Thursday, January 03, 2008
Unless He's in you, you don't have it
--Claire Brinberg, 360 Producer, a.k.a. "360 Caucus Queen"

So I'm back from Des Moines. Just arrived in New York to work on tonight's caucus extravaganza. Was kind of a bummer to leave Iowa on Caucus Day, but honestly, the airport will be a TOTAL ZOO tomorrow morning. According to the Des Moines Register, 2000 rental cars will be returned and the airport will be 50% busier than usual.

I'm way glad to be missing the Great Iowa Exodus of 2008. And it's warmer in New York, if only a little.

So I have no clue what's gonna happen tonight. What do you think?

I've been mainly reporting on the Republicans this week, specifically Mike Huckabee's electric appeal among Iowa evangelicals. The folks I talked to sure do love him. They extol the strength of his character and the depth of his faith. And many seem largely unconcerned with his positions on the issues, though they strongly affirm his credentials on "life" and "marriage".

On New Year's Eve, I was welcomed at a lovely church celebration at Grace Church in West Des Moines. I got into a conversation with Marylys Foster, a Huckabee supporter who told me she was going to caucus for "the guy who's with Christ. I believe that somebody that believes in Christ is truthful."

I asked Ms. Foster which issues she was most concerned with this year, and she launched into an incredibly detailed and well-informed discussion of healthcare and immigration.

"So," I asked her, "Do you know where Huckabee, your candidate, stands on those issues?

"No," she replied.

That's just amazing to me. She's well-versed on the issues, and yet is supporting a candidate whose positions she doesn't know, 'cause she's convinced that as a man of God, Mike Huckabee will make the right decision. She trusts him.

Trust. It's a word we haven't heard a lot this campaign. But again and again, the Iowa Christian conservatives I spoke with invoked it, when asked to explain their support for Huckabee.

Grace Church pastor Bob Deever summed up the thinking thusly: "Anybody who gets into the White House is going to have to learn a lot of things, but one thing you can't learn and be taught is how to be a follower of Christ. Unless He's in you, you don't have it."
Posted By CNN: 4:53 PM ET
  14 Comments
Claire,
I don't know about voting for someone just because they say that they are a christian. I mean alot of people say that they are but live like the devil!! So I hope that people who vote actually look at the person and what they stand for!

But I can say that a christian does seem more truthful and honest. You know what they say.... you have to stand for something or you'll fall for anything!!

Cynthia, Covington, Ga.
Posted By Blogger Cindy : 6:26 PM ET
And that's what makes the world go round. Different opinions and the right to choose how to live out those personal choices.
We can't live anyones's life for them. Who they vote for and why, is up to each and every individual.
Win or lose, that's what a vote is for. One person's choice, one person's voice, one person at a time.

Lorie Ann, Buellton, Calif.
Posted By Blogger Lorie Ann : 6:43 PM ET
I could see someone voting for a Christian simply because they know that the candidate will be anti-abortion and will conduct the office according to biblical principles, such as the obligation for good, free men to go to war to fight evil.

I get the impression that many who will vote for Hill/Obama/Edwards are just trying to "get back at" Republicans because they don't care for President Bush or because they didn't vote for the winner in the past two elections.

So what's the difference in the two examples above if we're talking about the "reasons" people choose who they do? We all have our "reasons" for supporting who we do.
How do we know that supporters of all the others who are running have solid knowledge of their candidates' stances?
Posted By Anonymous xtina chicago IL : 7:03 PM ET
I think voting for a candidate just because they have the same religious beliefs as you is just foolish! And sad...
If that were the case for me, I wouldn't be voting at all!
Posted By Anonymous Grisel, Logan, UT : 7:04 PM ET
I'm sorry, but Ms. Foster sounds more like a cult follower than an educated voter. I also disagree with Pastor Deever. Our next President isn't going to be given a learning curve, not while we have combat troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, and not while we are nearing a crisis level on several domestic issues.

Do these people remember that our current President found Jesus before being elected to office? Are they pleased with the job he has done?
Posted By Blogger Jan from Wood Dale, IL : 7:31 PM ET
It's hard to believe that she was so well versed in the issues, but then will vote for someone she has no idea where they stand on those same topics. It reminds me of some of the arguments people had about Harry Potter when it was getting popular. I remember asking someone who was sure the books were "evil" and "bad influence on children" if they had actually read the books. Their answer? "No, but my church told me they are."

What is sad is that in this case is that we're not dealing with whether or not a child is allowed to read a popular book, but who is going to lead our country in the next four years. I'm a firm believer in everyone having the right to decided who and why they are going to vote for someone, but I wish those people would realize what a huge impact this will have on our lives and make an informed decision, not one based solely on what God they happen to pray to.
Posted By Blogger Jamie : 7:35 PM ET
AND I'm offended by Ms. Birnberg not being tolerant of this person's right to vote however he likes. There's no law that says you have to know the issues or your candidate's stand. Americans have a right to vote using any criteria. You cannot tell me, Ms. Birnberg that some voters aren't voting for Barack Obama because he's African-American. And you can't tell me that all the people who will vote know the stand their candidate has on all the issues.
Posted By Anonymous Carroll J , Wilmington NC : 7:51 PM ET
Mitt Romney believes in God too; I'm sure most of the candidates do.

For someone to be well informed and not know anything but her candidates religious background is scary.

We've had in the last few decades a lot of Presidents who professed their faith to gain support - Current President Bush is a good example and don't forget Nixon.

If you buy a pig in a poke you may be chagrined in the end to find out that you got just what you didn't want.

Annie Kate
Birmingham AL
Posted By Blogger Annie Kate : 8:01 PM ET
Claire,

I doubt that this is about Christian believe. This is a election jackpot for Huckabee to find a large group of supporters in one hole of the nation.
Posted By Anonymous Ratna, New York, NY : 8:13 PM ET
Iraq - how does one send a message to Anderson? Please pass this along.

Why is nobody talking about the great awakening project in Iraq? This is where we are paying insurgents (I believe it is in the billions) not to attack US troops, Sunni, Shi'ites or Iraqi forces. This project is a major factor in reducing violent in Iraq as most of the insurgents took us up on this deal. The problem may be that these insurgents are taking our money and using it to rearm and using the time to reinforce their forces. Why have you not addressed this item?
Posted By Anonymous James : 8:15 PM ET
How does one get a message to Anderson? Please pass this along.

Why is nobody talking about the great awakening project in Iraq? This is where we are paying insurgents (I believe it is in the billions) not to attack US troops, Sunni, Shi'ites or Iraqi forces. This project is a major factor in reducing violent in Iraq as most of the insurgents took us up on this deal. The problem may be that these insurgents are taking our money and using it to rearm and using the time to reinforce their forces. Why have you not addressed this item?
Posted By Anonymous James Kensington, MD : 8:16 PM ET
I believe that the IOWA people have left a message to all of the other states tonight. Being a christain is important. BUT we in Iowa have concerns that affect everyone in this country. ECONOMY - Health Care - Imagration - Terrrism - War
In that order of importance. Until we get a president that rememembers what hardship is. We will just have old money and old politics as usual. Our next terrorist will be our banker and big business. I own a small electronics store and I wish I could say that my stock was made in America. It is made in China. WHY???
Posted By Anonymous Tom : 10:26 PM ET
The current president Bush is a believer in Christ, yet his relationship with truth has been more like an occasional fling than a committed relationship. Inshallah the American voter will keep in mind that truthfulness and integrity are not necessarily linked to a certain religious belief or lack thereof.
Posted By Anonymous Aballache : 11:58 PM ET
I am offended by the notion that being Christian makes one more truthful, etc. As a trained historian, I would like to point out that in the last 2000 years, much destruction and deception has been dealt to humanity by those who believed that Christianity was the sole source of truth. I refuse to support and vote for a man or woman simply because they are "committed" Christians. This actually scares me in many ways. How do I know that you will support my right as a non-Christian to worship and believe as I do? Indeed, history tells me that you may be the first to try and deny my religious and civil rights.

Tell me what you stand for, show me that you have lived by those commitments and then, perhaps, I may consider voting for that person. However, simply saying that you will vote for someone simply because they are the same religion is, in my book, irresponsible as a voter.
Posted By Blogger Phyllis : 2:37 PM ET
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