Be Wary of Politicians Bearing Endorsements

By David Fowler |  FACT

I just gave some friends advice on deciding whom to vote for. One of my suggestions was not to give too much credence to endorsements by “political personalities.” One of the reasons I don’t give them much weight is demonstrated by the endorsement of Randy Boyd by my friend Mike Huckabee, former governor of Arkansas.

In that recent television advertisement, Huckabee shares a “secret” about what all politicians know—that “politicians” who attack people like Randy Boyd do so for the sake of their own political power—or words to the effect. In other words, don’t believe what a politician says about Boyd. Of course, I guess that admonition could apply to Huckabee’s endorsement, too, since he’s held office and run for president twice!

I’m not here to say that any particular attacks made by a politician are or are not true, but having been in politics myself, I’m going to take a turn at sharing a “secret” about endorsements by politicians, even those made by Huckabee, that voters may want to know.


How Huckabee Came to Endorse Me

In 1994, then Lt. Gov. Mike Huckabee, through a series of truly providential contacts, flew to Chattanooga to endorse my candidacy in my primary against a 26-year incumbent state senator. So, of all people, I appreciate his willingness to weigh in on a primary.

But here is what I know about that endorsement. Huckabee supported me because a friend of Huckabee’s friend happened to be my friend! After connecting us, I spoke with Huckabee by phone for about 20 minutes and gained his endorsement. That was that.

I am forever grateful to God for Huckabee’s confidence in those who connected him to me, but here’s the point—politicians may endorse people without knowing much, if anything, about the person or the person’s opponents. And, at times, they may endorse a candidate in order to simply help a friend they trust.

Who Was Huckabee Trying to Help?

Applying this to the present situation, I don’t know how much Huckabee really knew about Randy Boyd; but I do know he is good friends with Boyd’s campaign manager, who was his own campaign manager in the 2008 Republican presidential primary. It’s not the first time Huckabee has endorsed a candidate being managed by his former manager.

How much that friendship weighed in his endorsement is anyone’s guess, but I suspect it was significant because some things that are public knowledge about Boyd seem inconsistent with Huckabee’s values, both as a pastor and a politician.

Did Huckabee Consider Boyd’s Connection to LGBT Advocate Tennessee Thrives?

Boyd’s business, Radio Systems Corporation, was one of the early, if not among the first, members of Tennessee Thrives, an organization that Tim Gill’s Freedom for All Americans, a Washington, D.C.-based LGBT rights advocacy group, helped launch. Its members believe, “Tennesseans must support policies of inclusivity and nondiscrimination.” (emphasis supplied)

That sounds good, but let me translate what it really means: The organization’s members are and have been opposed to any legislation that protects the natural family relationships between (and even definitions of) husbands and wives, and a child and that child’s biological mother and father (i.e., opposing laws that would keep judges from redefining marriage and what constitutes a mother and a father in relation to a child).

The organization’s members oppose the law that protects Christian counselors from losing their license if they make a referral to another counselor when they cannot in good conscience encourage clients in their pursuit of same-sex relationships.

Apparently, Boyd’s business agrees with what Tennessee Thrives says on its website, that commonsense laws like these are discriminatory and make Tennessee a bad place in which to live and work.

Did Huckabee Consider Boyd’s Support for Pride Day?

I also have a feeling that Huckabee didn’t know that last month, LGBT Pride Month, Boyd and his wife used their Knoxville restaurant to “host” (their word, not mine) “Dine out with PRIDE.”

Certainly, Boyd and his wife should serve every customer who enters their restaurant’s door; but allowing one’s business to serve as “host” venue for an event promoting pride in a homosexual lifestyle is quite another thing.

Given that Huckabee championed the pro-marriage values of Chick-fil-A’s owners a few years back, I bet even he would say it’s a bit incongruous to now support someone who uses his business to support the agenda of those who redefined marriage.

So it would appear that Boyd has committed to advancing and supporting the LGBT political agenda through Tennessee Thrives and his Knoxville restaurant.

These are things I doubt Huckabee knew. Maybe they wouldn’t have made a difference in his evaluation; but knowing his values, I think it’s possible.

You can make of them as you wish, but that’s why I advised my friends: Be wary of politicians bearing endorsements. They just may not have all the facts or may be doing a favor for a friend!

David Fowler served in the Tennessee state Senate for 12 years before joining FACT as President in 2006. Read David’s complete bio.

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