It's a slow news week, probably a bad time for a conservative Iowa pastor to use this pitch for Mike Huckabee.
"I know Senator Brownback converted to Roman Catholicism in 2002," the Rev. Tim Rude, pastor of Walnut Creek Community Church, wrote in the e-mail. "Frankly, as a recovering Catholic myself, that is all I need to know about his discernment when compared to the governor's."
In the e-mail, Rude calls Huckabee "one of us."
I'm predispositioned to like any political e-mail that quotes "Pinhead" (which quotes Freaks, I know) but that's some high-class sleaze. And it's not a new thing in this Republican primary. Mitt Romney has been rising in the polls everywhere he's run one of his (nine!) TV ads… except for South Carolina. He's in the low single digits there. Every couple of weeks he gets hit by something that brings up the Mormon issue—a mysterious anti-LDS mailer to voters, a heckler who slams his church. But there's obviously a churning anti-Mormon bigotry among religious conservatives and it's burning away just fine without that extra tinder.
Is any group in the GOP coalition having as hard a time right now as the religious right—the evangelicals and conservative Catholics? Unless Fred Thompsons re-locates his mojo and McCain un-implodes, they're going to have the least palatable nominee since 1976. (What a difference from two years ago when liberals were quaking and occasionally penning books about how the mighty religious right was going to torch the Constitution and replace it with Deuteronomy.)
For more on evangelicals—and hippies, of course—check out Brink Lindsey's July cover story.