The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. This is the Lord's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. Psalm 118:22-23 NRSV

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Why I Don't Like Mike

I'll admit it. I almost got snookered. He seemed like the only truly nice guy in the Republican mix. I heard myself comparing him to the best human being who ever has been the President Jimmy Carter. It must have been that Southern charm and pastoral demeanor. He even had some nice things to say about Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton as people and as parents, which made him seem fair. So despite my suspicion of Republicans in general and Southern Baptist, evangelical-courting Republicans in particular, I began to like Mike Huckabee. Now I'm not saying that I would have voted for him. I didn't like him that much. But I almost liked him, especially when I compared him with the mean-spirited arrogance of Rudolph Giuliani.

Here's what changed my mind. I didn't flinch initially when I heard that he had supported the parole of convicted rapist Wayne Dumond, who later raped and murdered at least one woman. I figured that Huckabee had made an isolated bad call with tragic results. That is the danger of being in leadership; sometimes your actions have devastating, but unintended consequences. But after I read an article that described the political pandering that was actually behind the Dumond release, I decided that Mike is just as corrupt as all the rest. Although Huckabee avers that he could not have known that Dumond would rape again, especially since he believed that Dumond might erroneously have been convicted because the victim was Bill Clinton's distant cousin, there was ample credible evidence that Dumond had raped before. Huckabee's public support for Dumond's parole was not the well-meaning error of a person who believed in forgiveness, rehabilitation, and the efficacy of castration (Dumond's testicles had been removed before his arrest). It was crass politics - deadly politics.

Then there was his statement about quarantining persons infected with HIV. The biggest problem with this statement is when he made it. Of course, everyone makes mistakes, especially when it comes to deadly, communicable diseases. But by 1992, a person running for the U.S. Senate should have been sufficiently informed about AIDS and how it is contracted to know that quarantining would be unnecessary and cruel. To me this represents either willful ignorance or pandering to other people who are willfully ignorant, and frankly this country should be tired of that after 7 years of George W. Bush.

In sum, Huckabee is the charming version of all the hate-filled, ignorant politics that has sadly come to dominate the GOP. I know that there are Republicans who are thoughtful, compassionate, intelligent, and just. Mike Huckabee just isn't one of them. Sorry, Mike, I'm taking you off my "friends" list.

1 comment:

K E Alexander said...

I had never heard of Huckabee until about three or four years ago. An elderly man in our church asked me if I would write Huckabee (then governor of Arkansas) a letter as he was about to parole the murderer (James Maxwell) of his son-in-law. Come to find out, his son-in-law was Rev. Billy Bennett, the State Overseer of the Church of God in Arkansas, in the early eighties, I think. Seems Maxwell had gotten on the good side of the Baptist preacher-turned-governor by working on the lawn of the governor's mansion. So I wrote the letter, which was never acknowledged by Huckabee or his staff. And Maxwell, like Dumond, got his way.

Funny how the media hasn't picked up on these pardons in the way they picked up on those of Dukakis all those years ago. Even funnier how conservative Christians are willing to gloss over this one in the same way they've forgotten about the Reagans and seances and The Decider's drug and alcohol use and spotty military record.