On Saturday, Doug posted the following Politico article concerning a conference call between Todd Akin backer, Mike Huckabee, hundreds of Southern Baptist pastors, and Christian talk show hosts:
Mike Huckabee rallied hundreds of Southern Baptists on a conference call Friday night in support of Todd Akin, offering advice about how they can help the embattled Missouri Senate candidate stay in the race — while acknowledging Akin still may have to bow out.
“This could be a Mt. Carmel moment,” said the former Arkansas governor, referring to the holy battle between Elijah and the prophets of Baal in the book of Kings. “You know, you bring your gods. We’ll bring ours. We’ll see whose God answers the prayers and brings fire from heaven. That’s kind of where I’m praying: that there will be fire from heaven, and we’ll see it clearly, and everyone else will to.”
Peter Hamby from CNN reported more on Huckabee’s hyperbolic rant:
Speaking harshly about establishment Republicans who have tried to force Akin from the Missouri race, Huckabee at one point compared the National Republican Senatorial Committee to "union goons" who "kneecap" their enemies.
The former Arkansas governor said party bosses were "opening up rounds and rounds" of ammunition on Akin and "then running over with tanks and trucks and leaving him to be ravaged by the other side."
Huckabee said he spoke directly with NRSC officials this week and was assured that they would begin to dial back their offensive against Akin. He said party officials specifically told him they would stop pressuring Akin’s consultants and campaign vendors to drop the congressman as a client.
A Republican source provided CNN with the dial-in information for the call, which was convened by Don Hinkle, the editor of ‘The Pathway,’ a publication of the Missouri Baptist Convention.
Acknowledging the political damage done to Akin, Huckabee encouraged the pastors and radio hosts to aggressively defend Akin to their congregations and listeners.
"The poll numbers need to come back up," he said. "Todd needs to show that he can raise money and be competitive. That will be a game changer. If not, the pressure will still be there for Todd to exit the race and clear the field for somebody else."
A spokesman for the NRSC, Brian Walsh, took issue with Huckabee’s comments Friday.
"We have a great deal of respect for Governor Huckabee and regret that we do not see eye to eye with him on this race," Walsh said in an email to CNN. "It’s important to set the record straight though that the types of tactics he describes simply did not happen and further, no one at the NRSC has even spoken with the Governor this week."
Did Mike Huckabee lie to the pastors? Did he not actually speak to anyone with the NRSC? Depends on who you want to believe because the NRSC says he did not. Keep in mind that Huckabee has a history of being less than forthright while ranting. Just last June, he went on a tear against Bristol Palin for allegedly not "showing up" to be interviewed on his show. It turns out that Huckabee’s staff had actually dropped the ball and forgot to call Bristol, thus she didn’t know when to "show up." Did she ever receive an apology from Huckabee? Not to my knowledge. Beyond that, what exactly is the former Governor of Arkansas doing telling hundreds of pastors what to say to their congregations? The answer to that lies within his own ego.
He is attempting to cast himself as the "moral" leader of the social conservative movement, while trying to save face after the Akin fallout. And worst of all, he and his friend from Missouri are trying to co-opt the real battle that people like Governor Palin have been waging for years against the GOP establishment in the process. That is extremely offensive when you consider who these men are.
Todd Akin has been in Washington D.C. since 2001. What has he done to "fight the establishment" since he’s been there? Was he a reformer? Did he ever stand up to his own party when they were acting unethically? Why would they come after him then unless they, like everyone else, can see the writing on the wall?
The reality is that Todd Akin is basically a DC Republican who votes the right way on some matters (when he actually shows up to vote), yet loves earmarks:
“Some people call amendments ‘earmarks’, I call them amendments.”
– Todd Akin
Mike Huckabee didn’t serve in Washington, but he certainly never fought against the establishment from the national stage he’s been standing on since 2007. He has endorsed a number of non-reform candidates in primary elections, and he never speaks out against the status quo in DC. He never took on crony capitalism, he never sought to reform entitlements, or clean up the system in any way.
Also, just exactly how "moral" is a person who destroys all of the records of his administration when he leaves office? Isn’t the idea to serve the public? Didn’t the people of Arkansas have a right to know what was going on in their government during Huckabee’s administration? What was he hiding?:
Send a public records request seeking documents from his 12-year stint as Arkansas governor, as Mother Jones did recently, and an eyebrow-raising reply will come back: The records are unavailable, and the computer hard drives that once contained them were erased and physically destroyed by the Huckabee administration as the governor prepared to leave office and launch a presidential bid.
In 2007, during Huckabee’s campaign for the GOP presidential nomination, the issue of the eradicated hard drives surfaced briefly, but it was never fully examined, and key questions remain. Why had Huckabee gone to such great lengths to wipe out his own records? What ever happened to a backup collection that was provided to a Huckabee aide?
Huckabee is the guy who granted clemency to Maurice Clemmons, who later murdered four police officers in Parkland, Washington after his release. Was that the moral thing to do? I doubt the families of those officers, or the people in that community think so.
Another uncomfortable fact is that the former Governor was admonished and fined five times by the Arkansas’ Ethics Commission, for things such as:
- Failing to report that he paid himself with campaign money
- Failing to disclose money he received from non-profits
- Failing to disclose benefactors, failing to disclose gifts
- Using the governor’s mansion account for personal matters
- Trying to keep furniture donated to the governor’s mansion
- Setting up a registry for he and his wife to collect gifts as they left the governor’s mansion,
- Spending $13,000 of state money to destroy all of the records from his time in office.
Huckabee may lean right on social issues, but that is where his conservative attributes seem to end. Pat Toomey wrote an informative piece in 2007, stating:
Given his folksy charm, social conservative credentials, and embrace by the mainstream media, it is not surprising that some are increasingly enamored with him. But this flirtation does a great disservice to the conservative movement if it overlooks Huckabee’s stunning record of big-government liberalism.
During Huckabee’s tenure as governor, the average Arkansan’s tax burden increased 47 percent, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A dyed-in-blue tax hiker, Huckabee supported raising sales taxes, gas taxes, grocery taxes, even nursing home bed taxes. He virulently opposed a congressional moratorium on taxing Internet access, and sat on the sidelines while his Democratic legislature pushed the largest tax hike in Arkansas history into law. What’s more, on his watch, and frequently at his behest, state spending increased by 50 percent, more than double the rate of inflation, and the number of state government workers rose by 20 percent. Yes, as a presidential candidate, Huckabee has signed on as a supporter of the Fair Tax and pledged against raising taxes, but when a candidate’s long and clear record flies in the face of his election-year symbolism, you can chalk it up to politics every time.
The Cato institute gave him an "F" in 2006 on their yearly "Fiscal Policy Report Card on America’s Governors," and a "D" for his entire tenure as Arkansas Governor. He supported Michelle Obama’s nanny-statism, at one time supported Cap and Trade, he referred to the Constitution as a “living, breathing document,” he supported in-state tuition and taxpayer funded scholarships for illegals, and has embraced a big government philosophy overall. One would hope that a "conservative leader" would hold conservative views on more than just social issues and that a man who tells religious leaders what to say on Sunday possesses a moral backbone.
But these sorts of charlatans have been infecting the body politic for a long time. Huckabee is nothing new to the GOP, and promoting believers of fraudulent science in government is nothing new for the former Governor of Arkansas. Via Slate:
In 1998, Arkansas State Senator Fay Boozman helped wreck his chances at a U.S. Senate seat by suggesting that rape-activated female hormones could prevent pregnancy — "god’s little shield."
Boozman lost by 12 points. Then he lucked out. Gov. Mike Huckabee, a friend and political ally for many years, put Boozman in charge of the Arkansas Department of Health. The "god’s little shield" controversy was fresh, and Huckabee kept getting asked about it. As far as he was concerned, the story was over, and it was unfair to harp on it. "If nothing else," said Huckabee, according to a February 1999 story in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, "I hope to make it very clear that our administration is not governed by intimidation. We’re not going to allow the shrill voices of a few to so disparage the character of a very decent and good person to an outstanding position in such a way that Arkansas would lose his service at the Department of Health."
The man doesn’t like criticism, but he is loyal, I’ll give him that. Promoting this stuff however, is not good for the conservative movement, the GOP, or the pro-life movement for that matter. In this day and age, we need to engage people with responsible, credible dialog. The issues are too important to get distracted by this sort of idiotic madness that only serves to muddy the debate.
Some may think I am needlessly piling on Todd Akin and Mike Huckabee. That writing a piece like this doesn’t do anything but help Claire McCaskill keep her Senate seat. I assure you, nothing I write will have any impact on a race that is already over. Todd Akin is sinking fast, and he has nobody to blame but himself. Huckabee should have advised Akin to leave the race, but instead, he turned the spotlight on to himself and is currently in the process of destroying any credibility he once had with the conservative movement. He has turned it into a spectacle and will end up hurting the country if the GOP cannot get control of the Senate over this asinine episode.
No, Mr. Huckabee and Mr. Akin, you are not fighting the GOP "establishment." You are fighting reality.
Update: Dan Riehl shares his latest thoughts on Huckabee:
Social conservatives who still latch onto him better clue up. Huckabee is and always has been out for himself and most of the conservative base is sick of it. He’s been a consistent loser on the national stage, with liberal policies couched beneath a social conservative veneer. In short, he’s a phony as a conservative, or a false prophet, if you prefer. His propping up Akin is just the latest of his self-satisfied and treacherous acts to the conservative cause.