Friday, January 18, 2008
MY FACE-TO-FACE WITH MIKE HUCKABEE
Your missionary to Capitol Hill, Washington, DC, Rob Schenck reporting:
Today I was the guest of my dear friend Kumar Lakhavani. We were in Spartanburg, South Carolina for my long-awaited face-to-face with Republican presidential candidate and former governor of Arkansas, Mike Huckabee. I was impressed with the man and the people around him. (Please forgive any typos as I'm composing this on my Blackberry handheld while Kumar speeds us to the airport.)
Until now I've only been able to comment on Huckabee from a distance, but today I got the close-up. There's something about looking a person in the eyes. It's like peering into the soul. If you've wondered whether Huckabee is the real thing, I saw today that he is.
Now, I will punctuate this to say yet again that I do not--and probably never will--endorse a candidate. (I wouldn;t do so here in any case.) What I will do is give you the information I have and urge you to do your own further research.
Having said that, in the same way I learned Mitt Romney is the extraordinarily gifted business leader he appears to be, so I learned Mike Huckabee is the extraordinarly gifted spiritual leader he appears to be. He and the people around him clearly love the Lord, they love His people and they love America.
Here's what else I learned about this surprise headliner among Republican candidates:
Those closest to him are his friends of many years. (And that group always tells you a lot about a candidate; you're known by the company you keep.) I spent considerable time with Rick Caldwell, who has known the Governor since high school days. They also shared a dorm at the Baptist college each attended. Caldwell and Huckabee share a lot in common, including having married at 19.
Rick recalls being in the school dorm praying with "Mike" about "bringing our nation back to where it needs to be." That's why Rick, a former youth minister, says it's no surprise to him "to see the man standing at the presidential debate sharing from his heart the same vision he had when we were college students."
Rick adds, "Mike Huckabee did not become pro-life because he was getting into politics. He went into politics because he is pro-life."
When I asked the Governor himself what he most wanted you, my Faith and Action Blog friends, to know about him. He said it was his pro-life convictions. That they're the starting point for everything. He was emphatic about his passion for the sanctity of life.
According to the people who know him best, Huckabee marched for over twenty years for the sanctity of life, and he did so alongside the Roman Catholic archbishop in Arkansas. (Huckabee has historically been ecumenical--an extension, Caldwell says, of deep personal relationships with Catholic leaders and others.)
A woman traveling with the campaign named Linda told me she and her husband have known Mike and Janet Huckabee for over eighteen years. When I asked this woman what she would say about the Huckabees after such a long friendship, she instantly responded, "They're the same precious people they were eighteen years ago. No different. Absolutely transparent."
On the character issue, Mike Huckabee shines. He's the real deal. You'll have to judge for yourself whether that's enough to pick him to lead the nation. You need to evaluate his platform, policies and competence. But if you're asking if his heart and soul are right, in my estimation the answer is an unqualified YES.
More to follow . . .
Rev. Rob Schenck
Faith and Action
109 2nd Street, NE
Washington, DC 20002