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January 15, 2008

Deep Thoughts (4:30 am Mike Huckabee edition)

OK, just one more thing from me while I can't get back to sleep. I can't equal the pieces Slublog and Gabe have done here about Huckabee & his supporters since the Iowa caucus, but there's just one little thing about St. Huck that's been bothering me, and as long as I'm awake, I'm going to finally try to put it out there for public consumption.

I think the whole Huckabee campaign and my problems with it can be summed up in a couple of details of his immigration policy.

During his last couple years as Governor of Arkansas, Mike Huckabee was an advocate for granting amnesty to illegal aliens. In 2005, he even went as far as describing an opponent of his plan to grant in-state tuition rates and scholarships to the children of illegal aliens as "un-Christian, un-American, irresponsible and anti-life". Here's the link. Now, three years later, he's running for president and singing a different tune. He's going to build a fence, enforce the law, and make all immigrants wait in line to get into the US of A.

What bothers me here isn't the filp-flop on immigration, Lork knows we've got plenty of flip-floppers in politics. Hell, I even LIKE some of them. No, what really bothers me here is Mike Huckabee's use of religion as a blunt instrument. Look at the timeline: In January of 2005, opposing illegal immigrants was "un-Christian". In January of 2008, Mike Huckabee is supposed to be the "real conservative" in the race because he wants to build the fence. What happened during the three years between these positions? Yeah, that's right: Mike Huckabee decided to run for President.

I'm a Christian, and I would have to think long and hard before I publicly declared an opponent to be "un-Christian". I'd like to think that a minister would be just as sensitive, or even more so, to the meaning of that charge as I am. When a believer declares that someone is against the tenets of their faith, it's reasonable for an observer to believe that he's alleging that that person has staked out a position against God himself. That's not a charge to be made lightly. I've got no problem with making that allegation when your opponent is strongly pro-abortion or pro-euthenasia, but is opposing giving government benefits to illegal immigrants REALLY contrary to God's law?

I'm an American, and I've also got a problem with calling someone "un-American" because he wants to enforce our sovereignty. That's not as offensive to me as the "un-Christian" charge, but it's still bad form in my book.

Irresponsible? That's not offensive on it's face, but I'd sure like to hear the explanation of how it's irresponsible to want to ensure that those using our social safety net are citizens or legal aliens.

Anti-life? Are. You. Freakin'. Kidding. Me? Anti-life? Because you don't want to endorse amnesty? I think Mike just got himself worked up into a righteous fervor and threw this charge in without thinking it through. Anti-life is a pretty big charge, and I don't think it applies here. I could be wrong; after all, I didn't get a degree in Theology, so I'm not an expert on the issue.

But now that I think about it, Mike Huckabee doesn't have a degree in Theology either, so my opinion on the issue is just as valid as his.

It's been three years since he made these charges, and the only major event in Mike Huckabee's life between 2005 and now is that he's running for President. Where's the "Road to Damascus" moment that changed his opinion on what's "un-Christian" about opposing amnesty for illegals? I'll allow a man to change his mind on an issue, but I'd like the courtesy of an explanation of what made him change his mind. What I'm hearing from Huckabee is that he's always been consistent on immigration. Am I calling him a liar? No; let's just say that his version of reality and my version of reality may not completely overlap in this case.

So, after looking at what he said then & what he's saying now, I'm left with three conclusions.

1. Mike Huckabee has undergone a major change in how he views illegal immigration, but he hasn't explained how that change came about to the American people. Either that, or he's being cynical about flip-flopping and hoping that his supporters don't have access to Google. Until he gives me a plausible reason for his conversion, I believe that his immigration policy is about as truthful as an Enron year-end financial report.

2. Mike Huckabee uses his religion as a weapon against his political opponents. When you call someone "un-Christian" and "anti-life", you're making serious charges. When a self-professed believer uses phrases like this against his opponents, that's a serious charge. What bothers me is that Mike Huckabee has no problem referring to Republican opponents with phrases like this, but where's his anger towards Democrats? If fellow Republicans are "un-Christian", wouldn't that make pro-choice Democrats "whores of Babylon"? I'm uncomfortable with making religious charges against your political opponents, but I'll cut the person making the charges some slack if he makes his case. Mike Huckabee didn't make his case, and he hasn't asked for forgiveness for his false accusations. That bothers me.

3. Mike Huckabee is not a serious man. He makes charges against his political opponents that are not supported by the facts. He changes his public positions on an issue 180 from where he was 3 years ago and makes no effort to explain the change. As far as my interpretation of his bona fides on immigration goes; I think that if he's elected President in 2008, the Huckabee administration will make President George W. Bush look like Tom Tancredo by comparison.

I know that this won't change any minds. People who like Huckabee as a candidate don't care what non-evengelicals think, and those who are opposed to him already don't need me to give them extra reasons to oppose him. I just wanted to make a rational case for why I think Mike Huckabee is extremely unqualified to serve as President of the United States of America. Hopefully, that's what I've done here.

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posted by Russ from Winterset at 07:20 AM

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