Sunday, March 06, 2011

Huckabee doesn't know what he's talking about

Fox News contributor/presumptive presidential candidate Mike Huckabee appeared on Mike Medved's talk radio show last week to promote his new book. When the host brought up the topic of the Oscars--because what else would they talk about?--and the former governor noted having not watched the telecast, Medved steered the conversation into a criticism of Natalie Portman's pregnancy:
"...She got up, she was very visibly pregnant, and it's really it's a problem because she's about seven months pregnant...and she and the baby's father aren't married, and before two billion people, Natalie Portman says, 'Oh I want to thank my love and he's given me the most wonderful gift.' He didn't give her the most wonderful gift, which would be a wedding ring! And it just seems to me that sending that kind of message is problematic."
To which Huckabee responded:
"...One of the things that's troubling is that people see a Natalie Portman or some other Hollywood starlet who boasts of, 'Hey look, you know, we're having children, we're not married, but we're having these children, and they're doing just fine.' But there aren't really a lot of single moms out there who are making millions of dollars every year for being in a movie. ...Most single moms are very poor, uneducated, can't get a job, and if it weren't for government assistance, their kids would be starving to death and never have health care. And that's the story that we're not seeing, and it's unfortunate that we glorify and glamorize the idea of out of children wedlock."
That comment led to a backlash against Huckabee, with some characterizing that as an attack against Portman. However, looking at the quote above, clearly it wasn't an attack (as he himself has stated in response to that backlash).

That's not to say that he isn't deserving of some criticism.

Is it due to the blanket statement about single mothers being poor and uneducated and being a drain on economy? No. Politicians always cite statistics of questionable veracity, and "most" is marvelously vague.

Is it because he jumped on the opportunity to say something to appeal to the conservative base? No. Again, that's what politicians are expected to do.

Is it because he characterized Portman as having gotten pregnant and showing up to the ceremony when she was nominated for an award as "boasting" and suggesting that she sought to "glamorize" being pregnant out of wedlock? No. Okay, well, maybe he should have thought better of saying that without having more familiarity with the situation on which he commented. But for all we know, maybe she did want to make it seem admirable.

In fact, let's assume that his supposition did accurately portray her intentions.

If she was glamorizing unwed pregnancy, she presumably wanted to tell women not to get knocked up until they were they ridiculously successful actresses with the financial wherewithal to support the children.

Analyzing Huckabee's statements, it's clear that what he's really criticizing is welfare, not so much unwed pregnancy. Conceivably there's some mothers who did have children while being married who still require government assistance; being married, in and of itself, doesn't put food on the table. And there's undoubtedly some single mothers who have plenty of money and don't need the government to feed their kids.

So that's what he got wrong: when he swung that argument around and said the line about glamorizing unwed pregnancy; that was not his thesis (whether he realized it or not).

There was a conclusion to be drawn from that: Rather than sending poor women food stamps, they should be sending them to acting school.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, Huckabee talks before he thinks. He was going on the other day about how Dear Leader spent much of his early life in Kenya, which is not true. He was only BORN in Kenya, raised in Hawaii. ;-) Dear Leader's disqualification from the Presidency lies mostly in his inexperience and his stupidity, though; his birthplace is an easily-concealed technicality.


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