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The Iowa Caucas: What Does It Say? 01/04/2008

Huckabee and Obama

Both Iowa caucus winners speak convincingly and eloquently.

The results of the Iowa Caucus were both amazing and refreshing. As Republican winner Mike Huckabee said, “This proves that people are more important than the purse.”

To my knowledge, Senator Obama is the first minority candidate to win a primary and he really shook up the Democrat party’s well-honed political machine. No one thought that a Clinton could be defeated in such dramatic fashion. Now that the people have spoken in one state, it will be interesting to see what happens next.

Both winning candidates are charismatic, gifted communicators. They connect well with people through warmth and believability. But we will soon face the real issues at hand. A president must not be chosen purely on oratorical skill or winsome personality. The most important quality is a commitment to time-tested, proven principles.

I happen to know Gov. Huckabee since he worked for me four years. As a young man, he helped coordinate the National Affairs Briefing where I shared the platform with then-Governor Ronald Reagan. It was there that Reagan looked out at 17,000 evangelicals (representing tens of millions of voters) and said, “I know this is a bi-partisan meeting and you can’t endorse me, but I endorse you.”

This statement made headlines and inspired conservatives. With the momentum from this landmark occasion, Reagan went on to be elected president. Although Reagan was known for his warmth and eloquent speech, he was also a man who stood by his convictions and principles. Because of this inner strength, he led America out of economic turmoil while helping end the Cold War.

In 1980, Mr. Reagan told me, “The time is very short and the choice is very clear. Either we preserve the vitality of this great free enterprise system or we face our children someday when they ask us where we were and what we were doing on the day that freedom was lost.”

The Soviet threat was real, but I believe that we face an equally great and dangerous menace today in the form of radical Islamic terrorism. America must stand as a united people to preserve the vitality of this great free enterprise system or freedom will be lost. The man or woman we elect this year must understand how important it is to stand firm on principle.

Part of this means a strong defense. In order to promote hope for peace where “the lion lies down with the lamb,” we must be certain that the United States is the lion. If the lion is Russia, China, Iran or any other unprincipled nation, freedom can be devoured. We live in a world where some elements cannot be trusted. Our ability to withstand any threat or attack must be unshakable.

The next president must understand that government serves the people and that it is never to become the provider of all needs or desires. Costly entitlements drain our nation’s financial strength. We would do well to remember the words of the late Dan Smoot, a one-time FBI agent and conservative commentator:

“Government cannot make men prosperous any more than it can make men good. Government cannot produce anything, it can merely seize and divide up what individuals produce. Government can give the people nothing which government has not first taken away from them. And the amount which government doles back to the people or spends to promote their welfare is always less than what it takes because of the excessive costs of government administration.”

When will the American people learn that we cannot receive anything from the government that has not first been collected from us? While it is proper for the government to protect people from excess or abuse on the part of corporations, we must remember that government’s primary role is that of protector, not provider. The Food and Drug Administration helps keep us safe, but it does not provide our meals. This is the proper balance of government and this principle must be applied to healthcare or any other government service.

The immigration issue is an example of another breakdown in principle. Our next leader must understand that if we do not respect our own laws, we need not be shocked when others don’t either. The illegal immigrants that provide much-needed labor must be forced to come in legally. Employers needing them must understand the necessity of obeying the law. Unless our leaders sit down and hammer out this issue, seal the border, identify desirable workers based on their character and their abilities and stop the abuse of automatic citizenship through contrived marriages and “anchor babies.” All of these issues must be addressed with wisdom, strength and grace, so that America can remain the bright, magnetic “city on a hill.”

Finally, the right to life is of supreme importance. Our people and policy makers in every branch of government must be persuaded to respect and protect all life. This is an issue we cannot compromise. Had the current laws been in place in 1943, I never would have been born. My mother became pregnant through a forced sexual relationship at age 40, sought an abortion and a doctor refused to do it. Thank God, he was a man of principle and I was allowed to be born. Naturally, the circumstances were difficult, but in this great country I have been able to grasp opportunity and be blessed beyond belief. There is no child conceived who does not deserve this same chance in life.

Whoever leads us must understand the importance of effectively dealing with these issues. It is critical that our chosen leaders be able to inspire the general public, because it is people power and people influence that moves elected officials to make positive and necessary changes.

We are so polarized and so partisan that we have become unprincipled. Iowa’s two winning candidates possess the ability to move people, but we must discern the guiding principles of their lives. Are they going to expand the size of government and increase the tax burden on the American people? Are we going to remain free to be productive? Will we enforce our laws and build our defense? I believe this is the basic heart of the American people. We must choose a leader who reflects these principles and possesses the resolve to uphold them.

Author: James Robison

Word Count: 1,054

About the author: James Robison is the founder and president of LIFE Outreach International, a Christian media ministry and mission relief organization. He and his wife, Betty, host of the television program Life Today; He has authored numerous books, including The Absolutes: Freedom's Only Hope and True Prosperity. Media Contact: Randy Robison, editor at

Photo available upon request. Reprint rights granted with attribution for complete, unedited article. Revisions allowed only with approval.