What Mike Huckabee Is Selling

Andrew Sullivan —  Jan 9 2015 @ 1:49pm

Julie Bykowicz read his new book, which will be released later this month:

God, Guns, Grits and Gravy doesn’t get into many policy specifics; some of what Huckabee proposes he dubs “Redneck Remedies.” Like his head-shaking at Miley, his political views are hardly surprising: Obama is bad. Same-sex marriage is a sin. Guns save lives. Government is intended to be as local as possible. The IRS is a criminal enterprise. Climate change is probably hot air.  The “Get Off My Lawn” chapter wraps up with Huckabee boldly asserting that “part of the solution is better citizens obeying the laws we already have so we don’t have to pass new laws to further explain and expand the old ones.” Good luck with that.

David Catanese posts highlights from the book. He notes that Huckabee “devotes an entire chapter to same-sex nuptials, laying out his Biblical-based rationale for his position as well as raising several hypothetical scenarios about the future of the institution of marriage”:

He laments a court system that is forcing businesses to cater to gay weddings, even if violates their own religious beliefs. Given the current trend in judicial and public opinion, he floats the possibility of a future that expands marriage to more than two people.

“Shouldn’t a bisexual be able to have both a male and female spouse? Wouldn’t restricting that person access to both genders be denying the bisexual his or her marriage ‘equality?'”

Huckabee still fears the slide toward marriage equality is devaluing the entire tradition, but he also concedes that the true impact of gay marriage is unknown.

“When advocates of same-sex marriage say, ‘What’s the harm?’ the honest reply is that at this point, we simply don’t have enough reliable accumulated data to be able to say.”

That’s a considerable concession for such an unflinching figure at the helm of the culture war.

Brian Tashman instead concludes that “Huckabee has one message for his fiercely conservative base and a more nuanced message for a wider audience”:

Huckabee, of course, has repeatedly claimed in front of right-wing audiences that he knows exactly what will happen to society if same-sex marriages become legalized: divine punishment.

“There is no doubt in my mind that this country would not exist had it not been for the providential hand of God,” Huckabee said during his speech at the National Organization for Marriage’s June march against marriage equality in Washington D.C. [reordered] “And I’m also convinced that if we reject his hand of blessing, we will feel his hand of judgment.”

Olivia Nuzzi calls the book “an achievement in the genre of poorly written pandering”:

It is “not a recipe book for Southern cuisine, nor a collection of religious devotionals, nor a manual on how to properly load a semiautomatic shotgun.” Instead, “It’s a book about what’s commonly referred to as ‘flyover country.”

Clad in a blue, striped button-down, a silver watch adorning his left wrist, Huckabee beams on the cover. He stands, one assumes on a porch, which overlooks a prairie. “After you finish the book,” he writes, “you might just say, ‘Dang, those good ol’ boys ain’t so dumb after all.

In other Huckabee hucksterism, Andrew Kaczynski catches the candidate’s email list hawking a “secret biblical cancer cure”. Waldman face-palms:

Right now there’s a devout couple in their 80s who just found out that their 55-year-old daughter has cervical cancer. They’re terrified. They’d do anything to help her. And then they get an email from that nice Mike Huckabee, pointing them toward a miracle cure for cancer hidden right there in the Bible. It must be legit, because Mike Huckabee wouldn’t rope them into a scam. So they head right over to the web site, watch the video about the “Matthew 4 protocol” and the “frankincense extract,” then they send away for the free bonus gift of “The Bible’s Healing Code Revealed” which comes with a one-year subscription to Dr. Mark Stengler’s Health Revelations—half price if you’re a senior citizen!—and they whip out that credit card and start ordering all the supplements they can. They tell their daughter, with pain and fear in their voices, that this is what can cure her if only she’ll believe and they keep buying.

These are the people—gullible, afraid, at the most desperate point of their lives—that Mike Huckabee sees as marks just waiting to be scammed.