Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Huckabee vs. Stewart

I stumbled onto a clip of Mike Huckabee, former Republican presidential hopeful and Arkansas governor, as a guest on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (on my friend Walt's blog) and I shuddered.

Mike Huckabee is another one of those right wing, folksy Repubs, who seems likeable and he's smart. He's in the Palin category, but he has tons more charm and actually understands politics and government.

Those types scare me. They put a human face on some very ugly, self-righteous beliefs and he so reminds me of the preachers I grew up with in my face three times a week telling me how things should be.

That's why Jon Stewart's brilliant moves on the show were so interesting to me.

Mike Huckabee suffers a little bit from an overinflated sense of self-importance I think. My observation is that he thinks he can use his wit and his good ol' boy persona to push himself into the spotlight. At some level, you have to wonder if he thinks that making a joke out of something potentially heated or polarizing makes the issue go away. After all, how can you be mad at someone who can laugh at himself?

There in lies the danger.

Jon Stewart however, is also no unfamiliar with using humor to convey a serious point. And he's also not afraid to step right out of his comedy mode to skewer the guests that bring their outrageous values onto his stage and think they'll get away with it. At some level, Mike Huckabee, overconfident in his own wit and smarts, must have thought that appearing on The Daily Show would boost his "coolness" factor, show the world that he's not just a hick from Arkansas, but deserves a place at the national debate table.

And then Jon Stewart pounced. It was a beautiful thing to watch as Jon brought Huckabee to task for his stand on gays and gay marriage. Huckabee had no answers. He had nothing. He sputtered and hemmed and hawed, spewing the same old slock that is not rational, nor articulate. When Huck talked about keeping the "traditional" definition of marriage to "one man and one woman", Jon was there with the fact that the Bible supports polygamy in the Old Testament, thus the definition of marriage HAS changed. No articulate response from the Huckster. Jon then drove home the point that in the spirit of humanity, wouldn't it make sense that two people who love each other be allowed to make a legal commitment to one another. Huck's response: the tired old nonpoint, once you change the definition from one man and one woman, then anybody can get married, reared its ugly head.

Which means that either Huck hasn't really truly thought this thing through, or he's truly confused about right and wrong.

There is no rational or spiritual argument that justifies keeping gays from marrying. And Mike Huckabee, thanks to Jon Stewart, revealed that he's nothing to be concerned about. As long as he tries to twist and rationalize his own self-righteous views about me and my marriage, he'll never be who he wants to be- a great man instead of just a funny man.

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