Poussin, "L'adoration du veau d'or," 1633-4 (Adoration of the Golden Calf)
Huckabee and the Assault on Reason
Mike Huckabee, finally, is getting desperate. “You don’t like people from outside the state coming in and telling you what to do with your flag,” he told South Carolinians before the vote Saturday, trying to dig two corpses from the same grave: that of the Confederate flag issue, and that of his candidacy. “In fact,” he said, “if somebody came to Arkansas and told us what to do with our flag, we’d tell them what to do with the pole; that’s what we’d do.” Kind of what America is telling Huckabee what to do with his candidacy. Not that anyone would want to tell Arkansas what to do with its supremely dull, belt-buckle of a flag (they’re so insecure about themselves in Arkansas that they have to stick a name plate on their state symbol). But that’s what elections are designed to do: bring out the best, but especially the worst, from candidates and the electorate that makes their candidacy possible.
That people like Huckabee, Romney and McCain are in the running at all should send shivers down the back of the collective polity. Never mind that their numbers don’t check out, that, aside from McCain, they wear their xenophobia on their sleeves. Never mind that, including McCain, they revel in the index finger as bully as they point it at their conception of anything less than immaculately American-minded. Instead, these revivalists of cadaverous illusions (Huckabee and Romney angling for some sort of Thy Kingdom Come from the White House, McCain looking and sounding every bit the angry Reaganite he thinks the country wants even though it’s still paying the price of its first debilitating incarnation) are drawing their share of cheers and fanatics, of punditocratic blessings and equal-time reverence.
That’s the America we’re in: where a presidential candidate (who else but Huckabee) can autograph bibles with a straight face (who is he signing as, Samson the man-slut? The brutality-minded, take-no-prisoner God of Deuteronomy (When Yahweh your God has led you into the land you are entering to make your own, many nations will fall before you … You must make no covenant with them nor show them any pity. You must not marry them… Instead, deal with them like this: tear down their altars, smash their standing-stones, cut down their sacred poles and set fire to their idols.” Or maybe he’s autographing as Paul the misogynist? Huckabee does, after all, endorse Southern Baptist misogyny wholesale. Specifically, he endorses the cult’s statement about the family, which says: “A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ.”
That line, of course, is plagiarized from St. Paul (specifically, Ephesians 6:22 and so on): “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.” That everything is obviously not innocent, as the late Jenna Jameson (retirement being the true little death in her industry) and every cult leader from Abraham down to his carbon-14 copies would be first to tell you.
But bless his slithering heart, Mike Huckabee at least proved himself a politician the other day when he showed he could lie and lawyerize almost as well as that other Arkansan whose steps he hopes to follow into the White House. When asked about that submissive wife business, Huckabee simply flip-flopped against himself (his submission-laced sermons when he was a Baptist minister will be someone else’s PhD thesis), and flatly contradicted Southern Baptist ideology and St. Paul all in one. Submission of the wife, he said last week, is not really about subordination to the husband. No. It’s both husband and wife “mutually showing their affection and submission as unto the Lord.”
Slick Mickey (and who slipped him one before the debate where he made those nifty screw-you-interruptus moves?). Well, in that case the whole Bible can be reinterpreted to fit the going electoral district: the wife is on equality terms with the husband in Myrtle Beach, she’s in full submissive mode in the Ozarks, and a total dominatrix in Pelosi country, where Huckabee will be campaigning next (that should be adorable, Huckabee in full campaigning regalia on San Francisco’s Castro Street). Oh, and there was this gem from his interview with Charlie Rose: “Did he take the rib out of Adam? I have no reason to believe he didn’t. But I don’t know.”
All I can say is, with all reverence to Aisha, Khadija, the Virgin Mary and my own blessed mother of course: Motherfuck—a nursery-rhyme of a word compared with the untrammeled offense of a Huckabeean publicly insulting a world of intelligence, hard-won, hard-fought for the past two hundred and fifty years, and here contemptuously rejected with the arrogance of a medieval prelate boffing a ten-year-old choirboy in god’s name. “I have no reason to believe he didn’t.” This is what passes for serious, top-contending presidential matter in the United States these days. An adult, allegedly educated man, a former governor at that (admittedly from the bible-belt-buckle state), relatively literate, who goes around spewing Dr. Seus stuff in religious garb. And who gets votes. Not a few votes, but hundreds of thousands, soon to be millions.
Huckabee will lose. He’ll be out of the race by February 5. What makes him and his Romneyesque clone with mormonic face possible won’t. It’s here to stay a while, regardless of who gets elected in November. The battle to save what's left of American Enlightenment is barely beginning.