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Top 10 Moments in Mike Huckabee's Extremism

December 10, 2007

As former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee catapults to the top of the 2008 Republican presidential race, amazed media on-lookers ponder his meteoric rise. The authentic, charismatic former minister, they say, is swaying disheartened conservative voters, especially the legions of evangelicals in Iowa and other states, disillusioned with President Bush and unimpressed with his potential successors. But despite emerging stories from his checkered past such as the Wayne Dumond affair or his past AIDS bigotry, a true portrait of Mike Huckabee as a radical reactionary and dangerous extremist has yet to be painted.
Here then, are the Top 10 Moments in Mike Huckabee's extremism:

  1. Huckabee Calls for the Quarantine of AIDS Victims
  2. Huckabee Enables the Politically-Motivated Parole of Repeat Rapist/Murderer
  3. Huckabee Offers Faith-Based Pardons
  4. Huckabee Undermines the Teaching of Evolution
  5. Huckabee Speaks for God
  6. Huckabee Speaks to God
  7. Huckabee Claims God Behind His Rise in the Polls
  8. Huckabee Proclaims His Theology Degree a Unique Qualification to Fight Terrorism
  9. Huckabee Flip-Flops, Calls for Federal Abortion Ban
  10. Huckabee Calls for Consumption Tax, Abolition of the IRS

1. Huckabee Calls for the Quarantine of AIDS Victims
In 1992, then Senate candidate Huckabee advocated the isolation of AIDS patients. Labeling homosexuality "an aberrant, unnatural, and sinful lifestyle" which could "pose a dangerous public health risk," Huckabee called for draconian - and discriminatory - action:

"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.
It is difficult to understand the public policy towards AIDS. It is the first time in the history of civilization in which the carriers of a genuine plague have not been isolated from the general population, and in which this deadly disease for which there is no cure is being treated as a civil rights issue instead of the true health crisis it represents."

Despite the clear understanding of AIDS transmission that emerged years earlier (even an AIDS demagogue like Ronald Reagan spoke publicly about it in 1987), Huckabee still insists (wrongly) that "we didn't know." And speaking to Fox News on Sunday, Huckabee refused to "recant" or "run from" his words in 1992.
2. Huckabee Enables the Politically-Motivated Parole of Repeat Rapist/Murderer
As Murray Waas documented at the Huffington Post, Mike Huckabee might claim to be a man of God, but he acted a pure partisan operator in the parole of Wayne Dumond in Arkansas.
The expanding scandal surrounding Dumond, a convicted rapist, is not limited to Huckabee's direct personal involvement in securing his parole. Nor is Huckabee's disgrace merely compounded by his later denials that he had no way of knowing the dangers posed by Dumond, who went to rape and murder against after his release. (Waas produces extenstive documentation, including letters to Huckabee from Dumond's past victims.) Huckabee's abominable role is all the more shocking because it was done at the behest of conservative zealots like Steve Dunleavy and Guy Reel furious because Wayne Dumond's victim was a distant cousin of Bill Clinton who also happened to be the daughter of a prominent Arkansas Democrat.
Baselessly calling the coverage by ABC and the Huffington Post "complete exploitation" and full of "factual errors," Huckabee tried to deny his role in the Dumond affair and instead attacked the messenger:

"What a sad thing that in an election year, we're going to take the grief of these people...and make this a political issue, and try to point fingers and blame."

The former minister might have been better served by rereading the Ten Commandments: you shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
3. Huckabee Offers Faith-Based Pardons
As the AP reports, Governor Huckabee didn't merely intervene to help past and future felons for political purposes. Huckabee used his pardon power at an unprecedented rate (1,033 times over 10 ½ years, compared to 507 times over the 17 plus years of Bill Clinton, Frank White and Jim Guy Tucker). And as case after case shows, Huckabee was quick to offer clemency when his fellow ministers requested it.
The AP documented numerous cases of Huckabee's faith, friends and family plan for gubernatorial pardons:

Donald W. Clark, convicted of theft. Huckabee's pastor recommended leniency for Clark, whose stepmother worked on Huckabee's gubernatorial staff.
Robert A. Arnold Jr., who was convicted of killing his father-in-law. Arnold's father, a former mayor of Hope, Huckabee's hometown, said he was a casual friend of the governor.
A pastor who promoted Huckabee among blacks urged the governor to grant clemency to John Henry Claiborne, who was sentenced to 100 years for a 1994 armed robbery, according to a 2004 report in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Huckabee made Claiborne eligible for parole after receiving a letter from the Rev. Charles Williams, who told the newspaper he had helped win "many, many" clemencies from Huckabee.
Whitewater figure David Hale, a government witness in the trial that forced Gov. Jim Guy Tucker's resignation and let Huckabee ascend to the office, was pardoned after being sentenced to 21 days in a state insurance case. Huckabee complained it would cost too much to hold him. The price tag: $1,200.

As prosecutor Robert Herzfeld said in 2004, "It seems to be true at least anecdotally that if a minister is involved, (Huckabee) seems likely to grant clemency."
4. Huckabee Undermines the Teaching of Evolution
Mike Huckabee hasn't merely repeatedly proclaimed his ignorance of evolution. During his days as Arkansas Governor, he presided over efforts to undermine the teaching of Darwin's theory in the state's public schools.
Huckabee was one of the three GOP White House hopefuls at a Republican debate in May who raised his hand when asked "who doesn't believe in evolution?" And receiving the endorsements of 60 pastors in Iowa last week, Huckabee reiterated his position that:

"I believe God created the heavens and the Earth. I wasn't there when he did it, so how he did it, I don't know.
That's an irrelevant question to ask me - I'm happy to answer what I believe, but what I believe is not what's going to be taught in 50 different states. Education is a state function. The more state it is, and the less federal it is, the better off we are."

But as the Arkansas Times detailed in 2006, then Governor Huckabee similarly claimed not to know that schools in his state were pressuring instructors not to teach evolution in the classroom. In its piece titled "Scientists Discover That Evolution is Missing from Arkansas Classrooms," the paper documented a shocking July 2004 exchange between Huckabee and a pupil on "Arkansans Ask," his regular show on the Arkansas Educational Television Network:

MODERATOR: Schools are dodging Darwinism? Is that what you...?
HUCKABEE: I'm not familiar that they're dodging it. Maybe they are. But I think schools also ought to be fair to all views. Because, frankly, Darwinism is not an established scientific fact. It is a theory of evolution, that's why it's called the theory of evolution. And I think that what I'd be concerned with is that it should be taught as one of the views that's held by people. But it's not the only view that's held. And any time you teach one thing as that it's the only thing, then I think that has a real problem to it.

5. Huckabee Speaks for God
At the CNN/YouTube debate in November, Huckabee adroitly deflected a question on Jesus' position on the death penalty, announcing to applause from the GOP faithful that "Jesus was too smart to ever run for public office." But ten years earlier in 1997, Huckabee claimed unique insight into Christ's likely support for capital punishment:

"Interestingly enough, if there was ever an occasion for someone to have argued against the death penalty, I think Jesus could have done so on the cross and said, 'This is an unjust punishment and I deserve clemency.'"

6. Huckabee Speaks to God
Addressing a 2004 gathering of Republican governors, Huckabee playfully took a cell phone call from God, promising Him GOP support of His platform while assuming His backing for the Republican Party and President George W. Bush:

"We're behind [Bush], yes, sir, we sure are. Yes, sir, we know you don't take sides in the election. But, if you did, we kind of think you'd hang in there with us, Lord, we really do."

7. Huckabee Claims God Behind His Rise in the Polls
Three years after claiming God' endorsement for the GOP and President Bush, Mike Huckabee is now counting Him among his own supporters. Asked about his sudden surge in the presidential polls, Huckabee attributed the gains to His divine intervention:

"There's only one explanation for it, and it's not a human one. It's the same power that helped a little boy with two fish and five loaves feed a crowd of 5,000 people and that's the only way that our campaign could be doing what it's doing.
And I'm not being facetious nor am I trying to be trite. There literally are thousands of people across who are praying that a little will become much and it has, and it defies all explanation. It has confounded the pundits, and I'm enjoying every minute of their trying to figure it out. And until they look at it from a just experience beyond human, they'll never figure it out. And that's probably just as well. That's honestly why its happening."

Huckabee later feebly backtracked, claiming, "I'm saying that when people pray, things happen...I'm not saying that God wants me to be elected." Lord, forgive him not, for he knows what he does.
8. Huckabee Proclaims His Theology Degree a Unique Qualification to Fight Terrorism
Minister Huckabee is quick to champion his degree from tiny Ouachita Baptist University as uniquely qualifying him for the White House. His faith-based presidency would fight the dual threats from Charles Darwin and Osama Bin Laden. In November, Huckabee tried to claim the mantle of the GOP's leading terror fighter, arguing:

"I think I'm stronger than most people because I truly understand the nature of the war that we are in with Islamo fascism. These are people that want to kill us. It's a theocratic war. And I don't know if anybody fully understands that. I'm the only guy on that stage with a theology degree."

Apparently, Mike Huckabee knows a theocrat when he sees one.
9. Huckabee Flip-Flops, Calls for Federal Abortion Ban
It comes as no surprise that the former minister is the most strident GOP presidential candidate when it comes to abortion. What is fascinating is Huckabee's turn-about on the Republican orthodoxy of states' rights.
Intent on stressing his pro-life bona fides against Fred Thompson and other GOP contenders, Huckabee in November proclaimed his support for a federal ban on abortions. Echoing Condi Rice's misappropriation of Civil War and slavery analogies for partisan political purposes:

"It's the logic of the Civil War," Huckabee said Sunday, comparing abortion rights to slavery. "If morality is the point here, and if it's right or wrong, not just a political question, then you can't have 50 different versions of what's right and what's wrong."
"For those of us for whom this is a moral question, you can't simply have 50 different versions of what's right," he said in an interview on "Fox News Sunday."

Unfortunately for Governor Huckabee, that statement flatly contradicted the states' right approach to abortion regulation he took earlier in the year. "First of all," he said", "it should be left to the states."
10. Huckabee Calls for Consumption Tax, Abolition of the IRS
Politicians and academics on both sides of the aisle have at different times called for adding a national consumption tax to encourage savings and investment. But Mike Huckabee is at the forefront of a new wave of Republicans advocating ending the income tax altogether, ensuring a massive redistribution of wealth to - and tax burden away from - the richest Americans.
As both Robert Novak and the Wall Street Journal suggest, Huckabee's strategy is designed to help him "avoid talk of his own checkered tax past in Little Rock."

He promises to abolish the IRS, and along with it all current income, corporate, payroll and other taxes--to be replaced with a 23% national sales, or consumption, tax. He's also promised repeal of the 16th amendment--which established the income tax--to ensure Americans don't get double-taxation.

Of course, the so-called "Fair Tax" wouldn't merely shift the tax burden down the income ladder to Americans who by necessity must spend a greater percentage of their wages and salaries on consumption. As Republican Bruce Bartlett, a deputy assistant secretary of the Treasury from 1988 to 1993, made clear, the 23% figure itself is a "deception." Bartlett argues that "professional revenue estimators have always concluded that a national retail sales tax would have to be much, much higher than 23%," and depending on how state taxes are addressed, "a rate of 64% would be required." It's no wonder Bartlett says of Huckabee and his "Fair Tax" ilk, "voters should not take seriously any candidate who supports it."
UPDATE 1: As it turns out (and as many readers predicted), Mike Huckabee can shock most Americans' sensibilities at rate far faster than can be documented. DailyKos diarist 4fx notes than in 1998, Huckabee was one of 131 signatories to a full page USA Today Ad which, among other things, proclaimed that "a wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband." Also hot off the presses from ThinkProgress is Mike Huckabee's declaration that same year that he got into politics to "take this nation back for Christ."
UPDATE 2: Because Mike Huckabee's outrages occur at a rate faster than can be documented, Perrspectives has now compiled "10 More Moments in Mike Huckabee's Extremism."
UPDATE 3: For details and history on 20 other moments in the extremism of Mike Huckabee, see:

  • "Yet Another 10 Moments in Mike Huckabee's Extremism"
  • "Still Another 10 Moments in Mike Huckabee's Extremism"
  • 19 comments on “Top 10 Moments in Mike Huckabee's Extremism”

    1. I am no fan of Huckabee. His involvment in the Dumond rape case is a lapse in judgement that DQ's him for me. But nearly all the criticism leveled in this post is about ridiculing his faith. Some of the items you are clearly blowing up beyond his intent. the anti christian bias is apparent. there are legit reasons to not suppport the guy, but when you make your critique all about holding him up for scorn for his beliefs, you betray the same bigotry you decry him for.

    2. Aaron,
      I respectfully but completelyt disagree with your assessment.
      My argument is not with Mike Huckabee's personal faith, but with his blatant - and dangerous - attempt to impose it upon the American people and American public policy.
      Respecting his views on creationism, science and a host of other issues is not the same endorsing them. And the flip side is what makes Mike Huckabee a dangerous extremist is not his personal faith, but his clear desire to impose it upon all Americans.
      A critical aspect of the liberal project is to protect the right of Mike Huckabee and everyone else to practice their religion without fear from the government. Huckabee's theocratic conservatism is designed to do precisely the opposite.

    3. Thanks for giving the type of information that should be the lead story on the news each night. Very interesting...can't wait to see his sermons.

    4. Huckabee is a prime example of why our Founders wanted separation of church and state!! Everything about him SCREAMS theocracy in the making! Do you want your government telling you that accepting the archaic teachings of the christian religion is THE basic requirement for being an American? Do you want your President to base his policy-making, his decisions, his goals for this country on his own personal religious beliefs and his self-proclaimed "divine" guidance from his own personal god? What happens if you don't believe in his god? What steps will he take to assure that EVERY American DOES believe in his god? Watch out, America, here comes the modern-day Inquisition, and woe to those who defy the mandate of "believe in my god or you'll be dealt with by me in the ways my god told me to deal with you...oh, and by the way, you'll just WISH waterboarding was the worst in store for you!"

    5. I'm voting for him. He thinks the same as I do on a more things than any of the other candidates . Yes I am a beleiver in Jesus .

    6. Will,
      I would have to disagree with you.
      Everyone who lives in the United States
      has the freedom of religion, mostly due to separation between the church and state.
      Although Mike Huckabee may be a great candidate for your pastor, our President
      should not be making his decisions for our
      entire country (which contains Christians,
      Jews, Muslims, Atheists, etc.) based upon his
      own personal beliefs.

    7. Huck wants to save America.
      He can do it, but we must change the constitution.
      We love the part in the constitution about guns.
      I don't know what a militia is, but it sounds like fun!
      That part is ok.
      The problem is, I believe George Washington did not know about homosexuality and also did not know that it was a threat to our marriages, so we need to make an ammendment stopping gay people from marrying to protect ourselves.
      I believe we shouldn't let gays marry straight people either, and you know they would if that's all the choice they had.
      No one is talking about how we enact a law about not letting homosexuals marry, so I thought I might lend some insight about the details.
      I don't want to actually mention "homosexuals" in the constitution, or describe what it is, or talk about the filthy pervurted acts they do to each other.
      Just name them once, saying "All men, except homosexuals, are created equal" and stay out of truck stops.
      Then the actual amendment might read like this...
      "Only the federal government has the right to define and grant marriage"
      I know this might annul all marriages not presided over by a federal judge or officer, but the gay threat is more than we can risk!
      And we would have to say that everyone has to remarry the same people (unless gay) so that no one is sinning by commiting fornication.
      Then, since the constitution already said that ho-mo's aren't equal, a simple federal law saying both peoples got to be heteros and one is male one female.
      We would need to make sure no one is getting sex-changed, tucking the penis, or faking to look like a female/male, so a physical exam to precisely determine your sex should be done.
      This should also be not allowed if the female looks more like a guy than the man.
      (For societies sake).
      The Supreme Court can decide what is Homosexual.
      They would go easy on men who wore dresses, but this isn't a witch hunt, after all.
      We would need a way to weed out those who are applying for marriages for even opposite sex couples who are actually homosexual. I believe the only way to truly tell, would be to find out if the men hunt and watch Nascar. We would still need to test thoroughly.
      (No Jeff Gordon fans).
      For the ladies, since their are no obvious ways to tell who is gay, we would need to have a beautiful lady perform homo-erotic acts upon the new bride to-be while federal workers observed for signs of titilation. (Some ordinary amount of pleasure may be acceptable in gals).
      If either the man and woman failed the initial testing, we could test again on the joy, passion, and participation of activity of lovemaking between the couple.
      I am sure we would need an appeals board in case one of the person's failed to make the event exciting and pleasurable enough for the other. No law should be written that says she has to enjoy it. We just need to know they aren't gay.
      I believe, for all fairness sake, a professional in the art of sexual pleasures should be given ample opportunity to please the unsatisfied person and see if they can determine that it was the failure to make satisfying sex with their marriage partner, and not that the person requires homo-erotic stimuli.
      Maybe seperate water fountains next...
      Vote Huckabee. His good values and common sense can protect my hetero marriage.

    8. Huckabee speaks for God by giving his interpretation of Scripture???????? Wow, you are the loon and your logic is evil and idiotic, no wonder you're not a Christian: you're a stupid opinion basher who thinks he speaks for God and Mike Huckabee. "With the judgment you use to judge shall you be judged." Interpret that, without being a hypocrite this time.
      God bless you.

    9. Furthermore, how can you NOT speak for God if he commands us to CORRECTLY interpret and then teach or proclaim his word, to show it to those who are unaware of it so that they might be saved or refuted and feel shame and guilt and at least obey him? You negate God's word with such an attack, now that is what is evil.

    10. I'm pretty sure that KGM's missive is a Poe... but this be-Knighted chap's scribblings look to be real. Ye gods, but we're drowning in a sea of stupid in this country.
      ["Jefferson's spinning so fast, we're having trouble keeping grass on his grave..."]

    11. All religio-whackos, everyone who claims that gods speak to them or that they speak for gods, everyone who presumes to set themselves up as a judge of morality, everyone who is a bigot, everyone who is a hypocrite, everyone who voted for Bush/Cheney or McCain/Palin, SHOULD ALL BE SHOT ON SIGHT AS TERRORISTS, AND ENEMIES OF THE COUNTRY AND OF ALL HUMANKIND.
      I have HAD it with this "tolerance" and "freedom" for DANGEROUS STUPID PSYCHOTICS.
      You can "believe in Jesus" all you want. That makes you a NUTCASE. There never was any such person. It was a collection of fairy tales. Santa Claus is more real.
      You can "believe in the inerrant word of the bible" all you want. That makes you an IDIOT. Your bible contradicts itself thousands of times.
      You can FOLLOW the teachings of the more realistic portions of the bible: feed the hungry, help the poor, defend the helpless. That makes you a LIBERAL.
      Nobody who has ever actually READ the bible would have ANYTHING to do with ANY of the garbage that comprise the repukelican party, even WITHOUT knowing what liars and scum and hypocrites they are.
      Liberals are tolerant to a fault, and try to be kind to pepole who obviously are brain-damaged. But when the reichwingnuts' vicious insanity starts endangering my safety and freedom, they are no longer harmless. They are criminals, and need to be removed from society.

    12. You have written lies and distortions of what Governor Huckabee said in almost every one of these comments. What I wonder is, why would you attack Governor Huckabee? He is the most honest, straight forward politician out there and, even if you don't agree with him on the issues, what you see is what you get. Most politicians ARE always recanting what they have said just to gain votes. Governor Huckabee stands by his convictions. You've gotta admire someone like him...


    Jon Perr
    Jon Perr is a technology marketing consultant and product strategist who writes about American politics and public policy.

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