Thursday, October 09, 2014

Hoping He Makes Good On His Threat

Right Wing Watch reported Tuesday that Mike Huckabee appeared (video way below) on an American Family Association radio program and

began his interview by threatening to leave the Republican Party if the GOP does not take a stand against the Supreme Court's decision yesterday not to hear appeals of lower court rulings striking down gay marriage bans in several states.

Incensed by the decision, Huckabee declared that "I am utterly exasperated with Republicans and the so-called leadership of the Republicans who have abdicated on this issue," warning that by doing so the GOP will "guarantee they're going to lose every election in the future."

"Guarantee it," he said before proclaiming that the Republicans are going to "lose guys like me and a whole bunch of still God-fearing, Bible-believing people" if the party does not stand and fight on the issues of gay marriage and abortion.

"I'm gone," Huckabee warned. "I'll become an independent. I'll start finding people that have guts to stand. I'm tired of this":

Unless this other Man from Hope (Arkansas) was just blowing smoke, this is a very good thing to hear- for two reasons.

The Supreme Court on the first Monday in October declined to hear appeals of attorneys general from five different states which, as Slate's Mark Joseph Stern explains, "effectively legalized gay marriage in those five states—Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin—almost immediately. But within the next few weeks, the court’s move will likely bring gay marriage to six more states—meaning that, without actually ruling on the topic, the justices will have brought marriage equality to 11 states in one fell swoop." Colleague Dahlia Lithwick crows "as same-sex marriages are slowly performed in state after state, the deed will have been done. It’s over. Same-sex marriage will be legal in 30 states and Washington, D.C."

The right consistently has argued that the status of same-sex marriage should be decided in state legislatures, rather than in the courts. At least then, they realize, some states would maintain a ban as state legislatures reflect the will of their constituents.

But that leaves us as we are, with gays in one state denied rights/privileges they are afforded in others (status of ssm in the USA and globally, maps below).  That is untenable and an abomination. The former governor of Arkansas understands that the Court should not have sidestepped the issue.   The Justices have not wrapped themselves in a blanket of courage any more than Huckabee believes his party elders, because of fear of backlash from the media, voters, and some of its donors, have by not pursuing the issue.

Huckabee's threat to leave the GOP is probably an empty one.  If he were not to remain a card-carry Republican, his lucrative employment at Fox News probably would be terminated. He would have little chance of being taken seriously as a Repub candidate for anything were he to return to the Party at a later date. And as an independent, he would stand little to no chance of being elected President, and little is on its way out of town.

But if he did leave, it would be very discomfiting to the GOP and he, or anyone representing the party he would form would only harm the GOP's chance of retaking the White House. Motivated by ideological commitment, it would be an act of political courage, all the more so because Huckabee could be a very serious contender for the Republican presidential nomination.  Last month, Digby observed

Mike Huckabee has that rare political ability to reach around to deliver a stiletto to the back while smiling to your face. Just as Reagan was able to make people laugh at others’ expense while seeming to stay above his own insults (case in point: “A hippie is someone who looks like Tarzan, walks like Jane and smells like Cheetah”), Huckabee can deliver a nasty line with the kind of humor that will appeal to the insensitive among us without getting in too much trouble with the normal people. Here’s just one example: “We’ve had a Congress that’s spent money like John Edwards at a beauty shop.”

That line embodies everything creepy about Mike Huckabee — and that conservatives love about him. It comes from that beloved anti-government, small town, 1950s perspective, it’s personal and nasty and it’s got a nice tinge of macho homophobia. It’s also clever (at least compared to the usual drab humor offered by conservative politicians). But perhaps this illustrates his talent even better: “Whether we need to send somebody to Mars, I don’t know. But I’ll tell you what, if we do, I’ve got a few suggestions, and maybe Hillary could be on the first rocket.” (Did I mention the 1950s perspective? To the moon, Alice.) Here’s another one. When asked whether he believed in evolution he dodged with this bon mot: “If anybody wants to believe they’re the descendants of a primate, they’e welcome to do it.” He’s that good.

Yes, he is. Huckabee possesses communication skills which characterize members of the clergy, while as a national figure and media veteran, he has managed to shed the label of "Reverend," by which he could have been stereotyped.  And lest we forget, the similarly amiable Ronald(6) Wilson(6) Reagan(6) was fairly popular among Independents, in part because he posed as a warm, charming, non-threatening fellow while his policies whittled away at the middle class and the core of American society.

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