Dissent Of The Day

A reader on Huckabee:

While I despise the "what would Jesus do?" mindset ("original intent" to the nth) and regard Christianism as a major threat to our democracy, I thought Huckabee's "Jesus was too smart to run for public office" response to the death penalty question was kind of brilliant. You found it a "cheapening of Jesus' radical injunction to forswear worldly power and wealth"  -- I thought it was a dead-on voiceover of "render under Caesar what is Caesar's."

The thing is, Huckabee has been Caesar, i.e. has had to make the life-and-death decisions, which he spoke of rather movingly (not glibly, though I can't gauge his sincerity). What he said, in effect, was that Jesus offered no direct guidance to worldly rulers about what to do when the apparent demands of public welfare (or security) clash w/ the dictates of the Sermon on the Mount.  In a way he was also saying he would have been 'smarter' to stay a minister rather than enter politics - there's that humility reflex, real or faked, which is part of his appeal.  More to the point,, "Jesus couldn't (wouldn't) tell me outright what to do as governor." There's an unBushlike shunning of certainty there that's also part of his appeal.

Another reader adds:

But what about his discussion of immigration? That really impressed me.

It was clear he believes in the dignity of everyone, really believes it, instinctively, and instead of pandering to the worst sentiments of his party, he stood up and said, why punish children? Why not let them succeed?

Romney on the other hand, probably wouldn't have opposed allowing children of illegal immigrants who had gone to Mass. schools to compete for scholarships, but he was happy to make a big deal out of it because someone told him that Republicans don't like brown people. The exchange was as enlightening as Mitt's craven discussion with McCain on waterboarding. I like Huckabee because he isn't angry and he doesn't hate people and he isn't going to pretend he does. Yes, his demonstrative religiosity is worth watching, but as far as I have seen he doesn't play up torture or racism or nativism, in other words fear, and that really is something in his party.