Republican National Committee chairperson Reince Priebus said on Friday that former Arkansas governor and far-right culture warrior Mike Huckabee (R) should be the example by which all Republicans should abide with regards to LGBT rights and marriage equality. According to Think Progress, Priebus made the remarks in an interview with the National Review.
Huckabee, said Priebus, could be “a model for a lot of people in our party” on social issues like marriage equality and abortion. “I always tell people,” he said. “Listen to Governor Mike Huckabee. I don’t know anyone that talks about them any better.”
Huckabee, while his tone is more upbeat and genial than, say Rick Santorum’s, is no less a hard-liner when it comes to social issues. The Southern Baptist minister and erstwhile Republican presidential candidate has called same sex relationships an “unnatural and sinful lifestyle” and a “dangerous public health risk.”
He has compared being in a same sex relationship to “sins” like lying and stealing, dubbing it “unusual behavior” that is “not traditional” and “out-of-bounds.” He has also resorted to scare tactics to block marriage equality, saying that if we allow two men or two women to marry, it will inevitably lead to polygamy.
On the topic of abortion, Huckabee called Missouri Rep. Todd “Legitimate Rape” Akin a “principled pro-life advocate” and expressed support for Akin’s beliefs that women don’t get pregnant from sexual assaults, obviating a need for rape and incest exceptions to anti-abortion laws. He has participated in so-called “fetal personhood” campaigns and has compared abortion to the evils of slavery.
Priebus’ full-throated endorsement of Huckabee comes even as the Republican Party is attempting to soften its image and make itself appear more welcoming to minorities, women and LGBT people. The official “autopsy report” of the 2012 election, an evaluation commissioned by Priebus and the RNC as a means of assessing what went wrong, urged the party to be more inclusive and shy away from stringent rhetoric and posturing on social issues.
“The Party should be proud of its conservative principles, but just because someone disagrees with us on 20 percent of the issues, that does not mean we cannot come together on the rest of the issues where we do agree,” the report read. “On messaging, we must change our tone — especially on certain social issues that are turning off young voters.”
[Image via Gage Skidmore, Creative Commons licensed]