DON’T HEART HUCKABEE…. Even among those who abhor his political ideology, there’s a sense that Mike Huckabee is just a nice guy. He tells charming stories, jokes around with Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, and plays bass in a band. As right-wing preachers-turned-politicians go, Huckabee seems likable and non-threatening. The common joke among liberals is that they wouldn’t vote for him for president, but they’d vote for him for neighbor.

So, let’s be clear: there’s a deeply ugly aspect of Mike Huckabee’s personality, and it’s rather twisted. Sam Stein reports:

Conservative media figures are blasting Democrats for trying to draw political gain from the death of Senator Ted Kennedy. But on Thursday, it was one of their own — former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee — who went there.

The 2008 Republican presidential candidate suggested during his radio show, “The Huckabee Report,” on Thursday that, under President Obama’s health care plan, Kennedy would have been told to “go home to take pain pills and die” during his last year of life.

“[I]t was President Obama himself who suggested that seniors who don’t have as long to live might want to consider just taking a pain pill instead of getting an expensive operation to cure them,” said Huckabee. “Yet when Sen. Kennedy was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer at 77, did he give up on life and go home to take pain pills and die? Of course not. He freely did what most of us would do. He choose an expensive operation and painful follow up treatments. He saw his work as vitally important and so he fought for every minute he could stay on this earth doing it. He would be a very fortunate man if his heroic last few months were what future generations remember him most for.”

These aren’t the words of someone with a strong character. These are vicious, perverse remarks that tell us a great deal about who Huckabee really is.

The “substance” of his on-air comments is unusually stupid — Obama did not “suggest” anything of the sort, and there’s nothing in any Democratic proposal to bolster these insane attacks — and the politics is nearly as bad. Huckabee probably hopes to impress the Tea Bagging crowd with this disgusting rhetoric, proving that Sarah Palin isn’t the only crazy far-right voice who deserves their adoration in advance of 2012.

Ed Kilgore concluded, “This despicable rant should disqualify Mike Huckabee from any further liberal sympathy, no matter how much he tries to joke or rock-n-roll his way back into mainstream acceptability.”

Ideally, it’d disqualify Huckabee for even more than that.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.