In Denver, Colorado on July 2, 2008, a group of about 100 Christian Conservative leaders gathered to discuss the current political atmosphere. I attended this conference and sat on one of its panels to discuss political, social, and economic issues. The next day the press began its coverage and got most of the facts correct.
The Associated Press headline read, “Conservative evangelicals discuss backing McCain.” Times/CNN: “Christian Conservatives Uniting Behind McCain.” The Los Angeles Times reported “Religious right starts to consolidate for John McCain.” Also the World News Daily headlined “Evangelicals say McCain’s the one.”
What was not reported was the heated, honest discussion over the current direction of this country and what to do about it. You cannot get 100 unaffiliated leaders together without conflict, emotions, and venting. Many attendees have large followings and influences worldwide. Some could call on political policy makers to push their own agenda and opinions. What the press did not report on was that after the long hours of speeches, nominations, discussions, and even disagreements, the conclusion was met with camaraderie and support.
I did not meet anyone there whose first choice for President was John McCain, but he was the choice of most who left that room. It was said that the process of Christian political leaders to choose their leaders should have started immediately after the 2000 election. It was clear that Dick Cheney would not be running in 2007, so we should have chosen our nominee and supported him early. We will not make that mistake again.
While no one group or individual championed the meeting, it was obviously called and attended by those who supported Mike Huckabee for President. After all, it was a Christian political meeting. Mike Huckabee was in the hotel the night before, but did not attend this meeting, and I did not see him in the hotel during the meeting. However, I did speak with him the night before, and he seemed relaxed about the idea of supporting the Republican ticket and had genuine, solid ideas on why John McCain was the only sane choice now. I think his presence there, speaking to so many of his followers and supporters, made the choices on the following day much easier. Supporting John McCain was no longer seen as the group turning their backs on their first choice, Mike Huckabee.
However, Mike Huckabee’s appearance at the hotel did raise some questions. Did Mike Huckabee approve the support of John McCain? Did Mike Huckabee ask for our support and pressure for the second position on the ticket? I know when the press learns of the appearance of Mike Huckabee at the hotel the day before this event, there will be speculation about his motives. So let me give you my personal, first hand views.
I suppose if any politician was in the same hotel for another reason but found a hundred of his most loyal and financial supporters, he would stop by and say hello to a few of them. That happened the evening before in a private suite. It was not a reception for Mike Huckabee, but he was certainly the star there. He did not give a speech, nor did he discuss the Vice-Presidential position in the suite. What he did talk about were his values, love for his country, and obedience to God. I stayed until he left and spoke to him several times, and I did not get the impression that he knew about the meeting that would follow the next day. However any reasonable person would assume he knew.
However, at the meeting, one of his supporters did come up with idea of sending a letter to John McCain to request Mike Huckabee be added to the ticket. That motion came at the end of the evening and seemed quiet arbitrary and a spur of the moment addition to the conversation. It was a second thought to a comment, and became a motion.
I know some will wonder if it was an attempt of the “Religious Right” to force Mike Huckabee’s name onto the ticket. It would have been a brilliant move, and I would have supported it; but, I do not think it happened that way. John McCain will get the support of the Christian political leaders, but Mike Huckabee will always have their hearts.