Republican Rand Paul’s campaign just released robocalls and radio ads narrated by Mike Huckabee, who criticizes Jack Conway’s “Aqua Buddha” ad. Huckabee says that “the only thing worse than a politician attempting to parade his faith for the purpose of getting a vote, is a person who would falsely attack his opponent’s faith, and then lie about it.” The details of Conway’s ad have been confirmed as accurate, and Paul continues to avoid questioning about the “Aqua Buddha” story. But more importantly, we have to ask: is Mike Huckabee really telling other politicians not to use religious faith as an issue to polarize and win voters?
In 2008, Huckabee’s campaign ads called him a “Christian Leader” and he said that “Faith doesn’t just influence me; it really defines me.” Religious Right leaders flocked to support his campaign, and in another one of Huckabee’s ads, he said that “what really matters is the celebration of the birth of Christ.” And this is the same Mike Huckabee who condemns politicians that “parade [their] faith for the purpose of getting a vote.”
As Crooks and Liars points out, Huckabee hasn’t just paraded his faith for political purposes, he also fed into the anti-Mormon fervor that greatly damaged Mitt Romney’s campaign when he told The New York Times, “Don’t Mormons believe that Jesus and the devil are brothers?” Romney responded by saying that “attacking someone’s religion is really going too far,” and the National Review’s Kathryn Jean Lopez said that Huckabee attempted to win over “the anti-Mormon vote.”
In fact, the Religious Right constantly “parades” and “attacks” people’s faith to polarize and divide Americans, tactics that Huckabee has yet to condemn. Because for Mike Huckabee, it’s OK to use religion as a divisive campaign strategy only if it’s to benefit his campaign.