Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Mike Huckabee--Authentic Crook

I just watched the rerun of last night's Colbert Report, and was treated to the spectacle of Colbert lobbing softballs at Mike Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas and current Republican presidential hopeful. Colbert led with a montage of clips showing Huckabee saying the word "authentic" over and over again. In the interview, Huckabee explained his concept of authenticity: "It's like an apple. If you cut into the apple, and it's an apple all the way to the core, that's authentic. If you cut into it and it turns out that it's plastic fruit, there's no nourishment there."

Huckabee then launched into an attack on Mitt Romney, the message being that Huckabee is an "authentic conservative," unlike Romney, who doesn't really hunt, isn't really pro-life, and presided over a state where--gasp!--homos can get married!

Colbert wasn't taking Huckabee all too seriously; he made fun of Huckabee's standing in the polls ("trailing Duncan Hunter, Sam Brownback, and six guys named Thompson"). But Huckabee's been making inroads; he scored some points in South Carolina over the weekend, and made a big splash last week in the press by calling for Attorney General Gonzalez to resign. Huckabee's become sort of a media darling--besides Colbert, he's appeared on The Daily Show, Real Time with Bill Maher, and was a frequent guest on Imus. Of course he's appeared on all the Sunday morning political shows.

This has to be nipped in the bud, right now. So, let's talk about authenticity. Huckabee is a Baptist minister; as such, you might expect him to be an authentic man of peace (you know, like Jesus). Quite the contrary. Huckabee is a fanatic supporter of the war in Iraq (watch here as he paints the war in Iraq as a "struggle for existence."). He authentically believes that Armageddon is coming and that Israel must be defended at all costs. He also is a big proponent of the death penalty, with sixteen executions occurring while he was in office, including a triple header--three in one day! Is he an authentic Christian? I'll let you decide.

Huckabee's apple metaphor is more than apt, as long as you consider the apple to be rotten. Huckabee was the most corrupt governor Arkansas has had in recent memory. He accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of gifts from supporters, used state aircraft for personal trips, stole furniture from the governor's mansion, and ignored admonishments from the state Ethics Commission. Besides being a crook, Huckabee was a constant embarrassment to the state. He referred to conservationists as "environmental wackos," called Arkansas a "banana republic" on the Imus show, and lived in a triple-wide mobile home on the Governor's Mansion grounds while the residence was being rennovated. His son once tortured a dog to death, with no reprisals. (Read a summary of Huckabee's tenure as Arkansas governor here.)

One would hope that the press would begin giving Huckabee a closer look, particularly if his campaign begins to pick up steam. He despises such scrutiny, frequently lashing out at the press if they dare to question his integrity or to demand accountability. His thin skin will ensure that he is unable to survive as a viable candidate; the sooner that Huckabee is exposed, the better off the country will be.


august said...

I have similar feelings about a lot of the candidates. I don't understand why people can't see that Giuliani is obviously crazy and is the last person we want in the office post-Bush. McCain turns out to be a war-monger, and at the end of the day he doesn't actually make any sense. If I were a pro-life Republican, I'd be very tempted by Brownback. I was impressed with him again recently, this time at the Gonzales hearings. Even though he's running for president, he wasn't grandstanding, just asking simple questions that were devastating (because Gonzales could not answer).

Keifus said...

Maybe it would be faster if these guys all just unzipped their flies and measured up. (Maybe. THere'd still be dirty tricks with cold water and viagra, so who knows?)

It seems like this guy's going out of his way to reinforce an unflattering stereotype. Right down to the double-wide (a banana republic of his own making?). Do I need to ask his opinions on racial issues and immigration and abortion?

Keep preachin' the word.

Speaking of possibly palatable candidates, however, I've been meaning to follow up a little more on Bill Richardson. Is he still thinking to run? (Not that it matters, I couldn't bring myself to register for a party.)

Archaeopteryx said...

August: All I've seen of Brownback has been on The Daily Show, and the stuff they've showed has made him look like an insufferably dorky goof. Maybe I shouldn't judge just on that....but, on the other hand, from what I know about his politics, he's the least palatable of all the candidates running--sort of a Rick Santorum without the charm.

Keif: I often wonder if candidates from other states are as bad as Huckabee. I mean--people from New Mexico know things about him that we might not. On the other hand, Clinton was from Arkansas, and I knew him to be a great governor. (We also knew about his, um, hobbies...or at least the rumors were out there. Didn't keep him from doing a good job.)

august said...

Insufferably dorky goofs of the world unite! Seriously, I'm not voting for the guy, but he's always struck me as sober rather than sensationalist, sincere rather than managed. Obviously, this makes for bad television. But I have reasons for desiring these qualities in a president.

What I would really want out of this election is a contest between two people who do not seem to be trying to take over the world. Seems to me that one of Bush's many problems (more on those later) is that he can't seem to distinguish himself from the country. Retreat from Iraq or resignation of Gonzales is antipatriotic in part because it hurts the president, and therefore the presidency. It's both stupid and self-serving. Lots of voters have stupid intangibles that lead them to select candidates ("looks presidential" -- what does that even mean?). I've decided that my own list of non-issue related stuff will begin and end with "marginally less arrogant than Soloman Grundi." Amazing how that eliminates all the frontrunners!

Archaeopteryx said...

I guess it comes back to the idea that anyone who would want to be president is probably too arrogant for the job.

Only once have I ever voted for a candidate with no reservations--he won (but something happened and he never got to be president; it's a long story). Besides him, there's only been one other fellow that I unreservedly would have been able to support--Cuomo. Everyone else I've ever voted for, I had qualms about, and it looks like it'll be that way again this time. Hillary? Obama? Biden? I've got negative feelings about all of them. Edwards? Richardson? I just don't know that much about them--but I suspect if I did, I'd find something I didn't like.

Keifus said...

I voted for that guy too. And, come to think of it, he was an insufferable dorky goof. (Ultimately, it's probably why he lost.) Solidarity!

K (in hindsight, he was a little more hawkish than I'd realized at the time)

Claude Scales said...

august: In regard to "stupid intangibles", I'm reminded of something I read during the last presidential campaign. It was by a journalist who lived in a small town in Virginia. He had taken a survey at the town's tavern one night, and found, unsurprisingly, every man at the bar in favor of Bush. When asked why, they all gave some variation on, "He don't give a shit." (The unspoken object being, I take it, "what anybody thinks.")

This is one of the reasons I have problems with the notion of "authenticity".

august said...


Depending on what part of Virginia, I suspect you. And I keep counting on demographics to shift enough so that that particular point of view becomes a political outlier. (Note to self -- time to renew argument with John about immigration.)

[Putting on my administrative hat] Traffic, ye gods! We're flagging! Arch, however, wins a prize for getting linked by a non-fray related blog. Sadly, it's campaign blogs, but beggars can't be choosers. Poison your pens! Time for scathing takedowns and cynical exposes of the candidates. Wikifray -- your one-stop-shop for the country's political malaise! Heave ho! I will join in, as soon as I finish of the (*&(&%^ poem-a-day thing that seemed like such a good idea on April 1...

august said...

Claude -- sorry. First sentence should have read "Depending on what part of Virginia, I suspect you'd get a different answer now."

I may or may not suspect you. I'd rather not say.

Claude Scales said...

Call me suspect if you will; just don't call me late for supper.