To Huckabee or not to Huckabee

As he competes with evangelical and socially conservative voters, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee has seemed to take some rhetorical steps rightward this week.

In an interview with Beliefnet, Huckabee -- surging in polls and now tied for first with Sen. John McCain here in South Carolina -- compared same sex marriage to polygamy, pedophilia, and bestiality.

"I don’t think that’s a radical view to say we’re going to affirm marriage," he said. "I think the radical view is to say that we’re going to change the definition of marriage so that it can mean two men, two women, a man and three women, a man and a child, a man and animal. Again, once we change the definition, the door is open to change it again. I think the radical position is to make a change in what’s been historic."

He also seemed to belie some of his liberal record and rhetoric on illegal immigration yesterday by signing a pledge from Numbers USA that states that:

"I pledge to oppose amnesty or any other special path to citizenship for the millions of foreign nationals unlawfully present in the United States. As President, I will fully implement enforcement measures that, over time, will lead to the attrition of our illegal immigrant population. I also pledge to make security of our borders a top priority of my administration."

Numbers USA says "Governor Huckabee understands his pledge to mean that:

"1. The 12 million illegal aliens now here will have to go home.

"2. They will not get any legal status while here that allows them to remain long-term.

"3. Once in their home countries, they may apply for re-admittance to the U.S. as immigrants, visitors or temporary workers through normal channels.

"4. But they will not receive any special privileges on the basis of their having been in the U.S. illegally, such as being put to the front of a line.

"5. There will be no new categories or programs through which they may re-enter.

"6. There will not be an expansion of green cards in any existing categories that will speed up their movement to the front of the line."

This just doesn’t square with Huckabee's record on this issue as governor -- and his rhetoric on the matter until last month when he decided he needed to sound more conservative on this issue. (The Chicago Tribune has a good look at that shift HERE.)

One other Hucka-moment of note --

As you may recall, the Confederate flag was a big issue down here in 2000. As ABC News' Kevin Chupka reports, Huckabee yesterday said, "You don't want anyone from out of state comin' down and telling you what to do with your flag. In fact, if somebody came to Arkansas and told us what to do with our flag we'd tell them where to put the pole."

But he wouldn't personally say what he thought about the flag.

What do you think?

-- jpt

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