I supported former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee in 2008. I obviously didn’t support him this time around opting for first Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, and then U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX). It was no secret that I differed with him mainly on education policy. I thought he had a number of good things to say on numerous issues, in particular, on religious liberty, life and marriage.
I have interviewed him, have had private discussions with him, and was honored when he agreed to speak our last Caffeinated Thoughts Briefing. Had he been the Republican nominee I would have had no trouble supporting his candidacy.
I have to say I’ve not been more disappointed in Mike Huckabee than I have this week.
It isn’t because he is backing Trump as the GOP nominee because at least he didn’t turn on a dime from brutally criticizing Trump to cheerleading his campaign. No, he was mostly neutral on Trump and didn’t endorse Trump until Cruz dropped out even though his daughter has worked for Trump’s campaign.
I can understand someone reluctantly backing Trump because they fear Clinton will be worse. For me that’s a choice between a devil I do know and one I’m not quite so sure about. So I don’t understand the enthusiasm in his support “being all in” for a candidate who, as I shared earlier this week, is:
- A serial adulterer who brags publicly about it.
- A misogynist who continually says disrespectful, demeaning things about women.
- A bully who also disrespects not only women, but the disabled and prisoners-of-war.
- Somebody who I, not only can’t trust on the life issue, but has defended Planned Parenthood.
- A demagogue who appeals to our base instincts rather than sound policy.
- Someone who is, arguably, a worst narcissist than Barack Obama.
- Someone who advocates forcing our men and women in uniform to commit war crimes.
- A prideful man who has never asked God for forgiveness.
- A politician who has flip flopped on numerous issues (even during this election cycle).
- Someone who attacks the family members of candidates.
- Someone whose impulse is to insult and personally smear those he disagrees with.
- An authoritarian who can’t be counted on to protect religious liberty and freedom of speech
And let me add… a serial, constant liar and teller of untruths as small as about the attendance at his rallies to various untrue facts spouted during debates. He perfected the art of the untruth.
So I don’t see how anyone can go “all in” for someone like that, but that is my personal opinion and I understand that reasonable people can disagree.
I wasn’t a fan of former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney in 2012, but I voted for him. I didn’t go all in (endorse, volunteer, donate) because, well, I just couldn’t based on his record. Romney doesn’t have the character and temperament issues that Trump has, so again, I don’t understand the enthusiasm.
But that isn’t what really disappointed me as that is his personal choice. It is not my choice, but my conscience is not his.
What disappointed me was the derision toward the Never Trump movement. In his statement on Tuesday night he wrote:
Donald Trump broke the code, owned the media, and inspired the masses. I will be all in to help him defeat Hillary Clinton and I call upon all fellow Republicans to unite in defeating Hillary and abandoning and repudiating the hapless “Never Trump” nonsense. The dirty little secret is that the Never Trump movement was more about providing high dollar work for the political consultants than stopping the disaster of an Obama third term which is the result of electing Hillary Clinton.
Seriously? Are there opportunists within the Never Trump movement? I’m sure, there are always people with impure motives. Are there opportunists jumping on board the Trump Train now? Can anyone answer no to that question with a straight face?
To characterize an entire segment of the Republican Party this way? That is out-of-line and insulting.
To add insult to injury Governor Huckabee said to Bill Hemmer on Fox News that he was outraged by those Republicans not supporting Donald Trump.
“Well I’m really disappointed, and in fact, a little outraged by it Bill, and let me tell you why. When we’ve nominated various people over the past election cycles there were many of us that had some heartburn of particular things over those candidates, but you know what we sucked it up and we went out there and we vigorously supported our nominee. I think these guys need to step up and support the nominee, and if they are not going to support the people that the Republicans nominated then they need to get out of the Republican Party and admit that they are no longer Republican, that there something else or they need to just be honest and say, ‘I only want it when I get it my way.’ Well this isn’t Burger King, this is an election, and you don’t get it all the time just like you want it,” Huckabee said.
I know some Huckabee supporters will say he was addressing Presidents George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush specifically. Yes, I know. However, logically, you can’t apply what he said to just elected officials (or in this case former Presidents). It applies to everyone who identifies as a Republican.
He may in fact be right, perhaps we are not Republicans anymore, because it seems as though the party is becoming something else entirely. Paraphrasing Ronald Reagan I would say, “I didn’t leave the Republican Party, the Republican Party left me” if we become the party of Trump and only Trump supporters can be a part.
What bothers me is that Governor Huckabee, as a former pastor, should know that many people are not voting for Trump (or for Hillary Clinton) because their conscience does not allow them to do so. Huckabee has been bold for standing up for protecting religious conscience, until it comes time to apply it to whether or not we vote for the Republican nominee. We are constantly exhorted to “vote our values,” but this doesn’t apply when we see that our values do not line up with the Republican nominee? Instead of respecting that choice (I didn’t say he has to agree with it) he is outraged and then tries to shame those involved.
Which I find very disappointing. I am not going to try to change Governor Huckabee’s mind about voting for Trump. (I will express my opinion about his candidacy and character, but I believe people should vote according to their own conscience.) What I do hope Governor Huckabee will do is to show some charity and understanding to those who disagree.