Saturday, January 19, 2008


Your missionary to Capitol Hill, Washington, DC, Rob Schenck, reporting:

If you live in South Carolina, today's the day to go out and vote. If you don't live there, by all means call family, friends, old-time church members, colleagues or any contact who cares about the state of our nation.

Today four principal candidates will battle for the Republican nomination in South Carolina. In alphabetical order: Mike Huckabee, John McCain, Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson.

My last-minute thoughts after meeting and talking personally with each one:

Huckabee is a warm, friendly, gentle and humble man who truly loves the Lord, his family and his country. He's deeply interested in people's personal needs and cares especially about the ones who get the short shrift in life. He's a "Sermon on the Mount" man--a pastor in the true sense. His background in Christian ministry and even as governor of Arkansas is a consistent history of care for the poor, the stressed and the average Joe and Jane. He's a good man. He has rock solid, biblically informed convictions and prays and works continually to bring America back to her dependency on God. He's the most religiously impressive of the candidates. Of course some say this will limit him in winning a general election, but constituencies beyond Evangelicals and homeschoolers have begun gravitating to him.

McCain is different. He's strong on defense--a real "military man." We know he's a hero for choosing to stay with his fellow POWs and endure torture and deprivation rather than accept freedom because he was the son of an admiral. I know McCain on Capitol Hill as an adept deal-maker in the US Senate. He knows how back room politics works, but he can also be angry. His big problem is temperament. Something that shows even in his most famous legislation, McCain-Feingold, crafted with Democrat senator Russ Feingold. The law basically intimidates groups like ours from issuing commentary on elections. That's a big problem.

Mitt Romney is a class act. An enormously capable businessman, he is also a devoted husband and father. He admits he made a huge mistake backing pro-choice positions in the past, but I believe his conversion to pro-life is sincere. He runs an airtight campaign operation and is a skilled negotiator. He's cool, can be calculating (in a good sense) and carries himself presidentially. Some say he's too aloof, not warm enough with people, but I do think that makes him capable of making hard decisions and standing up against terror.

Fred Thompson is a good guy with an avuncular personality. He holds the right principles and has a pretty good history. When I met and talked with him he was quite comfortable to be with, relaxed and not terribly impressed with himself. But I wouldn't describe him as passionate. He just doesn't project "fire in the belly." His reputation from his days in the Senate are basically that he was good but slow to get things done. It takes an almost super-human level of strength and drive to be president. Thompson just doesn't project it. I like him, but it takes so much more than likability to be a successful candidate and chief executive of the United States.

Please do your duty as a citizen today and help your South Carolinian friends to do the same. It's a matter of stewardship over this nation that will have enormous consequences in the upcoming election. It will determine what happens in the war on terror, the economy, the choice of Supreme Court justices and whether or not we remain "one nation under God." Get out and vote or make those calls--please.

P.S. I will write about the Democrats in a future post. I've met Hillary Clinton and I even have a close friend working in her campaign--believe it or not! I haven't met Barack Obama, but I know plenty of people who have and I'll consult with them before I write.

Back later . . .

Rev. Rob Schenck
Faith and Action