I like Mike Huckabee, but he’s gotten off to a bad start as a host of his own radio show. In an interview with Ted Nugent – Huckabee’s “hunting buddy and good friend” – Governor Huckabee was extremely supportive of Nugent.
I wonder why.
As Jonathan pointed out, Nugent told an NRA audience over the weekend that President Obama was “vile,” “evil,” and “America-hating.” And Nugent vowed that “if Barack Obama becomes the president in November again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year.”
But what Nugent said “isn’t threatening at all,” according to Huckabee. Of course not. The “Nuge” is a great guy. Boys will boys. It was all in good fun. Et cetera.
In fact, what Nugent said was stupid and offensive – and if Huckabee was a true friend of Nugent’s, he would have told him so, at least privately. But for Huckabee to ridicule the critics of Nugent, as if the musician’s comments were totally appropriate, was pathetic. I guarantee you that if the shoe were on the other foot – if, say, Bruce Springsteen had made the same comments about President Bush before a National Education Association gathering – Huckabee would have (rightly) considered them as indefensible.
This is what happens when politics is viewed as a battle between the forces of light and the forces of darkness, when political opponents become mortal enemies, and when political disputes take on cosmic importance. At that point it becomes fine to characterize one’s opponents not as wrong but as evil, not as misguided but as malevolent.
This happens on both the right and the left, far more often than it should. And Mike Huckabee could have done his audience, and political discourse in general, a favor if he had confronted rather than promoted his pal Ted.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, done prior to the start of his radio gig, Huckabee played up the fact that he was all about “conversation” rather than “confrontation.”
“I’m not a person who would call anyone by names that would cause my late mother to come out of her grave and slap me to the floor,” he said.
I wonder what Huckabee’s mother would think of her son playing footsie on the radio with a man who, in a public speech, referred to the president of the United States as “vile,” “evil,” and “America-hating” – and vowed that “if Barack Obama becomes the president in November again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year.”
Probably not much.