BAD DAY AT HUCK ROCK:
On his way to leadership of the Republican field, an old blunder is coming back to bite Mike Huckabee on the rear.
While this probably will help him with the nuts who drive the Iowa GOP caucus, the AP's Andrew DeMillo continued his stellar reporting on Huckabee today, here looking back at some incredibly stupid things The Huckster said in his 1992 race against Dale Bumpers about AIDS and AIDS sufferers. This story has been headlined on Drudge and also gets a strong follow on the influential Politico. Politico calls "incendiary" Huck's view -- as expressed in written answers to an exhaustive list of 1992 AP questions (then-AP bureau chief Bill Simmons, author?) -- that homosexuality is aberrant, that AIDS sufferers should be quarantined and that the celebrities calling for more AIDS research, like Elizabeth Taylor, should pay for it themselves if they thought it was so special. A "sunny and compassionate" candidate? Not exactly.
Politico also clucks in reporting this about his inept handling of the Iran question. He is beginning to look increasingly, in the eyes of many important writers, like a man not ready for prime time, except perhaps on a cable talk show as comic relief. The NY Times, however, continues to soft-pedal Huck's gaffes to the extent possible, suggesting, unbelievably, that an LA Times story yesterday was the first time anyone knew parole board members had said Huckabee pressured them to release Dumond. They apparently haven't invented Google or Lexis-Nexis at the NY Times, else they could have found abundant reporting in this over the years in the D-G, the Arkansas Times and, this week, the Huffington Post. The Times team has bought Huck's shtick, hook, line and barnyard clunkers. (UPDATE: The Times has updated its article to reference earlier Ark. Times reporting on the Dumond scandal.)
Here's Huckabee's statement. It's a dodge. He says he was erring on the side of public safety "not political correctness." Problem is, much more was known about AIDS in 1992 than he lets on. He also avoids completely his poisonous statements on homosexuality. This might work in the Iowa caucuses -- even be an advantage. But he has some rough sledding ahead from the national press. For starters, here's a hammering on Daily Kos. Somebody please shoot this to Hendrik Hertzberg.
Talking Points Memo rounds up some, but not all, of the Huck's recent prevarications, flip-flops and theological oddities. This theme has legs and don't think the talk show hosts don't read these trend-setters. They do.
I can't help but wondering what else that 1992 questionnaire with AP says from the extra-large mouth of The Huckster? Do tell, AP. Do tell.
NOTED: Though the AP research is the cornerstone of the new story line, it turns out the doughty bunch at People for the American Way had dug up this angle a couple of days ago by researching the record of the antideluvian Huck of 1992. The NY Times and others have been too busy being charmed by The Huckster to look. Based on comments at that time, it sounds like he's happy to write off the cohabitation vote, gay or straight, not a small number of people:
Q: Do you approve of a man and a woman living together out of marriage?
Huckabee: Whether or not I approve of a man and woman living together is not as much of an issue as whether or not it is right and whether or not God approves of it. The "living together" relationship is demeaning to the highest expression of human love and commitment. I reject it as an alternate lifestyle, because it robs people of the highest possible relationship one can experience: marriage. We should always strive to encourage every human being to experience his or her full potential and possibilities.
As for Huckabee's assertion in 2007 that he was trying to play it safe in 1992 by suggesting a quarantine for AIDS sufferers, the Right Wing Watch of PFAW notes:
This was 1992 – four years after the federal government distributed a pamphlet penned by then Surgeon General C. Everett Koop entitled “Understanding AIDS” which explained that the disease could not be contacted through everyday contact. And is not as if Huckabee just didn’t see the pamphlet, since it “was sent to all 107 million households in the United States in 1988, the largest public health mailing ever done.”
And here's one on which a hearty horse laugh is in order. It's a comment by Andrew Sulivan, a gay conservative writer who has been kind to Huckabee, but who was not a bit impressed on learning of his gay and AIDS nonsense. He wrote the following before Huck's non-response AIDS idiocy response. I laughed out loud when I read it, given Huck's long inability to admit error. Said Sullivan:
It is a crisis for his campaign. But I hope he also sees that it is an opportunity for a statement of inclusion, compassion, and regret.
Inclusion, compassion, regret? You won't find those words in the Huckabee Concordance.
Also on the Huck front: Fred Thompson on the attack, comparing Huck to Clinton.
Also: A solid analysis of how Mike Huckabee blundered into the Wayne Dumond case. The anti-Clinton angle is undeniable. His explanation on this isn't washing either. It's just a footnote to the NYT, naturally. They've found a smiling, shoeshining conservative they can love and they intend to stand by their man.