Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R), now a conservative radio host, stood up to some in his party today when he supported the Common Core State Standards designed to raise the level of learning among all students in the United States.
Created by the nation’s governors—30 are currently in the GOP—the standards have recently been cast by conservatives as a menacing, federal push on local control of the nation’s schools. But even Huckabee, who is a darling of the right, sees that the standards are hardly dangerous. “Parents and people involved in their local schools should let it be known that core standards are valuable, and they’re not something to be afraid of—they are something to embrace,” Huckabee said on his radio program Wednesday.
What’s more, the former governor jabbed the Republican National Committee for passing a resolution against the standards and for trying to condemn the nation’s children to knowing less than everyone else in the world. “It’s disturbing to me that there have been criticisms directed by the RNC. I think that’s very short-sighted,” Huckabee said.
Plenty of conservatives were part of the group of governors, state education chiefs, and others who called for a set of core standards for U.S. education to make sure that all students had the skills to be competitive in the global economy. But now Alabama, Michigan, Florida, and Indiana—states that had been among the 45 adopting the Common Core Standards—have taken early steps toward abandoning the standards and the assessments that will accompany them starting in 2014. Each of these four states has a Republican governor.
It’s rare when leaders from both parties, along with interest groups and advocates across the spectrum work together, and though some conservatives have attempted to make this a partisan spat, Huckabee’s support shows that Common Core is still a smart and worthy goal.
Our guest bloggier is Jenny DeMonte, the Associate Director for Education Research at the Center for American Progress Action Fund.
Shortly before the US Supreme Court heard arguments to strike down restrictions on same-sex marriage, the Republican National Committee outraged hardline conservatives with a report calling for greater flexibility on gay rights and immigration reform in order to lure young people into the Republican Party. GOP strategist Karl Rove piled on the insult by speculating the Republican Party’s next presidential candidate could support marriage equality (though later walked it back). Evangelical leaders erupted in protest, threatening to abandon the GOP if the party were to change its increasingly unpopular stance.
The tide is changing rapidly against this so-called evangelical base of the GOP. Last week, Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) became the first sitting Republican senator to declare his support for marriage equality. While a majority of all Republicans still oppose same-sex marriage, a new poll found that 49 percent of Republicans under 50 years old actually support extending the right to marry to same-sex couples.
Below are a few of the social conservatives the GOP would have to do without if they abandoned their opposition to same-sex marriage:
Former Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AR)
“They might [decide to support same-sex marriage], and if they do, they’re going to lose a large part of their base because evangelicals will take a walk. And it’s not because there’s an anti-homosexual mood, and nobody’s homophobic that I know of, but many of us, and I consider myself included, base our standards not on the latest Washington Post poll, but on an objective standard, not a subjective standard. If we have subjective standards, that means that we’re willing to move our standards based on the prevailing whims of culture.” [3/20/2013]
Tony Perkins, president of Family Research Council
“The vast majority of the GOP base believes that marriage is a non-negotiable plank of the national platform. Anything less, writes Byron York, ‘could come back to haunt the RNC in the not-too-distant future.’ [...] If the RNC abandons marriage, evangelicals will either sit the elections out completely – or move to create a third party. Either option puts Republicans on the path to a permanent minority. [3/19/2013]
Gary Bauer, former presidential candidate
“Shame on the politicians and the judges that are trying to undermine the institution of marriage. I’m a Republican…let me say to my party: if you bail out on this issue, I will leave the party and I will take as many people as I possibly can.” [3/26/2013]
Mat Staver, Liberty Counsel chairman
“If worst case scenario the last week of June we come down with a bad decision, the church and people of faith and values need to rise up. We just simply cannot allow this to become the law of the land, it will fundamentally change who we are, it will fundamentally weaken the family and religious freedom will be in the crosshairs. [3/26/2013]
Rush Limbaugh, talk radio host
“If the party makes that [gay marriage] something official that they support, they’re not going to pull the homosexual activist voters away from the Democrat Party, but they are going to cause their base to stay home and throw their hands up in utter frustration…Whether they like it or not, the Republican Party’s base is sufficiently large that they cannot do without them and their problem is they don’t like them. It really isn’t any more complicated than that.” [3/18/2013]
The growing right-wing schism was on full display at CPAC earlier this month, when organizers disinvited the gay conservative group GOProud to appease anti-gay board members. The decision to exclude GOProud sparked protests among prominent conservative commentators worried about the GOP’s flailing outreach efforts to more socially liberal minorities like women and young people.
Still, evangelicals and social conservatives have little cause to worry. Though public opinion on gay rights is evolving rapidly, the Republican Party does not plan to change their stance on marriage equality anytime soon. The RNC’s report, while encouraging outreach to Latinos, blacks, women, and young people, notably excluded the gay community from the list. Rather than disavow exclusionary and discriminatory policies enshrined in their platform, the current GOP strategy is to sugarcoat their anti-gay rhetoric in hopes that young voters will overlook their true intentions.
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus has been pressing the GOP to be more accepting of gay people, arguing that harsh rhetoric alienates young voters and jeopardizes the party’s future. But on Friday, Priebus took a big step backward, telling the National Review that the party should take its cues about social issues from former Arkansas governor and Baptist Minister Mike Huckabee:
Priebus cited former governor Mike Huckabee of Arkansas as an example of someone who could be “a model for a lot of people in our party” in terms of discussing issues like marriage and abortion. “I always tell people: Listen to Governor Mike Huckabee,” he said. “I don’t know anyone that talks about them any better.”
Huckabee — a hard line opponent of marriage equality and abortion rights — uses a warmer and more congenial tone about gay people and women than firebrands like Rick Santorum or Rick Perry, urging conservatives to respect gays and women, even as they organize to deny them legal protections and benefits or access to a full spectrum of health care services. But as the public grows more accepting of same-sex relationships and Roe v Wade, Huckabee’s positions and rhetoric about these issues is out of sync with the nation as a whole and will not serve the party well as it seeks to grow and appeal to more voters:
On Marriage Equality:
– Being gay is a public health risk. “I feel homosexuality is an aberrant, unnatural, and sinful lifestyle, and we now know it can pose a dangerous public health risk”
– Being gay is a sin. “Well I believe it would be — just like lying is sinful and stealing is sinful. There are a lot of things that are sinful. It doesn’t mean that a person is a horrible person. It means that they engage in behavior that is outside the norms of those boundaries of our traditional view of what’s right and what’s wrong. So, I think that anybody who has, maybe a traditional worldview of sexuality would classify that as an unusual behavior that is not traditional and that would be outside those bounds.”
– Marriage equality will lead to polygamy. “If we change the definition to a man or a man and a woman and a woman, why can’t we accommodate a man and two women or a woman and three men.”
– Supported Todd Akin. “The Party’s leaders have for reasons that aren’t rational, left [Akin] behind on the political battlefield…Is this what the party really thinks of principled pro-life advocates?”
– Would ban abortion even in cases of incest or rape. In 2011, Huckabee traveled to Jackson, Mississippi to raise money for the Yes on 26 campaign, “in support of the Mississippi Personhood amendment, a referendum on the November ballot that would ban abortions in the state” even in cases of rape or incest.
– Compares abortion to slavery. “What are we saying to the generation coming after us when we tell them that it is perfectly OK for one person to own another human being?” Huckabee said. “I thought we dealt with that 150 years ago when the issue of slavery was finally settled in this country, and we decided that it no longer was a political issue, it wasn’t an issue of geography, it was an issue of morality. That it was either right or it was immoral that one person could own another human being and have full control even to the point of life and death over that other human being.”
Social conservative heavyweight James Dobson dedicated his radio show this morning to discussing Friday’s shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, and like Mike Huckabee and Bryan Fischer, concluded the shooting was caused by Americans “turning our back on God.” Specifically, he believes there are consequences to women getting abortions and marriage equality:
DOBSON: Our country really does seem in complete disarray. I’m not talking politically, I’m not talking about the result of the November sixth election; I am saying that something has gone wrong in America and that we have turned our back on God.
I mean millions of people have decided that God doesn’t exist, or he’s irrelevant to me and we have killed fifty-four million babies and the institution of marriage is right on the verge of a complete redefinition. Believe me, that is going to have consequences too.
And a lot of these things are happening around us, and somebody is going to get mad at me for saying what I am about to say right now, but I am going to give you my honest opinion: I think we have turned our back on the Scripture and on God Almighty and I think he has allowed judgment to fall upon us. I think that’s what’s going on.
It’s not surprising that these conservatives are championing their own self-fulfilling prophesies. They are clinging to values that are becoming increasingly obsolete, so in order to convince themselves that those points of view still have relevance, they attach meaning to every disaster that occurs, be it a shooting or a hurricane. As Hemant Mehta has pointed out, religious venues are no safer from such tragedies, so the exception Huckabee, Fischer, Dobson, and others anoint for themselves is a mere fabrication of superiority.
Fox News Host and former Governor Mike Huckabee (R-AR) doubled down on his claim that the murder spree in Connecticut was caused by removing God from schools, linking the shootings to “tax-funded abortion pills” and society calling “sinful” acts “normal.” Speaking on Fox News on Saturday, Huckabee suggested we should not be surprised “that a culture without [God] reflects what it has become:”
Christian-owned businesses are told to surrender their values under the edict of government orders to provide tax-funded abortion pills. We carefully and intentionally stop saying things are sinful and we call them disorders. Sometimes, we even say they’re normal. And to get to where we have to abandon bed rock moral truths, then we ask “well, where was God?” And I respond that, as I see it, we’ve escorted him out of our culture and marched him off the public square and then we express our surprise that a culture without him reflects what it’s become.
In reality, there are no “government-funded abortion pills.” The Obamacare contraception mandate, which is what Huckabee is likely referring to, does not provide coverage for any abortifacients — and will actually help reduce abortion rates.
Former Arkansas governor and GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee attributed today’s deadly massacre in an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut to the lack of God and religion in public schools.
Addressing the tragedy on Fox News, Huckabee dismissed calls for stricter gun control and claimed that future violence can be prevented by solving matters of “the heart” and turning to God:
HUCKABEE: Ultimately, you can take away every gun in America and somebody will use a bomb. When somebody has an intent to do incredible damage, they’re going to find a way to do it… People will want to pass new laws, but unless you change people’s hearts, they’re our transition to the pastor side. This is a heart issue, it’s not something, laws don’t change this kind of thing.
NEIL CAVUTO (HOST): You know, inevitably people ask after tragedies like this, how could God let this happen?
HUCKABEE: Well, you know, it’s an interesting thing. We ask why there is violence in our schools, but we’ve systematically removed God from our schools. Should we be so surprised that schools would become a place of carnage because we’ve made it a palce where we don’t want to talk about eternity, life, what responsibility means, accountability? That we’re not just going to have to be accountable to the police, if they catch us. But one day, we will stand before a Holy God in judgment. If we don’t believe that, then we don’t fear that.
The National Organization for Marriage has launched a last-minute barrage of robocalls to Maine, Maryland, and Washington State (which will vote Tuesday on whether to enact marraige equality) and presidential swing-states Wisconsin, Ohio and Pennsylvania. The calls, in both English and Spanish, feature noted anti-equality activists Focus on the Family founder James Dobson and Fox News Channel host and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AR).
More ironic is the participation of Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), who in his RNC convention speech suggested that this be an election in which we choose “more freedom instead of more government.” Rubio has previously boasted the endorsement of anti-gay hate groups like the Family Research Council. NOM said, with partner groups, it will spend $500,000 on the calls, aimed at encouraging voters to oppose pro-equality candidates and ballot initiatives.
As a result of either desperation or just increased media access, Christian conservatives seem to be sinking to a newlevel of spiritualwarfare to achieve their desired result in the election. Insensitive chicken-lover Mike Huckabee is the latest political talking ahead to threaten voters’ very souls if they do not make the “right” choice at the polls this year. In his new video, Huckabee warns Americans that their vote has to to withstand the “test of fire” when it comes to issues like abortion, contraception, and marriage equality:
HUCKABEE: Many issues are at stake, but some issues are not negotiable: The right to life from conception to natural death. Marriage should be reinforced, not redefined. It is an egregious violation of our cherished principle of religious liberty for the government to force the Church to buy the kind of insurance that leads to the taking of innocent human life.
Your vote will affect the future and be recorded in eternity. Will you vote the values that will stand the test of fire? This is Mike Huckabee asking you to join me November 6th and vote based on values that will stand the test of fire.
In other words, anybody who doesn’t vote against the healthcare of women and family security of same-sex couples is going to Hell. Watch it:
In an apparent attempt to downplay Joe Biden’s energetic performance at last night’s debate, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee compared the Vice President to someone drunk at a cocktail party.
On Fox News, Huckabee claimed that Biden, who has has openly discussed his family’s problems with alcoholism and is himself a teetotaler, “came across like a guy you meet at a cocktail party or some political event, an obnoxious drunk who’s loud and boisterous and interrupts every conversation… He just is the kind of guy you want to get away from as quickly as you can and go find someone else to talk to. It was just boorish behavior for the first half.” Watch it:
“It Gets Better” founder Dan Savage recently lashed out at the Family Research Council again, saying that “every dead gay kid is a victory for the Family Research Council” and that “Tony Perkins sits on a pile of dead gay kids every day when he goes to work.” Savage’s concerns arise because of how FRC encourages parents to reject their children for being LGBT, contributing to a higher risk of homelessness, drug use, sexually transmitted infection, and suicide. Perkins responded in a conversation with Mike Huckabee yesterday, saying that Savage “has some issues” and that FRC is “pursuing everything possible to deal with him because he is out of control.” Now, Savage is calling Perkins’ legal bluff:
I realize that this isn’t how you think the world is supposed to work, Tony. You believe — and you’re old enough to remember a time when — people like you were free to say vile and disgusting things about people like me without anyone objecting. Certainly people like me weren’t allowed to call people like you out. You still believe you should be free to lie about me and other LGBT people with absolutely impunity — we’re all pedophiles and terrorists and Satanists — and that we should have to shut up and take it because… well, I’m not sure why you think we’re not allowed to respond when you lie about us.
Maybe that’s something we could get to the bottom of during the depositions.
Savage’s original comments obviously occupy a rhetorical extreme that few tread upon, but they still bear truth. It’s notable, as Savage himself points out, that Perkins did nothing to rebut the remarks or clarify any particular concern for children’s well-being. He couldn’t genuinely do so anyway; by proliferating the junk-science idea that gays can and should change, FRC is causing exactly the kind of harm to which Savage refers.
The raw nature of Savage’s rhetoric illuminates how little accountability hate groups like FRC take for their anti-gay advocacy. Perkins’ new campaign against the Southern Poverty Law Center for the “hate group” designation — a flip for many of the conservatives rallying behind the effort — is the same kind of umbrage that obfuscates the harmful miseducation such groups churn out on a daily basis. Similarly, one of the National Organization for Marriage’s chief argument against equality is that conservatives will be labeled as “bigots,” but it then has no problem painting LGBT activists as violent or endorsing the harmful quackery that is ex-gay therapy.
Savage’s approach might not always be the most elegant, but it certainly does cut through the rhetorical muck and focus attention on the harm caused by anti-gay groups like FRC.