Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Huckabee calls economic stimulus bill, "anti-religious"

I saw this story yesterday in the Washington Monthly, and I've been meaning to comment on it. Apparently, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee believes that the economics stimulus package is "anti-religious." What the frack? From the

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee warned supporters Tuesday that the $828 billion stimulus package is “anti-religious.”

In an e-mail that was also posted on his blog ahead of the Senate’s passage, Huckabee wrote: “The dust is settling on the ‘bipartisan’ stimulus bill and one thing is clear: It is anti-religious.”

The former Republican presidential candidate pointed to a provision in both the House and Senate versions banning higher education funds in the bill from being used on a “school or department of divinity.”

“You would think the ACLU drafted this bill,” Huckabee said. “For all of the talk about bipartisanship, this Congress is blatantly liberal.”

“Emily’s List, radical environmental groups, etc. all have a seat at the decision making table in Washington these days,” he continued. “Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid are in charge and they are working with an equally ‘progressive’ President Obama (remember his voting record is more liberal than Ted Kennedy!).”

In the e-mail, Huckabee concedes that there is little that conservatives can do in the near term, but advocated mobilization to defeat those “masquerading as ‘conservative Democrats.’”

Steve Benen, at the Washington Monthly, sets the record straight:

Regular readers know the story by now, but if you're just joining us, this myth has been making the rounds in right-wing circles for about a week. Originally, the American Center for Law and Justice, a right-wing legal group formed by TV preacher Pat Robertson, said the stimulus bill includes a provision that would prohibit "religious groups and organizations from using" buildings on college campuses. Soon after, religious right groups and right-wing blogs were up in arms, demanding that lawmakers fix the "anti-Christian" language of the bill. Fox News and the Christian Broadcasting Network helped get the word out to the far-right base about the nefarious measure. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) actually tried to have the provision removed from the bill.

There was, however, one small problem: there was no such measure. The ACLJ doesn't know how to read legislation, and didn't realize that the standard language in the bill simply blocks spending for on-campus buildings that are used primarily for religion (like a chapel, for example). This same language has been part of education spending bills for 46 years. It's just the law, and it's never been controversial.

Huckabee is either deliberately deceiving people, or he's making reckless accusations without knowing the facts. Either way, this is ridiculous.

First, I have to wonder if Mike Huckabee has been eating too many of his popcorn-popper-fried squirrels. The second thing I have to wonder is have the Republicans descended into some form of delusional insanity with these incoherent rantings? Because that is what I'm hearing over the past couple of weeks. We've got House Minority Leader Eric Cantor sending a pro-union spoof of a commercial as a response to a union attack ad against Cantor for his opposition to the economic stimulus bill. Top GOP strategist Alex Castellanos called Republican senators, who were considering supporting the economic stimulus package, wussy Republicans. And then there is the story of the GOP congressmen congratulating themselves in their delusional "victory" in obstructing the Obama administration's economic stimulus plan. Republican Rep. Pete Sessions called for the GOP to engage in a Taliban-like insurgency against President Obama and the congressional Democratic leadership. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell wanted to kill the economic stimulus bill because it contained a disaster insurance program for livestock owners that could include "honeybee insurance." And finally, Mike Huckabee isn't alone in his ranting over the stimulus package being anti-religious. Republican South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint brought this same controversy up about a week ago:

Check out this video of Sen. Jim DeMint flat-out lying on the Senate floor as he discusses the need to pass his amendment to strip this provision from the legislation, as he proclaims that Christians would be locked out of opportunities for higher education and proclaims that it was inserted into the bill by some nefarious cabal of people who are intent on silencing "traditional, freedom-loving Americans" and who are "so hostile to religion that they are willing to stand in the schoolhouse door, like the infamous George Wallace":

It is like the Republican Party is self-destructing into bratty, insolent, little children, who will whine and complain about and how they are not taken seriously in the political process by the mean Democratic congressional leadership--not President Obama, who wants to extend bipartisanship to the Republicans. Never mind the previous eight years the GOP had control of the White House, or the six years they controlled Congress during the Bush administration's term. Never mind the hard-lined conservative agenda of tax cuts to the rich, domestic spying, fear-mongering, torture, crass cronyism, and endless war that the Bush administration, and the GOP, shoved down the American peoples' throats. The Republicans are trying to blame their previous eight years of their own failed leadership on the Democrats, and the Obama administration. So right after President Obama took the oath of office, the Republican obstructionism began in the hope that Obama would fail, and that such a failure could bring the control of Congress back to the Republicans in the next election. But a funny thing happened--President Obama got his economic stimulus package through Congress, and past the Republican obstructionism. President Obama's poll numbers are especially high, while a majority of Americans have disapproved of the congressional Republicans' obstructionism. This is obviously driving the Republicans batshit crazy here. And they are responding in such a crazed, lunatic manner.


Hillbilly said...

I've listened to all I can take from Senator Mitch McConnell and his cronies, so I decided to answer them with this video.

Eric A Hopp said...

Dear Hillbilly:

Thank you for your comment. Interesting way for you to comment via a YouTube video.