THE BLOG
11/26/2007 01:56 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Huckabee and Paul: Not That Funny and Not That Righteous

It brings us much joy to see the Republican primary get ever-murkier, as GOP greats (well, the greatest they have to offer) Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani and John McCain are threatened by Mike Huckabee and Ron Paul's growing popularity.

More disturbingly, though, some Democrats and independents are showing odd signs of falling in love with the two GOP freaks or at least, as Jimmy Carter fittingly confessed, of having "lust in their heart." This is not fine.

It's getting so bad that the Kucinichs are smitten: the previous apple of Dennis's eye, his wife Elizabeth, proudly proclaimed that her husband would consider a Kucinich/Paul ticket (or was it Paul/Kucinich?), because Paul is "also a truth teller." Of course, she's British, and her accented, dry humor may have eluded us and the campaign press corps (who find John "Bomb-bomb-bomb bomb-bomb Iran" McCain the funniest person in the world.)

Yes, we like Paul's early and dogged opposition to the war in Iraq. And yes, we can only dream that Hillary Clinton, with all that First Lady experience, or John Edwards, the uber-progressive, would have been as decisive as Paul on this issue. And yes, many of us appreciate his unwavering defense of civil liberties, his misgivings about NAFTA and his willingness to cast principled votes.

But if that's it, then why not just draft the real thing, perhaps Democratic Congresswoman Barbara Lee (the ONLY vote in Congress against the use of military force after 9/11) or Democratic Congressman Mel Watt (the ONLY vote in Congress against Megan's law). At least with them you won't get someone who introduced the Sanctity of Life Act of 2005 recognizing the personhood of fetuses; someone who cast the only vote against a celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act; who raises the specter of a worldwide gun control movement (if only); and whose supporters include a sickening number of white supremacists (on stormfront.org, a discussion board for those "interested in white survival," Paul is endorsed in bold type on the home page, which also features headlines such as "Wealthy Jewess Killed by Black Secretary." Seriously.

The infatuation with Huckabee at first seems easier to understand: he appears easy-going and witty, unlike, for instance, Romney and his glacial grin; he seems laid back, but not lethargic like Fred Thompson; he doesn't openly hate poor people and immigrant children like, well, everyone else in the Republican party; and, so temptingly, the Wall Street Journal despises him. This is all good, but surely it's not good enough to give him the old McCain 2000 treatment, as the slothful mainstream media is already doing (they're bored, he's refreshing, they love him).

Huckabee boasts that Christian conservatives consider him one of them (that should be your first clue), but that he's "not mad at anybody." Unless you're planning a same-sex union, which he equates to slavery. Or unless you're pro-choice, since abortion too is like slavery (maybe that's how Southern conservatives make sure their supporters know slavery was bad: by saying it was kind of like gay people, or kind of like terminating a pregnancy, it was THAT bad). He also blames "the holocaust of liberalized abortion" for America's need to "import" workers. That's nice.

The first governor with a concealed-carry permit ("Don't mess with me"), Huckabee is a strong supporter of a national "right to carry" bill, and blamed the high death toll in the Virginia Tech shooting rampage on the fact that no one had a concealed gun. I can't imagine he was saying this in jest, but as so many political observers point out, he's really funny.

Huckabee, with more than a tinge of admiration for George W. Bush, recently called the Iraq war "the defining battle [...] for Western civilization itself." This would not include the theory of evolution, which he doesn't believe in, as he made clear at a recent debate and in at least one interview ("science changes with every generation and with new discoveries, and God doesn't"). At least he hasn't equated evolution to slavery or the holocaust. Yet.

I can see why Republicans are warming up to these guys, when their other choices include a candidate who I promise you will one day be deemed certifiable (Giuliani), a non-human (Romney), the oldest man alive (McCain), the second oldest man alive (Thompson), and Jason from Friday the 13th (Tom Tancredo).

The Democratic primary may not be delivering the deep belly laughs so cherished by Chris Matthews, or the kind of straight talk popular with those deeply invested in white survival. But on balance, I'll take even Clinton's shaky public humor and shakier trustworthiness over Paul's righteousness, Huckabee's wit, and the devious and unfunny realities they obscure.