The addition of former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee — along with Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina — to the increasingly crowded field of GOP presidential hopefuls officially makes this the week of the long-shot GOP candidates. Huckabee’s path to the White House is a narrow one, and navigating it will depend on his ability to keep cultural conservatives in his corner, and moderate his views enough to keep from scaring more mainstream voters away. That’s a tall order for a candidate with a record like Huckabee’s.
Mike Huckabee Wants to Keep the Poor Poor
Huckabee’s positions on economic issues are about as extreme as his positions on social issues. Huckabee may bill himself as a fiscal conservative who talks like a populist, but even some of his fellow conservatives call him “Tax Hike Mike.” That’s because of Huckabee’s support for a consumption tax.
During his 2008 campaign, Huckabee signed on to a “fair tax” proposal that would replace all federal taxes with a flat 30 percent national sales tax. In 2014, Huckabee called income tax a “punishment” for productivity. During an appearance on James Robinson’s “Life Today” show in January, Huckabee reiterated his view of taxes as “punishment,” and made a biblical case for the “fair tax.”
“I believe in the biblical understanding of stewardship,” Huckabee said. “Everybody should have something invested. God doesn’t say, ‘Oh, you’re too poor, don’t give anything.’ He says, ‘Everyone give a tithe.’ … I’m telling you something, giving proportionately is biblical.”
Of course, Huckabee is either deluded or dishonest when he claims that the wealthy would pay more under a consumption tax, “Because rich people consume more.” The reality is that low-income families would bear a greater tax burden, because they spend more of their income to buy the things they need than wealthy families do. Huckabee’s “fair tax” would ensure that the rich get a tax break, while the poor get poorer.
Mike Huckabee Ardently Supports Theocracy
As a former Baptist minister, Huckabee’s religiosity is hardly a surprise. But the degree to which Huckabee believes our government should be guided not just by religion, but by his particular brand of Christianity, is likely to turn off everyone but Republican primary voters, in an America that is on its way to being as non-religious as Europe. Thus Huckabee is likely to tone that stuff way down, now that he’s officially a candidate. But since leaving Fox, he’s spend his time courting cultural conservatives by calling for what would amount to theocratic government.
“I have opponents in this race who do not want to change the Constitution,” Huckabee said. “But I believe it’s a lot easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the word of the living God. And that’s what we need to do — to amend the Constitution so it’s in God’s standards rather than try to change God’s standards so it lines up with some contemporary view.”
Mike Huckabee Makes Stridently Anti-Gay Attacks
With the Supreme Court set to rule on marriage equality this summer, and likely make it legal across the country, Mike Huckabee has joined right-wingers in declaring that such a ruling would lead to all kinds of disaster, and make America more like Nazi Germany.
Lately,Huckabee has declared that he’s not homophobic, and that he was just applying following biblical rules regarding gay rights. He even claimed, as anti-gay right-wingers often do, to have gay friends, or that gay people could be his friends. Huckabee’s past words and deeds cast doubt on those claims.
- Incensed by the Supreme Court’s decision not to hear appeals to lower court rulings striking down gay marriage bans, Huckabee threatened to leave the GOP if the party didn’t take a stand against the Court’s decision.
- On the Family Research Council’s “Washington Watch” program, Huckabee warned that gay rights advocates, “won’t stop until there are no more churches, until there are no more people who are spreading the Gospel.”
- Huckabee joined more than 200 anti-gay activists in signing a pledge vowing to resist any Supreme Court ruling in favor of marriage equality.
- On a conference call with conservative ministers, organized by the Family Research Council, Huckabee warned that gay rights activists would outlaw Christianity, and drew a connection between gay marriage and the threat of ISIS.
- Huckabee, along with fellow candidate Sen. Rand Paul (R, Kentucky) appeared in Janet Poter’s anti-gay documentary, “Light Wins” — which comes off a lot like “Reefer Madness,” but with extra doses of bigotry and paranoia, and without the camp value.
- Huckabee has compared homosexuality to alcoholism and bestiality.
Recently, Huckabee has tried to deny his history of anti-gay vitriol, but deep down he’s the same guy that advocated for the quarantine of AIDS patients during his failed 1992 Senate campaign.
Huckabee’s Ideas About Women Are Right Out Of the Victorian Era
Huckabee’s ideas about women aren’t quite medieval, but they’re at least Victorian. Last January, at the Republican party’s annual winter meeting, Huckabee said that the Democratic party told women, “they are helpless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing for them a prescription each month for birth control because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of government.” Huckabee then went on to argue that Republicans aren’t waging war on women, but “they have a war for women, to empower them to be something other than victims of their gender.”
Right. Women who use birth control are “victims of their gender.”
A few months later, in an interview with The New Republic, Huckabee explained that while male opponents were “common,” women required “a sense of a pedestal.”
“You treat some things as a special treasure; you treat other things as common,” Huckabee explained. Huckabee went even further in an email to Salon, explaining that, while he believes in equality, “equality doesn’t mean sameness.”
The problem is that a pedestal becomes a kind of prison, if one has to stay on it. Most women will tell you, there’s a lot more freedom to be found by stepping down from that pedestal. It’s quaint that Huckabee is shocked that women curse, fornicate, and carry on much as men have long had the freedom to do, but as Megyn Kelly pointed out, it’s a sign that Huckabee isn’t living in the real world.
Huckabee Engages In Blatant Hypocrisy
Huckabee caused a stir in January when he took a swipe at President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama for letting their teenage daughters listen to Beyoncé:
I don’t understand how on one hand they can be such doting parents and so careful about the intake of everything – how much broccoli they eat and where they go to school and making sure they’re kind of sheltered and shielded from so many things – and yet they don’t see anything that might not be suitable for either a preteen or a teen in some of the lyrical content and choreography of Beyoncé, who has sort of a regular key to the door” of the White House.
Huckabee conveniently forgot that his own parenting could be called into question, especially since the Obama girls haven’t gotten into nearly the kind of trouble Huckabee’s son David has gotten into.
Mike Huckabee’s own son, David Huckabee, once lost his job as a Boy Scout camp counselor for killing a stray dog, by hanging him by his neck, slitting his throat, and stoning him to death, and was once arrested for having a gun in his bag at the airport in Little Rock, Arkansas. So, Huckabee might want to ease up on criticizing anyone else’s parenting.
Huckabee’s hypocrisy seems to be a habit. Huckabee was quick to criticize Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton over her emails as secretary of state, even though as governor of Arkansas Huckabee destroyed his own administration’s state records — including emails — before leaving office. Huckabee railed against the Obamacare mandate requiring insurers to cover contraception, but as governor of Arkansas Huckabee signed a law mandating that Arkansas insurers provide contraception — including church-affiliated organizations.
Huckabee Worked As A Huckster
On the outside chance that he gets elected, Huckabee will have the dubious distinction of being the only president to star in an informercial.
In March, news surfaced that Huckabee appeared as a spokesman for Barton Publishing’s “Diabetes Solution Kit.” In an informercial for the kit, Huckabee explained that prescription drugs for type I and type II diabetes were really designed to turn patients into “loyal, pill-popping, finger-pricking, insulin-shooting customer[s], so Big Pharma and the mainstream medical community can rake in over $100 billion annually.” Viewers could learn the “truth” for just $19.97.
The same company has promoted a treatment for kidney stones that involves drinking the equivalent of six 12-ounce cans of Coca-Cola in a 15-minute period, followed by a puree made up of a half-pound of steamed asparagus. If that sounds crazy, Dr. Anna Zisman at the University of Chicago agrees with you: Drinking large amounts of cola would actually increase your risk of kidney stones, she writes. Her advice: “Don’t do it.”
Huckabee has also lent his name, face and reputation to people hawking “natural” cures for Alzheimer’s, financial firms that defraud their customers, and even one group that claimed to have found the cure for cancer — in the Bible, of course.