An obscure blog raises one of the most enduring Arkansas urban legends -- that Mike Huckabee was assisted by some form of surgery in his weight loss, if not a gastric bypass procedure, perhaps the less invasive lapband. The long post includes a quote I'd never seen before from his press secretary Alice Stewart (emphasis supplied):
"Even if Governor Huckabee had lost weight by having bariatric surgery, there would be no shame in that,” says Alice Stewart, press secretary for the Mike Huckabee Exploratory Committee. “[But the] fact is that the governor’s weight loss program was very well documented by the media. Steve Barnes of Time Magazine interviewed the governor as well as his doctors.”
Anyway, this is but a supposition based on abundant circumstantial evidence, including the almost-unheard-of-success (scientific data supplied) of maintaining weight loss from diet programs vs. surgical intervention. Given the nature of the Internet -- and the fact that a reporter from a major national publication asked me about this very topic in a phone call yesterday -- I'm guessing we may be near a categorical answer to this long lingering folklore.
Perhaps, too, this would be an occasion to ask the governor about another lingering weight question. In an earlier dramatic, and unsuccessful, weight loss, did he use the prescription fen-phen drug combination or its equivalent (another long-standing bit of Huckabee folklore) that was subsequently found to cause heart damage in many users? Was he examined? Did he file a claim in the massive class action lawsuit over the drug?
Will the governor, as Republican presidential nominee, release complete medical records? Income tax returns?
Also on the Huck front:
You've heard of Wayne Dumond. But you probably don't remember Glen Green, another brutal rapist/killer Mike Huckabee wanted to free -- not after a careful review of his file but on the word of another preacher. This and other pardon excesses are passed along to a broader audience by the New York Observer's Joe Conason. Vacillation in parole policies is a takeoff for Philip Klein, of the American Spectator, to question Huck's fitness in world affairs.
The latest nutty quote from Huckabee, who, you surely remember, would never question another candidate's religion: ''Don't Mormons believe that Jesus and the devil are brothers?'' It's in a New York Times magazine piece this Sunday, but posted early on the web. Interesting, long article, which notes, among others, the governor's taste for potty humor, his thin skin, his shallow grasp of larger issues.
Polling: Washington Post has Huckabee No. 2 nationally. The underlying theme is a fractured Republican electorate.
Home schoolers: They drove his success in the Iowa straw poll and they're still at work for him.
Left Behind: A New York writer looks askance at Huck's endorsement by Tim LaHaye and raises a series of questions about where the candidate falls on the novelist's world view. Joan Walsh of Salon similarly raises questions about Huckabee's religion-influenced world view, particularly on the question of a Palestinian state.
Religious rhetoric: The Interfaith Alliance is disturbed by Huckabee's claim that God has fueled his rise in the polls.
Ethics: Judicial Watch has distributed commentary about the poor ethics of several presidential candidates, including Huckabee.