Up until a couple of months ago, Mike Huckabee didn’t stand out much for anyone. He wasn’t polling well, and the mediots and his opponents paid very little attention to anything he did. However, since he’s risen in the polls and the spotlight’s brightened considerably on his campaign, what’s shone the most is not an image a potential president should want to emulate. Before I go any further, a few nice comments about Huckabee are in order: I’ve said before that Huckabee is a likeable guy. But likeable guys don’t always make good presidents. He’s someone you could take to the buffet breakfast at Shoney’s and shoot the breeze with. Somebody you wouldn’t mind being your neighbor. If he were still a minister, he’s someone you wouldn’t mind going to hear preach his Sunday sermon. But presidential material he isn’t.
Outside of the far left, you don’t find many people who are eager for a president who flies by the seat of his pants on any given day, not knowing which way to go. Essentially, that’s what we’ve learned about Huckabee: that he has no idea how to conduct himself as a man running for the honor of getting elected as president of the greatest country in the world, and, frankly, is a person who can be downright bizarro sometimes.
I’ve written before about Huckabee’s record of flip flopping and fiscal liberalism, which I’m not asserting is bizarro. Not good for a Republican candidate, but certainly not insane, either. But here’s where it starts to get a bit wacky: In that post, I noted Huckabee’s ignorance of the Iran NIE report, which had been released for a full 24 hours by the time he was asked about it. I also noted how he admitted he was flip-flopping on his position on the Cuba embargo because he was running for president.
In a later post, I talked about how Huckabee was wrong to bring up religious arguments in a presidential campaign, an issue which was made prominent by his questioning specifics about Mormonism during an interview for the NYT Magazine. The question was: “Don’t Mormons believe that Jesus and the devil are brothers?” As I wrote in my post at the time, the question itself is a valid one, but not one that should be included in the campaign to decide who can best lead our country.
Well, this week alone, Huck’s campaign has fallen to new levels of absurdity with four, count ’em, four examples which show the candidate’s serious lack of preparedness to govern from our nation’s highest office. They are, in no particular order:
1) Huckabee’s claim that former US ambassador the UN and conservative favorite John Bolton was “advising” him. Bolton responded that he wasn’t. Bryan at Hot Air noted yesterday that wasn’t the first time Huckabee made a bogus claim about someone advising his campaign.
2) A “senior Huckabee official” told CNN that with Huckabee “there is no foreign policy credential” – a quote that will follow him the rest of his life, a la Senator John Kerry’s “I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it” statement on Iraq war funding during the 2004 campaign for president.
3) Huckabee flubbed big time when talking about illegal immigrants this week after the assassination of Benazir Bhutto in Pakistan, falsely stating that ‘the United States has more illegal immigrants coming from Pakistan than any other country besides those south of the U.S. border’.
4) Last but not least, via the Chicago Tribune Swamp blog:
Republican Mike Huckabee took his presidential campaign for a quick Huckabee replied, in a chuckling dig at the vice president’s accidental shooting of a quail-hunting partner last year.
Any good sportsman, though, couldn’t miss a distinctly Cheneyesque moment in the press accounts of the former Arkansas governor’s morning hunt: At one point, Huckabee’s party turned toward a cluster of reporters and cameramen and, when they kicked up a pheasant, fired shotgun blasts over the group’s heads.
This, friends, is dangerously bad hunting form.
Your Swamp correspondent, the son of a longtime hunter education instructor, grew up plying the corn rows and stream banks of rural Oregon with a Labrador retriever and a Mossberg 20-gauge pump shotgun. On our hunts for pheasant, grouse and quail, merely swinging a gun barrel in the general direction of another person was grounds for day-long banishment to the truck (which smelled like wet dog).
Suffice to say, if any of our hunting mates had pulled a stunt like Huckabee’s yesterday, we never would have invited them back. It’s the sort of behavior that drives safety-conscious hunters up the wall, because it reinforces a reckless, gun-totin’ stereotype.
My colleague James Oliphant reports that Huckabee’s party was about 75 yards away from the press corps Wednesday when a pheasant jumped up and flew toward the reporters, drawing several shots. “That was too close” he reports a cameraman saying.
Gribbet at Stop The ACLU responds:
This is a huge hunting no-no. Apparently for all his joking at the expense of Vice President Cheney, Huckster never took a gun safety class. You DO NOT shoot any gun in the general direction of another person. He knew the reporters were there and he shot. The subject of his joke, Vice President Cheney, didn’t know his hunting parter was in his line of fire when he accidentally shot him while quail hunting. The VP should have known where his hunting parters were at all times, that was his mistake. But Huckster knew where everyone was and still took the shot. Who is more dangerous?
Object lesson: “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”
Object lesson #2: “Let the candidate who is most clueless be the next to step out of the presidential race.”