One more reason to like Mike Huckabee…
Huckabee was on Joe Scarborough’s show the other day, and Scarborough brought up the controversy surrounding Barack Obama and his pastor (or retired former pastor) Louis Wright. Scarborough, it seems, was looking for a statement of righteous indignation from Huckabee, but the Huck man would have none of it:
“It’s interesting to me that there are some people on the left who are having to be very uncomfortable with what Louis Wright said, when they all were all over a Jerry Falwell, or anyone on the right who said things that they found very awkward and uncomfortable years ago. Many times those were statements lifted out of the context of a larger sermon. Sermons, after all, are rarely written word for word by pastors like Reverend Wright, who are delivering them extemporaneously, and caught up in the emotion of the moment. There are things that sometimes get said, that if you put them on paper and looked at them in print, you’d say “Well, I didn’t mean to say it quite like that.”
Scarborough asked Huckabee to assess the potential political consequences of the Obama/Wright situation, and got this response:
“I don’t think we know. If this were October, I think it would have a dramatic impact. But it’s not October. It’s March. And I don’t believe that by the time we get to October, this is gonna be the defining issue of the campaign, and the reason that people vote.
And one other thing I think we’ve gotta remember. As easy as it is for those of us who are white, to look back and say “That’s a terrible statement!”…I grew up in a very segregated south. And I think that you have to cut some slack — and I’m gonna be probably the only Conservative in America who’s gonna say something like this, but I’m just tellin’ you — we’ve gotta cut some slack to people who grew up being called names, being told “you have to sit in the balcony when you go to the movie. You have to go to the back door to go into the restaurant. And you can’t sit out there with everyone else. There’s a separate waiting room in the doctor’s office. Here’s where you sit on the bus…” And you know what? Sometimes people do have a chip on their shoulder and resentment. And you have to just say, I probably would too. I probably would too. In fact, I may have had more of a chip on my shoulder had it been me.”
I’m tempted to give Huckabee an attaboy, but I won’t because these temperate and thoughtful answers aren’t the result of political calculation or cleverness. This is just Huckabee being his own decent and rational self, and for that he doesn’t deserve our congratulations; he deserves our respect and admiration.