10/23/2007 03:24 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Huckabee: Immigrants are Taking Jobs Away from Aborted Fetuses

Last week David Brooks called Mike Huckabee "the most normal person running for president."

Just two days later, Brooks' go-to guy, speaking before a Christian conservative group, espoused his pet view that the immigration issue should be linked directly to the abortion issue:

Sometimes we talk about why we're importing so many people in our workforce. It might be for the last 35 years, we have aborted more than a million people who would have been in our workforce had we not had the holocaust of liberalized abortion under a flawed Supreme Court ruling in 1973.

That's right: Huckabee's twisted logic says that immigrant workers are filling a labor shortage caused, in large measure, by abortion. Huckabee didn't fill in all of the details at this recent conference, but others on the lunatic right-wing fringe--Tom Delay and Charles Colson among them--have elaborated this crackpot economic theory at greater length.

These GOP loons contend quite explicitly that the post-1973 generation of aborted fetuses--had their mothers been forced to carry them to term--would now be filling the low-end service jobs that most citizens refuse to take. The argument turns on the insidious assumption that abortions hail mainly from low-income sectors. And hence Huckabee and his ilk are insinuating that a life of economic hardship is better than no life at all. Further, lives of lawful destitution are better than lives of illegal destitution. Such "workforce" lives are morally fungible, thus permitting a direct trade-off calculation between actual versus aborted workers (even though the estimates of U.S. abortions since 1973 range wildly in these right-wing circles from one million to 47 million).

Now Huckabee is going public with this whispered immigrant-fetus linkage because he clearly thinks it makes for good right-wing politics: Killing two scapegoats with one stone.

Where to start to parse out the idiocy?

We have all sorts of labor shortages, depending on the wage proposed. Many immigrants fill highly skilled positions. Does Huckabee think that Roe v. Wade is responsible for our relative shortage of technically trained computer programmers? Does he really think that many of these jobs are being outsourced to India and China because those countries have had fewer abortions?

CEOs are making obscenely high salaries, supposedly because the demand for qualified people far outstrips the supply. Does Economics 101 Huckabee-style say that a reduction in abortions will eventually bring down CEO pay scales? Or does the crackpot theory operate only on the low-end of the wage scale?

Immigrants have been filling shortfalls in U.S. military recruitment. Isn't Huckabee diminishing their patriotism and national service by suggesting that those positions would have been better filled by native-born yet never-borne Americans? (As Rumsfeld said, you go to war with the army you have, not with the army you wish we had, had we not aborted them, as unknown unknowns--or something like that.)

For that matter, U.S. deaths in Iraq deplete the numbers in our domestic workforce. So do HIV deaths. So do deaths caused by killer bees. Why stop at abortions when you're tallying the imaginary numbers of displaced workers owing to potentially preventable deaths?

For that matter, how can Huckabee be so sure that a good number of immigrant workers aren't here precisely because of abortion forbearance in their home countries? Would he require that favored immigrants document their status as abortion-averted persons?

For that matter, his utilitarian argument against abortion is a double-edged sword: By parity of reason, in times of foreseeable labor surpluses in certain sectors, selectively advocating abortion would make for strategic national economic policy. Just as the Federal Reserve monitors monetary supply, shouldn't Ben Bernanke also be forecasting the optimal number of abortions given future workforce needs?

Then again, maybe Huckabee is merely being self-deprecating: He's trying to give us an explanation for why there's such a dearth of respectable candidates for the presidency.

Anyway, you get my point: We have another mainstream GOP candidate spewing utterly whacked-out nonsense. And mainstream media pundits such as David Brooks are trying to normalize such fatuity.