Lately, former Arkansas governor and aspiring Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee can't seem to stop shooting himself in the foot.
At a roundtable lunch with reporters last month, Huckabee criticized the Obama Administration's decision to stop defending the Defense of Marriage Act ("DOMA"). In his remarks, the Huckster referred to ballot initiatives in numerous states that affirmed that marriage should be between a man and a woman. Fine, but as I pointed out in this post in response to an appeal I received from former Senator Rick Santorum:
"In 1996, I thought the idea of same-sex marriage was taking things too far, as much as I considered myself pro-gay rights at the time. But you know what, Ricky? People change their minds over time on some issues. Sometimes it takes decades. Other times it is just a matter of a few years. It's what Richard Dawkins in The God Delusion calls the changing moral zeitgeist. So, you can keep looking back on the passage of DOMA with fond nostalgia all you want, but it is not 1996 anymore."
While my comments were directed at DOMA itself, the same thing applies to the ballot initiatives referred to by Huckabee.
But where Huckabee really goes off the rails when he said "There is a quantified impact of broken families," Huckabee said. "[There is a] $300 billion dad deficit in America every year...that's the amount of money that we spend as taxpayers to pick up the pieces because dads are derelict in their duties."
As a happily married man myself, I am constantly baffled when same-sex marriage opponents claim that the health of my heterosexual marriage hangs in the balance. Really? How? I thought the "dad deficit" was a product of straight men impregnating women and not taking responsibility for the children they fathered. It never occurred to me that gays were to blame for this.
Then on a radio appearance last week, Huckabee fired another round at his foot when he claimed that President Barack Obama grew up in Kenya. When it was pointed out that Obama did not grow up in Kenya and only visited the country when in he was in his twenties, Huckabee tried to backtrack by claiming he meant Indonesia. But he only ended up demonstrating the degree to which he was willing to engage in dishonesty, because the references Huckabee made in the interview cited Kenyan history.
Being an ordained pastor, and therefore, presumably a fine, upstanding Christian, Huckabee could have taken the high road and said, "In my remarks about Barack Obama the other day, I failed to live up to the standards of truth and honesty that Christians aspire to. Instead, I subordinated my convictions to the need to make cheap political points, and for that I apologize and ask you all for your forgiveness." Atheist that I am, I would have been mightily impressed if Huckabee had said something like that. But alas, the former Arkansas governor blamed the "liberal media" and showed that he was nothing more than a Republican Party hack.
Reeling from his self inflicted wounds, Huckabee still managed to fire another round, when during an appearance on conservative film critic Michael Medved's radio show, he responded to Medved's potshot at actress (and Long Island girl!) Natalie Portman for her acceptance speech at the Academy Awards for winning the Best Actress award. You see, the pregnant but as of yet unmarried actress thanked her fiancé for "having given me my most important role of my life." Shame! Shame! An unmarried pregnant woman appearing in public acknowledging the fact that she is pregnant but unmarried, though engaged to be married.
To be fair to Huckabee, I think Michael Medved was the bigger douchebag in the exchange with his "[Millepied] didn't give her a wedding ring" line. But Huckabee was way off base in suggesting that Portman was glamorizing out of wedlock pregnancy. While Huckabee cited the problems of poor, mostly minority women who have children out of wedlock, which is a problem, I seriously doubt African-American and Latina teenage girls decide pregnancy is a good idea because they saw Natalie Portman's acceptance speech.