Thursday, December 13, 2007

An apology I cannot accept...

So, Mike Huckabee has apologized.

It is an apology I am not ready to accept by a long shot.

Why? Well, let's look at the basic issue: As I said Tuesday, Mitt Romney's track record and resume far surpasses that of Mike Huckabee. Romney has repeatedly taken businesses that were in trouble and turned them into success stories. He has also given us some of today's most recognizable companies via his work as a venture capitalist (Staples comes to mind). Then, he also served the public, first in turning around the 2002 Winter Olympics that were in very serious trouble, then by serving one term as governor of Massachusetts.

During his tenure as governor, he not only turned a bad fiscal situation around without tax increases, he also confronted two divisive issues of social policy in a manner that was statesmanlike and impressive. Yes, his positions have changed, but it is just as reasonable to argue that the judicial imposition of same-sex marriage and the human cloning bill were muggings that led to a change in perspective (a circumstance that has been the subject of a long-running joke among conservatives).

What has Huckabee brought to the table? Not much as governor, except for getting a rapist paroled - who then went on to commit more violent crimes. Oh, he lost 100 pounds. I'd buy a diet plan from Huckabee, but do I want him in the Oval Office? Not unless he is there to give the President an autographed copy of his book.

In terms of resumes, Romney beats Huckabee hands-down.

And fundamentally, this is the first reason why the defense offered by Joshua Trevino fails.

The second reason is tied to the first. If as Trevino postulates, Huckabee's positions on economic policy and foreign policy are defensible, then why is Huckabee not defending them against criticism? As someone who has studied theology, and thus who might be able to make a moral case for them, he should be able to do that very well. Yet, it seems we get more of the moral argument about why we should be nice to terrorists from McCain than from Huckabee. As a Southern Baptist preacher, who probably gave many sermons (which he has refused to release, leading me to wonder what Huckabee is afraid of on that count), he should be able to make the compelling case.

Huckabee has not done so. Instead, he has played the religion card, as has documented so well. What we have found out over the last two weeks certainly makes it very likely (at least in my mind) that Huckabee is behind the "push-polling" that was so controversial around Thanksgiving. I'll discuss that part later.

In essence, Huckabee did not defend his resume or track record. He instead has complained about comparisons of his track record in ads. He instead appealed for votes on the basis of his religion. His comments in the New York Times Magazine profile also leave little room to give Huckabee the benefit of the doubt.

This is why I am not willing to accept his apology. Huckabee is not sorry that Mitt Romney's religion has come under attack. He is not sorry about the consequences of the attacks, which have given him a decent lead in Iowa. He is just sorry that his Mormon-baiting is now undeniable - and his apology is an attempt to gloss over the indefensible actions of his campaign, desperate to gain momentum against a candidate with a superior resume and superior resources.

Huckabee will not get my vote in 2008. I have far better things to do with my time than to empower a two-bit religious bigot who oozes sanctimonious hypocrisy.

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