On Monday, Mike Huckabee threatened the GOP with abandonment – of himself and other evangelicals – if Republicans don’t conform to his ‘objective’ standard on marriage equality. The occasion was an interview on Newsmax TV, wherein commentator Kathleen Walter asked:
“Do you see the [GOP] ever pivoting or doing a 180 on gay marriage?”
“They might. And if they do, they’re going to lose a large part of their base because evangelicals will take a walk. And it’s not because there’s an anti-homosexual mood, and nobody’s homophobic that I know of, but many of us, and I consider myself included, base our standards not on the latest Washington Post poll, but on an objective standard, not a subjective standard.”
Hold the phone! An objective standard? What, exactly, is that standard? Huckabee obliges:
“Let me explain what I mean by that. If we have subjective standards, that means that we’re willing to move our standards based on the prevailing whims of culture. Politicians have an obligation to be thermostats, not just thermometers. They’re not simply to reflect the temperature of the room, or the culture, as it were. They’re to set the standards for law, for what’s right, for what’s wrong, understanding that not everybody’s going to agree with it. On this issue, I recognize the culture is moving away from the traditional standard…”
What’s right and what’s wrong are objective calls, free from the influence of culture? And they have to do with tradition? Someone buy the man a dictionary! Please. In the meantime, here are a few definitions, straight from Merriam-Webster:
“Definition of OBJECTIVE…of, relating to, or being an object, phenomenon, or condition in the realm of sensible experience independent of individual thought and perceptible by all observers.”
Got that? PERCEPTIBLE BY ALL OBSERVERS. Like, maybe a hurricane or the Ozarks. But, to expand on the definition:
“…expressing or dealing with facts or conditions as perceived without distortion by personal feelings, prejudices, or interpretations.”
Of course, Huckabee’s standards are free from distortion by feelings, prejudices, and interpretations – since they are founded on tradition – right? Let’s see what Merriam-Webster has to say about that:
“Definition of TRADITION…an inherited, established, or customary pattern of thought, action, or behavior (as a religious practice or a social custom)…a belief or story or a body of beliefs or stories relating to the past that are commonly accepted as historical though not verifiable…the handing down of information, beliefs, and customs by word of mouth or by example from one generation to another without written instruction…cultural continuity in social attitudes, customs, and institutions.”
Social custom? Culture? Tradition is a cultural attitude? An inherited pattern of thought that’s NOT VERIFIABLE?
Who does Mike Huckabee – ordained Southern Baptist minister, former religious radio broadcaster, and current Fox News commentator – think he’s fooling, claiming to be an objective arbiter of standards, free of cultural influences and personal opinions? Aside from himself, conservative Newmax listeners, and such media outlets as The Christian Post, he’s apparently got the backing of the GOP’s Republican National Committee Chair, Reince Priebus. Last week, Priebus told reporters that Republicans should listen to Huckabee on the issues:
“I always tell people: Listen to Governor Mike Huckabee. I don’t know anyone that talks about them any better.”
Really, Reince? ‘Cause your boy is telling evangelicals to take a walk and he’s going with them – due to his ‘objective’ standards on the issue of equal marriage. Listening to Huckabee is likely to result in the formation of a third political party – or maybe a fourth and fifth. After all, the GOP has splinters and fractures galore, and who wants to wind up in a party made of evangelicals? With no glue to hold the rest of the Republicans together, they’ll go flying off in every direction. Like confetti. How entertaining for the ‘subjective’ part of the country.