Huck’s Off Balance

We all know Mike Huckabee has struggled to come up with the money to finance his two presidential campaigns. But this is ridiculous (per the Guardian‘s Peter Beaumont):

Huckabee is not the first Republican hopeful to make a campaign stop in Israel during a presidential election cycle – Mitt Romney did the same in 2012. But Huckabee is certainly the first to have held a fundraiser for his campaign in an Israeli settlement.

That’s right: Huck held a fundraiser for Americans living in West Bank settlements deemed illegal under international law. It was part of what sounds like a rather disastrous trip to Israel when the former Arkansas governor should have probably been at the Iowa State Fair.

Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee delivered a confused and garbled press conference in Jerusalem during a brief campaign stop….

At times taking positions to the right of Israel’s government, the former governor of Arkansas at one stage described Russia as the “Soviet Union” – when referring to its plans to supply Iran with S-300 anti-aircraft missiles – before correcting himself.

He also seemed to suggest that the West Bank bordered one of Israel’s enemies, as opposed to Jordan, which has long enjoyed a peace treaty with Israel.

As Huckabee left the press conference, he also said he was unsure if he would be the first US president to abandon a commitment to a two-state solution, despite having no policy he could articulate on the future of Palestinians.

I don’t know what’s with Huck lately. Lord knows he’s taken enough trips to Israel to navigate the issues American politicians get asked there. There’s really no percentage in being to the right of Bibi. But the dude seems off-balance. As part of a competition to see who can make the most extreme antichoice statements in the GOP field, Huckabee has telescoped a series of bizarre and complex arguments by which (a) properly understood the Constitution inalienably establishes a “right to life” from the moment of conception; (b) that means not even SCOTUS can legalize abortion; and thus (c) a President Huckabee would use the executive arm of government–the FBI and the military–to stop all abortions, presumably by closing every clinic and–who knows?–placing all pregnant women under protective custody until they’ve given birth. In that context, his support for the Paraguayan government’s decision to force a child raped by her step-father to carry the pregnancy to term seems perfectly natural, horrifying as it is to an awful lot of people.

If I had to guess, I say Huck’s struggling to get himself noticed this cycle, and has decided to make a splash at all costs. I shudder to think what Bobby Jindal may say or do next to upstage him down at the bottom of the pile of candidates.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.