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Monday, December 31, 2007

What is Mike Huckabee Thinking?

Lots of Mike Huckabee news, and though the former governor/minister is leading in Iowa, he continues to display his naivety, intolerance and disorganization. Thanks to the Carpertbagger Report for all the tip-offs.

First, an update on his stance on LGBT issues. Huckabee, who can't decide if homosexuality is a choice or natural, is for "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," the quarantining of AIDS patients, and is against civil unions and gay marriage. He is now expressing his displeasure with gay sex. On "Meet the Press," he said, "But one thing I know, that the behavior one practices is a choice. We may have certain tendencies, but how we behave and how we carry out our behavior…."

Well...why? I assume Huckabee is speaking as a moral leader--he can't possibly legislate against gay sex, as that is forbidden under Lawrence v. Texas. Does he know that? He may not enjoy the idea of sodomy, but since it's behind closed doors, it's none of his business. Since he's about as anti-gay as any candidate, it's assumed that he's against participation in the gay lifestyle. He's intolerant, and he wears it on his sleeve--another way to prove to the Republican base that he's the true conservative, "moral" candidate. He went out of his way on "Meet the Press" to explain his disgust with gay sex. It was unwarranted, and a cheap political tactic, especially because he dodged the question asked of him ("Do you believe you’re born gay or you choose to be gay?"). How does this benefit him? It doesn't. I doubt he's going to get any converts because of his stance on gay sex--those so opposed to it are probably in his camp to begin with. It doesn't hurt him though, despite it being outrageously stupid. As CBR says, "So, Huckabee doesn’t actually care if someone is gay, he cares whether or not gays are celibate. “Tendencies” don’t matter to Huckabee, whether gays act on those tendencies is what counts."

Then, Huckabee ran into disaster when he held a press conference ostensibly to denounce the negative campaigning from the Republican front runners, and to emphasize that he would no longer participate in it. You might recall that, in a move to discredit Mitt Romney's beliefs, Huckabee wondered aloud if Mormons believe that Jesus and Satan are brothers. Anyway, at this same press conference, Huckabee had five easels up and a clip prepared that all attacked Romney. I'll let the Huffington Post take it from here:

In what is likely to be remembered as one of the more bizarre moments of this campaign season, embattled GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee renounced negative campaigning today by unveiling an attack ad to a ballroom full of reporters and dozens of TV cameras.

Standing before a banner reading "Enough is Enough" and flanked by five large charts attacking the record of rival Mitt Romney, a haggard-looking Huckabee said that the fight to win Thursday's Republican caucus had gotten "out of hand" and "out of control" and that he would refrain from any more negative campaigning.

Huckabee's unorthodox media event comes as a barrage of new polls has battered his lead in Iowa and put his campaign at risk of crash-and-burn. Some of those surveys now show Romney regaining a lead he had maintained over most of the year until Huckabee began to surge ahead in recent weeks...

Huckabee explained that he, indeed, prepared and produced a TV spot attacking Romney, sent it to local TV stations but had just given the directive to pull it from airing. "This morning I ordered them to hold the ads," Huckabee said. "From now we will run only ads that say why I should be president not why Mitt Romney shouldn't be president."

Then, amid loud gasps and laughter from the more than 150 reporters on hand, Huckabee announced he would show the assembled press the same ad. As dozens of TV cameras whirred, and after two false starts, the 30-second spot assaulting Romney's record was shown in full. The tag line of the spot ended with the narrator saying of Romney: "If a man's dishonest trying to get the job, he'll be dishonest on the job"

The room then exploded into a cacophony of questioning from the press memorializing this event as a moment that might be remembered as campaign meltdown for Huckabee.

What is going on in the Huckabee camp? And if these two issues aren't bad enough, Huckabee still has yet to recover from showing his blatant ignorance in regard to foreign policy when asked about the National Intelligence Estimate on Iran. I was in the midst of finals and papers that week (early December), and wasn't paying much attention to the national media, but damn, all I had to do was go to any news service's main page and I could view dozens of articles about it. This naivety from a presidential candidate is inexcusable.

I've said it many times in private, and I'll say it publicly: Although Bill Richardson is my main guy, by far, if it came down to it, I'd be fine if one of the front runners from either party became president. Some I like more than others; few are great. But I don't think most would make any monumental mistakes. Huckabee is the exception--these are three of a multitude of examples why (others include FairTax, the most ridiculous modern tax plan I've heard). That man absolutely can not become our president.


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