The Donkey Is Sleeping Today

Fear and Loathing In The Land of Ick

In First Amendment, Politics, Presidential Race, Religion on July 9, 2010 at 10:41 am

Huckabee... or is it Huckster?

I love Keith Olbermann. I’m not ashamed to admit that his fiery brand of political punditry really gets me hot. His take on the issues is a progressive’s dream. And don’t get me started about his Special Comments. But before the “ick factor” gets too much for you, he is wrong about one thing. Glenn Beck isn’t the real-life Lonesome Rhodes: Mike Huckabee is.

Oh, sure, Huckabee doesn’t have the tilt-your-head-back, braying laugh of Andy Griffith’s finest character. But he does play the guitar; he does hail from Arkansas; and he does possess a charming, “aw, shucks” populism that hides an underlying moralistic mean streak that could seriously damage the country if he were ever given the keys to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

A lot has been written the past couple of weeks about Ariel Levy’s New Yorker profile on the pastor, mostly about Huckabee’s “ick factor” remarks and his irrational hatred for guys in tight pants. Of course, both Nancy Pelosi and Helen Thomas are resting easier now that they know Mike’s off their dance card, but even still, the good Reverend should heed Chaucer’s admonition about glass houses and throwing stones. (Which is why I would love to have been a fly on the wall in the Huckabee household yesterday to watch his head explode upon news that parts of DOMA were ruled unconstitutional.)

But if Huckabee’s virulent homophobia isn’t scary enough (the lady doth protest too much?), his true belief in the End of Days should be enough to make you pine for the gentility of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. It was an amusing diversion for me as a child when my lovable but Bible-thumping grandmother used to try to save my soul over games of Scrabble by speaking in dulcet tones of the coming Rapture (FYI, “revelations” triple word score is 51), but I don’t trust Huckabee to govern in a secular manner, especially since he’s embraced the dangerous revisionist history of David Barton (the crackpot I warned you about yesterday). We don’t need no stinking separation of church and state.

Do I think Huckabee’s going to go all Martin Sheen in “The Dead Zone” on us? Probably not, but this is the same man who, according to Levy’s New Yorker profile, once wrote the following:

“Everything you do and believe in is directed by your answer to the following question: Is there a God? It all comes down to that single issue.”

Huckabee wants a Constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage; championed laws as Arkansas governor that prohibited gays from adopting; blocked Medicare funding of an abortion for a mentally retarded teenager who was raped by her stepfather; and carried out the death penalty more than any other Arkansas governor – to say nothing of the various ethics troubles he constantly found himself in due to “gifts” he received from donors and some of his political appointees. How’s that for God’s work?

Perhaps it’s way too early to be thinking about the 2012 presidential race, but it’s never too early to size up one’s opponent. And I think Huckabee might just pull off the nomination. He’s affable and homey-folksy; just mavericky enough to break from Republican orthodoxy on a couple of issues (raising taxes to pay for schools, highways, and children’s health, for example); pleads poverty when it comes to fundraising (therefore fooling the voters into thinking he isn’t bought and sold); calls himself an underdog in his own party; and demurs on whether he’s even running in 2012.

What’s more, Palin will still be felled by her “deer in the headlights” moments (which is why the nattering nabobs on “Morning Joe” were – as usual – off their rocker yesterday morning); Romney flip-flops more than a fish on dry land; and Gingrich reminds everyone of their annoying uncle who chased them around family gatherings screaming “pull my finger, pull my finger.” (Pawlenty is just plain boring.)

Certainly, Huckabee’s commutation of Maurice Clemmons’ sentence (Clemmons’ later shot four police officers in Washington) and his support of the early release of Wayne DuMond (who later molested and killed a woman in Missouri) could eventually derail his nomination, but just watch, he’s waiting for the “Great Evangelical Grassroots Movement” to carry him to the nomination and into the White House. Either that or the Lord will call him to serve, just as, Levy writes, Huckabee truly believed it was “God’s divine providence” that made him governor of Arkansas in the wake of the Jim Guy Tucker controversy of the mid-1990s.

I have had a vision that I am going to be President of the United States someday. And nobody, and I mean *nobody* is going to stop me!

To put it succinctly, Huckabee combines the thin-skinned vindictiveness and moral absolutism of George W. Bush with the affable but underlying mendacity of Ronald Reagan. President Huckabee? Talk about the apocalypse.

-SF

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