Saturday, December 08, 2007

Mike Huckabee Is One Strange Dude

Steve Benen puts the Mike Huckabee issue to bed:

It's probably fair to say that Mike Huckabee has had a strange week. On the one hand, he's been surging in the polls, picking up religious right endorsements, and is now considered the frontrunner in the Iowa caucuses. On the other hand, he's been caught lying about the Wayne Dumond scandal, he's proven that has no idea what the National Intelligence Estimate is, he's completed a dramatic flip-flop on immigration policy, and he's presented himself as literally God's own anointed presidential candidate.

It's created an odd political dynamic -- a folksy Baptist preacher who can charm radical Christian fundamentalists and DC media establishment types like David Broder and David Brooks with equal ease.

There's one detail, though, that the prior group appreciates and the latter group ignores: Mike Huckabee has some very odd beliefs. He rejects modern biology; he's argued publicly that Roe v. Wade may have created an immigration problem; and he's said that if a man and a woman live together outside of marriage, they're engaging in a "demeaning ... alternate lifestyle."

Today, the AP picks up on one of Huckabee's other more unusual social beliefs (which the fine folks at Right Wing Watch began publicizing a few days ago).
Mike Huckabee once advocated isolating AIDS patients from the general public, opposed increased federal funding in the search for a cure and said homosexuality could "pose a dangerous public health risk."

As a candidate for a U.S. Senate seat in 1992, Huckabee answered 229 questions submitted to him by The Associated Press. Besides a quarantine, Huckabee suggested that Hollywood celebrities fund AIDS research from their own pockets, rather than federal health agencies.

"If the federal government is truly serious about doing something with the AIDS virus, we need to take steps that would isolate the carriers of this plague [from the general population]," Huckabee wrote.

In the same questionnaire, Huckabee added, "I feel homosexuality is an aberrant, unnatural, and sinful lifestyle, and we now know it can pose a dangerous public health risk."

It may be tempting to think Huckabee's comments were just a reflection of the ignorance of the times, but that's far too forgiving an explanation. The AP noted that in 1992, "it was common knowledge that AIDS could not be spread by casual contact." Four years before Huckabee expressed support for a quarantine, C. Everett Koop and the Surgeon General's office explained to the nation that the disease could not be contacted through everyday contact.

Does Huckabee still believe any of this? At this point, he's not exactly rushing to dissociate himself with his previous comments -- the AP reported, "Huckabee did not return messages left with his campaign."

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