Right Wing Nut House



Filed under: Decision '08, Ethics — Rick Moran @ 4:35 pm

Mike Huckabee has said some very strange things this campaign season - mostly to obscure his center-left record as a tax and spend populist while governor of Arkansas. But during his speech Monday night in front of his most fervent supporters in Michigan, Huckabee said something that revealed perhaps the true nature of his candidacy and what it means for America and his brand of “conservatism:”

“[Some of my opponents] do not want to change the Constitution, but I believe it’s a lot easier to change the constitution than it would be to change the word of the living God, and that’s what we need to do is to amend the Constitution so it’s in God’s standards rather than try to change God’s standards,” Huckabee said, referring to the need for a constitutional human life amendment and an amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman.

The Reverend Huckabee must be a privileged individual indeed to know the mind of God. I suppose it’s all a matter of interpretation; some people might violently disagree with the good reverend about just what those “standards” of God might be. But since Reverend Huckabee has been given the grace to see the light and pronounce the one true list of standards God has set for us then I guess the debate is over and we can simply bow to his superior insights and extra special holiness.

Christian conservatives are fond of saying that their critics don’t want freedom of religion but freedom from religion. In the grossest sense I suppose that’s true. But those making that argument ignore the ramifications of what they are proposing when protesting that they only want to be able to practice their religion in the public square. If that’s all there was too it, I doubt that too many Americans would be uneasy or even fearful. But then along comes Mike Huckabee talking about basically establishing God’s kingdom here in America by amending our Constitution to reflect his idea of “God’s standards” in moral behavior and even Christian evangelicals must look in askance at the Reverend’s candidacy.

As a conservative, I stand on the side of tradition so that when headline seeking atheists and their buddies at the ACLU initiate some unnecessary court action to remove a creche that has been placed in front of some city hall for a hundred years or a cross that has stood atop a mountain for 80 years and has become the centerpiece of a Korean War memorial, I stand with the Christians in complete confidence that I am living up to my conservative ideals. But Huckabee’s all too revealing utterance about exactly how he seeks to accomplish his idea of a “just moral order” should cause every conservative worth their stripes to denounce the candidate’s words and deplore his candidacy.

The impulse that drives Huckabee and his supporters is not a conservative one. It is a statist impulse - a desire to use the power of the government to enforce arbitrary standards of moral behavior on the rest of us. It is taking the conservative dictum requiring a moral order for justice to thrive and twisting the concept to allow for one group to not only dictate morality but also impose their own, necessarily narrow view of justice.

For my lefty friends who may not be familiar with conservative philosophy, I can assure you that going all the way back to Locke and coming forward to the present, you will not find Mr. Huckabee’s notion of state imposed religious standards for either personal behavior or law anywhere. It is, as Andy McCarthy of NRO puts rather mildly, anti-Democratic in the extreme:

Lisa, it’s really infuriating if you’ve had the experience — as I have — of being portrayed at various panels as part of the “American Taliban” for defending the purportedly Islamophobic efforts to root out Muslim terrorists. Part of my usual response, as a demonstration of how nuts this accusation is, focuses on the Taliban, their imposition of sharia (i.e., God’s law), and the marked contrast to our system’s bedrock guarantee of freedom of conscience.

Huckabee is made to order for the Left: his rhetoric embodies their heretofore lunatic indictment that we’re no better that what we’re fighting against. Let’s “amend the Constitution so it’s in God’s standards rather than try to change God’s standards”? Who needs to spin when the script speaks for itself? Where has Huck been for the last seven years? Does he not get that our enemies — the people who want to end our way of life — believe they are simply imposing God’s standards?

McCarthy’s reference to a “bedrock guarantee of freedom of conscience” is, in fact, the essence of conservatism. Huckabee apparently rejects this basic freedom as not being up to “God’s standards” and seeks to substitute a capricious slavishness to a single, dominant, narrow moral criterion that brooks no questions because it establishes itself from God.

As McCarthy points out, this is exactly the same thing our enemies wish to impose upon us and the rest of the world. Who cares if it comes from a devout Christian or a devout Muslim. The effect is the same.

The friction between genuine conservatives (even genuine social conservatives) and Huckabee and his acolytes is the story of this election. The Huckabites feel they are being put upon for their religious beliefs. Not hardly. In fact, most Christian conservatives are not supporting Mr. Huckabee. Where the fracture is occurring is in the Huckabites contention that their narrow, warped view of conservatism should dominate and rule the Republican party, that their issues should be given superior weight to other conservative issues.

Giving in to them would betray everything most of the conservative movement stands for. And giving them the leadership of the party would be a catastrophe for conservatism and for the country.

I would suggest those conservatives who prior to this had been taken in by Mr. Huckabee’s easy smile and winning personality to think twice before voting for this charlatan.


  1. you say: anti-Democratic in the extreme

    you mean: anti-democratic in the extreme

    Comment by HyperIon — 1/16/2008 @ 5:22 pm

  2. Rick, you really need to get over this Christian paramoia. “God’s standards” is a BS phrase that allows people to shake their head in total unspecific agreement. There are countless Christian dominations that cannot even agree on simple doctrine or church furnature much less “God’s standards”. Like “libertarian standards”, “conservative standards”, “liberal standards”, “progressive standards” or “Reagan standards”. We Christians, some who support Huck and some who don’t completely understand that and have to smile when those unfamilar with Sunday pulpit shorthand lingo go into full panic frenzy over these BS applause lines. You keep parsing his “preacher speak” your gonna give yourself ulcers for no reason at all.

    Comment by Sidney Burkett — 1/16/2008 @ 5:45 pm

  3. [quote]“Where the fracture is occurring is in the Huckabites contention that their narrow, warped view of conservatism should dominate and rule the Republican party, that their issues should be given superior weight to other conservative issues.”[\quote]

    The reason for the fracture is that this narrow warped view has been used as a carrot by the Republican party time and time again to get these voters off their asses and to the polling places.

    However, the party rarely actually delivers on the promises. This is mostly because real conservatives care far more about their wallets than they do about gay people getting married or women getting abortions.

    I guess the party created a monster, and Huckabee is the face of it all. The monster wants what it was promised by the Republicans over and over, and Huckabee is their way of telling the party to fuck off.

    I’d love to see the Republicans saw off the rotten evangelical appendage that they’ve got growing out of their back and just be actual conservatives again. Sigh.

    Comment by tHePeOPle — 1/16/2008 @ 6:54 pm

  4. Okay, Sidney, I’ll take you at your word that Rick’s interpretation of what the Huckster meant by “God’s standards” is not correct. But Huckabee meant something by what he said; it was an “applause line” for a reason.

    Not being a churchgoer, I don’t know the code. What, exactly, does the phrase “God’s standards” mean, with regards to what the government’s relationship is to the individual, and in particular with regards to amending the Constitution?

    Comment by Transplanted Lawyer — 1/16/2008 @ 7:05 pm

  5. I’m getting tired of constantly quoting this, but it seems to need repeating until it sinks in,

    Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. -CS Lewis

    Comment by doubleplusundead — 1/16/2008 @ 7:22 pm

  6. Sidney, sorry, but Rick is right on this; Huckabee is more Elmer Gantry than Ronald Reagan. And I for one, don’t need a man who is not “all inclusive” as president. I don’t like Huckabee and I would lay 10 to one odds that in his heart he is much like the extremists who can’t believe that I am a Catholic since it is common knowledge that all Catholics are are idol worship fanatics. That, in some, is the Bible Belt attitude.
    Huckabee’s arrogance, to presume to know what God wants, is beyond the pale. Does that mean that all the Jews in the United States are just not following “God’s” laws because they don’t see religion the same way Huckabee does?

    Our Founding Fathers worked very hard to make sure that no one religion (be it Baptist, Catholic, Quaker, et al)took dominence over any other religion. The idea was to allow each man his personal beliefs without persecution. Not to make sure that we all think the same way by Constitutional fiat.

    Two things are evident: Huckabee is spliting the Republican vote and knows it. He is playing to the Christians who have felt that their faith has been under constant attack and he out to level the playing field; secondly, Huckabee is no liberal so the only card he has is the religion card.

    His message is clear; he is more Christian that any other Republican candidate, especially Romney. That in my book, makes him less Christian. He is not what this nation needs.

    My grandmother taught me that there are three things you don’t discuss in public; politics, sex and religion.

    Mr. Huckabee could simply state that his religion is an important factor in his life, but like JFK, he will be a President to those of all faiths. That is not the message he is putting out. He is basically saying “you have been disenfranchised and I will change that”.

    Comment by retire05 — 1/16/2008 @ 8:16 pm

  7. Huck says it would be easier to change the constitution than to change the Word of the Living God. But Huck’s been changing the Word of the Living God since he first got into the race. I can’t count the number of times he’s taken Biblical portions of Scripture out of context to make a political point or changed the meaning of Scripture to advance his own agenda. He’s all about redefining things as he sees fit. He redefines conservatism as well as Christianity to suit Mike Huckabee’s vision of the way he wants things to be, rather than the way they are. Huck’s Christian supporters would ignore the book of Romans where the Bible encourages it’s readers to renew their MINDS so that would KNOW the Will of God. In other words, use your brain and get some knowledge! If they would do that, they’d realize that the U.S. Constitution and the Holy Bible does not work against each other. The founders were very careful about that.

    Comment by Joshua P. Allem — 1/16/2008 @ 9:44 pm

  8. When I was in undergrad, I had a truly exceptional history professor. I recall with clarity his musing during one class that history teaches us that a theocracy, regardless of which religion is in charge, is the single most oppressive form of government. It was a prescient observation indeed, since it was only a short time later that the Iranian revolution occurred. At any rate, to hear the Ayatollah Huckabee discuss imposing God’s law . . . suffice it to say I find this man’s candidacy very troubling.

    Comment by GW — 1/16/2008 @ 10:26 pm

  9. He’s an idiot. Huckabee wants to have adulterers, homosexuals and rape victims stoned to death. He also wants to make alcohol and music videos illegal, and make women 2nd class citizens and to take all girls out of school.

    Oops, my bad, that’s another ‘religion’.

    Hey, anybody but the PIAPS!

    if you’re MAD
    punish your country
    VOTE for Hillary



    Comment by USpace — 1/17/2008 @ 1:45 am

  10. Here’s an example of “God’s standards” I guess…

    Comment by TBinSTL — 1/17/2008 @ 2:50 am

  11. Hi Rick,
    - Reverend Huckabee has been given the grace to see the light and pronounce the one true list of standards God has set for us -

    Wouldn’t you say the “Ten Commandments” would qualify as the list of “God’s standards” for mankind?

    Many of our laws (and indeed, so much of our nations’ history) are derived from that Judeo-Christian list.

    It would seem to me you’re attempting to argue that conservatives are at odds with a religious morality, especially one that’s reflected in law . I just have never seen now or in the past.

    I do believe you can find a few individuals who reject the concept, but they are extremely few in number in the real, voting world. But you’ll never find a “God/moral code rejecting” Republican party.

    Huckabee is a goofball, to be sure, and would have no chance in a general election. But it’s record and position on political issues (amnesty for illegals, blame-America foreign policy, etc.) that will sink him with conservatives.

    Since he really has no future, I’d ignore him as being as irrelevant as Ron Paul. The only real damage he can do is to cause good candidates to drop out.


    Comment by purplepeep — 1/17/2008 @ 3:58 am

  12. Transplanted Texan - That’s the thing. It doesn’t mean anything specific. It’s a vacuous platitude for a captive audience. You may as well try to determine what - for the good of all Americans - means. Which is probably the best secular translation, and a translation which would have served Huckabee a lot better in this age of religious paranoia.

    retire05 – While I was raised Baptist I spent many a Sunday at Catholic mass with my Grandma, aunts and uncles. Yes I understand it’s not idol worship but rather an appeal for intersession. Not a concept I buy into but I can understand why people differ on what it is. People that talk like that are like the little old church lady that said – I use the King James version of the bible because if English was good enough for our lord it’s good enough for me. Ignorance isn’t a sin but it is the human condition.

    I find it fascinating how many are buying into the Christian = Taliban equivalency, especially on the right. All of a sudden these harmless Christians that have been a large part of the greatness that is America are now dangerous religious fanatics as well. I am willing to bet that as a Catholic, having a bunch of Protestants think you are an idol worshiper is the least of your concerns, particularly in a country where now your and my supposed political friends are making Catholics and protestants out to be Taliban lite or at best quaint dark age relics if an ignorant past.

    Comment by Sidney Burkett — 1/17/2008 @ 10:40 am

  13. He has ZERO chance of becoming President. Even as bad as the Democrat side is, anyone of them would beat him easily (OK, maybe not Edwards). His narrow appeal on the religion side is just not enough reason to vote for him. And maybe reason enough to vote against him.

    Comment by Jim — 1/17/2008 @ 11:07 am

  14. #9 but if a killer/rapist etc. finds Christ and is “reborn” in prison, Huckleberry would say they’re rehabilitated and should walk amongst the free again. Of course the recidivism whereby the formerly lost souls committed further mayhem, murder and rape was unforeseen and they deserved their chances.

    I suppose we all have our religious prejudices. I want nothing to do with so-called “holy men”. The ones who have crossed my path have been sanctimonious, holier-than-thou hypocrites of the first order.

    I asked one friend who became a fundamentalist minister about preachers so often getting in parishioners pants, for example. He claimed that the devil puts far more pressure on the very religious because they are a bigger catch for hell. Sure. When I was 37 and smitten by a young lady of a fundamental congregation, that minister took me aside and read the riot act. Seems I was too old, too divorced and too spiritually weak. This while married members were having their extramarital affairs and so forth. The fact that Huckabee is an ordained minister means nothing to me other than I don’t trust him and, looking at his “conservative” claims, I think he’s a lying sack of spit. There are those of us who don’t go so far as to accept atheism, but some of us do find organized religion detestable.
    Give me someone with executive experience who has done a good job even with stiff opposition to his goals. Senators as a group are rather worthless cogs in the old boys’ club.

    Comment by HE HATE ME — 1/17/2008 @ 12:30 pm

  15. The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the - Web Reconnaissance for 01/17/2008 A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day…so check back often.

    Comment by David M — 1/17/2008 @ 2:53 pm

  16. @Sidney Burkett:

    “I find it fascinating how many are buying into the Christian = Taliban equivalency, especially on the right. All of a sudden these harmless Christians that have been a large part of the greatness that is America are now dangerous religious fanatics as well.”

    The problem is (as with every one of these group labels) that Christian beliefs in politcs has many faces, and as usual the most offensive get the most press time. When people who are not devout think about the Christian/political intersect, the images that spring to mind are Ralph Reed, Focus on the Family, “Don’t you dare teach science to my kids”, the Terry Schiavo fiasco, and other such imposition characters and situations.
    Religion in politics (in America) seems to only make the news if it involves Christians demanding certain behavior or attention, and for anybody that doesn’t already 100% agree with those making the noise it always comes off as offensive and fanatical. Unfortunately, it harms not only the cause of morality/religious ideals in politics but pushes people away from religion in general — I have many (alleged) Athiest friends that point to Fred Phelps and his protests as a reason they don’t want to explore the ideas of religion . . . for them, belief seems to equate with fanatic.
    Is it true? No, but that’s the image that gets fostered by the religious attention whores.

    Comment by busboy33 — 1/17/2008 @ 4:01 pm

  17. McCarthy’s reference to a “bedrock guarantee of freedom of conscience” is, in fact, the essence of conservatism.

    Oh, that’s nice. And how is one’s conscience informed? So basically whatever one wants to do to whoever they want to do it to is fine and dandy.

    “Conscience” implies some objective moral training. Those who have no objective moral training can use “conscience” to justify anything. And a sociopath, without any conscience at all is not constrained at all by the “essence of conservatism”.

    Count me out.

    Comment by Tony — 1/24/2008 @ 9:33 am

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