JONATHAN CHAIT FEBRUARY 18, 2011
[Guest post by Isaac Chotiner]
Ben Smith's Politico story on Mike Huckabee's love for Israel does a nice job of demonstrating the former governor's two biggest political assets: a dreary sense of humor that some people find amusing, and religious beliefs with sinister policy applications. First, the humor:
Huckabee went to the Western Wall, where he saw Orthodox Jews for the first time.
“It was like something out of a book for me,” he recalled.
And he went down to the Jordan River, for a sight that, 37 years later, briefly left him mumbling like a 17-year-old again.
“We had stopped by to see where Jesus was baptized, and instead there were these great-looking Israeli girls in bikinis, just showing off and flirting,” he recalled.
He recently recalled a dinner with Jewish friends, “when I was the only goyim in the entire group. “If you’ve been around a lot of Jewish people, particularly from New York, they tend to be very opinionated, very animated,” he said. “I felt like I was sitting between Barbra Streisand and Woody Allen — it was really interesting; it was surreal.”
About Israeli settlements, Huckabee said that America should "encourage the Israelis to build as much as they can as rapidly as they can." From where does Huckabee derive this charming opinion? Well:
“This is not a battle of borders; this is one of worldviews,” he said. “It goes back to Isaac and Ishmael, and it’s not going to be changed by a couple of presidents or prime ministers.” Huckabee said he views this not as a religious framework but as a historical one. “Abraham was a very real person, and his sons were, and their offspring have fought from time immemorial to bring it to this day,."
It says a lot that this man is considered one of the "mature" and "adult" and "realistic" Republican candidates for 2012.