As a liberal, I don’t care which one is chosen. Since Barack Obama’s views are closer to my own than those of the Republican Party, I already know that I’ll support his reelection.
As an American, however, I care very deeply about who wins the GOP’s most coveted prize. This is because, while Romney is merely a man with whom I disagree, Huckabee is something much worse – a man who poses a serious threat to this country.
First, though, let me explain why the nominee will be either Romney or Huckabee:
1) When Republican primary voters are polled as to their presidential preferences, the top four choices are always Romney, Huckabee, Sarah Palin, and Newt Gingrich. Not only does this quartet have a significant lead over all of the other hopefuls, but the financial requirements necessary to run a successful primary campaign are such that neither party has nominated someone who wasn’t in the top four by now since 1976. In short, the GOP’s pick will definitely be one of these individuals.
2) While Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin are both loved by the party’s base of grassroots conservatives, neither of them is capable of winning in a general election – and Republican primary voters are savvy enough to realize this. They may wish for a candidate who reflects their beliefs, but they also want to win, and that latter desire will be the downfall of Gingrich and Palin, thus leaving only Romney and Huckabee.
Romney will have a lot of advantages going into that contest, including an excellent business record that translates into strength on economic issues; a center-right image that will appeal to moderate Republicans in the primaries and independent voters in the general election; and a powerful fundraising apparatus. That said, his Mormonism and shakiness as a social conservative may hurt him with the Christian Right, while his responsibility for a health care reform bill in Massachusetts similar to the one passed by Obama could cost him among the Tea Party. If these things happen in such a way so as to deny Romney the nomination, Huckabee will be their beneficiary.
That is a thought that terrifies me, for the simple reason that America can’t afford the risk that Mike Huckabee will ever become president.
We can start with Wayne DuMond, an Arkansas man who was sentenced to thirty-nine years in prison (reduced from an initial life plus twenty years) after he brutally raped a seventeen-year-old girl. Because the evidence that he had committed this crime was irrefutable, normally his case wouldn’t have attracted any special attention.
However, there was a catch – unbeknownst to DuMond, the girl he’d raped was the third cousin of Bill Clinton.
This shouldn’t have made any difference. However, several right-wing extremists decided to spread rumors that DuMond was innocent, a claim that – despite its absolute and obvious falsehood – was embraced by overzealous Clinton-haters. Foremost among them was Mike Huckabee, who not only commuted DuMond’s sentence less than ten weeks after becoming governor, but even skirted federal law by tampering with the parole board (which had twice denied DuMond’s applications) so that it would decide in his favor.
Less than a year after DuMond was released, he raped another woman. This time, he also murdered her.
This may be the most abhorrent thing Huckabee has done, but it certainly isn’t the only one. He also has a history of sexism (1998 - he signs a full-page advertisement in USA Today saying that women should “submit graciously” to their husbands), racism (1993 - he speaks before a white supremacist group known as the Council of Conservative Citizens), and prejudice against Mormons (2008 - he claims that Mormons believe Jesus and Satan are brothers). The group for which he has reserved his worst bile are homosexuals, whose sexual orientation he has compared with incest, who he has claimed are committing moral sins comparable with lying and stealing, and whose ability to marry he argues would threaten the survival of civilization itself.
Finally, there is the danger that Huckabee poses to one of America’s most basic and important liberties – religious freedom, as protected by the separation of church and state.
From a speech delivered in his 2008 presidential campaign:
I believe it's a lot easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the word of the living God. And that's what we need to do — to amend the Constitution so it's in God's standards…
As a Jew, I know from personal experience what can happen as a result of such opinions. I can still remember being the child who was victimized by anti-Semitism – who had quarters thrown at his head and swastikas drawn on his textbooks, who was told by his friends that Jews worshipped the devil and were responsible for the death of Christ. I even remember being dragged into a lake by a group of my peers, although the part when they held my head under water and chanted “Drown the Jew” has, mercifully, been blotted from my memory.
Hence my response to Huckabee’s support of theocracy:
Religious institutions that use government power in support of themselves and force their views on persons of other faiths, or of no faith, undermine all our civil rights.
That line isn’t mine, by the way. It was written by Thomas Jefferson.
Now that we’re aware of what the Sage of Monticello would think of Mike Huckabee, only one question remains – what do you think of him? To anyone who has considered supporting him for president, have these facts changed your opinion?
This isn’t my challenge to you. This is America’s challenge to you.