This morning (9am Tuesday NZ time, 5pm Monday EST) I watched GOP presidential contender and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee on Fox New’s The Five trying to defend his recent comments about the Iran Nuclear Deal. I’ve always struggled to watch Huckabee – there are even occasions when I’ve literally felt physically ill listening to his revolting comments. One of those moments was his response to the Sandy Hook tragedy back in 2012. (I’ve put the transcript of his speech at the bottom of this post.)
Mike Huckabee’s presidential bid is all about what he calls “values”, and by that he means conservative Christian values. His anti-abortion stance is in big part due to the Biblical commandment “Thou shalt not kill.” (A more accurate translation from the original is, “Thou shalt not murder,” but I digress.) The other commandments are important to him too – he mentions them all in the speech I’ve posted below. One of those commandments is, of course, “Thou shalt not bear false witness.” Well, on several occasions during his half hour on The Five, he either lied, or he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. My opinion is that he misrepresented the facts in order to appeal to a particular part of the Republican base and to get himself some media time.
The reason Huckabee’s currently in the news on the Iran Deal is because of a statement he made on SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Saturday on 25 July:
This president’s foreign policy is the most feckless in American history. He’s so naïve that he would trust the Iranians and he will take the Israelis and basically march them to the door of the oven.
That statement caused both President Obama and Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton to criticize him.
His campaign produced some graphics and a mercifully short video:
He also sent tweets to Obama and Clinton:
For goodness sake.
Anyway, here’s part of the first segment of The Five, which has gained some coverage because one of the hosts, Geraldo Rivera, asked Huckabee to apologize for his remarks:
Before the exchange in the clip above, the part of Obama’s speech in Ethiopia was shown where he said, “There’s a reason why 99% of the world think this is a good deal – it’s because it’s a good deal.” Well, 99% may be a bit of an exaggeration, but certainly a majority of world leaders do support this deal, and for good reason. The world is safer because of it.
Co-host Kimberley Guilfoyle started by asking Huckabee how he felt about being “news maker of the day”. He responds that he “didn’t intend to be.” I find that hard to believe, although in that he’s just like any other politician, and better at it than most. He knows how to communicate and he has more name recognition than a majority of the candidates because of running for president in 2008 and a successful show on Fox News.
He then stated:
The last time the world didn’t take seriously the threat that someone was going to kill massive amounts of Jews we ended up seeing six million Jews murdered. It’s Neville Chamberlain all over again.
Quite apart from continuing to go back to the incredibly offensive and inappropriate reference to the Holocaust, Huckabee thus links the Iran to Neville Chamberlain’s 1938 ‘Peace in Our Time’ deal. The thing is, not only is Huckabee ignorant in his behaviour, he’s ignorant of the facts. Hitler never actually threatened to kill the Jews at any time, he just went ahead and did it. It wasn’t until mid-1941 rumours started leaking out of what was happening to the Jews, initially in the Soviet Union, which continually increased in number. It wasn’t until November 1942 that British intelligence received reports of a Nazi plan to murder all Jews. According to the Jewish Virtual Library:
On December 17, 1942, the Allies issued a proclamation condemning the “extermination” of the Jewish people in Europe and declared that they would punish the perpetrators. Notwithstanding this, it remains unclear to what extent Allied and neutral leaders understood the full import of their information. The utter shock of senior Allied commanders who liberated camps at the end of the war may indicate that this understanding was not complete.
Further, Huckabee continually states that Iranian politicians constantly threaten to wipe all Jews off the face of the map. This is not true – what they say is they will wipe Israel off the face of the map. That’s no better of course, but it is different. Huckabee says, “The Iranian government has repeatedly said that it will be easier to take the Jews out because they’re all concentrated in Israel.” Statements like that are more accurately attributed to Hezbollah. Iran is a big sponsor of Hezbollah, so they are complicit here, but the government has not made that statement.
“If we don’t take seriously the threats of Iran, then God help us all,” said Huckabee. Although Iranian leaders have said that they want to wipe Israel (not Jews) off the face of the map, they have always said they’re opposed to nuclear weapons and have denied that their nuclear ambitions have any military component. According to them they are anti-Zionist, not anti-Jewish, and Iran actually has a lower level of anti-Semitism than any other Middle East country. If we were taking Iran seriously, we would be letting Iran get on with what they doing.
In fact, most of the world’s leaders do not believe Iran when they say that their nuclear program is peaceful, and that is why this deal has been negotiated. The reason so many years have been invested to try and get a nuclear deal with Iran is because most world leaders do NOT take the statements of Iran seriously. They believe they are a major threat to the security of the region, and they don’t want them to have a nuclear weapon. Thus, they have done something about the problem of Iran’s nuclear ambitions. It is not a perfect deal, but it is much better than what we had before.
The negotiating teams from each country included people who understood what was needed to make sure Iran not only didn’t get a nuclear weapon, but that if there was any suspicion they were cheating on the deal, the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) inspectors would know about it. Ernest Moniz, US Secretary of Energy and MIT nuclear physicist was the US’s representative in this process. He has gone on the record on several occasions in the last few days and said he is comfortable with the process put in place. One of the more useful interactions on this subject has been an interview on CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS (26 July):
ZAKARIA: The White House had no fewer than three Cabinet secretaries on the hot seat on Thursday in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, making the case for congressional support of the Iran deal. It wasn’t a very sympathetic crowd.
But President Obama was clear in his press conference last week: Any objectors to the deal should be able to tell Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz why they are right and Moniz is wrong. After all, Moniz is, as Obama said, an MIT nuclear physicist and an expert on these issues. But despite his credentials will he make the sale on Capitol Hill? We’ll ask him.
Secretary Moniz joins me now. Welcome, sir.
MONIZ: Thank you, Fareed.
ZAKARIA: You heard what people on the Hill were saying. I think it was Marco Rubio who said the deal is irreparably flawed, which makes me wonder, do you think there was any deal that the Republicans on the Hill would have accepted?
MONIZ: Well, certainly I think that the nuclear dimensions of the deal, frankly, are far stronger than anyone had expected – really bites hard into the Iranian nuclear program for quite a long time. I think as you heard in the hearing, a lot of the objection was really directed at the idea that Iran would, in fact, get economic relief and concern about non-nuclear dimensions in terms of using those resources.
ZAKARIA: So the main objections that I’ve heard to the deal are … as follows: There are people like Alan Kuperman who say the centrifuges – first of all, there should have been more centrifuges disconnected, and more importantly, they are not destroyed; they are merely disconnected – that Iran still has in a storage room somewhere these thousands of centrifuges that it could reconnect very quickly and that therefore your breakout time scenarios are unreasonable – that they could actually much more quickly race to the amount of fissile material to make a bomb. Is that fair?
MONIZ: It – that is actually incorrect. I read that as well – it is incorrect. The issue of rebuilding centrifuges and infrastructure is in fact part of the breakout calculations that our laboratory scientists have done.
I might add that these negotiations were constantly supported by the nation’s top nuclear scientists and engineers, and it was simply incorrect that those factors weren’t included.
ZAKARIA: The big objection that has gotten popular attention is this idea that Iran has up to 24 days to comply with a request for an inspection of a suspected site. Now first I want to clarify. When Ben Rhodes, the president’s – one of the president’s top aides – said that the inspectors will have anytime/anywhere access, he said specifically to Iran’s known nuclear sites. Is that in fact true, that the sites that are declared nuclear facilities – Natanz, Arak, Fordo – there will be 24/7 anytime/anywhere access?
MONIZ: That is correct. The IAEA, the international inspectors, can have daily access to these facilities. This 24-day process is what would apply to undeclared sites that we, the international community, the IAEA suspect as having undeclared nuclear activities.
ZAKARIA: This was a group negotiation in a sense, so the United States was not alone on one side of the table. You had Russia; you had China; you had the Europeans. Did you have to give in on some of your core preferences, or your preferences, to accommodate, say, Russia’s views?
MONIZ: The – by the way, it’s a very important point, Fareed, that this really was a six-nation negotiation – the five permanent members of the Security Council plus Germany. And sure, we had to negotiate among ourselves because there are lots of trade-offs in this.
For example, even the one-year breakout time, there are many ways to achieve that and different countries weighted things differently. But I think in the end, in that case, our scientists from all six countries worked very, very well together.
And I think the cohesion of these six countries, when we obviously have – let’s say, with Russia – we obviously have our major differences at the moment, but nevertheless the cohesion of this group in the commitment to seeing that Iran will not have a nuclear weapon future is really, in itself, I think, a major outcome of the negotiation. And that cohesion, of course, really ups the ante in the current congressional discussion if we were to undermine this agreement at this stage. We would have significant problems with our – with other major powers.
ZAKARIA: Are you confident that if Iran were to violate the terms of this deal it would not turn into a kind of endless interpretation between the United States and, say, Russia and China – that the sanctions would, in fact, snap back?
MONIZ: We have every reason to believe so. Russia and China, as well as our European partners, were all very constructive members of this negotiation. I think there’s a genuine common interest in, again, Iran not having a nuclear weapon and more generally in supporting the non-proliferation regime.
ZAKARIA: You know, this is obviously a big deal for the United States, for the world, but personally this is – this must be a big deal for you in the sense that you are an MIT nuclear physicist. You ran a particle accelerator lab. Your credibility is on the line. Are you confident that this deal achieves the – that this deal blocks Iran’s path to a nuclear weapon?
MONIZ: I’m very confident – again, blocks the path, or if they choose to just go after it, to detect it and to have plenty of time to respond.
ZAKARIA: Secretary Moniz, thank you very much.
MONIZ: Thank you, Fareed.
And so we get back to Huckabee, and his misrepresentation of the deal. He complains about the rhetoric of Iran, then makes multiple highly emotive statements of his own:
“Three times I have been to Auschwitz. When I talk about the oven door, I have stood at that over door.”
“For six thousand years Jews have been chased and hunted and killed all over this earth …”
As a Jew myself, … you cannot compare the slaughter of six million Jews … to a negotiation over a deal like this. You have offended many, many people in the Jewish community, not only the organized Jewish community … it is inappropriate to compare the Holocaust to anything, and if you start using that as a sloppy rhetorical phrase … you’re gonna get in trouble.
Huckabee was unable to accept that. “I’m begging you to apologize and recant,” said Rivera. “I will not apologize,” replied Huckabee. His inane argument was that we have things like the Holocaust Museum and other memorials to remember, and so that it will never happen again, and therefore he’s right to use the analogy here. He even used the excuse that the word was invoked by the Iranian government. This would be the same government whose rhetoric he wants to limit by contract. It’s like a kid saying, “he did it first.” (To which my mother always replied, “what if he jumped off a cliff first.”) Clearly, Huckabee is happy to jump off the cliff if it gets him some media attention.
Huckabee went on to say that Jewish Democrats are only opposing what he says for political reasons. “For them it’s a political issue, for me it’s not, it’s a humanitarian issue, and when you have a government saying they’re going to kill every Jew on the planet earth … and that’s what they’ve been saying for as long as the ayatollahs have been in power.” You’d think there was no way to make comparing an issue to the Holocaust any worse, but Huckabee managed it – now Jewish Democrats are only pretending to be upset about the comparison.
In the middle of the segment and again at the end, Huckabee insisted that there should have been three pre-conditions to the negotiations.
For the president to act like the only two options are either have a war or take his deal that got nothing … we didn’t get the hostages out, we didn’t get a concession that they would stop this rhetoric about wanting to wipe Israel off, or they didn’t stop chanting ‘Death to America’. We got nothing. … Why can’t we criticize it.
For a start, no one is saying you can’t criticize the deal – it’s not the criticism that’s the problem Mr Huckabee, it’s the comparison to the horror suffered by Jews under the Nazi regime. His demand the Iranians “tone down their rhetoric” manages to be both childish and patronizing. Huckabee wants to control what representatives of the government of another country say via contract. That is, like much of his own rhetoric, ridiculous. How would be feel if someone from another country wanted to limit his freedom of speech? You can be sure we’d hear all about his “God-given rights” then.
Some people in the United States need to recognize too that this deal wasn’t between them and Iran, it was negotiated by the United States, Russia, China, France, the United Kingdom and Germany on behalf of the United Nations with Iran. The interests of the United States aren’t more special or more important that those of everyone else in the world.
There were plenty of other misrepresentations in the parts of his appearance that didn’t make it to YouTube too. These included:
The Chinese are outspending us three-to-one [in relation to the military].
This is untrue. The United States continues to spend more on their military than anyone else, and currently spends more than the next seven countries combined. Different organisations calculate the figures differently, but all place the United States far ahead of any other country.
More Huckabee inanity followed:
Part of the problem is the way we fund Social Security and Medicare. It’s all through payroll taxes. One of the reasons that I’m a passionate supporter of the Fair Tax, which is a tax on consumption, as opposed to income, is because it helps to create a levelized [sic] funding stream for these very important programs. The fewer number of people that are actually getting their pay checks through wages is dramatic. Most people in America get their wealth in America by dividends and by investment income. So as a result you have a shrinking pool of money going in to pay for those programs, 10,000 people are retiring every day, look, common sense says that doesn’t work. So, yes, let’s change the funding stream to a more reliable one which is the consumption tax.
No, Mr Huckabee, common sense says you don’t know what you’re talking about. Most Americans do NOT get their income from dividends and investments, and consumption taxes are NOT fair. They hit the poor far out proportion to the wealthy.
Then, of course, there’s abortion:
I think we risk something bigger by not answering the bold question, is it time that we start asking what kind of civilization do we have that we would kill sixty million unborn children in their mother’s womb over the course of 42 years. We’ve destroyed an entire generation. And we’ve not done it because “the health of the mother”. Let’s quit even going there. There’s no health to the mother involved. This is a financial and social decision in about 98% of the cases. And Planned Parenthood is in the business of providing abortion. And what we now know, they’re in the business of selling baby’s body parts like the parts of a Buick. For God’s sake, can we not have the bigger discussion on whether or not it’s okay to call ourselves civilized when we practice infanticide, as we have for 42 years. … How do we respect the rest of the world to respect us as civilized when we act as savages towards our own unborn children?
Here are the facts:
1. Abortion is NOT infanticide.
2. There is no evidence that Planned Parenthood is selling body parts for profit.
3. Planned Parenthood receives US$538 million in government funding.
4. The funding Planned Parenthood receives from government is about one-third of it’s total revenue stream.
5. Abortions make up 3% of the services they provide.
Therefore, when Planned Parenthood says that they are obeying the law (Hyde Amendment, 1976) and not using government funding for abortions unless the pregnancy was the result of rape or incest, that claim is likely true. The constant mantra of conservative politicians that they will stop government money being used for abortion is a lie. There has been no government funding of abortion since 1976. Huckabee goes further and insists he will de-fund Planned Parenthood. All this will do is reduce the access of women, especially low income women, to essential health services. Whatever these politicians say, it is an attack on women. It demonstrates the attitude of many religious conservatives that women should not have equal rights and responsibilities, including the right to make their own decisions about their bodies.
This is Huckabee’s pledge to voters. Not all bad of course, but there’s some pretty scary stuff in there. Thankfully, there’s no way he will be the GOP nominee and even if he was, he would never be elected president.
I, Mike Huckabee, pledge allegiance to God, the Constitution, and the citizens of the United States:
– I will adhere to the Constitution of the United States.
– I will oppose and veto any and all efforts to increase taxes.
– I will advocate for a complete overhaul of our tax system. This means passing the FairTax and abolishing the IRS.
– I will support a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution.
– I will now, and will for the duration of my presidency, promote and sign all measures leading to Obamacare’s defunding, deauthorization, and repeal.
– I will oppose amnesty and government benefits for illegal immigrants who violated our laws, repeal President Obama’s unconstitutional executive orders, and secure our borders.
– I will stand for the sanctity of all human life from the moment of conception until the grave. Taking this unequivocal stand includes fighting to defund Planned Parenthood.
– I will stand for the Institution of Marriage and vigorously oppose any redefinition.
– I will defend our 2nd Amendment rights and oppose gun control legislation.
– I will fight for the United States military to be the most feared, respected, and capable fighting force the world has ever known. I will restore our military infrastructure after years of abuse and neglect.
– I will stand with our friend and ally Israel in our shared fight against Radical Islam.
– I will do everything in my power to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear capability.
– I will end the national disgrace of failing to properly care for our veterans.
– I will protect Social Security and Medicare and never rob seniors of the benefits they were promised and forced to pay for.
– I will fight to kill Common Core and restore common sense. Education is a family function – not a federal function.
– I will support the elevation of none but faithful constitutionalists as judges or justices. They must be committed to restraint and applying the original meaning of the Constitution, not legislating from the bench.
– I will fight for term limits for members of Congress and judges.
Transcript of Mike Huckabee’s speech on “Where Was God?”
I said that for 50 years, we’ve since systematically attempted to have God removed from our schools, our public activities, but then at the moment we have a calamity we wonder where He was. Well the predictable left lit up the airwaves and blogosphere with a violent vicious reaction and jump to the conclusion that I said if we had prayer in school shooting wouldn’t happen.
Well I said nothing of the sort! It’s far more than just taking prayer or Bible reading out of the schools. It’s the fact that people sue a city so we aren’t confronted with a manger scene or a Christmas Carol. That lawsuits are filed to remove a cross that’s a memorial to fallen soldiers, churches and Christian-owned businesses are told to surrender their values under the edict of government orders to provide tax-funded abortion pills.
We carefully and intentionally stop saying things are sinful and we call them disorders, sometimes we even say they’re normal and to get to where that we have to abandon bedrock moral truths, then we are asked, “Well … Where was God?”.
And I respond “As I see it, we’ve escorted Him right out of our culture and we’ve marched Him off the public square and then we express our surprise that a culture without Him actually reflects what it’s become.”
As soon as the tragedy unfolded, I think God did show up. He showed up in the lives of teachers who put their lives between a gunman and their students. He showed up in policeman who rushed into the school, not knowing if they would be met with a barrage of bullets. He showed up in the form of hugs and tears for children parents and teachers who had lived through the slaughter. He showed up at the overflow church services were people lit candles and prayed.
And He showed up at the White House where the President invoked His name and quoted from His book. And in a few days or weeks will probably ask God to excuse Himself from view and we will announce in our arrogant pride that we are now enlightened and educated and we’ve evolved beyond needing Him. And somebody’s going to suggest we pass a law to stop all this kind of thing … I might want to point out that we don’t have to pass a new law, there’s one that’s been around a while that works if we teach it and observe it … Thou shalt not kill. Oh, there are about nine others, but to tell you about them require bringing God back and we know how unacceptable that might be.