When you're fighting for a spot in the Fox News Republican Debate, anything goes. But let's not pretend they mean a damn thing they say.
Just yesterday, Mike Huckabee called President Obama a Nazi. Oh, he didn't use the word Nazi. He just said a deal with Iran would march Israelis "to the door of the ovens." Which means, of course, that he called the sitting President of the United States a Nazi, straight up.
Because he needs the eyeballs to make the primary, and he knows there are enough haters out there to maybe nudge him up into that magical top ten. He knows this because he is a beneficiary of the GOP/Koch microtargeting effort.
But in 2008, Mike Huckabee sang a different tune, one that when considered in the context of his current remarks, would have suggested that he was one of those oven-marchers, too.
In January, 2008 Huckabee wrote an op-ed for Foreign Affairs magazine, striking a far different tone than he is today. The following are key excerpts from that article.
Another way to contain Iran is through diplomacy. We must be as aggressive diplomatically as we have been militarily since 9/11. We must intensify our diplomatic efforts with China, India, Russia, South Korea, and European states and persuade them to put more economic pressure on Iran. These countries have been far more interested in pursuing profit than preventing proliferation. They must realize that if the United States does end up taking military action, they will bear some responsibility for having failed to maximize peaceful options.
Sun-tzu's ancient wisdom is relevant today: "Keep your friends close and your enemies closer." Yet we have not had diplomatic relations with Iran in almost 30 years; the U.S. government usually communicates with the Iranian government through the Swiss embassy in Tehran. When one stops talking to a parent or a friend, differences cannot be resolved and relationships cannot move forward. The same is true for countries. The reestablishment of diplomatic ties will not occur automatically or without the Iranians' making concessions that serve to create a less hostile relationship.
Whereas there can be no rational dealings with al Qaeda, Iran is a nation-state seeking regional clout and playing the game of power politics we understand and can skillfully pursue. We cannot live with al Qaeda, but we might be able to live with a contained Iran. Iran will not acquire nuclear weapons on my watch. But before I look parents in the eye to explain why I put their son's or daughter's life at risk, I want to do everything possible to avoid conflict. We have substantive issues to discuss with Tehran. Recent direct negotiations about Iraq have not been productive because they have not explored the full range of issues. We have valuable incentives to offer Iran: trade and economic assistance, full diplomatic relations, and security guarantees.
The 2008 Mike Huckabee. He was the last Republican candidate standing other than John McCain in 2008, you may recall. Strangely, there was no reaction suggesting he was going to march Israelis to the ovens back then.
It's a really good thing the internet has a memory.