Last weekend former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee escalated the rhetoric of opposition to the Iranian nuclear deal to new, wild levels during an interview with the wild-child conservatives of Breitbart News:
“This president’s foreign policy is the most feckless in American history,” Huckabee, a former governor of Arkansas, told the Breitbart News Saturday show on SiriusXM Patriot. “He’s so naive he would trust the Iranians and he would take the Israelis and basically march them to the door of the oven. This is the most idiot thing.”
For his pains Huckabee was immediately upbraided by the Anti-Defamation League for cheapening the memory of the Holocaust by this sort of analogy. And the criticisms extended even to hard-line Likud circles in Israel itself:
Yisrael Katz, the country’s transport minister and a close ally of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said on Facebook that although he appreciated Huckabee’s concern for Israel, the comments went a bit too far.
“Respected Mr. Huckabee: nobody marches the Jews to ovens anymore,” Katzsaid. “To this end we established the State of Israel and the [Israel Defense Forces]; and, if need be, we will know how to defend ourselves, by ourselves.”
You got the sense Barack Obama was shipping coals to Newcastle by sadly deploring Huckabee’s rhetoric from the distant vantage point of Ethiopia.
So did Huck just commit a terrible gaffe, perhaps egged on by the Breitbartians? Or was this, as some cynics were quick to suggest, an attention-grabbing effort for a candidate furious at Donald Trump getting all the media love?
Maybe, but I don’t think so. Fact is, Mike Huckabee has a remarkably intimate relationship with the Holocaust as he sees it, and has been prone to violating the unwritten rule against Holocaust analogies for years. For one thing, he is one of many anti-choice politicians and activists who cannot resist the temptation of analogizing legalized abortion to the Holocaust. There was the incident from back in 2007, during a speech at a pro-life event, when he referred to the deaths of 45 to 50 million unborn babies from abortion as a holocaust—and then connected those deaths to the country’s worker shortage.
“It might be for the last 35 years, we have aborted more than a million people who would have been in our work force had we not had the holocaust of liberalized abortion under a flawed Supreme Court ruling in 1973,” he said.
As you can see, the “oven door” comment was hardly Huck’s first trip to the Holocaust Analogy penalty box. Nor his second or third. Here’s another incident from 2013:
During his keynote speech at the Republican Party of Iowa’s Celebrate Life event on Saturday, Fox News host Mike Huckabee compared abortion in the United States to the systematic elimination of the Jewish population by the Nazis.
Huckabee recalled that Oskar Schindler, a Nazi businessman, saved roughly 1,200 Jews from the Holocaust by employing them in his factories. The former Arkansas governor said the country could use a few more people like Schindler who were willing to “intervene on behalf of human life.
“And now we are called into this incredible Holocaust of our own in America,” Huckabee continued. “Fifty-five million babies. Fifty-five million babies since 1973 have died in what ought to be the safest place in the world, their mother’s womb. It has become one of the most dangerous places for a baby to be.
If you felt something incredibly powerful at Auschwitz and Birkenau over the 11 million killed worldwide and the 1.5 million killed on those grounds, cannot we feel something extraordinary about 55 million murdered in our own country in the wombs of their mothers?
But Huck wasn’t just being overcome by what he called being in the very “valley of the shadow of death.” The tour that took him to Auschwitz along with about 100 other clergy and political activists was put together by the famous Christian Dominionist organizer David Lane to graphically illustrate the supposed legacy of anti-totalitarian courage that links yesterday’s fighters against Nazis and communists to today’s fighters against legalized abortion, same-sex marriage and other abominations, including alleged threats to the State of Israel.
Shortly after the tour, called The Journey: A Spiritual Awakening, Christian Right, journalist and activist Bethany Blankley put it all together for the uninitiated: We’re reliving the runup to the Holocaust, and a resistance needs to be formed.
In the wake of Houston Mayor Annise Parker subpoenaing ministers’ emails and sermons [a momentary but immediately revoked provocation to Christian Right ministers’ defiance of anti-discrimination laws], [Huckabee’s] timing, many argue, could not be more relevant. On Friday, November 14, Journey attendees visited Auschwitz and Birkenau and a museum located in the administrative building of Oskar Schindler’s enamel factory. On route to Auschwitz, Lane referenced similarities between 1930 Germany and 2014 America. Quoting from Inside Hitler’s Germany, Life Under the Third Reich,he paraphrased Martin Bormann’s assessment that national socialism and Christianity are “irreconcilable.”
Pointing to what was previously a predominantly Christian country shaped by Martin Luther who sparked the Protestant Reformation in 1517, he highlights the methods Hitler used to immeasurably transform Germany’s identity and culture. By 1938, much of Germany’s Christian practices were eliminated. Crosses in schools were replaced with Hitler’s picture, the Bible, with Mein Kampf, Christmas carols and the nativity play were eliminated, and the greeting, “Happy Christmas,” was replaced with “Yuletide.”
See where this is going? Contemporary American life is full of signs of the coming anti-Christian totalitarian regime that hates God’s Chosen People, whether it’s the Israeli Jews preparing the way for the battle of Armageddon or embattled Christians. After all, they’re already slaughtering babies by the millions.
Mike Huckabee, whose latest book, God, Guns, Grits and Gravy is a long, paranoid tirade about the oppression of Heartland Americans by coastal elites, will leap to the genocidal tendencies of Secular Socialists like Barack Obama—the perfect symbol of the co-mingling of all of Satan’s imps thanks to his Muslim name and “heritage”—at the drop of a hat. If it helps him corner the Christian Right vote against challengers like the “evangelical Catholic” culture warriors Bobby Jindal, then all the better.
Ed Kilgore is the principal blogger for Washington Monthly’s Political Animal blog, Managing Editor of The Democratic Strategist, and a Senior Fellow at theProgressive Policy Institute. Earlier he worked for three governors and a U.S. Senator. He can be followed on Twitter at @ed_kilgore.