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I was at a Dem organization watching a Bush/Kerry debate in 2004 and one of the strongest memories I have of that debate is scratching my head when Bush, talking about the Supreme Court, brought out the Dred Scott decision.  I would have bet money before that point that Bush's knowledge of something so factual and historical as that case would be zilch -- so naturally when he brought it up in casual conversation I was rather flummoxed.

Well, I wasn't the only one.  But we eventually figured it out:  it was a shout out to antiabortionists that only they would recognize.

Well, it's happening again.

I'd love to quote the whole thing because I don't have a lot to add, but any of you who aren't reading The Carpetbagger Report should be -- let this be a lesson to you.

At Saturday night’s Republican debate, Mike Huckabee used a word he emphasizes quite a bit: "vertical."
What’s more, by way of James Joyner, there’s apparently an entire "vertical politics" section on Huckabee’s website, in which he touts something called "Vertical Day," though it’s not quite clear what that means.

What is it really?  It's an assurance that Huckabee puts God first.

This is definitely dog-whistle politics — that is, a message delivered in coded terminology and targeted to a particular subcultural group. Conservative evangelicals often talk about the need to prioritize their vertical relationships with God first and foremost before worrying about horizontal relationships among people. It’s the individualized "get right with God" approach of conservative Protestantism.

So that cross in the background that just assimilates into him was an accident?  Wasn't buying it then... really not buying it now.

Originally posted to ThatTallGuy on Mon Jan 07, 2008 at 12:44 PM PST.

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