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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

They Like Mike

posted by on January 15 at 14:31 PM


So Huckabee was here and gone—and the room filled up—but idiotic me didn’t think to take a picture of Huckabee while he was speaking. I was too caught up in… gee… the triumph and the will of the moment, I guess.

Huckabee was charming and self-effacing and the crowd was worshipful and quick to clap for the Man From Hope 2.0. The loudest applause lines? Banning gay marriage, passing the Human Life Amendment, and supporting our troops with medical care and services they need once they get back from Iraq. Let’s dwell on who isn’t doing enough to ban gay marriage and abortion, or who exactly is failing to provide services for our troops. The people in this room don’t want to be reminded that they voted for current occupant of the White House. They want to be told that the country is in serious trouble but they can rescue the country by supporting Mike Huckabee.

Uh-huh. Let’s talk about the Human Life Amendment. The HLA would stick language into the U.S. Constitution that made abortion unconstitutional. And since Reagan, every Republican presidential candidate has solemnly sworn to get that HLA passed after he takes office. And since Reagan every elected Republican president has failed to deliver. They talk about the HLA as candidates but, once elected, the HLA gets swept up with the confetti and the balloons.

But Huckabee supporters—former Bush supporters, one and all—are like so many Charlie Browns facing down so many footballs. They’re convinced that this time Lucy isn’t going to swipe that football away. Like second marriages, social conservatives faith in GOP candidates is the triumph of hope over experience.

When I brought this up with Tom—the nicest guy that ever told me I’m going to hell—he promised me this time it was going to be different. Huckabee is different. Unlike that Wiccan priestess George W. Bush, Huckabee is a man of God. And he’s going to keep his promises. And they’re finally—finally—going to get action on the HLA. And maybe so: Huckabee made it clear yesterday that he’s anxious to amend the U.S. Constitution in countless ways.

There were tons of kids in the room—including one with a woman with a small child that told me she supported Mike, abstinence education, and traditional marriage. But—surprise!—she was unmarried and her pregnancy wasn’t planned. Anyway, tons of kids, rabidly pro-life crowd. I composed this little song in my head while I was waiting for the candidate to arrive:

If you’re pro-life and you know it, bring your kids!

If you’re pro-life and you know, bring your kids!

If you’re pro-life and you know then in your womb you grow it,

If you’re pro-life and you know it, bring your kids!

Inane, yes, but it passed the time.

Anyway, I asked Tom to promise me that if Huckabee gets elected and, like Reagan, Bush 1, and Bush 2 before him, proceeds to do nothing to get the HLA passed Tom will support a Democratic candidate in 2012. He said he couldn’t do that—but he did invite me, Terry, and DJ to come back in the summer, for a visit. He wants to meet my family—a family that he doesn’t think should, you know, exist. But still: I seem like nice people, he said. And, he told me, maybe by the time I come back to South Carolina I’ll have had a religious experience and come to God. The triumph of hope over experience rears its empty head again.

On the way out the door I run into Jake Tapper, a reporter for ABC News. We haven’t seen each other since the GOP caucuses in Iowa in 2000. We were both in town for back then—Jake was doing real reporting, I was licking Gary Bauer’s doorknobs. He asks me what I am up to in South Carolina. I assure him that no knobs were harmed during my visit to South Carolina.

RSS icon Comments


You suppose this crowd is familiar with "cognitive dissonance?"

Yeah, me neither.

Posted by moral majority | January 15, 2008 2:38 PM

Hillary vs. Huckabee? I keep playing that out in my head and keep finding Huckabee winning. Why? America is just that stupid.

Posted by Cato the Younger Younger | January 15, 2008 2:41 PM

Why don't they all enlist their kids and move to Iraq? I hear they need more Christians there, since most have been run out of the country ...

Posted by Will in Seattle | January 15, 2008 2:41 PM

hmmm, more toms need to meet more dans

Posted by Jiberish | January 15, 2008 2:43 PM

Hmmm. Dan Savage runs into Jake Tapper. That's HOT.

Posted by Michael | January 15, 2008 2:49 PM

I suppose they're all fiercely pro-life, pro-war and pro-death penalty. Thatíll all work out nicely with their Human Life Amendment; it makes perfect sense if you're completely insane.

Seriously, is this level of cognitive dissonance recognized as a mental disorder?

Posted by Original Andrew | January 15, 2008 2:54 PM

Why do I feel like I'm on the loosing end of a culture war?

Posted by OR Matt | January 15, 2008 2:58 PM

@2.. I am scared that you might be right. That is the worst case scenario. My mentally disordered family back in SC would probably vote for Obama or Edwards, but NEVER Hillary. And of all the stinking GOPs they love Huckabee. Cognitive Dissonance reigns.

Posted by M | January 15, 2008 3:00 PM

I believe Repblican culture is this romantic ideology more than a philosophy for a system of government. It's this belief that all humans can live in this homogenous world where all things tabboo really just don't exist. They don't understand population density, and really the true dynamics of how people behave ... especially when they don't have a lot of space. They also believe in a world where we live and die in a small town and marry our high school sweethearts.

Posted by OR Matt | January 15, 2008 3:02 PM


The way they rationalize it (or at least the way I did back when I was a stupid kid) is that you shouldn't kill someone until they prove that they deserve it.

Posted by Mike of Renton | January 15, 2008 3:08 PM

Mr. Peabody, set the Wayback Machine to 1952....

Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty | January 15, 2008 3:09 PM

As far as the death penalty goes I have no strong opinions for it or against it ... at least in principle. Does that make me unamerican?

How it is actually applied I do take issue with it ... it's more of a senseless beaurocracy in persuit of some archaic ideal than form of punishment. Especially when you can pretty much pay your way out of it.

Posted by OR Matt | January 15, 2008 3:15 PM

@10 - so how does that explain why Dick Cheney is still around?

Posted by Will in Seattle | January 15, 2008 3:19 PM

How can you not have moral outrage about killing by the state in the name of Justice?

Funny, how most of the western world, incl.Canada and Mexico have outlawed the death penalty - some now for decades.

Get outraged, it is moral corruption to kill in the name of the state and Justice.

(not to mention the many, so sorry too late, "mistakes")

Posted by Jack | January 15, 2008 3:20 PM

Now I've got your pro-life song stuck in my head...

Posted by Hernandez | January 15, 2008 3:21 PM

I can not have moral outrage because ... my mind isn't geared toward criminal justice. Justice MUST be served somehow, someway, some shape and some form, but in my mind I feel that the system or life or whatever fails the criminal long before he commits the act. I'm more morally outraged at the rates of incarceration in this country. The fact that 1 in 20 Americans is or has been incarcerated in our overcrowded prison system has created an underclass of disenfranchized Americans. Who can't vote OR CAN'T GET JOBS. I find moral outrage in the fact these fuckers preach about being able to provide and take care of yourself, get off welfare ... bash the "welfare state" welfare bad this and that and do NOTHING to give people jobs other than adhere to some mystical philosophy of trickle down economics. IF people don't have decent jobs, then we live in a welfare state ... period. At least when it comes to this Mike Huckabee talks the talk .... but he still doesn't have my vote.

Posted by OR Matt | January 15, 2008 3:45 PM

Awesome, Dan. Awesome. I LOVE this stuff. Oh, and wacky Christianist Republicans scare teh SHIT out o' me.

Posted by Michigan Matt | January 15, 2008 3:48 PM

Wiccan priestess. The heartiest laugh I had all day. Thanks, Dan!

Posted by DaiBando | January 15, 2008 5:10 PM


You were on Maher's show with Huckabee a couple years back. And this couldn't get you a backstage pass? For shame.

Posted by bill | January 15, 2008 6:31 PM

@8 - Totally agree. My wacky, evangelical aunt and uncle in Des Moines caucused for Huckabee (and not only voted for Bush II twice, but had bumper stickers on their car that proclaimed it loud and clear -- my dad wouldn't let them park in front of our house when they came to visit a couple of years ago).

There is no way they'd vote for Hillary. "I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence" and all.

As a side note, I can't help but be angry that they have a bigger say in who gets to be the next President than I do (since their only criteria is how often a candidate says the word "God").

Posted by Julie | January 15, 2008 7:48 PM

OK, I'm iniebriated and depressed after a night out in Ballard and at the Google/Fremont open house. This election is gonna be Hillary v McCain. Which McCain will win. Please, where can I vomit?

Posted by Karlheinz Arschbomber | January 15, 2008 9:59 PM

mmmmm Jake Tapper. Just the name alone could get me divorced.

Posted by Dave Coffman | January 15, 2008 11:39 PM

I don't know. I like Christians who can do their own time: they think I'm going to hell and they're going to heaven, and that's sad, but they're more than happy to have me over to dinner and meet my damned (literally) family. In a way -- and that qualification is not just rhetorical -- it's a good illustration of the difference between "faith" which is comfortably abstract, and the moral surety of a zealot.

Posted by Judah | January 16, 2008 8:56 AM

Aw, Dan, you could've come by Clemson University tomorrow evening to see Huck trot out his Chuck Norris/Ric Flair dog and pony show.

Posted by Darcy | January 16, 2008 3:35 PM

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