FRC’s Washington Briefing: The Huck Stopped There

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Nation editor Amy Sullivan has some further thoughts on Huckabee’s performance at the Family Research Council shin-dig last weekend.

When Pat Robertson ran for the Republican nomination in 1988, he went out of his way to downplay his identity as a religious leader, emphasizing instead his television network and other business ventures. Nearly 20 years later, it is impossible to listen to Mike Huckabee without picking up on his background of 15 years as a pastor. Huckabee is fond of saying that he’s a “conservative — I’m just not angry about it.” His mood is usually that of a perpetually cheery youth pastor who just might grab a guitar and rock out with the praise band if the spirit hits him. (Huckabee does in fact play bass guitar with his band, Capital Offense.) At the Values Voters Summit, however, Huckabee started off with more fire and brimstone than he has displayed thus far in the campaign, hitting all the red-meat conservative issues: Islamo-fascism (ignoring the threat “will get us killed”), immigration (“we need to build a fence”) and abortion (“a Holocaust”).

Not to dwell too much on the event, but last night’s debate cemented the impression that I had during the FRC summit: the passion that exists among Rs for their candidates doesn’t extend to the frontrunners. Romney is the John Kerry of the right.