With every passing day Mike Huckabee behaves more and more like a candidate he once would have loathed.
The man who once talked about the importance of compassion is behaving like a man trying to sound more conservative than Pat Buchanan. He may not be losing his soul but he is losing his way – and voters too.
The latest stunner finds him pledging to send all illegal immigrants home – all 12 million. I’m wondering if he intends to do this by putting them all in box cars and sending them across the border.
We should do what we can to stop illegal immigration. Fences are fine. It actually says something nice about America that we need fences to keep people out rather than fences to keep people in – think Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc during the Cold War. But it also makes sense for us to decrease illegal immigration by liberalizing our immigration laws. Let more people into America. If legal immigration didn’t seem like such a daunting and unlikely prospect there would be fewer illegal immigrants.
Mike Huckabee once believed similar things. As governor of Arkansas he said that children of illegal immigrants should be allowed tuition breaks to state colleges. Why? Because education means opportunity and the more people America has who are educated the better America will be. He still gives lip service to it – read the Beliefnet interview with him here.
That was Mike Huckabee as compassionate conservative. It was the Mike Huckabee who won the Iowa caucuses. It was a man who spoke to a new generation of evangelicals who believe that caring for “the least of these” is just as important as caring for the unborn. But Huckabee is losing these evangelicals and he is losing a whole lot of other people too.
This Huckabee-as-hardass simply doesn’t suit him and it is a tragedy that he thinks this is what he must become in order to win South Carolina. Not too long ago he pulled negative ads from Iowa because he remembered something Jesus said, “what does it profit a man to gain the world and lose his soul”. Mike, the verse still applies.