- The Washington Times - Friday, March 19, 2010

This weekend’s health care showdown in Congress will test the political clout of evangelical Protestant activists, including former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who are rushing to muster mass opposition to the Democratic bill endorsed by President Obama.

Dr. Randy Brinson, founder of Redeem the Vote, said evangelical leaders will target first-time voters, including Catholics, particularly in the Midwest, and voters not normally involved in religious or social activism, with an appeal highlighted by an e-mail from Mr. Huckabee.

Over the next few days, Mr. Huckabee’s name, picture and words will appear on what organizers say will be “millions of electronic messages” urging voters to tell lawmakers to stand firm against the health care bill, set for a climactic vote Sunday in the House.

Mr. Huckabee, who ran for the 2008 Republican presidential nod, has teamed up with the Rev. Rick Scarborough of Vision America and Dr. Brinson, a Montgomery, Ala., founder of Optimum Impact LLC, which he describes as the “largest purveyor of e-mail data regarding political messaging.”

“President Obama, [House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi and [Senate Majority Leader] Harry Reid are doing everything in their power to push through a health care bill that would mandate federally funded abortions, along with a host of other issues that the American people have clearly said they don’t want,” Mr. Huckabee claims in his e-mail pitch.

Many Democrats dispute the claim that the bill weakens existing bans on federal funding of abortion. The votes of a bloc of pro-life Democrats are considered critical to the fate of the health care bill in the House.

The Huckabee e-mails will go to constituents of eight pro-life House Democrats who are considered on the fence or were heavily lobbied by Mr. Obama and Democratic leaders.

Although traditional socially conservative groups such as Focus on the Family, the Family Research Council and Concerned Women for America deliver their respective messages with a sharp edge that appeals their activists and donors, Dr. Brinson is testing his theory that a “more subtle message may be more effective.”

“This issue is one that cuts across the traditional political alliances and brings both moderates and conservatives together in a unique way and one that could have lasting implications,” he says. “If the conservative right handles this debate appropriately, it may realign the political spectrum for many years to come, leaving the far left isolated.”

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