Last week, former Arkansas Governor and Baptist Minister turned Fox News regular Mike Huckabee enjoyed several days of uninterrupted media attention. On Monday, his son David announced his father would be launching his own news and culture web site--Huckabee Post--in January. That same day, Governor Huckabee announced he was "keeping the door open" to a run for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination. Not finished there, Huckabee rushed to the front of those defending the controversial remarks from Duck Dynasty patriarch, Phil Robertson.
Of course, none of those developments should come as a surprise to anyone. Especially that last one. After all, Mike Huckabee was trafficking in anti-gay bigotry and the rewriting of American racial history for decades before the Robertson clan first appeared on televisions screens.
Decrying "a new level of bullying of the part of these militant activist groups," Governor Huckabee explained to Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace why he decided to "Stand with Phil:"
"Well, I think it has come to a point in our culture where political correctness has made it so that if you want to take a point of view that is traditional, that holds to steadfast, old fashioned biblical Christian values, which are also, by the way, values of traditional Judaism, and even Islam, that somehow you're supposed to just shut up and keep that to yourself. But if you want to advocate for same sex marriage, we're supposed to be very tolerant.
I'm tolerant of people who have a position on that issue that is contrary to mine. But I'm not tolerant of the intolerance."
Huckabee probably should have glanced at his own books and public statements before expressing such confidence in his tolerance.
Take, for example, his demand that AIDS victims be quarantined. In 1992--five years after even Ronald Reagan explained "there's no reason for those who carry the AIDS virus to wear a scarlet A; AIDS is not a casually contagious disease"--Huckabee declared:
"If the federal government is truly serious about doing something with the AIDS virus, we need to take steps that would isolate the carriers of this plague.
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It is difficult to understand the public policy towards AIDS. It is the first time in the history of civilization in which the carriers of a genuine plague have not been isolated from the general population, and in which this deadly disease for which there is no cure is being treated as a civil rights issue instead of the true health crisis it represents."
In other statements, Governor Huckabee left little doubt who "the carriers of this plague" were. Having labeled homosexuality "an aberrant, unnatural, and sinful lifestyle" which could "pose a dangerous public health risk," Huckabee like Phil Robertson repeatedly equated it with bestiality. As he put it in 2008:
"Well, I don't think that's a radical view to say we're going to affirm marriage. I think the radical view is to say that we're going to change the definition of marriage so that it can mean two men, two women, a man and three women, a man and a child, a man and animal."
But if Governor Huckabee's rhetoric sounds like a retread of the warnings from Republican Senators Rick Santorum and John Cornyn about man-on-dog and man-on-box turtle marriages, his 1998 book Kids Who Kill his 1998 book, laid virtually of all of America's ills at the feet of everyone - and everything - he hates:
"Abortion, environmentalism, AIDS, pornography, drug abuse, and homosexual activism have fragmented and polarized our communities."
"It is now difficult to keep track of the vast array of publicly endorsed and institutionally supported aberrations - from homosexuality and pedophilia to sadomasochism and necrophilia."
While then presidential candidate Huckabee spokesman Joe Carter claimed, "No way is he saying that homosexuality is like having sex with dead people-that's not it at all," Fox News' Minister-in-Chief has admitted he finds gay sex icky:
"Male and female are biologically compatible to have a relationship. We can get into the ick factor, but the fact is two men in a relationship, two women in a relationship, biologically, that doesn't work the same."
But if Mike Huckabee like Phil Robertson is anus-averse, his list of disgusts doesn't end there. As he once joked to a reporter in 2010, his revulsion extended to the Speaker of the House of Representatives:
"The only thing worse than a torrid affair with sweet, sweet Nancy [Pelosi] would be a torrid affair with Helen Thomas. If those were my only options, I'd probably be FOR same-sex marriage!"
All joking aside, Mike Huckabee stands strongly for some things. In 1998, Governor Huckabee explained to the National Pastors Conference why gave up his church pulpit for the bully pulpit:
"I didn't get into politics because I thought government had a better answer. I got into politics because I knew government didn't have the real answers, that the real answers lie in accepting Jesus Christ into our lives...I hope we answer the alarm clock and take this nation back for Christ."
And to do that, candidate Huckabee told a congregation of New Hampshire primary voters in January 2008, "We have signed up to be part of God's Army, to be soldiers for Christ." And His Army's objective in the United States of America is clear. Addressing a crowd in Warren, Michigan, Huckabee declared his personal crusade to amend the Constitution by copying and pasting from the Bible:
"I have opponents in this race who do not want to change the Constitution. But 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 is amend the Constitution so it's in God's standards rather than trying to change God's standards so it lines up with some contemporary view of how we treat each other and how we treat the family."
In Mike Huckabee's defense, on Sunday he parted company with Phil Robertson nostalgic longings for the days of Jim Crow. As Huckabee put it Sunday:
"Well, he said it in a way that would be a little more probably appropriate for the duck woods than it would be for the pages of a major news magazine. By the way, I will say that I think I saw the world of the south a little differently than maybe he did, growing out in South Arkansas."
As for what happened to African-Americans in the South a hundred years earlier, Huckabee has repeatedly argued, that is little different from what's going on today. When he isn't comparing abortion (and the national debt) to the Holocaust, Mike Huckabee reassures his audiences that it is akin to slavery. In July, the Texas Tribune reported, "Huckabee compared abortion to slavery, asking if society could reject slavery and 'come to the conclusion that one person can take the life of another person." The Huffington Post recounted of Huckabee's Transitive Law of Slavery:
"It's the logic of the Civil War," Huckabee said, comparing abortion rights to slavery. "If morality is the point here, and if it's right or wrong, not just a political question, then you can't have 50 different versions of what's right and what's wrong."
Two years later, he told an anti-choice group that he believed the issue of abortion was resolved "150 years ago when the issue of slavery was finally settled in this country, and we decided that it no longer was a political issue, it wasn't an issue of geography, it was an issue of morality." In 2011, he again argued against abortion rights being determined at the state level, saying that "it was wrong to own a slave in Mississippi and Michigan."
(If that sounds like an odd position for a states' rights advocate to take, it is. Until 2007, Mike Huckabee held the opposite view about curbing abortion, claiming that "it should be left to the states.")
As for viewers of Duck Dynasty, most doubtless have no problem at all with the Phil Robertson's supposedly Christian views on race and homosexuality. But if they want to hear it from the master, they should tune in to Mike Huckabee.