Mike Huckabee recently gave an interview to reporters of a news magazine called The Perspective in which he makes this eyebrow raising statement that was published yesterday:
In what may come as a surprise for some, Huckabee agreed that an atheist could be fit to serve as president. “I’d rather have an honest atheist than a dishonest religious person,” he said.“It’s better to have a person who says, ‘Look, I just don’t believe, and that’s where my honest position happens to be,’” he said. “I’m frankly more OK with that than a person who says, ‘Oh, I am very much a Christian. I very much love God.’ And then they live as if they are atheists, as if they have no moral groundings at all. That’s more troubling.”“I think it’s nice if a person believes in God,” Huckabee said. “I’d hate to think somebody was making decisions who thought that he couldn’t be higher than himself.”
Apparently Mike Huckabee fine with having an atheist for President.
Yet he has never been thrilled with the idea of having a Mormon for President.
Mike Huckabee engages in the classic pattern of "passive aggressive" behavior. Its his modus operandi of how he campaigns.
Passive aggressive behavior is when someone does something and then denies the very act that they just did. Thus, it becomes difficult to pin down the bad behavior on the person.
Sometimes its is clearly obvious when people are acting in this way. For example, remember that time when Huck claimed he was too classy to show the deceptive negative ad he made against Romney, then showed it to the national press knowing they would give it lots of free airplay?
Yet, Mike Huckabee engages in the most devious form of passive aggressive behavior when it comes to attacking Mitt Romney's faith. He engages in activity in which everything appears innocent and legitimate on the surface.However, underneath the surface is the malicious intent to do harm against the intended target without being detected.
There are numerous examples of this kind passive aggressive behavior. For example, during the Iowa 2008 primaries, implicitly made Romney's faith an issue in a campaign ad:
On Monday, Mr. Huckabee, a former governor of Arkansas, raised the stakes when he began broadcasting an advertisement in Iowa that emphasizes his faith and declares him to be a “Christian leader” — all in capital letters — which some might view as a shot at Mr. Romney.Chip Saltsman, Mr. Huckabee’s campaign manager, said the campaign had no intention of making any kind of allusion to Mr. Romney’s being a Mormon, saying the idea was simply to introduce Mr. Huckabee to Iowans.
On the surface, Mike Huckabee is just simply "introducing" himself to the Iowan voter. This gives him plausible deniability since it allows him to stay clean from the accusation of playing the Mormon card since he's just running a campaign ad.
Yet, when asked about the fact that Huckabee is playing up his Christian credentials in capital letters as a quiet and indirect attack on Romney's Mormonism, his campaign manager, Chil Saltsman denies it.
That's classic passive aggressive behavior.
Again, we see this same passive aggressive behavior in another campaign ad. Remember the "floating cross" commercial?
Mike Huckabee defended his commercial by claiming that the floating cross was merely a bookshelf. This gives the former Arkansas governor plausibility since he's claiming that the light is just shining on a piece of furniture.
That's one possible interpretation.And that's the one Huckabee hoped people believed.
Yet, The floating cross could be seen as a quiet and indirect attack on Romney's Mormonism by subtly playing up Huckabee's Christian credentials.
See how hard it is to pin Huckabee down for his anti-Mormon attacks? Classic passive aggressive behavior.
However, Mike Huckabee was a little more aggressive in his passive aggressive behavior. His defense is really an office since he attempts to make anyone who points out the obvious, the cross, look like an idiot. They must be crazy for seeing something that isn't there. And thus, the accuser has to go on the defense and prove that the cross is really what Huckbee intended for people see.
Very devious passive aggressive behavior.
The final example is his now infamous interview with the New York Times magazine:
Huckabee was asked if he considered Mormonism a cult or a religion. "I think it's a religion," he said in the interview, published on the newspaper's Web site on Wednesday. "I really don't know much about it."Mike Huckabee denied that the quote was accurate yet Zev Chafets, the reporter who interviewed Huckabee, explained how it all went down:
Then he asked: "Don't Mormons believe that Jesus and the devil are brothers?"
“I asked Huckabee, who describes himself as the only Republican candidate with a degree in theology, if he considered Mormonism a cult or a religion. 'I think it’s a religion,' he said. 'I really don’t know much about it.'Chafets wrote next: “I was about to jot down this piece of boilerplate when Huckabee surprised me with a question of his own….”Reached Wednesday in Cooperstown, N.Y., where he’s writing a book on the National Baseball Hall of Fame, Chafets told Politico: “I asked him the question about Mormonism and whether he thought it was a religion or a cult.“He said it was a religion, and didn’t know much about it. There was a pause. Then he asked his question,” Chafets continued.“He can spin it any way he wants. It was on the wires and picked up by candidates, and I can’t be accountable for that,” Chafets said, adding, “I hope that the article, as I wrote it, was entirely in context.”Lieberman said she also understood that Huckabee’s question “was an unbidden response.”
Huckabee ultimately apologized for the remarks made in the New York Times interview.
Here, Huckabee was blunt in his attack on Romney's faith. This is where Huckabee over played his hand in his passive aggressive tactics. You can't be claiming “ignorance” on a subject but immediately demonstrate knowledge of LDS theology and then trying to distance yourself from the interview. He tried to retreat into his familiar pattern of passive aggressive tactics by first denying his statements and then apologizing for it. But it was too much, too late.
The New York Times interview blew Mike Huckabee's passive aggressive stance towards Mitt Romney's Mormonism. It also revealed his animus towards the LDS religion.
The whole scenario was offensive. Mike Huckabee claimed he didn’t know about LDS doctrine and yet he immediately gave himself away by asking about a very specific and minor doctrine of the LDS Church all in the same breath.
The average citizen in the United States doesn't know about the Satan as Jesus brother doctrine. The only way some knows about this minor LDS doctrine is if they have studied the LDS faith or is a member of that faith. It is isn't doctrine that is common knowledge to the general public. You have to be well studied in LDS theology to be aware of this particular belief.
It was the faux innocence of Huckabee's question that upset a lot people, including the Mormons themselves.
There is a history behind it–many Evangelical Protestants dismiss the LDS church as a cult, and Huckabee knew that. He was not asking an innocent question, he was warning the religious bigots away from his competition.
What was the point of brining up this theological belief of Mormons if it wasn't to scare Christian voters away from Mitt? Why even bring that up? I mean, really? It’s not like it is in England where the prime minster pick’s the next Archbishop of Canterbury. The President of the United States is not involved the religious affairs of the nation.
The passive aggressive facade of playing clueless on LDS theology didn’t go over very well because its hard to believe that a former Arkansas governor and former Baptist minister doesn't know much about the LDS faith yet he was the one who gave the keynote address at the Baptist Convention in Salt Lake City in an effort to convert Mormons away to the Baptist faith.
Richard Cohen, in an opinion editorial at the Washington Post made an astute observation about Mike Huckabee:
Pardon me for saying so, but that is the chief difference between the two. On about all the social issues you can name -- abortion, stem cells, gun control -- Huckabee and Romney are in sync. So their religious differences are not about morality. They are about belief -- religious belief, precisely the issue that is not supposed to matter in this country. Huckabee, though, clearly thinks it ought to.
When Mike Huckabee says he has no problem with having an atheist being President of the United States, its hard to believe him.One would think that having a atheist for a President would be more troublesome to a Baptist than having a Mormon as the political leader of America. But if he's fine with an atheist in the White House, then he should have no objections if Romney beats Obama in 2012, right?
Given his passive aggressive attacks against Mtt's faith in the 2008 presidential elections, don't hold your breath for Huckabee endorsing of Romney in the next Presidential election.