Thursday, August 2, 2007

DM Register: Evangelicals Not Impressed

The Des Moines Register reported yesterday that the GOP presidential candidates fail to appeal to a key constituency. That key constituency being evangelicals. When they say "GOP presidential candidates" they of course are talking about the "top tier" candidates whom the mainstream media have already declared likely to win the nomination. It is way to early to declare a winner. I believe that we will see Governor Mike Huckabee or Senator Sam Brownback (perhaps both) gain ground after the Iowa Straw Poll on August 11. Both candidates have been campaigning hard with evangelicals. Both are solid social conservatives.

The Register is right that evangelicals are not impressed with the early front runners. Senator John McCain is not worked and played well with others in the past in regards to social conservatives, evangelicals in particular. He has just alienated too much of his base, and his efforts on the immigration bill has hurt him. Mayor Rudy Guiliani is a one issue candidate. I just don't see him ultimately winning the nomination because of his stand on social issues. I think people are really only considering him because of electability. My problem with Governor Mitt Romney more with his recent "conversion" (so to speak) to social conservatism, and not so much with his Mormon faith. Even though he is in the polls, Senator Fred Thompson still isn't officially a candidate, and from what I've seen he doesn't appear to want in very badly.

Regarding Governor Tommy Thompson, I don't think will be in the race very much longer. The Straw Poll is going to be do or die for him. Congressman Tom Tancredo doesn't have much of a chance either since he hasn't not received much media attention here in Iowa, and I believe his comments on immigration in the last debate will hurt him. Congressman Duncan Hunter is too much of a one-issue candidate right now. During his interview with the Register, all of his answers slanted toward national security (which I agree is important) I was amazed at how he linked his answer to a question on education back to national security showing what little depth he has when it comes to other issues. Congressman Ron Paul I believe is only popular on Facebook and MySpace, his poll numbers are abysmal.

I believe of all the candidates Huckabee, Brownback, and perhaps Fred Thompson (if he would declare already) have the most appeal, as far as, their values are concerned. Huckabee and Fred Thompson are probably the most electable of the three, and I believe Huckabee has the best experience of the three, and that is why he is my choice. So my challenge to Iowa's evangelicals and other social conservatives is to get out to the straw poll and vote your conscience. Forget the polls and be a rebel! The war in Iraq and National Security are important, but they are not the only issues. Let's not the mainstream media crown anybody for us.

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Anonymous said...

Hey Shane - Just curious, how do you think "evangelical Christianity's" political activity has affected it's spiritual activity?


Shane Vander Hart said...

Hi Wyatt,

That is a great question. I think where evangelicalism had been affected negatively through political activity is when we become so enamored by a political party or candidate that the Church loses its prophetic voice.

Also we have to remember that our primary calling as the Church is to make disciples, Government can't do that - it is our job. There are some whom it seems that they think salvation will come from Washington, but it only comes through Jesus. He is the only One who can change a heart.

We also have to be careful that we do not let our political influence corrupt us. That is a potential snare of politics - we can let the power go to our heads.

Keeping all that in mind though I still feel that we have an obligation as stewards, as citizens, and as a part of our commission to be salt and light (Matthew 5:13-16) to participate in the political process. We need to vote our consciences and values.

By the way, there are some Democrats I would vote for - they just are not in my state and they are not running for President.

D.Roman said...

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D. Roman
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