Huckabee Has Another Moment of Sanity For a Republican

I would never consider supporting Mike Huckabee because our views are so diametrically opposed on social issues. I am not surprised by recent signs that he might make a legitimate challenge for the Republican nomination as I’ve wondered why social conservatives didn’t rally around him as the most rational and consistent proponent of their views. As Huckabee’s position has improved it now looks like the Club For Growth knew what they were doing in launching attack ads against him over the summer as it now looks like the religious right might not fall in line behind the more mainstream Republicans who pander to them like Giuliani and Romney while possibly only pretending to share their views.

At times I’ve quoted significant areas of disagreement with Huckabee where I’ve also questioned if he wasn’t a bit out of touch with reality, such as in raising his hand to the debate question indicating he does not believe in evolution. At other times he seems like one of the more sane Republicans running, such as when he argued against the need for prayer in schools as opposed to in the home. Even Ron Paul, the only Republican candidate who makes any sense on the war, has sponsored a school prayer amendment and denies the importance of separation of church and state.

Huckabee had another such moment of comparative sanity in an interview with ABC News (hat tip to TPM Election Central) when asked about his views on immigration:

TAPPER: Another issue that’s going to come up, of course, is an issue that’s very important to Iowa Republicans, and that’s immigration. As governor, you supported the children of illegal immigrants being eligible for scholarships, and you also supported free prenatal care for those pregnant illegal immigrants who needed it. How do you make the argument to Iowans that those were the right decisions, when they’re so mad about illegal immigration?

HUCKABEE: Well, people are mad about illegal immigration because it’s illegal. They’re made because the federal government has shown just how dysfunctional it is.

TAPPER: But weren’t you enabling it?

HUCKABEE: The issue that we’ve got to deal with is that, if you have a federal government that never deals with a secure border and then fails to do anything about dealing with people when they get employed and they can get employed with false documents, the question is, why don’t you secure the border, end the sanctuary cities and amnesty, which I would do? But I wouldn’t punish the children who didn’t commit a crime. You don’t do that in this country. We have a long history of — we penalize law-breakers. We don’t penalize their children for something they can’t help.

If a child is gasping for air, asthmatic, and he’s on the hospital steps, what do the other candidates suggest we do, let him sit there and gasp until he doesn’t have any air left and he dies? If a child comes to our school — and our law, by the way, in most of our states, mine certainly says you’ve got to educate a child if he’s of child age — what do you, break your own law and say, “No, you can’t come in the schoolhouse door”?

No, you don’t do that. What you do is you elect a president who will fix the problem where it needs to be fixed: at the border. But if your government at the federal government is so incompetent that it fails to secure the border, you don’t then grind your heel into the face of a 6-year-old child over it. That’s not what this country does. We’re a better country than that.


  1. 1
    Mark Smith says:

    Would you be so kind, please, as to cite sources providing evidence that Ron Paul “denies the importance of separation of church and state.”

    The following is posted at, and seems to have some authoritative references to legislation of which Congressman Paul has been a co-sponsor. I don’t see how you can infer – through Paul’s co-sponsorship of these measures – any opposition on his part to the separation of church and state. Affirming an individual’s right to pray does not constitute rejection of the doctrine of church-state separation.

    Paul co-sponsored a resolution for a School Prayer Amendment:
    H.J.RES.52 (2001), H.J.RES.66 (1999), S.J.RES. 1, H.J.RES.12, H. J. RES. 108, & H. J. RES. 55:

    “Nothing in this Constitution shall be construed to prohibit individual or group prayer in public schools or other public institutions. No person shall be required by the United States or by any State to participate in prayer . Neither the United States nor any State shall compose the words of any prayer to be said in public schools.”

    H. J. RES. 78 (1997):
    “To secure the people’s right to acknowledge God according to the dictates of conscience: Neither the United States nor any State shall establish any official religion, but the people’s right to pray and to recognize their religious beliefs, heritage, or traditions on public property, including schools, shall not be infringed. Neither the United States nor any State shall require any person to join in prayer or other religious activity, prescribe school prayers, discriminate against religion, or deny equal access to a benefit on account of religion.”

    Proposed Legislation:
    H.J.RES.52, School Prayer Amendment, 6/13/2001 (Murtha)
    H.J.RES.12, School Prayer Amendment, 2/7/2001 (Emerson)
    S.J.RES.1, School Prayer Amendment, 1/22/2001 (Thurmond)
    H.J.RES.108, Voluntary School Prayer Amendment, 9/21/2000 (Graham)
    H.J.RES.55, Voluntary School Prayer Amendment, 2/13/1997 (Stearnes, Hall, Watts)
    H.J.RES.78, Amendment Restoring Religious Freedom, 5/8/1997 (Istook, et. al.)

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    Mark Smith,

    I’ve discussed Paul’s views on separation of church and state in several posts, and just updated the blog entry to include a link to one of them.

    The amendment is not about “an individual’s right to pray.” There is nothing now preventing an individual’s right to pray. The purpose of the school prayer amendment is to allow for school sponsored prayer which currently violates the Constitution. The rest of the wording is just to make it appear more tolerable.

  3. 3
    Mark Smith says:

    Thank you for the link to the previous post. You can fault Paul for a factual error (in the linked column) in stating the Constitution is “replete” with references to god, but I would still maintain that Paul does nothing to undermine the doctrine of church-state separation. The language quoted in my earlier comment from the proposed amendments makes no reference to establishing school-sponsored prayer.

    I’ve been voting for LP candidates in every election since Ed Clark, and will do so again (if Paul is not on the ballot). I’m quite weary of three decades of rhetorical squabbling among various libertarian factions about who is the most pure, while the government continues growing and our liberty continues to diminish. Can we not agree that of all the available candidates Ron Paul is BY FAR the most likely to attempt a reversal of the statist trends of the past century?

    If you love liberty, voting for anyone other than Congressman Paul — for reasons of ideological impurity — is the electoral equivalent of cutting off your nose to spite your face.

  4. 4
    Ron Chusid says:

    The whole point of the amendment is to change the Constitution to enable school-sponsored prayer which is currently Unconstitutional.

    I disagree that voting for Ron Paul is the best choice for those who love liberty. Much of it comes down to how you define liberty. If abolishing the Federal Reserve is your major goal then Paul is your man. If moving government from the federal to the state government is your main priority, then Paul is also your man. However I’m more concerned with the relationship between the individual and government regardless of level, and I’ve also discussed d in other posts how the result of states rights is frequently decreased freedom.

    At present, other than for Iraq and the associated problems stemming from the neoconservative view of the “war on terror,” the major problem with regards to reducing liberty in America comes from the religious right. Paul’s views which undermine the secular nature of this country would exacerbate this problem. His views opposed to abortion rights would have a considerable impact on reducing freedom for many individuals, and his views on separation of church and state could lead to even more of the agenda of the religious right being enacted.

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