Searching For Signs of Sanity Among the GOP Candidates

The Republican field is not shaping up well for those of us who are liberal on social issues. Rudy Giuliani might be considered “far outside the mainstream of conservative thought” by the Family Research Council, but his support for right wing judges and attempts to minimize his liberal positions make it difficult to consider supporting him. Even if tempted, his support for Bush’s undermining of our national security, along with his speech at the Republican Hate Fest over Labor Day weekend of 2004 make him even more unacceptable.

Knowing that the Republicans will have someone as their nominee, I am forced to grasp at any sign that the current field is less extremist than the current administration. Washington Wire presents some hopeful comments on separating religion from public life from Mike Huckabee:

The family that prays together doesn’t have to worry about the absence of government-mandated prayer in public schools, Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee told a group of reporters today.

The comments from Huckabee, who recently stepped down after a successful decade as Arkansas governor, were something of a surprise coming from the former Southern Baptist minister who has enjoyed support from Christian conservatives in his political climb — and hopes to do so again in his bid for Republicans’ 2008 presidential nomination. Decades after the Supreme Court struck down prayer in public schools as an unconstitutional violation of religious freedom, the issue continues to rankle Christian conservativates.

But Huckabee said he never could understand why so many people “railed against (the absence of) prayer in schools when they didn’t even pray at home.”

The former governor’s remarks on prayer came as he answered a question on whether the U.S.—contrary to Bush administration policy — should be diplomatically engaging Iran and Syria to address the Mideast conflicts. “Generally I don’t think talking to someone is a sign of weakness. It’s a sign of strength,” Huckabee said. Then, in making the point that people should seek out different points of view, as an aside he noted that fellow conservatives often had asked him why he and his wife sent their children to public schools rather than to Christian schools.

“I felt it was not the schools’ job,” he said, to teach his children to pray, but the family’s. For himself, Huckabee quipped, “I prayed in school every time I took a math test.”

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2 Comments

  1. 1
    beachmom says:

    I’m not sure I could vote for a Republican for prez (never have, actually), but when I look at the GOP field, I think Huckabee is a dark horse who could capture many hearts. Don’t forget about his dramatic story of losing all that weight and exercising, and being a spokesman for good health. He’s very likeable and does not have Iraq War baggage. I’ve heard he’s really right wing on religious right stuff, so that’s important to find out, but he sure is a lot better than McCain, Guiliani, and Romney as far as saying things that annoy me.

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    We sure can’t find him acceptable based upon one statement on one issue but it is good to hear something this reasonable from the right.

    I’m hoping that Republicans will realize they have a problem in being tied so closely to the religious right and will look at positions such as this as ways to get the agenda of the religious right out of politics to broaden their appeal.

    It will also take people like Huckabee, as opposed to liberals, to say things such as this if there is any hope that those on the religious right will begin to understand the difference between holding personal religious views and imposing these views upon others.

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