Here’s a tip: if you’re running for president, don’t strongly publicly defend a child molester. Mike Huckabee didn’t seem to ever get that memo. On Thursday he posted to Facebook an inexplicable defense of the Duggar family, following the revelations that oldest son Josh had sexually molested some of his young sisters. For those who haven’t followed the Duggar child molestation story, you really need to check it out – read the incredible In Touch story that broke the news.
Huckabee tries to pass off the situation as a case of a “blood-thirsty” liberal media set out to beat up conservatives. “Good people make mistakes and do regrettable and even disgusting things,” Huckabee writes. That’s a much kinder view than what Huckabee has said about unarmed black men shot dead by police.
Some may try to make the case that Josh Duggar’s actions are “forgivable,” considering he was a young teenager, brought up in bizarro household, confused about sexuality and wasn’t given the help he needed by his parents. But that falls apart when you consider what he’s done since. He never faced punishment for his actions, and later went on to work for conservative action groups that promote their visions of “good family values” to the rest of America.
The bigger issue is with Jim Bob Duggar, who Huckabee says in his post he loves and calls a friend. Jim Bob’s actions, however, are the most disturbing from this whole affair. Huckabee glosses over it all, saying the family was open with it, took Josh to the authorities and got him help. The report largely contradicts this. Jim Bob didn’t take Josh to the authorities for over a year after the first molestation claim, allowing him to do the same to several of Josh’s other sisters. And even then, he took him to a family friend, a former Arkansas State Trooper now in jail for child pornography. And the Duggars didn’t send Josh to counseling – they had him stay at a family friend’s place just to get him out of the house.
Perhaps the most ridiculous part of Huckabee’s post is this: “the fact that he confessed his sins to those he harmed, sought help, and has gone forward to live a responsible and circumspect life as an adult is testament to his family’s authenticity and humility.” Yes, after all this, he still believes the Duggar family is authentic. Never mind that they became national celebrities from proudly showing off their wholesome “family values” while hiding the fact that their son molested his sisters for years with no consequences.
Huckabee probably can’t process that because, really, he’s just as fake as them. Since living the good life on Fox News, Mike Huckabee has become nothing more than a Reality Show Republican. His run for president is as fake as the diabetes cure he made money hustling for. It’s as fake as the “family values” that conservative media darlings promote to make themselves rich. And it’s as fake as the Christianity these people purport to follow, which thinks people who let their son molest their daughters don’t deserve punishment, as long as they follow they same political ideology as you.
Who knows whether this whole ordeal will damage Huckabee’s chances for the White House. There’s plenty of people on the Christian right defending the Duggars and they’ll likely appreciate that Huckabee is standing up for them. But this situation seems different. Many Duggar fans are horrified, rightly looking at this from the victims’ perspective. The top comment on every Facebook post Huckabee has made since contains condemnation for his support. You’d think most rational-thinking big donors would realize he’s doomed any chance he’d have in the general election.
Mike Huckabee has made a lucrative career after his time as Arkansas Governor playing the conservative outrage card on cable TV. This time the knee-jerk reaction to anyone criticizing people “on your side” in the political culture wars may have gotten the better of him. Huckabee has shown the voters he values his friendships with reality TV stars more than defending child molestation victims. That’s typically not a winning strategy when running for public office.
by Pat Rynard