Thanks to a really well written, genuinely insightful profile in, of all places, the usually leaden New York Times Magazine, by writer Ze’ve Chafetz, we have all absorbed the fact that Mike Huckabee, graduate of Ouachitha Baptist University in Arkadelphia (degree in speech in a mere 2 years) with one year at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, before dropping out, claims not to know enough about Mormonism to ask nasty, disingenuous questions about Jesus and the Devil. But you must read the rest of the piece, in which Huckabee tries his best to be serious, not disingenous, about his qualifications. What he has to say, about policy, and about himself, is unusually revealing.
A few excerpts:
At lunch, when I asked him who influences his thinking on foreign affairs, he mentioned Thomas Friedman, the New York Times columnist, and Frank Gaffney, a neoconservative and the founder of a research group called the Center for Security Policy. This is like taking travel advice from Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf, but the governor seemed unaware of the incongruity. …
‘‘If you aren’t for some reason elected president, what cabinet position would you be suited for?’’ I asked. Huckabee paused, considering. ‘‘Secretary of health and human services would be one,’’ he said. ‘‘Secretary of transportation, or the interior.’’ Perhaps aware that this wasn’t a Mount Rushmore self-evaluation, he quickly added that he doesn’t really want a cabinet position or any other government job. ‘‘I’d be just as happy to go back to Arkansas and open a bait shop on a lake,’’ he said….
(As I have previously suggested, losing 100 lbs. combined with a no-count state governorship is a fine qualification for the HHS cabinet position. What? You don’t think Arkansas is a no-count state? Read on:)
In 2000, on the Don Imus radio program, Huckabee called his state ‘‘a banana republic.’’ Some Arkansans thought it was funny. Others considered it an effort to ingratiate himself with a national media figure by laughing at them. …
(On the Fair Tax/National Sales Tax — his big economic policy):
Governor Huckabee promises that this plan would be ‘‘like waving a magic wand, releasing us from pain and unfairness.’’ Some reputable economists think the scheme is practicable. Many others regard it as fanciful. (For starters, it would require repealing the 16th Amendment to the Constitution.) In any case, the Fair Tax proposal is based on extremely complex projections. Huckabee does not have an impressive grasp of its details.
‘‘He’ll get hammered in New Hampshire,’’ the Republican consultant Mike Murphy told me. And at some point, Republican elites will begin to ask, Is what we need a smallstate governor who doesn’t believe in Darwin?’’
Whomever Murphy means by “Republican elites” — and I doubt that is talking about the bad old liberal GOP stalwarts — Ladies and Gentlemen, the time to ask that question is now.