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December 08, 2007

Huckabee in 1992: Quarrantine AIDS Victims, Cut Research & Let Celebrities Fund A Cure

Although I've seen some arguments on the right that AIDS has been treated entirely differently from any other communicable disease due to politics, the fact is it isn't easy to spread like, say, a flu. Whatever arguments he might make regarding this, it's a decidedly non-mainstream position and political poison.

I should also note that by 1992 it was fairly clear that the AIDS pandemic earlier feared in the early 80's was not a real possibility. In the early eighties, when AIDS seemed as if it could be a disease that wiped out a significant fraction of the human population, the quarantine position seemed more defensible. But by 1992, with new cases occurring but hardly in an explosive, exponentially growing fashion, it's harder to defend.
The guy cannot win. Furthermore, I don't even know if I'd want him to win, even versus Hillary, should he be nominated. As someone I talked to from NRO said the other night, if Huckabee's nominated, we'll have Hillary Clinton running to his right.

PS, after I quote this, I'll defend my constant Huckabee bashing.


“‘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,’ Huckabee wrote.

“‘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.’

My tipster notes: “When Huckabee wrote his answers in 1992, it was common knowledge that AIDS could not be spread by casual contact.” Thus, quarantining approx. 195,718 American as if they had tuberculosis or some other “plague” was decidedly outside of the mainstream.

He then advocated having celebrities (?) pick up the tab for AIDS research:

“‘In light of the extraordinary funds already being given for AIDS research, it does not seem that additional federal spending can be justified,’ Huckabee wrote. ‘An alternative would be to request that multimillionaire celebrities, such as Elizabeth Taylor (,) Madonna and others who are pushing for more AIDS funding be encouraged to give out of their own personal treasuries increased amounts for AIDS research.’”

It's certainly true that AIDS has been granted a disproportionate amount of research dollars compared to less politically-"hot" diseases like lung or breast cancer. Still, I find this suggestion -- that celebrities (!) pick up the tab for new funding -- unserious and bumpkinish.

He just doesn't seem to think serious issues through very hard. He's a smooth talker and charismatic, admittedly, but his policy proposals tend to be glib and facile.

Now, why I am I roughing him up so hard?

Because it's his turn. He flew under the radar for most of this campaign and thus received no negative coverage while all of the front runners were being savaged for past scandals, past (or present) liberal positions, and general liabilities. It's not healthy to allow a candidate to go unvetted and unscarred through the primaries -- all of this stuff is going to come out eventually. It's best that the candidates either put such charges to rest and thus get past them or else be found wanting and ultimately fail. We don't want a fragile candidate winning the nomination only to be savaged and destroyed when it's too late for we Republican voters to do anything about it.

And yeah, I've been consistent on this point. In an earlier post I noted one candidate's attacks against another and noted I was happy to have the attacks and wasn't going to knock someone for "going negative." Each candidate himself obviously isn't going to tell us his negatives -- we rely on other candidates, and the helpful-in-this-context MSM, for that. If a candidate can be sunk by his negatives, he should be sunk by his negatives now, when we have the chance to do something about it. We can't have a guy sauntering through the primary season only to find out later that he's not politically viable.

So yes, I've been piling on Huckabee. I'll continue to do so. He's not been vetted previously because no one took him seriously previously. But the Iowa caucuses are about a month away and all of his negatives have to be highlighted before then.

Of course, as many of you suggest, I'm "biased" against Huckabee, though I wouldn't use that word. I'd say instead I consider him unelectable and unworthy as a Republican standard bearer. As many say of Giuliani: I can't suppprt a liberal just because he's got an (R) after his name.

At least Giuliani's liberalism would actually help him in a general election over Hillary.

More: Allah's posted this at the same time again -- I'm not copying him; it's just, um, I guess getting to the email box at about the same time.

His post is pretty similar to mine, I guess, but I do invite you to check out the last quotes from Huckabee there.

Apparently we should quarantine AIDS patients but should not isolate belligerently dangerous countries; instead, I guess, we should treat them as we would treat "individuals" with respect, outreach, and, I'm guessing, big dollops of diplomacy and nuance.

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posted by Ace at 04:08 PM

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