Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Danger of Mike Huckabee

Steve Benen at The Carpetbagger Report discussed a recent poll ranking the Republican candidates and the difference between what was reported in the poll and what the vote totals were on a straw poll taken at the Values Voters conference.

In short, it showed that Mike Huckabee has a very strong level of support, exceeding that for Romney and Giuliani by far, among the Christian right wing of the Republican party.

I can recall hearing Renee Montagne interview Mike Huckabee on NPR earlier this year and thinking, "If this man wins the Republican nomination, he's a real threat." Despite how far right his policies and positions are, he's a gifted communicator and he comes across as very personable and friendly and able to present those positions in a non-threatening manner. His interview with Robert Siegel also reflected that same approach.

It was this point in particular in the Siegel report that caught my attention.

A Baptist minister by training, Huckabee says that reclaiming a nation for Christ doesn't mean coercing people to be of a particular faith.

"It means that we would reflect what [Christ] reflected, and that is compassion and love," Huckabee says.

Huckabee, who is pro-life, says that the problem with some in the pro-life community is that they put undue focus on the gestation period. He says he is also concerned about education and health care for children once they are born.

"I want to be concerned about making sure every child has music and art education. There are a lot of things that, to me, are a part of my being pro-life," he says.

Huckabee says that Roe v. Wade didn't decriminalize abortion, but took it out of the sphere of state law and made it a national policy based on privacy.

Thus, the overturning of Roe v. Wade would not eliminate abortion, he says. "Some states would have very liberal abortion laws, other states would have very strict abortion laws."

Combine that with this exchange with Renee Montagne:

Another entirely different but equally important issue to Americans is health coverage. You've called this country's health care system broken.


You don't want to see the federal government dictate changes. So what changes would you push for and who would pay?

I want to make clear the federal government has a role in making the changes. I just don't want to see them become the sole-source payer and the owner of your health care or mine. One of the things that has to happen in our health care system is to change the focus from a sick care system, which is what we have now, to a true health care system. And then focus on prevention rather than intervention.

I'll give you some examples. When I was governor of Arkansas, we eliminated co-pays and deductibles for colonoscopies, mammograms, prostate cancer exams. We started covering such things as weight-loss programs because the cost of weight-loss programs are far less expensive than the incredible expense that's involved with people who are significantly overweight and develop Type 2 diabetes.

I debated about including these quotes because seeing them written doesn't begin to demonstrate what I think is the real danger. It's important to listen to the excerpts. Hearing his phrasing, intonation, easy demeanor, sense of humor which aren't conveyed by the written word, adds emphasis to the point. This man will be the dangerous candidate if nominated by the Republicans.

There's more including an interview with Neal Conen. Huckabee lays out his populist positions in a very "I'm good for both Dems and Repubs" approach. He takes on the language of the religious left on many issues.

Take the time to listen to all 3 interviews. And then think about him one on one with a Democratic candidate. I think the Democrats should pray that Giuliani is the Republican nominee. He'll be easier to run against than Mike Huckabee.


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