The 2012 presidential race is underway and leave it to Evangelicals in Iowa to lead the way.
As I took in the big event at Point of Grace Church north of Des Moines Monday night, here’s my bottom line: when it comes to picking a winner in the Iowa Caucus, this is NOT going to be an Evangelical slam dunk. Conservative Christians are going to have to do their homework.
Out of the men who spoke Monday night, all of them have some sort of appeal to Evangelicals. Rick Santorum has been the main guy in the trenches with social conservatives. Tim Pawlenty is solid on all the issues. Newt Gingrich’s concentration on the Judeo-Christian heritage of this nation is important. And Tea Party favorite Herman Cain is a preacher who hits all the right social and economic notes.
Of course, if Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin get into the race, then everything in Iowa changes. BUT let’s remember something here. There’s a danger for Palin and Huckabee if they get in too late. It is not going to be easy for them to win in Iowa if they get in AFTER the Ames Straw Poll that takes place in August. They’re rolling the dice by waiting. It’s giving these other candidates a major head start in their attempt to seal the deal with crucial Evangelical voters.
Let me say one other thing here. For those writing off Newt Gingrich based on his past marital infidelity I would just say this: not so fast.
America is looking for solution-oriented leaders right now and Gingrich is definitely a solution-oriented guy. While Gingrich’s marital issues will prevent him from winning over some Evangelical voters, The Brody File is NOT convinced that this is a death knell for him. If Huckabee and Palin stay away, Gingrich could have a real shot in Iowa.
It’s worth keeping an eye on.