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Saturday, December 29, 2007

Poll on Hillary's Promise To Lower Gas Prices

As always only a tiny fraction of blog readers participate in polls. This is to be expected. But I want you all to have plenty of opportunity, if you have not yet done so, to vote in our exclusive poll that you see in the left column on your screen.

It's time to send Hillary Clinton a message that we see her outlandish, unrealistic, and downright silly notion that her mere election to the Presidency will lower gasoline prices for what it is--pure demagoguery and a desperate last ditch effort from a struggling campaign in Iowa to pick up some votes.

She hopes to peddle a barefaced lie and get away with it.

Not only is her tactic demagoguery but it is most definitely highly cynical and shows that she views the voters as imbeciles who can be hoodwinked into voting for her.

The poll closes in just 3 days, so go in our poll!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Second Amendment News Roundup for 12/28/07

Focusing on guns and politics, here is today's Second Amendment News Roundup:

There is vital reading at the Volokh Conspiracy today as they examine the question, 'does the militia clause qualify the right of individuals to keep and bear arms?':

The Buckeye Firearms Association reports that the Brady Gang now wants to ban a popular hunting ammo:

The Village Idiots at the Baltimore Chronicle claim that 'global warming' will wipe out America's conservatives because their states will be devastated by climate change, and the liberal states will prevent conservatives who move there from having any voice in government. Don't worry the event of the massive ice age which is to follow, as the fiction goes, we will return the favor here in the warm south:

The Washington Times is reporting that the movie 'Charlie Wilson's War' is devoid of much factual information, and the Reagan people are furious:

Snow Flakes in Hell reports that the ATF has been very busy of late--perpetuating their reign of terror:

Red's has the lastest update on his fight with the ATF:

The jackbooted government thugs are relentless. Red's has the story:

Red's also has an open letter from Bill Akins of Akins Accelerator:

As a librarian, Breda (one of our most effective proponents of gun rights) wants to know if you can carry a concealed handgun into a library in your particular state:

Traction Control has an update on Blogburst for Fred, Day 2:

Tam explains, as nobody else can, why this is the most awkward week in blogging for her:

Nicki presents another segment of her continuing series, 'Idiots with Keyboards':

Mike McCarville reports that Oklahoma's Democratic Party has some serious financial woes:

The MUST-read of the day is by Armed and Safe, and it is entitled, 'Tyranny Draws Nigh':

Rich Lowry at National Review has good reading today on the assassnation of Benazir Bhutto:

Immediate Lessons Gleaned From Bhutto's Murder

The assassination of Benazir Bhutto, former Pakistani Prime Minister and current candidate for that office, is an international disgrace. It is clearly not a shock, however.

Personally, I have feared for Bhutto's safety ever since she returned to Pakistan from which she had been exiled. The outspoken but personable and charismatic Bhutto was a fervent critic of the current Pakistani government, which had refused to offer her adequate security.

On numerous occasions Bhutto had stated that she knew her life would be in mortal danger. But she was willing to take that risk in order to advance the cause of liberty in her country.

Now she is a bona fide martyr for that cause.

Not only was Bhutto highly critical of the current Pakistani regime, which clearly has not done the job in helping the U.S. get bin Laden or squelch terrorism, but she had been an outspoken ally of the U.S. in the war on terror, and she had condemned radical Islamic Jihadists for their hate and violence.

Her loss is a stab into the heart of all of those around the world who love liberty.

We can glean some immediate lessons from her assassination, long before we see the real long-term repercussions that are most assuredly to occur.

First, Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups connected to Islamic Jihadists are very active and highly dangerous. The fact that the U.S. has not experienced a terrorist attack since 9/11 has lured Americans to sleep concerning the danger. Al Qaeda and other groups like it have not gone anywhere. They still wish to kill anyone who stands for liberty. Radical Islam is 100% diametrically opposed to liberty.

Second, Bhutto's assassination has sent a volatile area of the world into even more volatility. In fact, Pakistan itself teeters on the edge of internal collapse, the result of which would place its estimated 60 nuclear warheads into the hands of terrorists.

Third, President Bush's coining of the term 'the war on terror' was not just some political slogan. It is very real, and it IS most definitely a long term fight, just as Mr. Bush stated early-on. These people are not going away, and yes, they intend to kill us all if they get a chance.

Fourth, the assassination has put national security back on the front burner of the 2008 Presidential campaign in at least two ways. Our candidates are at risk with their close proximity to citizens in Iowa and New Hamphire. It's time to significantly beef up their security. Second, now more than ever we see the folly of electing to office a novice. On the Democratic side nobody among their slate of candidates has significant foreign policy experience besides Joe Biden.

On the Republican side, maturity, experience, and cool-headed rationality are key. Once again, this excludes political novices such as Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney. It almost excludes Rudy except for his leadership in New York during 9/11. This leaves Duncan Hunter, Fred Thompson, John McCain, and Ron Paul, all of whom have significant experience, maturity, and a steady hand.

Fifth, the Pakistani tragedy has brought President Bush back to the forefront of relevance. Far from being a lame duck, his leadership on the world stage is essential at a time such a this, and in the aftermath of the assassination, the repercussions of which we have not even begun to realize.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Second Amendment News Roundup for 12/27/07

Focusing on guns and politics, here is today's Second Amendment News Roundup:

From the world news stage comes the ominous announcement that opposition Pakistani leader Benazir Bhutto has been assassinated. She was staunchly anti-terrorist and pro-American. National Review tells it like it is about the Pakistan no one really wants to admit exits:

Jack Pribek has more on this international tragedy here:

Michelle Malkin reports that Al Qaeda is claiming resonsibililty for the matter, we already know it was Islamic Jihadits:

Here's some good news. Mike McCarville says that the NRA is continuing its investigation into gun seizures on New Orleans after Katrina. They have even hired private investigators to find citizens whose guns were seized:

Roberta X has some mind-bloggling facts that will bring a chuckle (I think):

Alphecca posts this on 'felons and guns':

Blogonomicon reports that Big Brother is coming after us with a vengeance. Read it all:

Dustin's Gun Blog writes about some new converts to the shooting sports:

Red's has an update on the response from Senators to the stop-Sullivan movement:

Say Uncle presents yet another case in favor of the Castle Doctrine:

Well, my friends, it seems Sebastian and significant other Bitter Bitch are gracing Say Uncle's place with their presence for a few days during the holidays. Knoxville will never be the same :)

Breda blogs on the Swiss Mini Gun:

Nicki has more on idiots with keyboards:

Traction Control informs us about the blogburst for Fred Thompson, and it is TODAY!:

Tam has a few characteristically snarky comments about the candidates and their hunting antics:

The MUST-read of the day is at the Volokh Conspiracy on the government's 'right' to kill the terminally ill:

The Buckeye Firearms Association has an interesting read on the manner in which the news media slants stories about ordinary citizens who use firearms to save lives:

A Dream Scenario: Brokered Conventions

Political junkies like me who are old enough to remember the drama of political conventions have secretly held onto a dream, a wish, for 2008--brokered conventions.

I have become convinced that the absolute best thing that could happen for American politics in 2008 is for the choice as to who will head the Republican and Democratic tickets to be made at the respective political conventions this coming summer.

For the past 15 to 20 years, political conventions have become all but obsolete, with the choices for the two Parties being made by the primary system in the various states long before the time for the conventions.

Thus, the conventions have become nothing more than a coronation, a showcase, a week-long political commercial for the already-agreed-upon candidate.

The drama is entirely gone.

This year may change all of that. Despite Hillary Clinton's desire for the Democratic National Convention of '08 to be her coronation, that is highly unlikely given her strong opposition from Barack Obama and John Edwards.

In like manner, as Rudy Giuliani's star fades and Mike Huckabee rides a tide of near-cult-worship, GOP conservatives are left unimpressed. They want to vote for Fred Thompson, but somehow the highly unrealistic expectations placed upon Thompson have tended to hurt him severely.

They may yet decide that he is their man in the long run.

But this decision may well not happen until the GOP National Convention in the summer. Fred appears likely to win South Carolina. He could win in Iowa, but at present it appears either Huckabee or Romney will win, although male voters in Iowa have recently turned away from Huckabee. In New Hampshire, John McCain appears to be surging to the head of the pack.

This could well set up a trend that will continue right up to the Convention--the primaries will be split between 3 or 4 candidates, perhaps even 5, meaning that the decision will have to be made at the Convention.

My, what drama. I love it.

If this scenario is played out, it will mean that deals will have to be made. Compromises will have to be negotiated. Behind-the-scenes power plays will be the order of the day, just like in the old days.

I am reminded of the high drama of the 1980 Republican National Convention, when nominee Ronald Reagan offered the job of running-mate to former President Gerald R. Ford as a means of healing a rift in the GOP.

At first Ford took the offer very seriously. It became the talk of the nation.

And then Ford dropped a bombshell. He told Reagan that he would accept only if Reagan would agree to make Ford a 'co-President,' sharing the duties of the office together.

Wow. The Ford ultimatum dominated the news for days. It was Walter Cronkite's dream.

Then Reagan made the only decision he could. He turned down Ford's offer for the sake of the Constitution and common sense. George H.W. Bush was chosen as his running-mate, and the two went on to beat Jimmy Carter in a landslide.

With the great fluidity of the electorate leading up to the primaries this year, and as no clear front runner is apparent, perhaps this is the year that the political convention will return to politics as a relevant and needed entity.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Second Amendment News Roundup for 12/26/07

Hope all of you had a wonderful Christmas...

Focusing on guns and politics, here is today's Second Amendment News Roundup:

Red's Trading Post says that opponents to Michael Sullivan as head of the ATF have found an unexpected ally:

The War on Guns has an update on the sentence of Wayne Fincher:

Snow Flakes in Hell has more on Congress' ban of the incandescent light bulb, which apparently includes Halogen bulbs as well:

Nicki has an excellent read today on Mike Huckabee and religion. Read it all:

Nicki also provides a stark example of what happens when people are disarmed:

Traction Control serves up some important commentary on 'we're the only ones':

Being a lover of canines, I simply had to include this from Tam. Be sure to click on the link she provides:

Of Arms and the Law alerts us to a new book on the Founders' views on the right to bear arms:

Mike McCarville reports some interesting Oklahoma poll numbers for both Republicans and Democrats running for President:

Blogstitution enumerates all the reasons he is not supporting Mike Huckabee:

In case you missed it, Born Again Redneck has an interesting read contrasting Mike Huckabee with Fred Thompson:

The Buckeye Firearms Association has good reading today entitled, 'Thank God She WASN'T A Security Guard':

Race Wide Open 9 Days Before Iowa Caucuses

With only 9 days to go until the Iowa Caucuses, polls are showing a wide open race in both Parties.

Although Mike Huckabee has opened a fairly large lead in the GOP race over 2nd place contender Mitt Romney and 3rd place contender Fred Thompson, any of the three are within striking distance and could pull out a last-minute surge to put them over the top.

On the Democratic side Hillary Clinton maintains a very small lead over 2nd place contender Barack Obama. In fact, the two are locked into a statistical tie. John Edwards is running a close third. Here again, any of the top three could easily win.

Meanwhile, in New Hampshire, the setting of the first primary, Mitt Romney holds on to a very slight lead against a surging John McCain, who is only two points behind--once again a statistical dead-heat.

Hillary Clinton maintains a slight lead in New Hampshire, although some polls show Barack Obama in the lead. Once again John Edwards is running a close third.

We will not attempt any predictions at this point due to the highly fluid nature of the race, except for two. It is beginning to appear that Barack Obama will beat Hillary in Iowa. Momentum is on his side.

In like manner, it looks as if John McCain will pull off the miracle of his political career and win New Hampshire, due to the very same factor as Obama in Iowa--momentum.

HOT TIP: Don't be surprised to see John McCain defy all the predictions of his demise and win not one but several primaries. We are not saying he will win the nomination, but as it becomes more apparent that conservatives are still on the fence, they may well break for McCain at the last minute due to his war hero status, his experience, and his perceived ability to work with political opponents to reach compromise.

We have our problems with McCain, as we have stated repeatedly. But he is fairly strong on issues such as gun rights, foreign policy, the war on terror, abortion, and healthcare.

Nonetheless, we still see Fred Thompson as the strongest alternative to Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney, and Rudy Giuliani. Although he is in 3rd place in Iowa, he is still within easy striking distance of the win.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Greetings

Shown below: Washington National Cathedral at Christmas

Merry Christmas to all of you who honor me with your presence here. May you have a most meaningful and serene Christmas and holiday season. Thank-you for reading these pages.

I think it was 'Say Uncle' who said that he blogs, not to entertain readers, but himself. In many ways this is true, particularly for a writer.

Writing is something that simply must be done if you are born to do it. Once one has been smitten by the necessity of self expression in the form of words, nothing can prevent one from writing even if readers are few. It is simply a passion that must find its way to the computer screen or the printed page.

And so, I do this because I must. But I am very happy and thankful that many have found these words of mine to be interesting enough to come here--and to continue to come here.

Your presence is always greatly appreciated, and I am always interested in reading what you have to say by way of response, if you choose to do so.

I truly wish all of you a wonderful holiday season, and, from my tradition, a heart-filled 'Merry Christmas!'

More on Hillary's Gas Problem

Not only has Hillary Clinton opened herself to endless jokes, centering on the unfortunate pun that many with periodic juvenile tendencies like me will use as fodder, but she has also demonstrated in the waning days just before the Iowa Caucuses that she will do anything to get elected, including the obvious demagoguery inherent in her claim that a vote for her is a vote to lower oil prices.

As if she has any control over that whatsoever...

Nonetheless, she now has a major problem on her hands--a gas problem of mammoth proportions. OK, for you prudes out there, a gasoline problem.

Several points of consideration become readily apparent:

1. The candidate is so desperate that she will risk alienating thinking people by claiming that if she is elected oil prices will automatically and immediately drop.

2. She is also arrogant enough to assume that Iowans will accept her assessment that Jimmy Carter was 'on the right track' with energy policy and that Ronald Reagan ruined it all by dismantling Carter's work, which by the way, was quite a job. During Carter's tenure gasoline prices more than doubled, not to mention the shortages and long lines at the pump.

3. The fact that she used one of the most unpopular and discredited Presidents in U.S. history to bolster her views on energy policy is not exactly the most prudent course in an election. And then, to turn around and bash one of the most popular Presidents in U.S. history is simply nuts.

4. The candidate knows that most voters are NOT going to know the facts and figures about taxes on gasoline as opposed to the profits of the oil companies. She can thus lie to them and deceive them. But right here on The Liberty Sphere you will get the facts. Better still, do your own research. The oil companies make 13 cents per gallon in profits on gasoline sold in America. The federal government, and state and local governments, get roughly 60-80 cents per gallon (depending on the area of the country) in gasoline taxes.

It would seem, then, that if anyone is making a 'windfall profit' on gasoline, it is most assuredly the government.

Yet Mrs. Clinton wishes to raise the federal tax on gasoline even further, brow-beat the oil companies into lowering prices, and thus cut into the profits of the shareholders, and then further take much of whatever profits remain in order to set up a fund in Washington for 'alternative fuels.'

This is a recipe for disaster at the pump with regard to prices, not to mention that Venezuelan Communist Hugo Chavez would be most proud.

Perhaps citizens in Iowa will catch on to Hillary's latest scheme and send her a strong and clear message during the caucuses.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Vote In Our Exclusive Poll on Hillary's Gas Claims

Well, my friends, it seems that during this year's holiday season 'Hillary' and 'gas' have become synonymous.

I know what you are thinking. You think I am referring to her playing up her haggard, middle-aged woman thing, as she attempts to appeal to one of her strongest bases of support, older women.

Why, I would never in a million years remotely suggest that Hillary has a gas problem. There are too many good remedies for that on the market.

Nope, this is about Hillary's claim that if she is elected gas prices will immediately plummet.

What say you? Vote in The Liberty Sphere's exclusive poll you will see in the left sidebar. You can select more than one answer. The poll is open until 11:59 PM on Jan. 1 and is unscientific.

Come on, let your voice be heard on Hillary's gas.

Hillary Claims Oil Prices Drop Immediately if Elected

In a stunning display of desperation, Hillary Rodham Clinton claimed on Sunday in Iowa that if she is elected oil prices will experience a dramatic sudden drop.

FACT CHECK! In actuality, Mrs. Clinton has repeatedly stated during her campaign for President that the federal tax on oil should be dramatically increased and that she plans on 'taking that money from oil companies,' referring to robbing the corporations and their stockholders of millions of dollars of profits in order to set up a federal fund to explore alternative fuels.

These proposals will do anything but cause oil prices to drop.

The government already gets roughly 6 times the amount per gallon in taxes than the oil companies make in profits. Yet Mrs. Clinton proposes raising the federal tax on gas at the pump, where by the time you add local, state, and federal taxes we are already paying between 50 and 60 cents per gallon.

The oil companies make a mere 13 cents per gallon in profits.

In addition, if Mrs. Clinton is going to raid the profits of the oil companies and their shareholders, you can bet your last drop of Texas-T that gas prices will go through the roof. This kind of anti-capitalism and anti-business, closely akin to Hugo Chavez, will not exactly reassure oil company execs that they can safely reduce prices.

Mrs. Clinton went further to make some of the most outlandishly erroneous statements she has ever uttered. She claims that Jimmy Carter was 'on the right track' in the late 70s in reducing our dependence on foreign oil.

FACT CHECK!! I remember those days very well because I had to travel by car extensively. During Jimmy Carter's term in office, 1976-1980, gas prices went from roughly 44 cents per gallon to over ONE DOLLAR per gallon in 1979.

There were long gas lines and shortages as well.

Yet Hillary states that Brother Jimmy was 'on the right track.'

Well, if that was the right track, I would surely hate to see what the WRONG track would have been. And if we were 'on the right track' then Ronald Reagan would not have beaten the socks off of politically impotent Carter.

But stay with me. There's even more.

Hillary went further to state that Ronald Reagan 'dismantled' the 'good work' Carter was doing with regard to energy.

FACT CHECK!! The only thing President Reagan dismantled was the asinine, boneheaded, and imbecilic policies of the Carter Administration, which led to gas shortages, long lines at the pump, and gas prices that more than doubled.

After Reagan had been in office less than a year, gas prices settled back down to below 75 cents per gallon. Long lines at the pump vanished. And there were no more shortages.

You see, my friends, liberals/socialists like Hillary Clinton believe that the citizens should be forced to endure pain and suffering as a means of mandating a change in their lifestyle. And, since they have always had a Freudian issue with oil, the objective is to make it as expensive and hard to get as possible so that Americans will be forced to turn to something else.

The only reason husband Bill didn't do this in the 1990s is that he is much more of a shrewd politician than Hillary. Even so, Clinton raised federal taxes on oil.

No doubt Hillary sincerely believes the balderdash she has just unleashed. But I never thought she was dumb enough to say so right out in the open just days before the Iowa Caucuses.

She is desperate, no doubt. And she is betting on picking up some votes from those who merely hear the 5-second sound-byte, 'Oil prices will drop immediately if I am elected.'

But then again, maybe the stress of the campaign trail is really starting to get to her. This is the stuff of loony-'toons, not serious leaders.

Limbaugh Responds to Huckabee's Olive Branch

As reported days ago on The Liberty Sphere, GOP Presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee asserted that he is running as the 'anti-Rush Limbaugh candidate'--a statement that raised eyebrows and stirred the ire of many conservatives across the country.

The rift started when a Huckabee campaigner stated in essence that the campaign did not need Limbaugh since he is, after all, nothing more than the mouthpiece of the so-called 'Manhattan chatters-D.C. axis.'

Limbaugh responded on Friday's broadcast that he is anything but a mouthpiece for the Manhattan-D.C. axis, but is rather a part of the Cape Girardeau-Middle America axis who has consistently stood for conservative principles for 19 years on the radio.

Limbaugh is a native of Cape Girardeau, Missouri.

Michelle Malkin came to Rush's defense on Friday on her blog, which is read by millions. Malkin described Huckabee as the anti-Rush Republican, which no doubt left the candidate wondering if he had made a major blunder.

He did.

No GOP candidate is going to gain ANY traction at all with most GOP voters if they bash Limbaugh.

Thus, on Sunday Huckabee offered an olive branch to Limbaugh, stating that he had no interest in criticizing Rush and that the radio host 'should get in touch with me.'

Limbaugh responded by accepting Huckabee's words as sincere and genuine, but added that he doesn't need to talk to the candidate. In fact, Rush contends that Huckabee's campaign staff in Arkansas knows full well how to get in touch with him, which they have had ample opportunity to do but as yet have refused to do.

But there is one thing that Rush stated on his radio program on Friday that is a simple fact which needs no apology. The attack against him was very 'Clintonian' and designed to dumb down conservatism until it squares with Huckabee's record.

This was not an attack against Huckabee. This was the truth.

Thus, it appears that if Huckabee is to gain some airtime with Rush, then he is going to have to make the first move, which is only fair. After all, it was the candidate and his campaign team that opened this rift to begin with.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Religious Questions Surface During Campaigns

As regular as clockwork political campaigns evoke the inevitable religious questions that are bound to come up as the electorate attempts to determine which of the candidates they prefer to be President.

That the voters would ask these questions is as natural a part of being human in civilized society as, say, wanting to know if a candidate has Nazi tendencies once it has become known that he/she once stated they admired Adolf Hitler.

Religion and spirituality are all-pervasive aspects of human life. One's views on the subject tell us much about their character, their values, how they view humanity, and how they would react in a crisis.

Thus, John Kennedy's Catholicism became an issue in the 1960 election until the candidate reassured the populace that although his religious views inform his decisions and provide solace, they would in no way usurp his oath of office to uphold, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, both foreign and domestic.

Contrary to these questions being tantamount to a 'religious litmus test' as Mitt Romney suggested during his now-famous religion speech, they are merely attempts by the voters to get at the heart of just who is this person who is asking for their vote. Are they trustworthy? Can I relate to them at all on a personal level? Will they understand the feelings and views of someone like me?

Thus, it is only natural that the American people would have questions concerning the Mormon faith if they are considering a vote for Mitt Romney, particularly in light of the fact that most Protestants and Catholics have been taught at some time or another that Mormonism is a 'cult.'

And the answer that most are looking for is whether or not the Mormon faith that Romney espouses is too big a hurdle for them to get past. They may well decide that the candidate appears entirely reasonable and that there is nothing to fear. On the other hand they may well decide that they are entirely uncomfortable with a President who believes the teachings of the Mormon church.

But this is part of the process, and it is entirely reasonable, just as it was reasonable for Americans to inquire into Jimmy Carter's membership in a Baptist Church during the 1976 Presidential campaign. As it turns out, it was not Carter's Baptist faith that ruined him but his utter inability to lead effectively, not to mention his horrendous foreign and domestic policies.

In like manner, it is reasonable to expect Americans to have questions concerning Mike Huckabee both as a Baptist and as an ordained minister within the Baptist denomination. Are Americans comfortable with a Baptist minister as President? It may well turn out that this is totally a non-issue, since Baptists form the single largest non-Catholic denomination in the U.S.

On the other hand, the issue may be a sticking point for Huckabee. He claims, for example, that giving children of illegal aliens college tuition breaks, allowing them to move ahead of many of our own people, is the 'good and right thing to do.'

Religiously oriented people often let their emotions dictate their stance on issues which demand purely rational views. Thus, we have Catholic churches providing safe haven for illegal aliens. We have liberal Protestant churches sending money to Mexico, supposedly for 'missions,' but in actuality their generosity is only used to promote causes that hurt our own country.

It is for this reason that I could vote for an agnostic who believes in the Constitution and Bill of Rights over a liberal Baptist who espouses statism or socialistic solutions to problems. I could vote for an atheist who doesn't have an ax to grind with religious folk, provided he/she espouses views similar to the Founders, over a deeply committed Christian who believes that it is somehow 'moral and ethical' to commit robbery (through higher taxes) in order to 'help the poor children of illegal immigrants.'

As Walter Williams often quips, 'For me to voluntarily reach in my pocket to help the poor is an honorable act of compassion, but for you or government to reach into my pocket and take my money for that purpose is stealing and should be punished by law.'

I fully relate to Huckabee as a Baptist, though I suspect that my brand of Baptist is much different from his southern-evangelical brand. I tend to be a Baptist in the classic, Calvinistic, reformed, non-conformist tradition--that sector of Christianity that began in England in the early 1600s as a congregational protest movement against the highly organized hierarchy of the Church of England.

These hearty souls saw no problem with alcohol, or tobacco, or some of the other so-called 'vices' that some groups identify. Huckabee's brand of Baptist comes out of southern evangelical Christianity which views 'al-kee-hol,' 't'bacee,' and 'dayncin' as horrible sins (if you recognize the three words you qualify as a bona fide southerner).

Yet I fully understand the mindset, and I am thoroughly familiar with its ramifications. Most of these folk are the salt-of-the-earth types who wouldn't hurt a flea, in spite of their rather restrictive moral standards.

It is therefore not Huckabee the Baptist that bothers me.

What bothers me is that Huckabee leads with his religion, just as did Jimmy Carter. Both have made it a central issue. At least Romney doesn't talk about his Mormonism and did so only after being hounded about it.

Fred Thompson is the perfect role model on the religion issue. In response to reporters' questions he stated, 'I am a Christian who was baptized into the Christian Church, and who believes in Jesus Christ. And that is really all that needs to be said about the matter.'

The way I see it, this was answering a legitimate question without turning the religion issue into some sort of litmus test.