Former Arkansas Governor and potential Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee recently spent some time with the New Yorker's Ariel Levy and spoke about his personal beliefs and political aspirations.
Huckabee's personal faith -- he was a Baptist minister before entering politics -- was well defined in his 2008 presidential campaign, and his strong, Evangelical pro-Israel and anti-gay rights positions have since attracted attention to the now-Fox News host.
As Levy points out, Huckabee, though perhaps hesitant to run for President again in 2012 -- Brenda Turner, his former chief of staff, told Levy that Huckabee would probably only run if "the Lord was calling him," and that this didn't yet look evident -- serves as a powerful counter to another, potentially problematic Republican frontrunner: Sarah Palin.
In some ways, Huckabee seems like a promising candidate for 2012: a squeaky-clean family man and bona-fide Christian who loves to talk. His communication is folksy but fluid; he never seems flummoxed, like George W. Bush, or befuddled, like John McCain, or unprepared, like Sarah Palin. "If we're running a race against their most articulate guy," Steve Schmidt, John McCain's former campaign manager, told me, referring to President Obama, "we should put our most articulate guy. Huckabee's that guy." Schmidt, who has traded barbs with Palin since the election, said, "There's no one who really provides a better contrast to Sarah Palin, showing her as an entertainer instead of a serious thinker--and there's not enough oxygen for both of them."
Here are some more gems from Levy's profile in the New Yorker.
- On wearing a yarmulke: "I think what I should do is convert," Huckabee said. "This covers my bald spot completely."
- On the Rapture: "I was a lot more sure when I was eighteen!" he said. "I thought it would be one heck of an end-of-the-world war."
- On Palestine in 2008: "I have to be careful saying this, because people get really upset--there's really no such thing as a Palestinian," Huckabee said during his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008.
- On public acceptance of homosexuality: "Until recently, who would have dared to suggest that the practice should be accepted on equal footing with heterosexuality, to be thought of as a personal decision and nothing more?"
- On finding God as a youth: "Before some of these moments in my faith really took root, I think I could have gone a totally different way. I think I could have become the hedonist, because I had rejected what I had grown to believe was a completely superficial and inauthentic approach to life." He added, "I did not want to be a sheep."
- On a joke affair with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi: "The only thing worse than a torrid affair with sweet, sweet Nancy would be a torrid affair with Helen Thomas. If those were my only options, I'd probably be FOR same-sex marriage!"
- On being accepting of gays: "I've had people who worked for me who are homosexuals," he insists. "And I don't walk around thinking, Oh, I pity them so much. I accept them as who they are! It's not like somehow their sin is so much worse than mine."
- On the "ick factor" of homosexuality: "I do believe that God created male and female and intended for marriage to be the relationship of the two opposite sexes," he said. "Male and female are biologically compatible to have a relationship. We can get into the ick factor, but the fact is two men in a relationship, two women in a relationship, biologically, that doesn't work the same."
Read the entire article here.