I'm discouraged by Mr. Hewitt's "pragmatist" take on the recall election. At first I brushed off my favorite talk show host's infatuation with the Arnold camp as a one-time fluke, the momentary indulgence in wishful thinking brought on by living under the agony of a Davis governship. But now I'm beginning to wonder. After more reflection, it seems to me that Hewitt's attachment to The Terminator stems not from a sudden fit of the ague, but from a real, and consistently held view of politics that, coming from a Christian, seems dead wrong.
It must be stressed that Mr. Hewitt is a Christian. Ostensibly, this would mean that his engagement of the world around him is done on Christian terms. Whether the California recall, the War on Terror, or even, what party to belong to (if any) , everything should be informed by a Christian conscience. This is the unique burden of the Christian: to take dominion over the world that God sovereignly rules by bringing the Word of God to bear on all of life. What distresses me is that such a fine and good man as Mr. Hewitt appears to miss that point entirely.
He talks continually of the "center right" as a locale on the political spectrum where anybody who's anybody ought to aspire to be. He has described himself as "partisan" for the Republican party. What I find lacking in the best talk show on radio today is an unabashed appeal to biblical authority as the basis for his stance.
What is the "center right"? Is it that place from which Hewitt criticized Franklin Graham for calling Mohammed a false prophet and deceiver? (Dr. John MacArthur, whom Hugh invited to the show to discuss this very issue, sided unequivocally with Franklin Graham) Is it the place from which he derives the necessity and justification for putting "pragmatics" (his words) ahead of principle? Over and over again, during this recall election, Hewitt can be heard dismissing his alliance with the pro-gay marriage, pro-abortion, tax-hike-yes-no? equivocating Arnold as a somewhat grudging necessity in order to win the day for President Bush. All right reasoning, so far as it goes, I suppose, but is it Christian?
On what biblical basis does he conclude that God is more interested in winning than principle or, more theologically correct, that God is hampered in effecting His great purposes by a candidate's apparent lack of "electability"? Isn't He the God of Gideon, who led 300 to defeat thousands? The God of David who took down a giant? More tellingly, isn't He the God of the Lord Jesus Christ, who died in apparent weakness but through His death, defeated Death itself? And let's not neglect the witness of the apostles, all of whom "the world was not worthy" but yet who went about as the "off scouring of the world". Who would have thought that such a weak witness as these earthen vessels appeared to be could turn the world upside down?
This is the problem, as I see it, with aligning yourself strictly with a party, not principle. You become so wedded to the "team" that eventually, advancing the team becomes confused with advancing the principles that the team supposedly stood for. You become overly sensitive to the opinions of others, whose alliance you insist that you need in order to win. And that sensitivity breeds a willingness to concede ground (all too often in my opinion), and a hostility to those who ARE on your team, but who insist on an allegiance to principle. They become the "divisive" ones. The Ross Perot voters who "split" the vote and let the bad guys win.
never hear much thought given to the larger impact of repeatedly
putting nominal conservatives in power positions. Mr. Hewitt rarely, if
ever, opines on what he thinks might be the long-term effect of
continuously pushing those least committed to biblical principles in
power positions. I have not heard a thoughtful engagement from him
regarding how the strategy will work out over the long haul. The
thinking is that if we can put someone in power who has an (R) next to
his name, Mr. Bush is more likely to take California in the next
election. Then, we're told, the President will be in a
position to do something markedly courageous and conservative, like,
appointing strict constructionist judges. What I don't hear addressed
is what will happen when Bush appoints a conservative judge, and the
nominally conservative congressmen and governors that we elected in
order to support Mr. Bush, oppose those same judges (or just as bad,
fail to support them when the expected Democrat filibusters begin).
I'm reminded of what a visiting preacher once said when I was a teenager: "What you win them with is what you've won them to." You can't use bait-and-switch as a tactical maneuver in the short term and not get bitten by it in the long term. Sooner or later, those pragmatically selected elected officials will show their true colors, as anyone eventually does in elected office, and the support that you expected will not be there. To believe differently is not only foolish, it's simply unbiblical.
Christians are called to advance the Truth by truthful men, without second-guessing the outcome. Old School Presbyterian theology (to which, I understand, Mr. Hewitt holds) teaches plainly a Post Millennial view of the certitude of the triumph of the Kingdom of God in this world of time. We don't need pragmatists to effect this, just faithful, principled truth speaking.