Posts Tagged ‘Mike Huckabee’

The Messenger is the Message

Thursday, January 15th, 2015

By Jeffrey Page

Close to 2 million people gathered in Paris on Sunday to condemn the murderous attacks on the staff of Charlie Hebdo and on a kosher supermarket that resulted in the deaths of 17 people. One of those attending the march was David Cameron, the British prime minister. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as there. So was Mahmoud Abbas, leader of the Palestinian Authority. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi were there as well.

Oh, and Jane D. Hartley was there to represent us. Hartley is the United States ambassador to France, and probably known to as many Frenchmen and women as the French ambassador to the United States is known to Americans. You know; whatsisname, Gérard Araud.

But President Obama couldn’t make it. Nor could Vice President Joe Biden. Nor could Secretary of State John Kerry. Apparently nobody from America could make it, so we sent Jane D. Hartley.

And in doing so, Obama revealed an insensitivity not worthy of a world leader. France, after all, is America’s oldest ally, and you just don’t treat old friends quite as shabbily as Obama has with France and its people.

While President Obama may have been too busy to travel to Paris, his counterpart, François Hollande, took the American disrespect gracefully and, speaking through a spokeswoman, declared that he had not been offended. “President Obama supported France in their common struggle against terrorism,” he said.

As though imitating a Ringling Bros. clown stepping into a bucket, Obama caused further embarrassment to himself by giving some of his sharpest critics a free ride for a couple of news cycles.

–Sending Jane D. Hartley to the Paris march was “beyond crass, even for this administration,” said Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee.

–“Our president should have been there,” Senator Ted Cruz wrote in Time Magazine.

–Obama is “a failure when it comes to fighting Islamic jihadists,” said Mike Huckabee.

–“Skipping this rally will be remembered as a new low in American diplomacy,” said Rick Perry.

–“There’s a plethora of people they could have sent,” said Senator Marco Rubio.

They’re right.

No one would remember “Ich bin ein Berliner” if John Kennedy had ordered some deputy assistant secretary of state no one ever heard of to deliver it. Nor would anyone recall “Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” if it had been uttered by anyone but Ronald Reagan.

Sometimes the messenger is the message.

A Bizarre Explanation of Newtown

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

By Jeffrey Page

Not since Jerry Falwell looked into a TV camera 12 days after 9/11 and blamed the attack on lesbians, the ACLU and People for the American Way (among others) has an American politician uttered the vicious outrages Mike Huckabee has spewed in the days after the mass killings in Newtown, Conn.

Soon after the bloodshed, Huckabee, a Southern Baptist minister who has expressed presidential ambitions, was asked by Fox News how God could have allowed the massacre of 20 little children and six adults. His response defines the word “cruel” and displays a breathless lack of humanity.

It was all our faults.

At a time when the people of Newtown and another 300 million people of the United States needed comfort and a kind word, Huckabee decided to browbeat us by declaring that the shootings were the result of a lack of prayer in the public schools.

We have to be responsible for where our arguments lead us. I follow Huckabee’s reasoning like this: Whose fault is it that there is no compulsory prayer in the schools? I could compose a list of names, but the shorthand answer is the Supreme Court. And who sits there? Nine men and women appointed by a president. And who picks the president?

That would be us.

And among “us” are residents of Newtown, a place where it is unlikely that townspeople never marched on a school board meeting to demand a restoration of school prayer.

I don’t think God works this way; making little girls and boys pay for the inaction of the older people in town.

“It’s an interesting thing,” Huckabee said on Fox News. “We ask why there’s violence in our schools but we’ve systematically removed God from our schools.”


Huckabee doesn’t get it. Making school violence an “interesting” subject reduces the Connecticut tragedy – parents facing the incomprehensible truth of life without their children – to about the level of urgency and importance as trying to do the crossword puzzle in the Sunday Times. A new movie is “interesting.” The murder of babies is not “interesting.”

And “systematically removing” God from classrooms?

In fact we have done no such thing.

Some students pray in school whenever they wish, maybe before an algebra exam, maybe to thank God for another day, or for a dad’s recovery from illness, or for a date for the prom. But these are personal entreaties made by individuals, maybe in a whisper, maybe in silence. The First Amendment may rule against organized prayer in public institutions but prevent praying in schools? Kick God out? Never happened. Never could.

Most ministers understand that no one is powerful enough or, for that matter, stupid enough, to try to remove God from the schools. It can’t be done because, the clergy will tell you, God is with everyone all the time – even in school. Does Huckabee think that a mere schoolhouse door is going to keep the lord out?

Huckabee, continuing with the grace and mercy of a stampeding buffalo as Newtown parents arranged for the funerals of their babies, said, “Should we be so surprised that schools would become a place of carnage?”

Of course we should be so surprised, and maybe a little astonished that someone with a public persona could be so insensitive to the misery and pain that has overcome Newtown.