Huckabee On The Hustings
In case you were wondering, about 356,000 voters turned out for the Iowa caucuses, and of the total vote, Obama got 24.5%, Edwards got 20.5%, Clinton got 19.8% ... and Huckabee got 11.4%, way higher than any other Repugnican candidate in the race ... and that could be a problem.
As People for the American Way points out, "If there were any doubts that Religious Right voters are still a powerful force in the Republican Party, Mike Huckabee's huge win in the Iowa Republican caucuses last night put them to rest.
"Huckabee's friendly, folksy demeanor can distract attention from the disturbing fact that he and his backers essentially urged conservative evangelicals to vote for him based on his being the 'right' kind of Christian.
"That should make Americans very nervous.
"Governor Huckabee has pledged to support every item on the Radical Right's wish list: a constitutional ban on abortion, a veto of legislation to protect gay and lesbian Americans from discrimination, support for a bill to keep federal courts from intervening when local officials violate the separation of church and state, and most importantly, a far-right Supreme Court.
"When asked about what kind of justices Huckabee would appoint to the Supreme Court — something CNN predicts the next president could get to do three or more times — his answer was:
"'I would want people who are in the spirit of Scalia. He's probably my hero in the Court.'
"That should make Americans even more nervous."
As Human Events
' Michelle Oddis noted, "It's likely that the massive fundamentalist Christian turnout in Iowa is what gave Huckabee his lead. Although evangelical turnout was expected, it seems that pollsters underestimated Huckabee's ability to rally Christian conservatives. Fox News entrance polls calculated a whopping 60% of voter turnout classified themselves as evangelicals... Huckabee will continue to rely on support from conservatives voting for 'their belief systems'."
On that note, in an entrance poll of Repugnicans (99% of whom were white, with blacks less than .5%) conducted by Edison Media Research, the "most important [issue] facing the country" going into 2008 for the 'Pugs was "illegal immigration" at 32%, followed by "the economy" at 26%, "terrorism" at 21% and "The war in Iraq" at 17% — and if you can believe it, fully 50% of this electorate was made up of folks whose family income was dead-center middle class: $30,000 to $75,000 per year — the exact segment that suffers most from the Repugnican tax cuts and deep-sixing of government services.
And in case you couldn't guess, 87% of them described themselves as either "very conservative" or "somewhat conservative."
Compare that to the Dems, for whom "Illegal immigration" didn't even make the list; they were pretty evenly divided in being worried about "the war in Iraq" (36%), "the economy" (34%) and "Health care" (27%). And 51% of them are looking for a candidate that "Can bring about needed change" — as compared to the 'Pugs, 43% of whom are looking for someone who "Shares my values." You know; those "very conservative" or "moderately conservative" values we all know and love.
Be afraid; be very afraid...
..And not just of who the Repugnican candidate will be; you should also worry that there very well could be no Federal Elections Commission to call these people to account when they try (once again) to steal the election.
As of 1/1/08, the FEC, which is the agency that oversees and enforces campaign finance laws, is out of business, thanks to the 'Pugs in the Senate.
See, four people were up for nomination or renomination to the commission: Two Democrats and two Repugnicans, one of whom people like minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-Botox) (seriously; just look at the guy's forehead!) insisted had to be Hans Von Spakovsky, the former Justice Department attorney who engineered the Georgia law, now struck down, that would have required voters in that state to produce a state-issued ID card of some sort before they could vote. (Von Spakovsky knew that blacks, Hispanics and the poor would be most likely to be unable to take the time and suffer the expense to get the cards, and therefore, their participation in the election would be reduced — and whaddya know? They all would be most likely to vote Democrat!)
Anyway, Democrats had suggested voting on each candidate individually, but the 'Pugs insisted on voting on the entire slate of four together, and that's what's formed the impasse. Trouble is, with no new commissioners, that left just two current commissioners in charge ... and it takes a vote of at least four commissioners to make any decisions.
"The FEC's shutdown could affect the election in a number of ways," wrote Paul Kiel on tpmmuckraker.com. "The first and most obvious is the oversight role it plays with third party groups, such as 527s and nonprofits that spend tens of millions of dollars each election. But there are other — probably greater — ramifications.
"For instance, the FEC disburses public matching funds for candidates. Since its shutdown, it's prevented from doing that. And since John Edwards is the highest profile candidate to participate in that system, it might become a problem for him."
Noted one commenter with a campaign finance law background, "Anyone who cares about the political process in the U.S. should care about the FEC being shut down. A slow and ponderous watchdog is better than no watchdog at all. The FEC's enforcement function is arguably not it's most important role. Those who always intended to try and skew the result of the 2008 presidential election by illegal means would have done so anyway. They may still be caught and fined and possibly even be criminally prosecuted, but it will now take 4-5 years rather than 2-3 years. Those who want to affect the election but do so legally are the ones who are really screwed - there's no way now to get official advice on how the law is to be interpreted. And everybody loses when the law is unclear."