(This post contains discussion of the Duggar family. For those of you for whom this is triggering, or who just don’t want to hear any more about it, please do not click on the “more” tag.)
To the extent that I want to talk about the Duggar family scandal without using the words, “Child Protective Services” or drinking to forget, I am interested in how it has affected the presidential prospects of former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. Mike, for those of you blessedly unfamiliar with the situation, has hitched his wagon pretty hard to the creepy cult/family, holding them up as a shining example of American family values to contrast with the neglectful, even abusive decision on the part of the Obamas to let their kids listen to Beyonce.
Even before last Thursday, this was considered to be profoundly stupid by anyone with even a casual interest in politics. Beyonce is about as mainstream as they get, and pretty non-threatening as acts go. She’s also incredibly popular, and picking a fight with a popular entertainer when you don’t have to is…well, does anyone remember ‘Murphy Brown’? Yeah. So this was not a bright move as a general political strategem. When the shining example of American family values turns out to have been sheltering a repeat-offender child molester? That is the kind of problem you only have once as a politician.
Now, obviously, it’s not Mike Huckabee’s fault that the unbelievably skeezy and misogynist Quiverfull movement turned out to produce yet another creep who sexually assaults people. That shit is what they call baked in. I do, however, wish I was a fly on the wall when Huckabee discussed with his political advisors his plan of writing off Josh Duggar’s actions as a youthful mistake that God has already forgiven him for. Because as political strategies go, “standing in solidarity with the child molester and the people who helped cover up his crimes” has to be absolutely unprecedented in the history of the United States. (It does, right? Please tell me it does.)
At this point, I don’t see how Huckabee lasts a week without either repudiating his own prior statement or giving up his Presidential bid. He’s got some wiggle room if he decides to do the former, simply because his initial statement was so damn horribly, horribly wrong about factually provable matters in addition to being disgustingly sycophantic and hypocritical that he could just about get away with saying, “You know what? I put that out there before I knew what really happened. On sober reflection, fuck that noise.”
But let’s face it, he won’t. He genuinely believes that the flaw is not with the Duggars for buying into a philosophy that centers on valuing obsessive control of the sexuality of women and patriarchal hyperpotency as a symbol of divine favor and not realizing that this is the end result of instilling it into their children; it’s with the rest of the world for being too judgy about it. To be honest, I’m fully expecting him to double down on his comments and tell the world that he would rather go down fighting the Christian fight with good Christians, much in the same way I’m expecting someone to come forward and say either that Josh Duggar never stopped or that he wasn’t the only male in the family who did this. (Or both.) Either way, Huckabee is never going to be taken seriously as a politician in this country ever again. He might not even be able to get his Fox News job back.
So if you thought that there was absolutely nothing good to take away from this whole horrible, horrible, horrible mess, well…there’s that, at least.