Ed Rollins, who knows a thing or two about winning elections, is now on board.

I love it when a plan comes together…

25 responses »

  1. Wayne Bray says:

    I agree with your post. Ed Rollins can do nothing but help move the tide. I am looking forward to working with you over the next few months.

  2. Jack Brooks says:

    What did you think about Gov. Huckabee’s recent article, where he decried Pres. Bush’s foreign policy as arrogant, bunker-mentality, and ungenerous, and that he didn’t reach out in a bi-partisan way to Dems here at home?

  3. Byron says:

    I thought his words were strong, perhaps stronger than I’d have expected or like them to have been. That said, I admire the fact that he’s not taking the pages from someone else’s playbook, that he believes what he believes enough to say it. I do think that the Bush administration (he criticized the whole thing, of course, not just the President, a distinction with at least a bit of a difference) should have taken some different tacks, and while I really haven’t read all that Mike said, I’m cool with him distancing himself somewhat from the president (a president that the vast majority of folks aren’t all that enamored with).

  4. Jack Brooks says:

    Yes, but do you agree with their content? Ron Paul also sincerely believes what he says, but he’s a kook, too.

  5. Jack Brooks says:

    Byron, I’m about to upset you by saying I’m not going to vote for Huckabee in the primary. He didn’t support inerrantists like you or me and all our fellow EFCA pastors while he was president of the Arkansas Baptist Convention; he embraced the moderates (= the Baptist liberal power structure) and he kept them in power as far as the denominational agencies went. I consider his recently published comments about the alleged evils of Bush’s foreign policy to be amazingly ignorant. I interpret them as him sucking up to the independent/moderate peanut-gallery. His record of gubernatorial commutations is excessive. No governor should ever pardon and commute that many prisoners, it implies that a U.S. state’s justice system, and its prosecutorial staff, functioned for eight straight years at a level inferior to that of Mexico. I don’t believe that, even for Arkansas. He even has his own example of a “Willie Horton” case, which led to the murders of innocent people — entirely his fault. I don’t like his demonizing of the upper-middle class, which I consider an appeal to class envy and resentment that is no different from any liberal.

    But I’ll re-post this comment at my blog, to allow people to respond back.

  6. Wayne Bray says:

    Jack said, “He didn’t support inerrantists…”
    Huckabee would be the most conservative President in history regarding his theology. So which one of the other Republicans do you think would support your theology more consistently? Rudy or Mitt?

    Jack said, “his recently published comments..I interpret them as him sucking up to the independent/moderate peanut-gallery”

    I find it interesting that you contradict your own philosophy. In the first point, Huckabee is criticized for his perceived compromise to the “system” or established leadership of the Baptist denomination he led. Yet, now you criticize him for speaking his own opinion, knowing people like you would slam him for daring to tell the truth of his stance in regard to the leadership of the past 6 years.

    I am a Bush fan, and love him as President. But I don’t think Huckabee should be forced to be his “boy”, just because he is a Republican. To consider Huckabee a liberal, is to have the issues out of priority as a child of God.

    Jack said, “No governor should ever pardon and commute that many prisoners…his own example of a ‘Willie Horton’ case”.

    You are free to vote for whomever you choose, but please don’t listen to the media. Be informed and look at the facts. Your comments are not ones of a fully informed voter. It sounds like you have a candidate, and have simply found the reasons why you want to bash Huckabee.

    Blessings as you seek God’s man.

  7. Jack Brooks says:

    Gov. Huckabee is basing a lot of his appeal right now on being “one of us” (i.e., a conservative evangelical). He even constructed that floating cross/bookshelf ad to get the message across. He has complained about Baptists who don’t support him (like Paide Pressler doesn’t). But as a pastor I would have been angry at a Pre-Al Mohler type SBTS accomodationist Baptist leader like Huckabee. who preaches on the right but then governed the state convention from the middle. When you accept the liberal status quo in your own denomination, you yourself become part of the liberal problem in my opinion. As a faithful, orthodox Christian, it was his job to convert, fire, or weaken every liberal SBC religionist he encountered. Instead, he accepted them as-is (after all, many of them voted for him). Baptist moderates are very skillful at sounding as orthodox as imaginable, and I assume being themselves believing men, but then accepting and defending the liberals’ rights to be liberals in their own group. Billy Graham is a famous example of this. We need to beware this in the EFCA as well.

    Your statement that my reason for criticizing him for stating his opinion is a falsehood, and misleading. I criticize the substance of his opinion. I think what he said was utterly stupid. That has nothing to do with whether or not he should have the right to say it. I don’t admire men for having the courage to say what they say, if what they say is wrong. Ron Paul is a paradigm of flinty outspokenness, and he would also (by dint of his microscopically narrow view of the constitution) turn every one of the 50 states into Nevada. He attracts ne-Confederates, anti-semites, truthers, brothel owners, and all kinds of other base people, and I wouldn’t support him no matter how fearless he was.

    Your comment about expecting Huckabee to be Bush’s “boy” is another misdirection, since (a) you’re claiming I want him to be slavishly devoted to GWB, but I dare you to prove that I said that or want that (you won’t be able to); and (b) one of the characteristics of a Baptist moderate is to use an inconsistent mish-mosh of conservative talk and ideas (born-againer language) with left-leaning ideas and policies (e.g., being against gay marriage but supporting the Supreme Court’s evil abolition of all anti-sodomy laws).

    If you believe in limited government and constitutionally defined powers, then no governor should regularly interfere with the court system of his state. It ought to be rare, and always highly defensible as overt miscarriages of justice. I don’t want a judicially “activist” Supreme Court, I don’t want a judicially “activist” governor, and I don’t want a judicially “activist” president.

  8. Jack Brooks says:

    P.S. I consider the primaries to be the time for this kind of selectivity. If Mike gets the nomination, I would still support him over any and every Dem candidate. Third party candidacies are a waste of time and votes, and usually help put the person you don’t want into office. So you should consider this a primary-phase discussion.

  9. Wayne Bray says:

    I appreciate your opinion, and I respect your right to disagree with Huckabee. That’s really all I’m saying about Huckabee and Bush. Being part of the SBC, which you speak of, though not Arkansas, I can tell you that your philosophy is very prevelant among my friends in ministry. I too have possessed the opinion that silence is more constructive than public disagreement with partners, for the sake of the “system” or the common purpose.

    But if a man is running for the office of President, not of the Arkansas Baptist Convention, but the USA, then he better be able to voice his opinion about how things have been handled by the former President.

    I’m not sure I care what you think about Huckabee’s theology. It sounds like you have already judged that for yourself. And I am not informed about his Presidency in ABC years ago. You must be right about his denominational politics or cooperation, even among more moderate brethren.

    I am as conservative as anyone theologically, i assure you. Still I believe one of the forgotten principles of Southern Baptist unity is that of cooperation. There are things we must never even allow debate about, such as Biblical authority. God’s Word is true, and it really doesn’t matter what the liberals say. But we have to learn to better cooperate with people who have the essential right, who may disagree on some of the more diagreeable matters.

    Again, I respect you, and appreciate your discussion. But things like “that floating cross/bookshelf” are a joke. We can become so critical trying to prove our point, that we lose sight of all rational thought. IT IS A BOOKSHELF. So, instead of thanking God for a man who was willing to do the politically incorrect thing (saying Christ at Christmas time) you criticize a bookshelf in the background.

  10. Jack Brooks says:

    I don’t care that it was a cross. I’m glad it was a cross. But you have to be very, maybe willfully, naive to believe that they didn’t know that it was a cross.

    The idiot conniptions of the extreme left against a man doesn’t make him a good candidate. The enemy of my enemy is not necessarily my guy. And no, the kind of Baptists I’m talking about don’t even deserve an ordination credential, let alone a pulpit or a state convention administrative position. The kind of Southern Baptist I’m talking about is an enemy of Christianity. If they started getting hold in the EFCA, I would apply myself to driving them out, root and branch. They are a cancer. There is no room for cooperation with true liberals in any Christian endeavor. But once a man gets used to that sort of accomodationism — once he learns to place Baptist unity ahead of the Bible’s teachings about church discipline (which Southern Baptists never exercise), and learns how to zig and zag to keep most conservatives and most liberals mostly content with him — then he’ll do the same with the secular liberals in Congress.

  11. Wayne Bray says:

    I hate to admit it’s refreshing to hear someone who considers the SBC “accomodating” to liberals. We are so often accused by the secular media of being a large group of fundamentalist wacko, that it’s good to hear your critique.

    I have never lost sleep over the characterisation of the blind media, but I am grateful again for your perspective. I do not want to end this post with you thinking me to be a sympathizer to liberals. I assure you, that is not the case. Thank you again for your opinion, and may God bless us both as we seek His will in this decision.

  12. Jack Brooks says:

    You’re welcome. Most of the SBC pastors I’ve known have either been neo-orthodox (which I consider a species of Kierkeggardian liberal), accomodationists (i.e., shrug and say what can you do?), or Biblically shallow preachers of legalisms, traditions, and slogans. Most of the SBC churches around here act as if they really believe they are the only true Christian group, and the churches are riddled with Baptist Bride-ism and Church of Christ baptismal regeneration doctrine. A large portion of the SBC is currently engaged in mounting a militant campaign against any of us who hold to any form of Calvinism. I grew up in northern NJ, went to seminary in central SC, worked in Houston for five years, and now live in the Bluegrass.

    So in other words, the fact that Gov. Huckabee wused to be a SBC preacher doesn’t favorably move me much.

  13. Wayne Bray says:

    I understand where you’re coming from now. For the record, I am unlike most of the SBCers you know. Though I am not a Hyper Calvinist, nor an ignorant Armenian to an extreme of heretical Open Theism, I am in the Biblical center of the issue. I would never judge you for your denomination. SBC is far from perfect. It’s like any other people, a group of sinners. Some saved by grace, other fooled by Satan.

    I truly believe Huckabee to be a godly man. I do not see him in either of the extreme categories you mentioned above. Still, blessings.

  14. Byron says:

    Yee-HAW! An old-fashioned back and forth between two of my newest friends, Jack (6 months) and Wayne (less than 6 days!). And the interesting thing is that I find myself in agreement with some points on both sides of the coin. It’ll be hard to keep this response short; I’m thinking I’ll weigh in now, and then come back and weigh in several more times, as the need warrants.

    Just so both you guys know, I was right in the middle of the SBC “wars” back in the late 80’s and early 90’s, as a pastor within the convention. I have a great deal to be thankful about during my time there (Jack, your experience of SBC guys isn’t real close to what I found to be the case, to be honest, unless you’re “overmaking” your point when you speak of “most” of the SBC pastors/churches you know of). I stood foursquare with the conservatives during that time; I was in New Orleans at the convention (’90?) which we said at the time—and which has proven to be true—was the “moderates” last stand (no, I didn’t ever really call ’em “moderate” either), when Morris Chapman was elected over Richard Jackson. We said at the time that if Jackson couldn’t win under the circumstances of New Orleans ’90, then the “moderates” would never win the presidency, and sure enough, the exodus accelerated during that time.

    That said, a couple of things: one, Jack, I think you paint a little too broadbrush in some ways relative to that whole debate. It’s complicated, and I’m not sure I want to get into what would turn out to be some fairly fine distinctions, but while there were two general camps—and I was unapologetically in the conservative one—there were some divisions within those camps. Let me give one for-instance, and then end this post, with my next post to answer the question of “what does Harvey think of Huck’s comments about the Bush war effort”.

    I was pastoring in the Central Baptist Association of North Carolina 1990-early 1993, when the Director of Missions (SBC equivalent of District Superintendent, Jack) came under fire from conservatives within the association. I went to a meeting with some of them, with the agenda being, essentially, “what do we do with J.D.?” There was the cadre that decided that nothing short of firing his butt would suffice. I didn’t take that route; instead, I suggested that we propose to the association that an investigative team from outside the association be formed to look into the issue (our association was rife with strife on several fronts). Some of the more strident guys probably didn’t like that approach, but it won the day; at the association meeting, I made the motion, and it carried. A team came in, did a bunch of interviews, and the end result was that the DoM resigned. What the more strident guys wanted to happen ultimately did, but in that case, it didn’t seem to me that we needed to draw lines in the sand and dismiss the guy without getting a better grip on the situation.

    I say that, not to defend Huck (and yeah, I’m not overjoyed by what some of the conservative brethren have to say about his time at the helm of the ABC—I guess that’s what it’s called). But I say that to say that within that segment of Southern Baptists that were on the “right side of the fence” theologically were folks whose manner in dealing with the situation turned me off completely. Their spirits didn’t seem right, even though their cause was. They seemed to want to use a blowtorch sometimes when a butter knife would have done nicely (forgive the stupid analogy). One prominent SBC evangelist—and former president of the SBC—is a guy I wouldn’t have preach in my church for anything, not now or then, for instance, because he was just “obnoxious for Jesus” (I’ll let Wayne guess who I’m referring to).

    All that to say that sometimes conservatives criticize people for bad theology, and sometimes they criticize because other conservatives don’t jump through hoops just the way they would. I saw some of that going on, and it turned me off.

    And it still does…

  15. Byron says:

    A quick post on one “controversy” that strikes me as silly: Jack, I just have to disagree with you on the Christmas ad deal. I didn’t see the cross in the ad; it didn’t even cross my mind when I watched it. It strikes me as a contrived controversy, a happenstance, if you will, and if you listen to Huck’s explanation, well, if you think it’s there intentionally, then you have to conclude that the man is a total fabricator. It’s a bookshelf, and IMHO, it’s just a bookshelf.

  16. Wayne Bray says:

    Byron – I noticed you’ve read “Total Truth”. Let me know how you liked it. I found it an awesome read.

    Another Book titled “Truth Decay” was equally valuable, Grithius I think.

  17. Wayne Bray says:

    Gruthius, Gruthias…something like that

  18. Jack Brooks says:

    Well, that’s why I said “in my experience”, which limits it to…well, my experience. The Southern Baptist preacher I knew in Scotch Plains, NJ was a Barthian. I knew some solid SBC guys at Columbia Bible College & Seminary. Columbia’s SBC environment was a huge mish-mosh. 1st Baptist was neo-, but turned back toward orthodoxy partly through the influence of one CBC’s missions profs. Gateway Baptist near our home seemed OK, till the pastor, his wife, and their best friends spouse-swapped. Three Rivers SBC had a guy preaching there who could find unconditional election in the prefaces to David’s psalms (did you know Rahab’s red string was a symbol of unconditional election? Neither did I. Or God.)

    OK, so we moved to Houston, where there really was a SBC on every other corner. I never got to hear John Bisagno at 1st. I never understood Ed Young’s wide appeal, but then, I wanted to hear expository Bible messages. Old Pastor Frank at Bellaire SBC preached John 3:16, tithing, and old baseball stories from his pro days.

    Moved to the Bluegrass, where I learned for the first time about Landmarkism and the Baptist Bride. Also learned, after six years, that none of the local SBC pastors wanted anything to do with me, presumably because (a) I’m not SBC, and (b) I publicly blasted the ultra-liberal chaplain, Dwight Moody (not kidding; he’s D.L. Moody’s great-grandson) at our own Georgetown College for calling Al Mohler an anti-Semite.

    All this to say why Gov. Huckabee’s being a Southern Baptist makes me more suspicious of him than trusting.

  19. Jack Brooks says:

    …and I don’t like it when guys write or say things, then run away from their own words when challenged.


  20. Byron says:


    I went to school with a guy named Dwight L. Moody; wonder if it’s the same guy! As to your Kentucky Baptist connections, how do I say this very nicely…well, I’m not sure I can. I don’t think I’d put a lot of stock in much of what Kentucky Baptists do as a representation of Southern Baptists. Something about…well, Kentucky. Sorry (but you live there, so I’m sure you know, man!).

    And Huck DID take responsibility for the words, by the way…

  21. Wayne Bray says:


    I attended CIU as well. That;s probably part of my being much less like those SBC guys in your state. I can assure you that your experience in with the minority of SBC men. The great majority would welcome you with open arms.

    I am sorry for their lack of testimony as they are representatives of our greater body, but I believe some people lose sight of the real body to which we owe our allegence, the body of Christ as a whole. I can proudly call you my brother, though I think your experiences may have pressed you towards an attitude you find despicable in those SBCers, judgmental stereotypes.

  22. Byron says:

    Well, Wayne, Total Truth made my top ten list, if that’s any indication of how well I liked it! And it’s “Groothuis”.

  23. Jack Brooks says:

    What’s amusing to me is that an on-line theology quiz pegged me as a Southern Baptist!

    My point was that I’m not going to uncritically flock to Gov. Huckabee merely because he’s a fellow Christian, and a former colleague in the ministry.

  24. Wayne Bray says:

    Jack…understood and respected…

    Byron…Great book! I would have it on my top five most likely.

  25. Byron says:


    I never answered what I thought about Huck’s comments. Yes, they were strong, and probably overstated. That said, as I’ve said before, I never supported the war, though to be honest, I wasn’t against it either. Here’s my deal: I think that there are a lot of things that we Americans come to opinions on, prematurely and without having the facts, that we probably shouldn’t, and I’m as guilty of that as anybody, I imagine. I was solidly for the Afghanistan invasion, but the Iraq war wasn’t nearly as clear to me. I chose, in that situation, to trust the administration’s judgment, and go along without criticism. My reservation at the time was that it seemed Hans Blix and his investigators didn’t exactly find what they were looking for, and then we decided to go in anyway. From my limited-perspective vantage point, that seemed a dubious decision; at the very least, couldn’t some more “hunting” have been done? Again, I gave the Prez the benefit of the doubt, figuring that he knew more about it than I did. In retrospect, could it be called “arrogant” to go in, on the basis that there were WMDs, when Hans Blix hadn’t found any? Yeah, I think you could reach that assessment. Then, it could be likewise argued that the stubbornness with which the President stood by Rumsfeld, at least with benefit of hindsight, might at least border on arrogance in the pursuit of the war.

    Not sure I’d have used language that strong, but I think in at least these two ways, that argument can be made. I might have wished, though, that Huck and his team had reserved that language for Democrats.

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