The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Sideshow Huckabee

The GOP race for the nomination is an odd one. Mitt Romney can't seem to do anything right, and neither can Rudy. It's interesting to see them fall victim to the very religious extremism their party has put so much effort into cultivating. (Although I actually thought more people of Pat Robertson's 'stature' would get behind Giuliani as the best bet.)

Then there's Huckabee's recent promotion to official media darling. It's pretty silly, given that he has vacillated as much as any of the candidates when it comes to convenient position changes on rather basic issues-- such as the age of the earth. In fact, the one thing Huckabee seems to do well is brush aside questions with a chuckle and clever-enough-for-the-MSM zinger.

Like Mitt Romney's speech, in which he hoped to take his particular faith off the table and demonstrate his fundamentalist bona fides at the same time, Huckabee's game plan is apparently to.... well, like all the candidates, he's adopted Bush's strategy of talking liberal, aw-shucksing his way out of actually committing to anything, and all the while keep giving a sly wink to fundamentalists. For him at least, it's working.

And as it happens, there's a nice article in Mother Jones about Huckabee's religious shell game.

During a question-and-answer session with students at fundamentalist Liberty University last month, he asserted that his rise in the polls has an explanation that is "beyond human" and is due to the power of his supporters' prayers. Afterward, he backtracked slightly, adding, "I'm saying that when people pray, things happen.... I'm not saying that God wants me to be elected." (At a victory rally held after Huckabee won a 1993 special election for lieutenant governor, Huckabee told his supporters that he had only won because God had intervened, according to the Texarkana Gazette.)

With Huckabee walking this fine line, his campaign has declined to make available sermons that Huckabee delivered during his preaching days. . . .

Huckabee has indeed mixed religion with policy previously. In 1997, when he was governor, he answered a question about capital punishment during a call-in show:

Interestingly enough, if there was ever an occasion for someone to have argued against the death penalty, I think Jesus could have done so on the cross and said, "This is an unjust punishment and I deserve clemency."
I seem to remember something he said about the people executing the sentence, though. And it doesn't say much for the argument that the death sentence is never given to the wrong guy. Still, snappy one-liner.