Monday, December 31, 2007

Just in time to make me look like an ass for writing that I don't think that Mike Huckabee's religious convictions would unduly affect how he'd handle public policy, the Los Angeles Times features a story examining the ways in which, during his time as Governor of Arkansas, Mike Huckabee's religious convictions may have unduly affected how he handled public policy. Nothing megalomaniacal, really--more like shockingly "petty", as a state representative named Dennis R. Young puts it. Apparently Huck's standard M.O. is to be cruising along when he sees some minor something-something that he sees as an affront to his Lord, at which point he's apt to have a shit fit. Or, as Young puts it, "In these kinds of things, he'd make mountains out of molehills."

The choice example that reporter Joe Mathews singles out: in 1997, after a tornado had laid waste to the town of Arkadelphia, Huckabee threatened to hold up emergency relief because he saw the standard insurance-company phrase "acts of God" as an attempt to blame the catastrophe on his boy, Jehovah. (Apparently Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell and Barbara Bush were unavailable to explain to him that in these circumstances, the Christian thing to do is explain that, while God may have flattened the place, the real blame lies with the sinful, tacky residents who provoked the Lord into bringing the force of His wrath down upon them.) Though Huckabee dug his heels in while "five alternative phrases for 'acts of God' were proposed and rejected by one side or the other" until "the governor and legislature agreed to use the phrase 'natural causes' ", Mathews writes that "there is no indication that the four-week legislative delay harmed victims." As with much about Huckabee, the incident is telling for the way it highlights the differences between him and the current prayer-leader-in-chief. Whereas Bush clearly did not want to know about and did not ever care about the people of New Orleans, Huckabee was deeply upset about what had happened to the people caught in the disaster zone and really wanted to help them. But something about the mixture of pride and defensiveness that so many self-defined Christians feel in this society got ahold of him and compelled him to let his inner goofball take over.

No comments: