During the 2008 presidential campaign, I documented 10, then 10 more and yet another 10 moments in the extremism of Mike Huckabee. Now, fresh off his victory in the straw poll at the so-called Values Voters Summit, the one-time Baptist minister and former Arkansas governor turned Fox News host called for the United States to leave the United Nations. Following his use of the late Ted Kennedy to fight mythical "death panels" and his tacit endorsement of ethic cleansing in the Middle East, the 2012 White House hopeful's latest statements can mean only one thing.
It's time for still another 10 moments in the extremism of Mike Huckabee:
The United Nations has been a favorite right-wing punching bag for generations, the bogeyman of Birchers and Birthers alike. At this weekend's "How to Take Back America" shindig (an event which featured sessions such as "How to Recognize Living under Nazis & Communists"), Mike Huckabee added his name to the list.
Looking to top John Bolton's hypothetical about lopping off 10 floors of the United Nations building, Huckabee called for casting the whole institution into the sea. To a standing ovation, Huckabee declared:
"It's time to get a jackhammer and to simply chip that part of New York City. Let it float into the East River, never to be seen again."
In their ever-escalating effort to derail health care reform, Republicans from former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin to Obama's ersatz negotiating partner Chuck Grassley warned of mythical government "death panels" which would "pull the plug on grandma."
To make his version of the case, Governor Huckabee turned to the example of the late Senator Kennedy. Just moments after criticizing Democrats for defying "good taste" by claiming "Congress must hurry and pass the health care reform bill and do it in his memory," Huckabee announced:
"It was President Obama himself who suggested that seniors who don't have as long to live might want to just consider taking a pain pill instead of getting an expensive operation to cure them. Yet when Sen. Kennedy was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer at 77, did he give up on life and go home to take pain pills and die? Of course not. He freely did what most of us would do. He chose an expensive operation and painful follow up treatments."
During the 2008 presidential campaign, Republican nominee John McCain was among the few in his party generally refraining from branding Barack Obama a socialist, a communist or worse. But as he made clear in February, Mike Huckabee stands with the frothing at the mouth tea bagger army of Glenn Beck.
Huckabee's version of the Red Scare came at the 2009 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in February:
"The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics may be dead," said Huckabee, "but a Union of American Socialist Republics is being born." Democrats, according to Huckabee, were packing 40 years of pet projects like "health care rationing" into spending bills. "Lenin and Stalin would love this stuff."
During the 2008 campaign, Governor Huckabee famously called for a faith-based Constitution "so it's in God's standards." But when it comes to his belief in basic constitutional principles like checks and the balances between the three branches of government, not so much.
In an August 25, 2008 interview with CNS, Huckabee insisted that governors Romney and Schwarzenegger "should not have complied with decisions by their state supreme courts that ordered legal recognition of same-sex marriages." Echoing the segregationists of old, Huckabee declared:
"You know, it's interesting, the California decision as well as the Massachusetts decision, I don't think should ever have been implemented by the governors, Schwarzenegger and Romney. They were both decisions that the governors simply could have said the court has said that we have to do it, but let them enforce it. Because those were administrative decisions that had to put that in place and there was no mandate...I would not have done that."
On more than one occasion, Mike Huckabee credited divine intervention for his political triumphs. So it should come as no surprise that Huckabee similarly saw the hand of God behind the success of California's Proposition 8, a ballot measure which banned same-sex marriages in the Golden State.
During his "Rediscovering God in America" lecture in June at the Rock Church in Hampton Roads, Virginia, Huckabee testified to God's role in furthering both the American Revolution and Huckabee's own reactionary social policies. As the Virginia Pilot recounted:
"The notion that we are just one of many among equals is nonsense," Huckabee said. The United States is a "blessed" nation, he said, calling American revolutionaries' defeat of the British empire "a miracle from God's hand."
The same kind of miracle, he said, led California voters to approve Proposition 8, which overturned a state law legalizing same-sex marriages.
Voters "did it because some things are right and some things are wrong and they had to make a stand."
(Last November, Huckabee told right-wing radio's Bill Bennett that Prop 8 did not ban same-sex marriage. "That's not what those efforts did," he said, adding, "They affirmed what is. They did not prohibit something.")
Mike Huckabee's crowing over Proposition 8 is in keeping with his long record of antipathy towards gay Americans. After all, Huckabee in the past had called for the quarantine of AIDS victims and equated homosexuality with pedophilia, bestiality and necrophilia.
But as he made clear in November on ABC's The View, Huckabee defended his views on marriage equality by insisting "It's a different set of rights" for gay Americans:
"But here is the difference. Bull Connor was hosing people down in the streets of Alabama. John Lewis got his skull cracked on the Selma bridge."
During the 2008 campaign, the End-Times Pastor and founder of Christians United for Israel John Hagee emerged as a vocal opponent of any concessions to Palestinians in the cause of Middle East peace. But as the controversial John McCain endorser faded from view, Mike Huckabee has taken his place in advocating Armageddon as American foreign policy.
As it turns out, Huckabee doesn't merely oppose the consensus around a two-state solution in the Middle East. (As he put it last year, "The two-state solution is no solution, but will cause only problems.") In Israel to support extremist Meir Kahane acolyte Dov Hikind to raise funds to expand Israeli settlements, Huckabee in August in essence backed de facto ethic cleansing as the answer to Palestinian aspirations for a national homeland - somewhere else:
"The question is should the Palestinians have a place to call their own? Yes, I have no problem with that. Should it be in the middle of the Jewish homeland? That's what I think has to be honestly assessed as virtually unrealistic."
Mike Huckabee long ago declared his support for ending the income tax and abolishing the IRS and instead shifting to a wildly irresponsible – and regressive consumption tax. But as he made clear at the Values Voters Summit, one of the fringe benefits (literally) of his backing of the so-called Fair Tax is enabling pastors to preach politics from the pulpit without fear of losing their churches' tax exempt status:
"If we are really serious about fixing the economy, it's about high time we talked about the repeal of the 16th amendment get rid of the income tax and the IRS, enact the Fair Tax and tell the IRS that since you don't exist anymore, you won't be able to intimidate pastors and Christian people across this country by threatening them with some tax penalty as a result of their speaking out in their Constitutional First Amendment right for freedom of speech and freedom of religion."
From John Boehner and Jeff Sessions to John Ensign and Duncan Hunter, the leading lights of the Republican Party have defended the Bush administration's regime of detainee torture by presenting Guantanamo Bay as the equivalent of Club Med. As he showed in December 2007, Mike Huckabee could be counted among the propagators of the Club Gitmo myth:
"The inmates there were getting a whole lot better treatment than my prisoners in Arkansas. In fact, we left saying, 'I hope our guys don't see this. They'll all want to be transferred to Guantanamo.' If anything, it's too nice."
At this month's Values Voters Summit, Huckabee returned to his theme, arguing, "Here we are gutting the integrity of the CIA and calling them liars, while at the same time treating suspected terrorists like rock stars and giving them refuge in Bermuda."
Earlier this year, Newt Gingrich raised eyebrows by citing a novel as proof the United States needed missile defense systems to prevent Iran and North Korea from launching an electromagnetic pulse attack to disable the American electric grid and communications. Now, the neocon crowd's "scientifically valid," but "not strategically realistic" scenario of devastating nuclear cloudbursts is part and parcel of the Huckabee worldview.
On September 10, Governor Huckabee the keynote speaker on day two of the EMPACT America conference on the threat from electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attacks. At the event sponsored by food and beverage maker Steuben Foods, Huckabee warned his audience about the usual suspects. Citing his experience in dealing with devastating ice storms that left his home state of Arkansas without power for 21 days:
Huckabee agreed with Dr. Fritz Ermarth, former chairman of the National Intelligence Council, who told the attendees on Wednesday the greatest threat of an EMP attack would likely come from so-called rogue states like Iran or North Korea or from a terrorist network like al-Qaida.
Recalling the unpredicted terrorist attacks of 9/11, Huckabee said, "The greatest threat we face today is the naiveté about the threat of our enemies. Any country who has the capacity to explode a nuclear device is a threat."
For more details on the 30 previous moments in the extremism of Mike Huckabee, see:
(This piece also appears at Perrspectives.)