 8, 2007 1:39 PM | Report abuse

What does the term conservative mean? Are you conservatives in the sense that you tell other's how to live. Are you conservative ON YOUR OWN MONEY. Change the title. From CONSERVATIVE'S to FASCISTS. CAn someone in power please change that for us? You know, so the elderly don't get confused. I know your patriot act cronies are listening. Chang the party name to fit wha tyou are better.

"Over the last several years, America's imbalances in trade and other global transactions have worsened dramatically, requiring the United States to borrow billions of dollars a day from abroad just to balance its books.

The only lasting way to fix the imbalances -- and reduce that borrowing -- is to increase America's savings. But the administration has steadfastly rejected that responsible approach since it would require rolling back excessive tax cuts and engaging in government-led health care reform to rein in looming crushing costs -- both, anathema to President Bush. It would also require revamping the nation's tax incentives so that they create new savings by typical families, instead of new shelters for the existing wealth of affluent families -- another nonstarter for this White House. ..."

Posted by: RUFUS | August 8, 2007 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Why does anyone think about Mitty's comment that his sons are doing their part against the 'gwot' by helping with his campaign?

That's the most cowardly chickenhawk thing I think i've ever heard anyone say -- and a deep insult to anyone with kids serving in Iraq. Are his supporters to craven to call him on it?

Posted by: Linda | August 8, 2007 1:27 PM | Report abuse

WOW mark. Wow.

Fricking republcians. GEt bin laden then. You people are nuts. The left has always said we want to get the people responsilbe fo r9/11. Some of those people happen to be americans. Soem fo those people WERE in Afganistan, we invaded, now their in pakistan. But it's hypocritical to go after then. To much right wing propoganda. To much of rush hannity and o'reilly telling you "WHat the left is thinking".

News falsh mark. If you want to know what 'lefties' are thinking. You have to LISTEN TO TEHM, not a right wing propogandist telling you what the left is really thinging. Frickin republcians. After the last 15 years. WOW. You got some nerve. Sell-out's fascsits traitors. You ahve less than a year and your time is up. I can't wait.

Texas looks to be the new babylon. Cow folk are a thing of the past. We have supermarkets now. The cowboy is no longe needed in 2007 america. Stop the charade. Stop the propoganda. You people are a joke

Posted by: rufus | August 8, 2007 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Well, look at that. Our Pentagon is getting our troops ready for a relgious war -- in New York -- where a lot of Jews, btw, live. Convert or be killed.

I just really don't know what to think of this, except that I'm really getting serious about moving to Canada -- or anyplace with sane people in the government.

Posted by: Sam | August 8, 2007 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Loudoun, see

http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/2007/07/09/100121742/index.htm

I believe she was on the cover of the print version.

Posted by: Mark in Austin | August 8, 2007 1:20 PM | Report abuse

How Average Humans Can Be Conditioned To Carry Out Acts Of Mass Violence
for further analysis on how the "Left Behind: Eternal Forces" game may condition and socialize game players towards violence, see Virtual religious, ethnic, and cultural cleansing in "Left Behind: Eternal Forces"
for more on the ideology behind the "Left Behind" book series that the video game is based on, see Chip Berlet's eight part series at Talk To Action.

"The conversion of socialized people into dedicated fighters is achieved not by altering their personality structures, aggresssive drives or moral standards. Rather, it is accomplished by cognitively redefining the morality of killing so that it can be done free from self-censure. Through moral justification of violent means, people see themselves as fighting ruthless oppressors" - Albert Banduras

Posted by: Anonymous | August 8, 2007 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Last December, 2006, I wrote a piece on the "Left Behind: Eternal Forces" game entitled "Push The Prayer Button". My title was a reference to an odd feature in the game : the Christian fundamentalist soldiers lose "spirit strength" every time they kill, so they need to go through a little ritual of penitence to restore their strength, after they kill, by "praying". Gamers active the "prayer" by pushing a button on their gaming joysticks. So: kill/push "prayer button", kill/push "prayer button", push button to kill/push prayer button, push button 1/push button 2.

In "Push The Prayer Button", excerpted from a longer essay I wrote called "Religious Warfare Stocking Stuffer", I addressed the teenagers who would be playing the game. So, I've struck out the word "teenagers" in the text below, to replace that with "US troops", and I've inserted "Pentagon" as necessary :

Teenagers US troops who play "Left Behind:" Eternal Forces" will learn that the act of playing out and imagining religious war has the sanction of their parents the Pentagon and the enthusiastic endorsement of powerful religious advocacy groups such as Focus On The Family the US military Chaplaincy. Teens US troops who play the game will understand it to be a wholesome, moral enterprise that has the endorsement of authority figures they love and trust top US military leaders.


They will learn that the immorality of killing can be cleansed by going through the motions of ritualized prayer as if saying a few "Hail Mary's" or mumbling some religious incantation. Imagine the outcry if the Harry Potter series described a magical incantation that murderers could intone to make the moral and legal onus of their crimes vanish ?

Lots of killing to do ? No problem. Press the "prayer button" as necessary....

....many parents on the Christian right are the United States military is socializing children US armed forces members with the vocabulary of violence and the expectation that they will wage religious warfare, against specified societal groups, within their lifetimes. That was the context for the recent documentary Jesus Camp and "Jesus Camp" is part of a much wider societal phenomenon ( see: Kids In Combat )


Further, such efforts to socialize children US troops towards religious warfare mesh with a pattern, in American public discourse, of prominent religious, political, and media figures employing demonizing and eliminationalist rhetoric against targeted societal groups and even calling for the use of nuclear weapons against civilian populations ( see: Enough hate speech to stun an ox and Dave Neiwert's writing on hate speech at Orcinus, and Hatecrime.org as well as the work of the Southern Poverty Law Center in monitoring hate and extremist activity in the US

Conditioning people to commit acts of mass violence, research has shown, doesn't happen overnight - it tends to be a gradual process. People can be habituated to commit mass violence quite easily, especially if the conditioning is incremental. So, why not start with kids US troops in Iraq ?...

Posted by: Anonymous | August 8, 2007 1:17 PM | Report abuse

again. A christian is a christian by their actions and words. An Coulter wears a cross every time I see her for pete's sake.

Posted by: rufus | August 8, 2007 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Obama was announcing the same policy that has been in effect for years - no safe haven for Al Qaeda. Therefore it seems hypocritical to attack him from any position other than the hard left.

His choice of words may have been undiplomatic, and that criticism would be justified from any political compass point.

Mark in Austin

Posted by: to Rufus at 11:55AM | August 8, 2007 1:16 PM | Report abuse

As an official arm of the Defense Department's America Supports You program, OSU plans to mail copies of the controversial apocalyptic video game, Left Behind: Eternal Forces to soldiers serving in Iraq. OSU is also scheduled to embark on a "Military Crusade in Iraq" in the near future.

"We feel the forces of heaven have encouraged us to perform multiple crusades that will sweep through this war torn region," OSU declares on its website about its planned trip to Iraq. "We'll hold the only religious crusade of its size in the dangerous land of Iraq."

*********

Now, American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan will be able to unwind by playing out a sanitized version of what in reality may the most savage type of war humans wage.

If war is hell, religious war is hell with vengeance. On the smoking battlefields of the religious wars that erupted in Europe in the wake of the Catholic/Protestant rift, victorious armies would entertain themselves by making small incision in the sides of wounded enemy soldiers and pulling their intestines out to wind those around sticks and so extract the entire intestinal tracts, very, very slowly. In Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins' "Left Behind" series, God does that to unbelievers; God pulls their guts out.

That's religious war.

The real scandal involving the violent video game Left Behind: Eternal Forces is that the demonization of enemies, bloodthirsty dualism, and murderous rampages on the computer screen are accurate reflections of the apocalyptic theology espoused by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins in their Left Behind series of novels which have sold more than 70 million copies.

Few in the mainstream media have dared confront the fact that the best-selling Left Behind series is a primer valorizing bigotry, paranoia, and guerilla warfare against those who promote tolerance, pluralism, and global cooperation. - Talk To Action contributor Chip Berlet, in
Left Behind Video Reflects Bigoted Apocalyptic Violence of Original Fiction Series

Last year, in May of 2006, Talk To Action contributor Jonathan Hutson began an unprecedented series of posts on the "Left Behind: Eternal Forces" video game, the first of which was entitled "The Purpose Driven Life Takers":

"Imagine: you are a foot soldier in a paramilitary group whose purpose is to remake America as a Christian theocracy, and establish its worldly vision of the dominion of Christ over all aspects of life. You are issued high-tech military weaponry, and instructed to engage the infidel on the streets of New York City. You are on a mission - both a religious mission and a military mission -- to convert or kill Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, gays, and anyone who advocates the separation of church and state - especially moderate, mainstream Christians. Your mission is "to conduct physical and spiritual warfare"; all who resist must be taken out with extreme prejudice. You have never felt so powerful, so driven by a purpose: you are 13 years old. You are playing a real-time strategy video game..."

In writing about the game, Jonathan Hutson, Chip Berlet, Frederick Clarkson, and other Talk To Action contributors were writing on how the game was being marketed to teenagers, and the prospect that the game would, little more than a year later, be on the way to US troops in Iraq would have seemed to us to be almost beyond imagination.

Now. visualize the hands of a clocks whirring round and round... they stop. It is now August 8, 2007, and the United States Pentagon has endorsed an Evangelical Christian organization that calls its planned, upcoming Iraq entertainment tour a "crusade", advocates apocalyptic theology, and distributes the "Left Behind: Eternal Forces" video game to the troops so that, exhausted after long hours guarding tense checkpoints or fighting block to block to root out Iraqi insurgents, American soldiers in Baghdad and elsewhere can relax by playing a video game, set on meticulously rendered New York City streets, in which fundamentalist Christians engage in simulated urban religious warfare.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 8, 2007 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Firckin republicans.

Posted by: rufus | August 8, 2007 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Courtesy of the US Pentagon, troops in Iraq can now unwind after a hard day's urban warfare and play a video game in which they command a Christian fundamentalist army waging urban warfare in America ! On the streets of New York City ! How cool is that ?

The "Left Behind: Eternal Forces" video game, is set in a "post apocalyptic" New York that looks almost exactly like New York City after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and lets players simulate commanding a paramilitary Christian army that seeks to convert Jews, mainline Christians, Muslims, atheists, Buddhists, and everyone else in New York City to fundamentalist Christianity. All who resist will be killed.

Some who criticized the game have said that it conditions players for religious war. Now, with the blessing and endorsement of the Pentagon, a Christian ministry with apocalyptic fundamentalist beliefs that is planning a series of tours it calls a 'military crusade' to entertain US troops in Afghanistan and Iraq will also be distributing the "Left Behind: Eternal Forces" 'Convert or Die' religious warfare video game....

To US troops.

What ?

Let me repeat:

The United States Pentagon has endorsed sending a Christian supremacist religious warfare video game to United States troops in Iraq, a predominantly Muslim nation.

Osama Bin Laden himself could hardly hardly have hatched a better plot to incite widespread war between Christianity and Islam, and the Pentagon's endorsement of "Operation Straight Up" and that ministry's plan to bring the bigoted, hateful religious ideology inherent to Tim Lahaye and Jerry Jenkins' "Left Behind" book series to American troops in the front lines casts into question the basic competence, not to mention the sanity, of every Pentagon official involved in the decision to endorse such mind boggling idiocy.

Once again:

"Left Behind: Eternal Forces", a game depicting fundamentalist Christians religious warfare will be distributed to US troops.

Courtesy of the PENTAGON.

Posted by: f*cking unbeleivable | August 8, 2007 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Mark: "HRC decorating "Fortune" = OK;"

I have no idea what that refers to, so I'm afraid I won't be able to comment on it. Sorry to disappoint, I know people eagerly looks forward to my thoughts on matters great and small.

Posted by: Loudoun Voter | August 8, 2007 1:12 PM | Report abuse

• Just because you're paranoid... New York will release "nearly 2,000 pages of raw intelligence reports and other documents detailing the Police Department's covert surveillance of protest groups and individual activists before the Republican National Convention in 2004." [NYT]

• Romney says his "sons are showing support for our nation is helping me get elected." There must be a special medal for that kind of courage. Citing a specific example, Romney pointed out that one of the brood "was completing a recreational vehicle tour of all 99 Iowa counties on Wednesday." I tremble to just to think of it. Dodging cows, evading coffee klatches, surviving a stare-down with a tenderloin chop... There's a reason they call Polk "the Baghdad of the bread basket." Be careful out there, Josh. [AP]

Posted by: romney is a freaking idiot | August 8, 2007 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Mike- Yeah, you're right. Bill probably came up with that one. The Clinton machine is putting a lot of effort into softening up her image lately after the attack from Mrs. Edwards.

I'm sure it was focus-grouped and decided upon beforehand based on poll response like everything she does and says. Come to think of it, she says a lot more than she does...what exactly has she done to qualify for CIC?

Seven lackluster years in the Senate sponsoring key legislation to name Post Offices after donors and honoring lacrosse teams in upstate NY, and failing to read the NIE. Oh, and that pesky war authorization bill that she can't seem to backpedal on well enough to suit the dem base.

What she should have sid is: "If you want someone who will take every question to a focus group before answering, forget to read the most inportant national security documents that are given to me, knows what the meaning of "is" is, and will keep the consultants' wallets fat, I'm your girl"

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | August 8, 2007 1:07 PM | Report abuse


Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki met with officials in Iran on Wednesday to seek help in reining in violence in his country, reaching out to a nation the U.S. accuses of fueling Iraq's turmoil by backing Shiite militants.

It was al-Maliki's second visit to Tehran in less than a year, coming days after U.S. and Iranian experts held talks in Baghdad on improving Iraq's security.

Al-Maliki and the Shiite and Kurdish parties that dominate his government are closely linked to predominantly Shiite Iran, and he has struggled to balance those ties with the United States, Tehran's top rival in the region.

The U.S. has recently stepped up its allegations that Iran is arming Shiite militiamen, but the Iraqi government has refuted the American claims.

Al-Maliki met in Tehran with Iranian Vice President Parviz Davoodi and was to hold talks later with supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Ali Larijani, secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, according to the Iranian state news agency IRNA.

"We want to promote economic ties and other ties that contribute to combating terrorism and its challenges," al-Maliki told The Associated Press on the plane to Iran.

He said Iraq and Iran "have a joint understanding that they are keen to solve the problems and sufferings of the Iraqi people. And they are both convinced that their cooperation may lead to helping Iraq and restoring stability."

Al-Maliki said he would also discuss and sign a number of cooperation memorandums with Tehran. He did not elaborate.

Posted by: fyi | August 8, 2007 1:03 PM | Report abuse

bsimon, you see what goes on for me - HRC decorating "Fortune" = OK;
HRC as labor's "girl" = "not so much".

Loudoun will no doubt comment about my personal failure to divine and discriminate between the two HRCs and the "Decider".

Posted by: Mark in Austin | August 8, 2007 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Asked why none of his sons are serving in Iraq, Mitt Romney says they're serving in another way: by working for his campaign for president.

Leaves me snarkless. You'll have to provide your own.

Strange how none of the media covered this, isn't it?

Posted by: josh | August 8, 2007 12:59 PM | Report abuse

proud, I am with mike on the lack of sensitivity to a national audience - telling one pressure group in the D Party that you are their "girl" is pretty limiting for someone who wants to be Pres.

Posted by: Mark in Austin | August 8, 2007 12:57 PM | Report abuse

"I'm your girl" is certainly no worse than "I'm the Decider" and a lot less scary.

Posted by: Loudoun Voter | August 8, 2007 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Truth and bsimon - look at Mike's reply to me. Mike is a social conservative. He says Romney talks about his faith and his family life, and, of course, has spent a lot of money in IA.

bsimon, when I watch the Ds talk to Big Labor I kneejerk swing to the right [I am only half kidding - I posted about this on the "Debate" thread at 11:53A].

So I must count to ten figuratively before I can tell you who those centrists appear to be. You and I both think Biden is one.
I have thought that Obama had the potential. I think McCain is one. Dodd may be. Richardson may be. Huckabee may be. The HRC who appeared on the "Fortune" cover may yet be. Its hard to tell when they are all preaching to the choir.

Mike - The holding in the immigrant minister case was that the statute then in force that limited "laborers" did not apply to ordained ministers, I think.

Posted by: Mark in Austin | August 8, 2007 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Proud -- Nice joke, but in all seriousness, isn't that an odd choice of words - an odd thing for her to say? "I'm your girl".

Compare that to

"The Buck stopso here"
"Tear down that wall"
"Axis of Evil"
"I'm your girl"

Posted by: Mike | August 8, 2007 12:52 PM | Report abuse

UNITED NATIONS (CNN) -- Extreme weather has plagued the globe this year, a U.N. agency says, causing some of the highest temperatures on record.

The World Meteorological Organization said "global land surface temperatures for January and April will be ranked as the warmest since records began in 1880," according to the United Nations.

WMO said temperatures were 1.89 degrees Celsius (3.4 degrees Fahrenheit) higher than average for January and 1.37 degrees C (2.45 degrees F) higher than average for April.

The agency found that climate warming was unequivocal and most likely "due to human activities such as the burning of fossil fuels."

Here are some of the extreme instances the United Nations cites:

Four monsoon depressions, double the normal number, caused heavy flooding in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. On Monday, floodwaters receded in parts of South Asia, but the death toll rose to 347, officials said.

Millions remain displaced and homeless, and authorities fear waterborne disease could spread. Indian officials say more than 1,200 people have died in their country alone since monsoon season began in June.

England and Wales have experienced their wettest May-to-July period since record-keeping started in 1766. In late July, swollen rivers threatened to burst their banks. At least eight people died during weeks of torrential rain, and thousands were without tap water.

Late last month in Sudan, floods and heavy rain caused 23,000 mud brick homes to collapse, killing at least 62 people. The rainfall was abnormally heavy and early for this time of the year.

In May, swell waves up to 15 feet high swept into 68 islands in the Maldives, causing severe flooding and damage. Also in May, a heat wave swept across Russia.

Southeastern Europe did not escape the unusual weather. The area suffered record-breaking heat in June and July.

An unusual cold southern winter brought wind, blizzards and rare snowfall to various parts of South America, with temperatures reaching as low as 7 degrees below zero Fahrenheit (-22 degrees Celsius) in Argentina and 0 degrees Fahrenheit (-18 Celsius) in Chile in July.

In June, South Africa had its first significant snowfall since 1921, as almost 10 inches (25 centimeters) of the white stuff fell in some parts of the country.

And in the United States, temperatures climbed into the triple digits this week in Midwestern states.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 8, 2007 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Some of you may not have noticed Hillary's follow-up statement "And, if you want someone to take on the right-wing bloggers and never question my authority, lylepink's your girl."

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | August 8, 2007 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Mansfield seriously distorts Jefferson's views on religion in his book. A person espousing Jefferson's views on religion would not be regarded as a Christian by the religious right. Jefferson, as president, once went through a bible with a razor excising passages he doubted. He scoffed at the Trinity and doubted the divinity of Christ.

Posted by: JimD in FL | August 8, 2007 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Obama Paul 08' :)

Posted by: rufus | August 8, 2007 12:33 PM | Report abuse

"John Edwards continued his assault on lobbyists and their work, while calling for public financing of campaigns. "When a lawyer offers money to a jury, it's called a bribe," he said. "When lobbyists go to members of Congress and offer money to them, it's called politics.""

It's funny he mentioned that. I live in nevada. I email harry reid with some suggestions.

1. Make briding a public officail punishable by 30 years. How did they deal with this in anceint rome?

2. Charge liars in politics with prejury.

I know it looks like it was naive. But hey. Let's call these things what they are. This is not a game. Play time is over. Country over party. COuntry over self. Anythign else should be considered a crime. The time of the RNC/DNC sabotage of this country is over. If they don't want that, they will be replaced be a party that is for the people. If they don't clean up the government, I (or someone like me ) will, much to current politics dismay.

Posted by: rufus | August 8, 2007 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Mark in Austin writes
"I am allowed to want both parties to put forward smart centrists who do not rely on 51% takes all. I want the Rs to nominate such a person."


Mark, among the candidates running, which fit the criteria you seek?

Posted by: bsimon | August 8, 2007 12:31 PM | Report abuse

The first rule of The Fix is you do not talk about Ron Paul.

The second rule of The Fix is you do not talk about Ron Paul.

The third rule of The Fix, if its your first time, you have to post.

All kidding aside, don't you think if Huckabee had Brownback's money (which is mostly from his Senate campaign bank account) he would be quite formidable? Probably, but there's the rub. Brownback has money but nobody likes him. Everyone likes Huckabee, but he has no money.

He should call up Don Tyson and ask for a little help. After all, didn't Huckabee help Tyson out by finding some cheap labor to work in Tyson's chicken processing plants in Arkansas?

Posted by: Sean Scallon | August 8, 2007 12:31 PM | Report abuse

• As Kathryn Jean Lopez over at National Review noted, Hillary Clinton may have inadvertently set back the cause of feminism with this line: "If you want someone to take on the right-wing machine, I'm your girl."

Do we have to get hung up on this kind of stupidity? What if one of the R candidates said I'm your boy, or I'm your guy... what the hell difference does it make?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 8, 2007 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Chris cites a poll that says
"Among evangelicals, Romney leads with 25 percent but Huckabee is in second place with 17 percent..."

Truth Hunter references, about christian conservatives
"...Romney whose Mormonism isn't a good fit for these voters..."

Truth, it seems that the poll data contradicts your point. You said what I've been led to believe, so, who's right?

Posted by: bsimon | August 8, 2007 12:26 PM | Report abuse

• John Edwards continued his assault on lobbyists and their work, while calling for public financing of campaigns. "When a lawyer offers money to a jury, it's called a bribe," he said. "When lobbyists go to members of Congress and offer money to them, it's called politics."

Posted by: Anonymous | August 8, 2007 12:26 PM | Report abuse

"Over 80% of Americans describe themselves as Christians. That is predominant enough for me."

Becaue somebody calls themselves a christian doesn;t make it so. I could say I can fly thrugh teh air with my arms, doesn't amke it so.

You are a christian by your actions and your willingness to follow the laws of the Christ. The right are not christians as they claim. I put that number at maybe 30%. Pulling that number form thin air. But again. You are not a chrsitian by merly saying it. It takes work. It takes sacrafice. It takes pain.

The religous right are nothing but posers using the term chrsitian as a means to give them moral high ground. It's disgusting. How did Jesus deal with the money changers and false prophets? He would deal witht he religous right the same way.

Posted by: rufus1133 | August 8, 2007 12:25 PM | Report abuse

• Barack Obama not only stood by his proposal to cross the Pakistani border if necessary to battle Al Qaeda, but he shot right back at some of the candidates who have bashed him for it, such as Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden and Chris Dodd: "I find it amusing that those who helped to authorize and engineer the biggest foreign policy disaster in our generation are now criticizing me for making sure we are on the right battlefield and not the wrong battlefield in the war against terrorism." It was almost certainly the line of the night.

Posted by: josh | August 8, 2007 12:24 PM | Report abuse

'A new Quinnipiac poll finds that Hillary is gaining ground against Rudy in the big three swing states, inching past him in Florida and Pennsylvania and tying him in Ohio.

* Florida: Clinton tops Giuliani 46-44 percent, flipping a 46-44 percent Giuliani lead July 23

* Ohio: Clinton ties Giuliani 43-43 percent, compared to a 44-42 percent Clinton lead July 12

* Pennsylvania: Clinton edges Giuliani 45-44 percent, compared to a 45-45 percent tie June 27.

The Quinnipiac University pollsters attribute the results to her success at winning over Republican and independent voters who once viewed her negatively. They report that the Senator's favorable rating increased in these states to about 50 percent for the first time, while her unfavorable rating has dropped.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 8, 2007 12:23 PM | Report abuse

fascinating-- the New York Times Michael Gordon [ the new Judith Miller aka stenographer for Rove] claims that Iran is supplying IEDS for Iraq, having forgotten this recent story in his own paper:

'Also yesterday, Multinational Division Baghdad troops in the western part of the city found a factory in which explosively formed penetrators, the most deadly form of roadside bomb, were being made...'

It's amazing the lengths the Times will go to cheerlead us into yet anothr war for oil..

Posted by: Anonymous | August 8, 2007 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Jane

Over 80% of Americans describe themselves as Christians. That is predominant enough for me.

Posted by: JimD in FL | August 8, 2007 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Ok. You can ignore my legitimate questions. Don't cry and whine when I start my "other" postings.

Don't cry about how bad this site is when you refuse to have REAL conversation on real issue. Your choice. Just don't come back and blame me when the conversation takes a turn. Look in the mirror.

Posted by: rufus | August 8, 2007 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Via Brian Beutler, the AFP tries a revolutionary experiment in writing their story in such a way as to make readers better informed about the issue at hand rather than more familiar with the president's propaganda. Here's the lede:

'US President George W. Bush charged Monday that Iran has openly declared that it seeks nuclear weapons -- an inaccurate accusation at a time of sharp tensions between Washington and Tehran.'

Oh, my! Imagine the world we might live in if this were the standard way to open a newspaper story about the president making a false or misleading claim.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 8, 2007 12:17 PM | Report abuse

'Britain and the United States want the Security Council to vote this week on a resolution to increase the United Nations' presence and influence in Iraq. The NYT says the resolution is expected to pass, but some fear the international body will be left to deal with Iraq's problems by itself. The Post notes the Bush administration's pleas for assistance from the United Nations "contrast with the disdain it held for the organization in past years."

Bush/cheney broke it -- now they're demanding that the UN clean up the mess. Typical alcoholic behavior.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 8, 2007 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Jane: We most certainly are still a nation of predominantly Christians. But that doesn't make the US a "Christian" nation, any more than it's a "white" nation, even though most US citizens are white.

Posted by: Loudoun Voter | August 8, 2007 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Employees at Wall Street firms had been enjoying the good life, with great salaries and multimillion-dollar bonuses, but now there's growing concern that the end of the easy money era could mean layoffs and cutbacks. "There are people who have gotten used to the lifestyle that comes along with the boom years, and some of those people are going to be in for a rude awakening," an investment banker tells the LAT.

Posted by: boohoo--cry me a river | August 8, 2007 12:11 PM | Report abuse

'We are certainly a nation of, predominantly, Christians. '

That may have been the case at some point, JimD. But really not now. There are first, of all, lots of different kinds of Christians, who do not necessarily share the same beliefs. [Ask the pope--he says only Catholics are true Christians]. Then there are millions of Jews, Hindus, Sikhs, Muslims, Buddhist,. you name it. You should get out more.

Posted by: Jane | August 8, 2007 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Mike - That was one of the two immigrant minister cases. The quote was dicta, as Loudoun says. From memory, in the creche case in the early 70s, Burger said creches were allowed in the town square at Christmas and compared Jesus to a folk hero, outraging some ministers I knew. But Brennan, I think, told Burger he had gone too far and sounded like the Justice in the Holy Trinity case. All of that was dicta, too. I'd have to go back and read the cases; do not hold me to my recollections.

Romney seems like plastic man to me and the dog-on-the-roof of the station wagon from Boston to Toronto was a story his people told to demonstrate his unemotional decisiveness.
He should have put the luggage on the roof. Having done what he did, he should never have been proud of it. Call me sentimental.

drindl - I am allowed to want both parties to put forward smart centrists who do not rely on 51% takes all. I want the Rs to nominate such a person.

Posted by: Mark in Austin | August 8, 2007 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Romney's spent a ton of money in Iowa, much of it his own. Why is he willing to spend so much of his own money on Iowa? He's clearly betting it all on an early bump from a win in the state that will ricochet him into the other early states as the presumed frontrunner. Iowans, to a surprising degree, are willing to go along with his plan, however calculated and consultant-driven it may seem from our vantage point. There's just no splainin' it.

I can only conclude from the poll numbers that Iowans are suckers for slick, well-produced ads and haven't bothered yet to dig deeper into Romney's track record. Most of these folks don't pick their heads up unitl three weeks before caucus time.
And yet, they consider themselves kingmakers...go figure.

All the negative ads and auto-calls from Braunschweiger..er,..Brownstein...Brokeback...Brownwhatever will do him no good, and will probably not make a dent in Mitt's poll numbers until and unless Fred gets in the race prior to the caucus.


Posted by: proudtobeGOP | August 8, 2007 11:59 AM | Report abuse

The Los Angeles Times leads with a look at how workers on Wall Street are increasingly nervous that the effects of the crisis in subprime mortgages means "the good times are coming to an abrupt halt."

Posted by: Anonymous | August 8, 2007 11:59 AM | Report abuse

While the parsing of the polls is interesting for Huckabee, I'm more impressed with what it says about Romney and putting in the time and effort & of course, money, has reaped results. While I like Huckabee the voters in Iowa aren't idiots, they've seen the candidates and know where each candidates strengths are. And while the Ames poll will be important, there's still a lot of time left.

Posted by: MJ | August 8, 2007 11:59 AM | Report abuse

" recommend Joe Meachum's "American Gospel" to anyone interested in a historical perspective on the Church-State issue. Neither the "Christian nation" crowd nor the ACLU hardliners will like it. "

I'll look in to it. But Mansfield's new book, 10 Tortured Words, is first on my list for this issue.

Posted by: Mike | August 8, 2007 11:59 AM | Report abuse

I'm changing the subject. I'll try and play nice today, but you people need to work with me :)

Sound off. What do you people think of Obama's pakistan statements. I know pakistan has nuke's and is much more dangerous than afganistan was. But we invaded afganistan because "they were giving terrorists sancuary". Does it seem hypocrital to anyone else that the same people wanting to go to war with Iraq Iran and afganistan are now calling Obama naive for wanting to get the REAL terrorists?

What is the "war on terror's" goal after all? Who agree's with Obama and who does not. And if we never when into iraq would we be able to get the REAL terrosrists? Is this proof that Bush in in with the terrorists as he is fighting the "war" the terrorists would want us to fight?

Posted by: rufus | August 8, 2007 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Huckabee seems to be very intelligent & competent. It's clear that the money is not there for him yet. If the people of Iowa see his value, then he could live to make the Caucus!

Posted by: Todd | August 8, 2007 11:55 AM | Report abuse

sorry for the double post - the computer had a mind of its own.

I recommend Joe Meachum's "American Gospel" to anyone interested in a historical perspective on the Church-State issue. Neither the "Christian nation" crowd nor the ACLU hardliners will like it.

Posted by: JimD in FL | August 8, 2007 11:54 AM | Report abuse

For all the blather about whether this is a "Christian nation", the Founding Fathers had a different take. A treaty with the Barbary States negotiated during the Washington administration and ratified during John Adams' administration stated (I paraphrase) the government of the United States is in no way founded on the Christian religion.

We are certainly a nation of, predominantly, Christians. Our culture and values are grounded in the Judeo-Christian ethic. However, the notion that the government should be a "Christian government" is alien to our Constitution.

Posted by: JimD in FL | August 8, 2007 11:52 AM | Report abuse

For all the blather about whether this is a "Christian nation", the Founding Fathers had a different take. A treaty with the Barbary States negotiated during the Washington administration and ratified during John Adams' administration stated (I paraphrase) the government of the United States is in no way founded on the Christian religion.

We are certainly a nation of, predominantly, Christians. Our culture and values are grounded in the Judeo-Christian ethic. However, the notion that the government should be a "Christian government" is alien to our Constitution.

Posted by: JimD in FL | August 8, 2007 11:52 AM | Report abuse

PResident Hunkabee?

I doubt it. So why waste our collective time.

Posted by: rufus | August 8, 2007 11:46 AM | Report abuse

'What is going on here? Get me an R I can consider voting for in the general, not Romney!'

Oh jeez, Mark, you know, I had some respect for you, you sound intelligent, and then you ask for another R to vote for? Another neocon? Another movment 'conservative'? You want more wars -- maube a nuclear WW3? Unwinnable wars for oil while terrorists proliferate unhindered?

More tax cuts for the wealthy while the middle class withers? You want more multi-national corporate lobbyists writing legislation? More Jack Abramoffs? A bigger deficit? More borrowing and drunken sailor spending?

I mean really, are you serious? I know the Democrats are far from perfect, but asking for another R president on top of 8 years of this idiotic incompetent regime is like enabling a drunk. It only encourages them to continue their bad behavior. The true conservatives won't be back until the neocons are shown the door.

Posted by: drindl | August 8, 2007 11:40 AM | Report abuse

And I'll tell you why McCain isn't perceived as trustworthy, since it was mentioned.

He seems like he will do anything to prove he should be President.

He'll cut deals with Ted Kennedy, he'll push through anti-democratic legislation (with Feingold), and he'll support amnesty for 12 million illegals.

I am not the only conservative I know that trusts him about as much as I can trust Hillary.

Posted by: Mike | August 8, 2007 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Some of my favorite repubs, among them Susan Collins, are having a hard time getting away from GW, and his failed policies. This is hard to figure how it will play in 08 with Liddy Dole, who is a staunch supported of GW. These ladies are miles apart on almost every issue. IMO, the media coverage is about to change by covering more of the high profile senate races in Va., Neb., and probably a couple more, since Hillary has about got the dems locked up, and the repubs doesn't seem to know where they are going.

Posted by: lylepink | August 8, 2007 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Mike: "By the way, I found this for you, tell me what you think:

"No purpose of action against religion can be imputed to any legislation, state or national, because this is a religious people...This is a Christian nation."

-- Ruling by the US Supreme court in the case of Church of the Holy Trinity v. United States (1892)"

Mike is way off base here. There was no such "ruling" to that effect in this case. The quoted statement was dicta: irrelevant and worthless.

Posted by: Loudoun Voter | August 8, 2007 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Mark -- I must ask (and maybe I missed your explanation at some prior point), why are you so dead set against Romney?

Romney scores because he talks about his faith and family life so much. Add that to the obscene attention he has given to the state, and Iowans can't help but think of him as a good, moral, guy.


By the way, I found this for you, tell me what you think:

"No purpose of action against religion can be imputed to any legislation, state or national, because this is a religious people...This is a Christian nation."

-- Ruling by the US Supreme court in the case of Church of the Holy Trinity v. United States (1892)

Posted by: Mike | August 8, 2007 11:26 AM | Report abuse

You know, those Ames straw polls are nothing more than a glorified GOP fundraising event. They pack a stadium full of your bused-in supporters, who pay $30 or whatever for a ticket, in exchange for a hat and a hot dog from the campaign. Which will further handicap Huckabee since he has no $, relatively speaking, and can't gin up the hired masses to carry his water.

Sometimes I think they do these straw polls merely so the media has something to say during an unbelievably hot and slow August here in DC. (No offense, Chris...)

Posted by: JD | August 8, 2007 11:19 AM | Report abuse

"very succesful in getting that state back on track"

A fiscal conservative? He's dead meat/DOA! R presidents haven't balanced a budget since 1970 and the GOP has no plan to do so in the future. Deficits are necessary! Deficits are good! Bring on thos deficits as far as the eye can see! Unless a D is the president, of course.

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | August 8, 2007 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Huckabee and Brownback (who wasn't even mentioned) are vying for the same voters, religous-right conservatives, and in Iowa Brownback has taken off the gloves.

Outside of Romney whose Mormonism isn't a good fit for these voters, they each have a squeaky-clean personal history.

If Brownback places higher than Huckabee in the Ames straw poll, I doubt that Huckabee will be able to muster the support to continue.

http://whathappenedtomycountry.blogspot.com

Posted by: Truth Hunter | August 8, 2007 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Huckabee's attributes are also his weaknesses as well. He has a likable, calm, and soothing personality which allows people to identify with him, but it also keeps him from getting into the attack style of say a Brownback, or the hard-line rhetoric of a Ron Paul.

He isn't the best loved candidate of the GOP money-brokers because he passed bipartisan tax increases in Arkansas that were very succesful in getting that state back on track. This will appeal in the general election as it paints him as a unifier, but not a great stance in the GOP primary.
Also his campaign style is very low-key which will work in Iowa given time. And this early in the campaign the only people paying attention are the real avid political folks like us (the first step is admitting you have a problem). If he can stay in it and let some of the fluff fall off the money will follow and after that the support. Mark my words Romney's support is a mile wide and an inch deep, and Huckabee is the perfect person to steal his thunder.

Posted by: Andy R | August 8, 2007 10:50 AM | Report abuse

I'm a life-long Democrat and I like what I hear from Huckabee when the moderators allow him to speak. During the last debate this past Sunday, it seemed that he was asked to lead off a number of questions and then never allowed to expand on his answers in light of what the others said... very effective way of sidelining someone... I don't really know much about him, but when I've been listening and he's allowed to speak he says things I can agree with... which scares the hell outta me! ;-) I must be getting old...

Posted by: Viva la Izquierda! | August 8, 2007 10:37 AM | Report abuse

bhoomes and proud, I know opinions are very subjective, else they might actually be facts. But when I say I do not understand the perception of Romney as "most honest and trustworthy" when he is in a field with John McCain, Huckabee, Brownback, and Tommy Thompson, I want a Republican to explain it to me.

mike, you are a social conservative. How does Romney score with evangelicals in a field with Huckabee and Brownback?

What is going on here? Get me an R I can consider voting for in the general, not Romney!


What am I missing

Posted by: Mark in Austin | August 8, 2007 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Go Ron Paul!!

Posted by: brody | August 8, 2007 10:27 AM | Report abuse

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