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07/13/2010

Frum raises rhetorical question; Huckabee sticks with rhetorical talking points

by Jeremy Hooper

FrumConservative David Frum recently posted a piece weighing the pros and cons of a Huckabee candidacy from a GOP perspective. Among his points, Frum presented this line:

FRUM: Is he socially out of touch with modern America? On gay rights the country is moving toward a new consensus."
Mike Huckabee: Answers and questions [The Week]

Well Huckster took great exception to many aspects of Frum's piece, including (but not limited to) the gay rights mention. So to make his defensive case, Huckabee shot off an email to Frum in which he offered this rebuttal:

HUCKABEE: As for same-sex marriage, it’s been on the ballot in 31 states, including CA and Maine (hardly right wing red states) and in EVERY state where people have decided, traditional marriage is upheld. It is most noteworthy that in both African American and Hispanic populations, the support for traditional views of marriage is significantly higher than in the white population.
Huckabee Hits Back at Frum [Frum Forum]

How's that for not answering the charge? The point that Frum raised is based on the obvious, undeniable evidence that America is headed in a more pro-LGBT direction. He didn't say that we are there yet. And he didn't say that even with movement, America is close to becoming a veritable pride Huckabeeparade. He simply stated the obvious, which is that the consensus is verifiably shifting in one decided way. And then he asked if Huckabee, who is probably the most homo-hostile of any remotely possible candidates for President (sorry, Alan Keyes), might be "out of touch with modern America" on this issue. Completely fair.

But Huckabee's response is to talk about what's happened in the past and to haul out the demographic breakdown of certain polls? Oh dear gods of anti-intellectualism, please someone buy the former governor a clue!

Yes, thirty one states have passed marriage bans. But the bigger story in terms of Frum's point is that the gap in between the two sides has drastically decreased in a very short period of time. In those first states that passed bans, the gay community was barely in contention. We weren't organized to fight back. Same-sex couples were not legally marrying, opening people's eyes about what this is really all about. We were playing defense against an uber-motivated and religiously-charged movement. So of course we lost hard! But in the successive years, we have seen tremendous victories amid the several setbacks. And the gaps in the polls, both on election day and throughout the year, have narrowed accordingly. That's the point that Huckabee must refute when addressing David Frum's "moving towards a new consensus" line!

And in terms of the demographic breakdown? Well this writer's first reaction: What an odd point to even mention, considering it did not *AT ALL* play into Frum's piece. But okay, fine. If the governor wants to go that divisive direction: Yes, African-American and Hispanic populations have typically lagged behind in terms of gay acceptance polling. But you know what else has lagged behind? Advocacy and outreach to these very same populations! We all know that views are shaped (and biases crushed) by exposure and experience and conversation. Any demographic breakdown that shows less support in these areas should show us in the organized community where, exactly, we need to focus our de-stigmatization rays. The demographic breakdown that should really concern Mister Huckabee is the one that reliably shows incredible distance between these same communities and the party with which he so proudly identifies.

Oh, and last thing: Most everyone can agree that children of gay couples are not akin to puppies. Again: Perhaps Gov. Huckabee should focus on his own CONS before he takes on either SENSE or US!

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