Political Earthquakes

By Jim Wallis 1-07-2008

With the pivotal event of the Iowa Caucuses, news analyses have said that Barack Obama and Mike Huckabee are now the defining candidates of this campaign-even if they don't win their respective nominations. It appears Obama has a better chance to do that than Huckabee does, but there is no telling how far he can go and, win or not, he could help redefine the Republican Party. In Sunday's New York Times, Frank Rich acknowledged the clear policy differences between the two but described them as "flip sides of the same coin." They have made "change" and "hope" the defining words and themes of this presidential election year.

By winning in Iowa, Barack Obama and Mike Huckabee have created two political earthquakes in their respective parties. While there are significant differences between the two on political philosophy and policy positions, they both overturn the established orthodoxies of their respective parties and promise to exchange old politics for new. They are both populist, but not angry, and are insurgents who campaign on the two words most important to a new generation-"change" and "hope."

Many news reports have noted the similarities between the two.

Each is a "religious" candidate. Barack Obama is virtually a public theologian and the most sophisticated political leader in many years in articulating the relationship between faith and politics. Mike Huckabee is actually a former Baptist pastor who can out-preach, out-charm, and out-Bible almost anyone.

Both Barack Obama and Mike Huckabee are staking their political future on the U.S.'s hunger for change. Obama has turned the spiritual power of hope into a political vision that is inspiring a new generation. Huckabee also loves the religious language of hope and thinks of himself as a modern day David who has taken on the Goliaths who rule the people instead of serving them.

Each has a compelling personal story of humble beginnings leading to great success. Barack Obama's personal and racial history

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