Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Huckster

[New York Times photo]

-- by Dave

It's kind of funny how, in the world of Republican wingnuttia, being taken seriously can turn you into a real nutcase.

Take Mike Huckabee. Back before he started climbing in the GOP presidential polls, he was inclined to say reasonable things about immigration, things that were almost kind of human-sounding, such as: "Unfortunately, instead of being angry at the federal government for totally failing us [on immigration policy], [people] sometimes get angry at [immigrants] themselves." It was enough that the nativist wing of the party decided to declare him a "disaster" on the issue.

So to head them off at the pass, as it were, as he gained in the polls, pretty soon he was joining the rest of the Republican field in immigrant-bashing, even going so far as to issue an immigration plan calling for the deportation of all 12 million illegal immigrants within 120 days. That and his altered rhetoric were enough to win him the support of Minuteman founder Jim Gilchrist -- who is a special kind of right-wing nutcase himself, most recently promoting conspiracy theories about a looming "North American Union".

Of course, if this were a Democrat engaged in such a wholesale "repositioning," the term "flip-flop" would be on all the cable-network tongues. Ah, but the Village idiots Heart Huckabee, building up his image as a likeable fellow while ignoring a host of questions about his record as Arkansas governor.

And what that record suggests, of course, is that this rightward shift on immigration was inevitable for Huckabee, given his own pedigree in xenophobic wingnuttia. As Bloggernista notes, he's been especially toxic in his dealings with Teh Gay:
In a 1992 senate race Huckabee when asked about allowing openly gay Americans to serve in the military said:

I believe to try to legitimize that which is inherently illegitimate would be a disgraceful act of government. I feel homosexuality is an aberrant, unnatural and sinful lifestyle, and we now know it can pose a dangerous public health risk.

Wow Mike! Tell us how much you really hate The Gays.

This revelation comes on the heels of Huckabee defending his statement about quarantining people living with HIV, Huckabee saying homosexuality is a sin and saying that gay marriage is a threat to civilization.

Huckabee's animus toward gays is of course a product of his fundamentalist religiosity, which has played a major role in his climb in the GOP polls. When he was in Seattle recently, he sought and won the endorsements of a group of fundamentalist pastors here:
Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas, was endorsed by Joseph Fuiten, pastor of Cedar Park Church in Bothell, and 29 other evangelical-faith community leaders from the area.

"The governor represents our values," Fuiten said after a small fundraising luncheon at the Harbor Club in Bellevue. "I like that he believes, and I like what he believes. His Christianity is organic; he has been this way all his life."

You may remember Pastor Fuiten. He was the fellow who, a few months back, announced that under Christian rule, non-Christians would be considered "illegal aliens."

More to the point, he's also one of the leading regional figures in anti-gay politics, culminating in his leadership role with the virulently (and violently) antigay organization Watchmen on the Walls. At their recent gathering in Lynnwood, he opened the proceedings by making a speech that mostly blamed the media for publicizing the group's background. But Fuiten at the same time indicated that he subscribes to the revisionist theory that gays were secretly behind the Holocaust (a popular item among the Watchmen).

This is the electoral ground that Mike Huckabee is now staking out. And the more successful he becomes, the farther right he seems to be heading. By the time he manages to ascend to the nomination (should he make it that far), we might start hearing more about that proposal to quarantine gays. It would fit in with his plan to eliminate 12 million immigrants from our shores.

But, you know, if he says it with a grin and a strum of the guitar, I'm sure the Village will be buying. It wouldn't have been the first time they've been suckers for right-wing opportunists with a Southern twang.

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