Yesterday, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee appeared on Fox News’s Hannity and Colmes to talk about Sen. Barack Obama’s (D-IL) lack of “convictions.” Huckabee held up the late conservative senator Jesse Helms as an example of someone Obama should aspire to be:
HUCKABEE: Well, Americans have consistently rejected the George McGoverns and the Michael Dukakises, the people who clearly and unapologetically are out there on the left — the Walter Mondales who said, I’m going to raise your taxes.
So when liberals are honest about being liberals, they get beat. I think it’s a situation — you know, you had the little clip of Jesse Helms at the opening of the show, and I’m thinking, what a contrast. The thing that many of us loved and admired about Jesse Helms was that, here was a guy, he didn’t care what you thought about his view, but you were going to always know where he stood because he stood for something and he stood clearly.
I think we’re not seeing that in Barack Obama especially in relationship — to his position on the war.
Conservatives have held a love fest for Helms since his death, holding him up as a “courageous champion” (Mitch McConell), “conservative icon” (Bob Dole), and guilty of nothing more than “victory-making political incorrectness” (National Review). Both Huckabee and Hannity conveniently leave out any mention of what Helms’s convictions were, because they would have then been in the uncomfortable position of defending racism and segregation.
Helms once called Martin Luther King, Jr. a “sex pervert” and a “Communist” and staged a filibuster against making his birthday a federal holiday. He fought against funding AIDS research because he said the disease resulted from “unnatural” and “disgusting” homosexual behavior. He also waged vicious campaigns exploiting racial tensions. One ad he helped create demagogued, “White people, wake up before it is too late. Do you want Negroes working beside you, your wife and your daughters, in your mills and factories?”
It’s unsettling that Huckabee thinks Obama should take his cues from a man who believed that “[c]rime rates and irresponsibility among Negroes are a fact of life.”