So Mike Huckabee is ending his weekly Saturday night show on Fox News as he thinks about a run for president in 2016. Tragically, his Fox News audience will be stuck having to find other shows to enjoy, like reruns of Walker, Texas Ranger or the torture scenes from Zero Dark Thirty. While Huckabee is thinking about his run for president, I thought it was time to think about Huckabee. And I’m talking both of them. What do I mean? Well, there’s “Governor Huckabee,” a genial, compassionate person. And then there’s “Mr. Huckabee,” his callous, rightwing alter ego.
First, however, I want to address those who are simply dismissing Huckabee as having zero chance of securing the GOP nomination in 2016. They are wrong.
Sure, recent polls have Jeb Bush leading the GOP field. But Bush is as exciting to many conservatives as Hillary Clinton is to many progressives, meaning not so much. They are both viewed in essence like eating Brussels sprouts. Sure, you knew it’s good for you, but it’s not exciting.
But Huckabee (akin to Elizabeth Warren on the left) is like an ice cream sundae. They excite people, and primaries tend to be dominated by voters who are the most excited.
And keep in mind that when Huckabee ran for president in 2008, he won the Iowa caucuses. He also did well in other early primaries such as in Missouri, which he lost by 1 percent to the Brussels sprout of that field, John McCain.
Plus the GOP electorate has become more conservative since 2008. In 2012, 50 percent of those who voted in the first batch of GOP presidential contests were Evangelical Christians, up from 44 percent in 2008.This bodes well for Huckabee in early primary states like Missouri, Colorado, and Minnesota, where the like-minded Rick Santorum won in 2012.
Bottom line: Huckabee is for real. At least from an electoral point of view. But who is the real Huckabee is another question.
There’s the kindly Governor Huckabee who championed an increase in the minimum wage, hired more state employees and even expanded government services with programs such as “ARKids First” that provided health coverage for thousands of Arkansas’ children.
Now let’s meet “Mr. Huckabee,” whose views on a range of issues are truly frightening – I’m talking hide the children and grab a pitchfork scary. Here’s a sample:
1. Huckabee wants Christian sharia law: Huckabee stated during his 2007 presidential campaign that we can’t change the Bible to line up with society’s “contemporary view,” instead we “should amend the Constitution so it’s in God’s standards.” Do you think he really wants to stone to death woman who aren’t a virgin on their wedding night like it mandates in the Bible?
2. Gays are a health hazard: Huckabee stated that “homosexuality is an aberrant, unnatural, and sinful lifestyle, and we now know it can pose a dangerous public health risk.”
3. The Sandy Hook shooting is our fault: Huckabee blamed the horrific killing of 26 people, including 20 children, at the Sandy Hook elementary school in 2012 not on gun violence or even the act of a crazed gunman. Instead he said it was because “we’ve systematically removed God from our schools” and as a result we should not be “surprised that schools have become a place for carnage.”
4. AIDS insanity: When running for the US Senate in 1992, Huckabee called for a quarantine of people who had AIDS. He also decried increased government funding for AIDS research, instead suggesting that money should come from “multimillionaire celebrities, such as Elizabeth Taylor [and] Madonna,” who should be encouraged to “give out of their own personal treasuries.” In 2007, Huckabee said he stood by these earlier remarks, but would phrase them differently.
5. Michael Brown had it coming: In December, Huckabee told us that Michael Brown would be alive if he acted "like something other than a thug." He added that he was “disgusted” by politicians and athletes who flashed the “hands up, don’t shoot” gesture.
6. Gay marriage makes Jesus cry: In 2013, Huckabee called gay marriage an “unholy pretzel” that has turned “holy matrimony” into a “perversion.” Huckabee also tweeted that “Jesus wept” over the 2013 US Supreme Court decision striking down DOMA. And Huckabee even said in September that he doesn’t care if he is on "the wrong side of history," as long as he is “on the right side of the Bible" when it comes to gay marriage.
7. Sorry if you are already sick: Not only does Huckabee oppose Obamacare, he opposed the one provision that most people like, namely that health insurers shouldn’t be able to deny coverage to those with preexisting medical conditions.
8. Ignore court decisions/laws that God wouldn’t like: This past September, while speaking of abortion laws and gay marriage court decisions, Huckabee declared that we should not accept “ungodly” judicial rulings that “will cause us to have to stand before God with bloody hands."
Sure, there are other Huckabee comments I could highlight, like his famous one from last January about women’s libidos, or how Martin Luther King, Jr. would be standing with him in fighting against marriage equality, but I think you get it by now. Mr. Huckabee far overshadows his kinder, gentler Gov. Huckabee.
Now while many of you might be shaking your head in disbelief over Huckabee’s views, keep in mind that it’s likely that nearly 50 percent of the GOP primary voters in 2016 will agree with most, if not all of them. And that’s far scarier than anything Huckabee has said.