“Accuracy is the twin brother of honesty; inaccuracy, of dishonesty.” – Nathaniel Hawthorne
I am profoundly disheartened by Mike Huckabee’s behavior. I was a supporter of his in 2008 because he was clearly the more conservative alternative to John McCain, but a short eight years later, he’s let me down–not because he’s polling at a paltry 1.8%, but because he was willfully dishonest when asked about a recent attack on a fellow candidate.
A Super PAC supporting Mike Huckabee recently ran an ad that quotes Ted Cruz at a Manhattan fundraiser. The precisely edited clip makes it appear as though Cruz isn’t who he says he is.
Here’s the ad:
Sounds bad, right? Not so fast. The recording from which that clip was taken has a lot more to offer. Here’s the actual transcript of the exchange between Cruz and his questioner as provided by Politico:
DONOR: “Can I ask you a question? So, I’m a big supporter. And the only issue I really disagree with you about is gay marriage. And I’m curious: Given all the problems that the country’s facing–like ISIS, the growth of government–how big a priority is fighting gay marriage going to be to a Cruz administration?”
CRUZ: “My view on gay marriage is that I’m a constitutionalist and marriage is a question for the states. And so I think if someone wants to change the marriage laws of their state, the way to do so is convince your fellow citizens–and change them democratically, rather than five unelected judges…Being a constitutionalist is integral to my approach to every other issue. So that I’m very devoted to.”
DONOR: “So would you say it’s like a top-three priority for you–fighting gay marriage?”
CRUZ: “No. I would say defending the Constitution is a top priority. And that cuts across the whole spectrum–whether it’s defending [the] First Amendment, defending religious liberty, stopping courts from making public policy issues that are left to the people…I also think the 10th Amendment of the Constitution cuts across a whole lot of issues and can bring people together. People of New York may well resolve the marriage question differently than the people of Florida or Texas or Ohio…That’s why we have 50 states–to allow a diversity of views. And so that is a core commitment.”
Not only does Cruz stay consistent with his public message, but when the exchange is viewed in full, Huckabee’s ad is revealed to be a gross mischaracterization of what was said.
Ah! But Super PACs aren’t allowed to coordinate with candidates, so it’s not Huckabee’s fault this ad was produced. He had no involvement in it. Oh wait–when asked on Fox News if the ad was dishonest, Huck doubled down, saying:
“…there’s nothing selective, there was nothing deceptive. The point is that in Iowa he’s made a major point, and he’s pitched to evangelicals as a person who is utterly authentic. He’s going to fight for religious liberty. He’s going to protect the right of people to disagree with decisions on same-sex marriage. But that’s not what you heard in that Manhattan fundraiser and that’s the only thing that I have pointed out.”
Well, there you have it. Read the transcript, watch the ad, then listen to Huckabee. Unless Huckabee’s a complete moron–which he’s not–he knows that the ad is patently dishonest. Yet he went on national tv, and fired away. Perhaps I’m so profoundly disappointed because Huckabee used to be a preacher; maybe his past makes this more painful for me. Regardless, for any alleged conservative to be that blatantly dishonest hits me hard. I’ve always viewed Huck as a very honest man. Now I know better.
This is similar to an attack from Rick Santorum–who’s currently languishing at 0.5% in the polls–in which he claimed Cruz isn’t a real social conservative because he’s an adherent to the Tenth Amendment.
Dear Mike Huckabee, stop lying, or avoiding the truth (if we want to get political about it), and drop out of the race. Your time has passed. You’ve disappointed conservatives enough for one cycle.