Huckabee Not Running for President

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  May 15, 2011 — 51 Comments

Last night former Arkansas governor and Fox talk-show host Mike Huckabee announced on his program that he would not seek the Republican nomination for the presidential election in 2012.

I’ve done quite a bit of writing about Huckabee recently, both at The Wild Hunt and at the Washington Post. I specifically found his deep admiration for pseudo-historian David Barton, who denies that religious minorities are protected by the Establishment Clause, especially troubling. He even jokingly said that he thinks Barton’s views should be taught at gunpoint in public schools.

Nor was Barton the only controversial friendship he nurtured. His ongoing silence concerning similar views voiced by  Bryan Fischer, the Director of Issue Analysis for the American Family Association, a man who, like Barton, claims the Establishment Clause only applies to Christians, that Native Americans are mired in alcoholism and poverty because they won’t all become Christians, and that the environmental movement is a stalking horse for Paganism, made him uniquely unsuited in my mind to lead a pluralistic and secular nation. So let us all breathe a collective sigh of relief that Huckabee isn’t running.

The question now is who will take up the Christian social conservative banner during the Republican presidential primary race? Jon Ward at The Huffington Post believes the baton will largely pass to Minnesota Representative Michele Bachmann (if she wants it).

“Perhaps no one will benefit more than Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), if she decides to run. She has the capability, probably more than any other potential GOP candidate, to unite social conservatives in Iowa in a way similar to the way Huckabee did last election.”

Unfortunately, Bachmann is also a big David Barton fan, and is, if anything, more radical in her views than Huckabee. The only potential upside to all this for Republicans who aren’t married to Christianity and their culture war issues is that all the social conservative candidates flooding the field might just cancel each other out.

“But it is more likely now, even if Bachmann runs, that the social conservative vote in Iowa will be more splintered in 2012 than it was in 2008, with votes going to former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), former Godfathers Pizza CEO Herman Cain, and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum. In the end, this splintering could benefit other more moderate candidates like Pawlenty, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels if he decides to run, or former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, if he decides to campaign in the Hawkeye State.”

That analysis might be overly optimistic, but it does show a potential way forward for more socially moderate candidates. In any case, religious minorities must remain vigilant that any politician who would deny us equal treatment not be allowed to move forward unquestioned and unscrutinized.

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  • Joseph

    I wonder why the quote puts Herman Cain in amongst the social conservatives. From what I’ve seen, he’s running on the economic conservative end of the field.

    • http://egregores.blogspot.com/ Apuleius

      Why is Herman Cain placed among the social conservatives?

      (1) He is anti-choice.
      (2) He is against same-sex marriage.
      (3) He opposes separation of church and state on issues like school prayer and teaching creationism in public schools.
      (4) He supports "abstinence only" sex education.
      (5) He even defends WorldNetDaily against the "demagogues" of the "Left".

      In fact, I challenge anyone to come up with a "social issue" (or any other issue) on which Herman Cain is in any way distinguishable from Sarah Palin or any other right-wing Christian fundamentalist.

      • http://www.bryonmorrigan.com BryonMorrigan

        Exactly. The Tea Party Taliban also loves guys like Cain and West, because they think it's great to see African-Americans say the kind of bigoted things that would normally only come out of a Klanmember's mouth. If you examine their views, they're even worse than people like Palin.

      • Souris Optique

        Of *course* they love Herman Cain, all he does is read the party talking points from a list!

  • caraschulz

    This Conservative is glad Huckabee isn't running. I'm partial to Pawlenty (YAY Minnesota) or Mitch Daniels(who would like to have Condie Rice as his running mate). Herman Cain, he's the Tea party favorite over Michelle Backmann – cause you know, we all hate the black folk. Although my dream, and many Conservatives dream, would be to have Chris Christy run. He would win.

  • http://www.facebook.com/bluesjane Jane R. Hansen

    Born in MN and embarrassed. These two politicians do not represent us. Pawlenty boasts about cutting taxes. But he never figured out how to pay for those cuts and the state is facing a massive fiscal crisis as a direct result of his trickle-down. La de dah. If you want another buck-passing president, he's your man. Oh, and Bachmann, well, we're just embarrassed all around. She's proven that with lots of dumb money and a bunch of parrots instead of patriots, you can win an election.

  • Peg Aloi

    And don't forget, he was Governor of Arkansas for many years and never did a thing to help address the injustice of the West Memphis Three debacle.

  • Don

    Ron Paul was the only candidate who mentioned religious liberty during the SC debate.

  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    "religious minorities must remain vigilant that any politician who would deny us equal treatment not be allowed to move forward unquestioned and unscrutinized."

    Alas, the Huckabee/Barton nexus illustrates how little the media who should be doing the questioning and scrutinizing care about non-Abrahamic religious rights.

  • elnigma

    Ron Paul has some odd views, but I still remember him years ago temporarily silencing the Republican debates with something on the line of "Why are we having a war in Iraq by going into debt with China?"

  • Guest

    Isn't Ron Paul's father-in-law a prominent Christian dominionist? Like, the main student of the father of the entire movement? His son certainly wasn't a surprise, just more of the same from the GOP.

  • chuck_cosimano

    And the odds are depending on the economy, you could question and scrutinize unti the cows come home and they would still be elected. After all, religious minorities are not exactly a priority with the bulk of the voters these days.

  • Guest

    Chris Christie. Also, may I ask what it is that you like about him specifically? Perhaps most on topic for this blog: do you think he'll be friendly to the rights of Pagan & polytheist religions?

    For my part, as far as religious liberty goes, I'm not a fan on his as he believes that his religion's definition of marriage should be synonymous with civil marriage. Doesn't sound like a strong believer in personal liberty to me.

  • http://norsealchemist.blogspot.com NorseAlchemist

    I want Trump. He won't care what religion a person is. He's just out to make things make money, and we all will benefit from that.

  • http://www.bryonmorrigan.com BryonMorrigan

    Yeah, Herman Cain is SUCH a bulwark of religious tolerance. The Tea Party only love him because his hatred of Muslims outweighs their hatred for African-Americans.

    And PLEASE run Christie as the GOP candidate. A guy with that much animosity and hatred for police, firefighters, teachers, etc. has zero chance of doing anything except making Republican police officers, firefighters, and teachers vote Democrat.

  • Guest

    Bingo. On the bright side though I did hear that a lot of social moderate/economic conservatives were disenfranchised with social conservatives at the moment. Something about being willing to sell out the country economically in order to impede the rights of individuals. Hopefully that will translate into dodging a bullet come election time. Might even be the reason Huckabee decided not to run. That and that cushy job at Faux News.

  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    Still a good question…

  • Don

    I've never heard that before. Paul hasn't expressed sympathy for Dominionism.

  • caraschulz

    Ron Paul's father is dead. And my mother is a committed church lady while my father is a fantastic woodworker. I'm neither of those things.

  • http://www.bryonmorrigan.com BryonMorrigan

    Google "Ron Paul" and "Christian Reconstructionism."

  • Pagan Puff Pieces

    After seeing those Time Travel Academy clips, I'm very glad Mike Huckabee isn't running for president.

  • paosirdjhutmosu

    This New Jerseyan thanks you, Guest, whoever you are, for pointing this out.

  • caraschulz

    Yes – I do believe he will support religious rights for all religions including minority religions as he has already shown his willingness to do so.

    He supports NJ's Civil Union law, but you are right – like our President he does not support Gay Marriage. So what do you like about President Obama? Did you vote for him?

    From a TIME article titled "Obama, the Gay-Marriage Flip-Flopper"
    Try to thread this needle: The President has stated his opposition to marriage equality many times. In fact, during his campaign, he pandered to African-American audiences — a group that was already for him — by inviting a black singer named Donnie McClurkin to perform at his events; McClurkin believes one's sexuality can be changed by praying to Jesus Christ. And yet Obama has also said he opposes Public Law No. 104-199, 110 Statute 2419, a 1996 bill (signed by President Clinton) that anti-gay forces called the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA. Obama has said several times that he would like that law overturned.

    And yet — sorry, the contradictions keep coming — once Obama was elected, and once a gay couple in California had sued to overturn DOMA, his Administration not only defended the law, but defended it in a legal argument so reactionary that it would embarrass Dick Cheney (who, incidentally, is to the left of Obama on marriage). In that argument — here's a PDF courtesy of Georgetown professor Nan Hunter — Obama's lawyers noted that "courts have widely held that certain marriages performed elsewhere need not be given effect, because they conflicted with … public policy." The examples the Justice Department offered: "marriage of uncle to niece," "marriage of 16-year-old," "marriage of first cousins." (Watch a gay-marriage wedding video.)

    That argument — that two consenting adult men marrying isn't unlike a man marrying his niece — led to the silence at that Fire Island brunch. And as I have pointed out before, Obama loves to raise political donations; he has plainly begun to worry about his standing among the rich homosexuals who used to fawn over him. As the New York Times' Adam Nagourney first reported, the California legal brief was one reason that a prominent gay supporter of Obama's went to the Oval Office in late June to express, for 15 full minutes, the gay community's deep disappointment.

    And so this week we get a new legal brief from the Obama Administration in the California case, this one denuded of the execrable incest defense. This time (here's another PDF from Hunter), Obama flip-flops again — now back to his campaign position. (It must be dizzying to work in the White House these days.) Now the Administration says it opposes DOMA and wants it overturned — but that tradition dictates that it defend the law. And that is why, the White House said in a statement, "the Department of Justice has filed a response to a legal challenge to [DOMA], as it traditionally does when acts of Congress are challenged."

    Read more: http://www.time.com/time/politics/article/0,8599,…

  • http://www.bryonmorrigan.com BryonMorrigan

    Believing that one religion's definition of marriage should be the only legal one? Well, when Muslims do that, it's called "Sharia Law." Conservatives who support such definitions should really re-think the precedent they are setting there…

  • caraschulz

    From a Left leaning site (The ACLU of NJ) http://www.bluejersey.com/diary/16482/governor-ch

    A wake-up call went out on Monday, sounded by a less-than-usual suspect: our governor, Chris Christie.

    The Washington Post editorial board (generally not known for being the most progressive opinion page) gave him a shout-out today, citing him as the sole Republican to speak out for the sane position on religious freedom:

    And Republican leaders – and we use that term loosely – have been almost universally eager to exploit the issue for political purposes. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie objected to both sides using the issue "as a political football," but he is the rare exception.

    Christie, who's become a conservative icon, took a vocal stand against the xenophobia and mob mentality driving the opposition to the Park51 Muslim community center in Manhattan. More than that, he took a stand for one of our most fundamental founding rights.

    In the words of our governor:

    We cannot paint all of Islam with that brush. We have to bring people together.

    You made New Jersey proud Monday, Governor.

    Governor Christie chose to speak out, taking one for the team to remind us all what too many Americans too often forget: religious freedom doesn't belong to one faith – it belongs to everyone. No religion can claim a monopoly on the Constitution, and no race or ideology can claim exclusive access to the core values at the heart of America.

    He signed one of the toughest anti-bullying laws into effect noting the teen suicides in the GLBT community and said that bullying a kid because of sexual orientation is unacceptable.

    Those are just a few things he has done that signal to me that he isn't on a crusade, pardon the pun, to wipe out the infidel – whoever the infidel might be.

  • http://www.bryonmorrigan.com BryonMorrigan

    Yeah, that worked out so well in The Gilded Age…

  • http://xkcd.com/285 Eran Rathan

    Too late – he just said no go to running.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-1341947

  • caraschulz

    Ahhh Bryon. When will you get over this Pavlovian response? It doesn't matter what actually happens, it only matter to you what you come up with in your head.

    So you see the Tea Party wish for a POC to run for President and they support him and you come up with the idea that the Tea Party *hates* POC but hates Muslims more so they can ignore his blackness. Except if that were true, there are plenty of candidates (on all sides) that are not all that friendly with Islamic Extremists at the moment. Plenty of white candidates. I've had the joy to actually see racists and how they think (and up here, they are mostly blue-collar Democrats) and if they hate on the black folk, they HATE on the black folk and will cut off their noses to spite their faces.

    Chris Christie has said he will not run because he made a commitment to the voters of NJ and he feels that a person needs more experience before doing that important of a job. As for his chances if he did run. Everyone said a Republican couldn't win in NJ, yet he did. Right now he has a 51% approval rating and climbing.

    But this is what I like about Christie, he doesn't duck the voters even when he knows they are unhappy with him. You talk about the firefighters, right? After Christie proposed reducing pension payouts by 5 percent to firefighters who retire after 25 years, he went to their convention and spoke to them. They greeted him with (mostly) boos….

    He acknowledged the boos and then talked to them "For years, other governors have come here and lied about what is going on," Christie said. "I'm looking for a way to keep faith with all of you." He told them this was needed and "Everyone in this room and your families who have paid the pension deserve to get it," By the time he left, there was applause. Because he didn't sugar coat it and didn't try to weasel out and he acknowledged the hardship this would cause.

    That's what I like about Christie.

  • caraschulz

    So you have never voted for a candidate who did not support Gay Marriage? Think carefully.

  • Don

    Hm. The connection between Paul and CR looks pretty thin, based on attending a couple events where CRs were present and having a CR on the campaign staff. If held to the same logic, I'd be a socialist, racist, and anarchist since I've attended events where usch people were present and even cooperated with such people on certain projects. Besides, I see little influence of CR/ Dominionism on Paul's views and policies.

  • http://norsealchemist.blogspot.com NorseAlchemist

    He honestly can't be worse than anyone else we've had. People want change? Let's try his.

  • Joseph

    You could say the same things about Huntsman or Pawlenty, but they were listed as “moderates” in the article. And since when is defending WND a particularly “socially conservative” stance?

  • http://egregores.blogspot.com/ Apuleius

    WND fired ANN COULTER for being too friendly with the gays.

    ANN COULTER.

  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    Cara, I realize your comment was not directed specifically to me, but I feel animated to respond.

    I knew Obama's negativity on marriage equity going in, but it's not the first time I've voted for the preferable candidate rather than waiting for a perfect one to come along. That's electoral politics. All my adult life I've faced the choice of making that kind of selection or voting for a no-hope candidate who's pure on my issues. Sometimes I've gone one way and sometimes the other but I've come to regard Realpolitik as the only way to behave in the voting booth. The Tea Party reminds me of my younger self (though on the other side of the idealogical aisle) and I patiently await its fate as I watch John Boehner (a fellow Ohioan btw) try to direct a team of horses with no traces.

    On the marriage equity issue I regard Obama as a work in progress. I don't know where his heart is; I suspect he's personally conflicted but wants to do the right (ie, progressive) thing. I have a lot of issues I care about and am willing to cut him more slack on this one. If I were BGLT I might feel differently and I respect those who do.
    (continued)

  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    (continued)
    My attitude comes in for a lot of flak from the left and the right but I regard it as the only adult way to vote. I didn't like that kind of language when I was younger and I don't expect you to particularly delight in it now. But I regard my approach as the way a responsible citizen tries to keep the polity intact while expressing preferences in the voting booth.

  • Guest

    I prefer the term same-sex marriage and no I haven't.

  • http://www.bryonmorrigan.com BryonMorrigan

    And you really believed Obama when he said that? He had to give the African-American Christian Supremacists something to chew on. As I predicted as far back as 2007, he shifted his stance once elected, and has ordered the gov't to stop defending that lovely piece of Christian Supremacist, Right-Wing legislation known as DOMA, a disgusting piece of legislation that even the _allegedly_ "Libertarian" candidate Ron Paul supported.

  • Guest

    Isn't "he honestly can't be worse than anything else we've had…People want change" exactly what got Obama elected?

  • Guest

    Yeah, I'll have to second that. I don't actually have any worry about Paul's pseudo-religious dictatorial ambitions. He strikes me more as the type of libertarian who's against the government because he wants the church to be running the show without necessarily telling the old white men what to do.

  • Guest

    Right. Which is why I don't think Ron Paul is a Christian Reconstructionist because a family member is/was/might have been. Having one on staff, eh, that's questionable. Of course his campaign rhetoric is well polished enough but that comes from being a professional politician.

  • Guest

    That's because Ann Coulter is really a liberal drag queen (the Adam's Apple gives him away!) infiltrator sent to assassinate the reincarnation of McCarthy who has been born into the body of the love child of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher and was secretly raised by Rush Limbaugh and the Dalai Lama while going to school at the CIA skull and bones chapter. That love child is the hope of the conservative movement, his name, is Lady Gaga. He comes to save your souls (to collect the whole set)! I thought EVERYBODY knew that!

  • Guest

    Darn it! There I go getting possessed by the spirit of Bryan Fischer and rambling on while making as much sense and reflecting reality as accurately as David Barton. When will the madness end?!?

  • http://www.bryonmorrigan.com BryonMorrigan

    Damn. That would have been hilarious. It seems most of the GOP challengers have looked at the polls and said, "I don't wanna be the guy who lost to Obama."

  • Souris Optique

    Teachers, however, are a whole different story. I wrote him off completely as soon as I saw the way he treats people who dare even *politely* disagree with him. But then I'm not a Republican — that seems to be one of his most popular selling points.

  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    I felt the same way when Pat Buchanan was running in the '92 GOP primary. He aired for Southern markets a clip from "Tongues Untied," a gay leather film funded in part by a National Endowment for the Arts grant, with a voice-over to the effect of "This is how George Bush [the First] is spending your money."

    Alas, with the passage of nearly twenty years I no longer find presidential elections a fit venue for hilarity. But Trump would have done it. Can you imagine what Doonesbury and Toles would have done with him? I can see it now: Obama demanding that Trump produce his birth certificate…

  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    Pardon my obtuseness, Guest, but did you mean "disenfranchised" or "disenchanted"?

  • http://norsealchemist.blogspot.com NorseAlchemist

    Yeah, I think it was. lol

  • Guest

    Then what makes you think it'll work out any better with somebody else?

  • Guest

    Disenchanted, thanks. English is not my first language and every once in a while I'll have a slip up.

  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    I wouldn't have spotted you as an ESL. I do odd word substitutions myself sometimes.

  • http://norsealchemist.blogspot.com NorseAlchemist

    Honestly? I don't. I'm pretty sure it's all going down the crapper, but I figured we tried the "nice" way of Obama, we might as well try the hard business way next!

    -laughs maniacally-