This darling of the evangelical right has proven himself to be every bit the caveman we mainstreamers believe him to be. Of course, that's all the more likely to increase his appeal to his flock. But should he win the GOP presidential nomination (every Democrat's cosmic fantasy), it would make him disastrously unelectable in the general election.
In 1998, Huckabee was one of 131 signatories to a full-page ad in USA Today that extolled the virtues of the Bible's teachings on marriage--or what some Southern Baptists call the Bible's teachings. We all know that religious extremists, as is true of all extremists, skew their interpretations as markedly as politicians spin theirs.
The ad told Southern Baptists, "You are right" about a number of such biblical teachings:
"You are right because you called husbands to sacrificially love and lead their wives."
"You are right because you called wives to graciously submit to their husband's sacrificial leadership."
It gets even worse the deeper one digs into Huckabee's dark political past. The Associated Press rereleased 229 answers Huckabee "offered as a 36-year-old Texarkana pastor during his first run for political office in 1992." Huckabee told the AP he did not believe the Constitution protects women's abortion rights and he opposed any "law that would give workers time off to care for an ailing family member." One year later, Congress passed and then President Clinton signed the Family and Medical Leave Act, allowing American workers "to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for the birth or adoption of a child, to care for a close relative with a serious health condition or if the employee could not work due to health problems." It remains a popular law.
Americans have allowed themselves to be manipulated at the voting booth by candidates who run at the margins during the primary season only to "remake" themselves during the general election to appear more mainstream. In President Bush's case, he did it twice but then governed at the extreme right margin while in the White House. That's why his popular support is so low now and has been for more than a year. There's an old saying: Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.
Americans should take note if by some ungodly miracle Mike Huckabee becomes the Republican nominee.
By Bonnie Erbe