Thoughts on the year 1992

On December 10, 2007, in General, by Neil Stevens

I think most of us know about the latest Huckabaloo: Someone (possibly associated with the Romney campaign) dug up a questionnaire Mike Huckabee filled out for a Senate run in 1992, in which he expressed support for a quarantine of AIDS patients. This is supposed to be a big deal because of a couple of points:

  • Firstly, a lot of people will be offended by the idea. Essentially locking people up for life because they have an incurable disease, in some cases from birth or through a blood transfusion, bothers many Americans. Especially when Huckabee’s support for quarantines may be perceived (rightly or wrongly) to be rooted in an antipathy for homosexuals, this is a big deal politically.
  • Secondly, it shows Huckabee’s ignorance of a major social and scientific issue. By 1992 it was definitively known that AIDS does not spread through casual contact, and certainly not through the air. It must pass through blood or certain other bodily fluids, not including sweat or saliva. Hence it is usually a sexually transmitted disease, making a quarantine a senseless measure.

Has he changed his position since 1992? I should hope so. He’s certainly changed his position on AIDS research to the ‘compassionate conservative’ one, after all. So will this hurt him politically? I think so. Does anyone doubt that Mitt Romney’s positions in 1994 have hurt him politically? I don’t think so, so why should Huckabee be immune?

There will be some people who think Huckabee is moderating his positions on issues like AIDS just to be more electable, the same way some people think Romney is becoming more conservative on issues like abortion to be more nominatable. And it’s perfectly fair for Huckabee to have to deal with that.

At least he’s not being unfairly tagged as lazy.


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