WASHINGTON -- When Mike Huckabee went to Houston Tuesday to raise funds for his fast-rising, money-starved presidential candidacy, a luncheon for the ordained Baptist minister was arranged by evangelical Christians. On hand was Judge Paul Pressler, a hero to Southern Baptist Convention reformers. But he was a non-paying guest who supports Fred Thompson for president.
Huckabee greeted Pressler warmly. That contrasted with Huckabee's anger two months ago when they encountered each other in California. The ex-governor of Arkansas took issue then with comments by Pressler, a former Texas appeals court judge, that Huckabee had been a slacker in the war against secularists within the Baptist church.
Warmth in Texas and hostility in California reflects the dual personality of the pastor-politician who has broken out of the presidential second tier. Huckabee can come over as either a Reagan or a Nixon. More than personality explains why not all his Baptist brethren have signed on the dotted line for Huckabee. He did not join the "Conservative Resurgence" that successfully rebelled against liberals in the Southern Baptist Convention a generation ago.