The word “likable” gets thrown around a lot when we talk about politicians, but man, was Mike Huckabee ever likable in 2008. His pet cause wasn’t abortion or defense, but fighting child obesity with Bill Clinton. He was overtly Christian, but he didn’t seem to be the judgmental kind—you got the sense that he really was compassionate towards us sinners. He made a campaign commercial with Chuck Norris! He plays bass! He wasn’t exactly “hip”—he’s a conservative politician from Arkansas, after all—but he didn’t seem “evil,” the way Dick Cheney was evil. I disagree with probably every single position Huckabee articulated (except for the anti-obesity stuff), but that’s because I’m a godless sex-and-drug-loving New York liberal. Still, I felt like the two of us could have sit down over a non-fat yogurt and had a good chat about football.
So my question is, what the fuck is wrong with Mike Huckabee lately?
Last week, Huckabee made some comments about how Obama grew up in Kenya—which is just factually wrong, and seems like a nod to the “birther” or “nutjob” part of the Republican coalition, which believes that Obama was born in Kenya because ????. It was an especially weird thing to say because Obama did spend some of his early years in Muslim-dominated Indonesia, and you’d think that bringing that up and implying that Obama had his mind poisoned by Islamists would be enough. Huckabee backtracked by saying he “misspoke,” which didn’t make any sense because he talked about the Mau Mau Revolution and the British, which are specific to Kenya, not Indonesia. His explanation is like someone getting blackout drunk and throwing all up over your couch and then saying, “Sorry man, I tripped.”
Let’s assume Huckabee was not being stupid or drunk when he said that stuff on the radio; let’s further assume that he intends to make a serious run for the Republican nomination—even though neither of these things are certainties. What the fuck could he have been thinking?
1. He’s the “Christian candidate” in the race, so he wants to get some of the hard-C-Conservative-but-soft-c-christian voters (the paranoid Beckians who think Obama is Stalin or whatever) that support Sarah Palin. Except he already leads the field among birthers, so why go out of his way to appeal to them?
2. He is actually an incredibly savvy politician who is willing to sacrifice himself for the greater good of the GOP. He figures that even though polls show him and Mitt Romney running about the same versus Obama, the tall, handsome, and sorta-moderate (for a Republican in 2012) Romney has a better chance of winning in the general election. So Huckabee is purposely marginalizing himself by making wacky comments about Obama and Natalie Portman. He’ll still be the Christian candidate, and he’ll get the nod to be the Vice-Presidential candidate—a Romeny-Huckabee ticket would probably have the best chance of beating Obama.
That second option would make sense if I explained it using chalkboards and tied it to the Koch brothers somehow, like a Bizarro Glenn Beck, but really, Huckabee could just throw his support to Romney at a critical point in the primary if he wanted to be VP. So it was just a gaffe, the kind of gaffe that Huckabee wasn’t making in 2008. I’m still confused by the whole incident. Did he really think that Obama grew up in Kenya? Maybe he wouldn’t be fun to sit down with after all.
BONUS ATTACK ON HUCKABEE AKA FUCKABEE AKA SUCKABEE:
This fine Politico article on Huckabee and Israel—he’s a Christian Zionist, which I guess is like being a reverse Jew for Jesus—includes this bit near the end:
Some pro-Israel Jews view with suspicion Christian Zionists like Huckabee because of the belief among some fundamentalist Christians that gathering the Jews in the Holy Land will precipitate the Second Coming and the end of the world.
Huckabee wouldn’t directly describe his view on that belief but dismissed it as irrelevant.
Here’s a good question for Huckabee: Why is it so hard to say, “No, I am not supporting certain policies because I believe they will bring about the end of the world.”? You would think that “Not wanting to literally destroy the planet” would be a position that every Presidential candidate, regardless of party, would want to endorse. Jesus Christ, how many Christians that are actively hankering for the Rapture can there be for Huckabee to want to avoid offending them? Let’s be clear on something: HE DECLINED TO DESCRIBE HIS VIEW ON THE END OF THE WORLD. I don’t think that’s irrelevant.
Immediately following that bit excerpted above, Huckabee is quoted as saying, “The reason this, as an American, matters to me is because freedom and liberty matter to me,” which the Palestinians would find odd—but more importantly, he says, “as an American,” possibly implying that “as a Christian” he supports Israel for different reasons, well…
I usually try to avoid fearmongering, but, what the heck.
UNTIL HE SAYS OTHERWISE, ASSUME THAT HUCKABEE WANTS TO BRING ABOUT THE RAPTURE. HE WANTS TO DESTROY THE WORLD. HE’S LIKE A SUPERVILLIAN. IF HE IS THE REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE, THE REPUBLICAN PARTY WILL BE THE PARTY OF THE FOUR HORSEMEN OF THE APOCALYPSE AND HUCKABEE’S AMERICA WILL BE RULED BY THE BOOK OF REVEALATION!
Kinda makes Romney's modest jobs-based campaign seem not so bad, huh?