Mike Huckabee once advocated isolating AIDS patients from the general public, opposed increased federal funding in the search for a cure and said homosexuality could "pose a dangerous public health risk."And of course, who's to blame for it? The queers, of course.
As a candidate for a U.S. Senate seat in 1992, Huckabee answered 229 questions submitted to him by The Associated Press. Besides a quarantine, Huckabee suggested that Hollywood celebrities fund AIDS research from their own pockets, rather than federal health agencies.
"If the federal government is truly serious about doing something with the AIDS virus, we need to take steps that would isolate the carriers of this plague," Huckabee wrote.
"It is difficult to understand the public policy towards AIDS. It is the first time in the history of civilization in which the carriers of a genuine plague have not been isolated from the general population, and in which this deadly disease for which there is no cure is being treated as a civil rights issue instead of the true health crisis it represents."
Also in the wide-ranging AP questionnaire in 1992, Huckabee said, "I feel homosexuality is an aberrant, unnatural, and sinful lifestyle, and we now know it can pose a dangerous public health risk."So much for the "likable" and "funny" and "self-deprecating" candidate. He was a cold-hearted and ignorant bigot in 1992 and there's very little evidence he's changed his mind except to soften it up to make it palatable for the mass media.
Mr. Huckabee and his apologists can't hide behind the veil of ignorance that AIDS was a mysterious plague that few people understood. That might have worked in 1984, but this survey came out in 1992, long after it was determined that AIDS was not transmitted through casual conduct, and long after the gay community had begun to work to stop the spread of it among themselves and every other community. As a matter of record, the gay community was out in front of fighting this disease, pleading for help from the government and anyone else who would listen to work with them to find a cure and treatment. Most of the responses they got, however, were little more than lip service, while the "compassionate" preachers and right-wing bloviators were clucking with faux concern and claiming that AIDS was God's punishment for homosexuality, some going so far as to say that it was "killing all the right people." It wasn't until Magic Johnson announced that he was infected with HIV that even the nutjobs started to realize it wasn't just a "gay disease".
When John Kerry ran in 2004, we had to fight the Vietnam war all over again. If Mike Huckabee wants to run on his record of AIDS and how to treat it -- a battle we began over twenty years ago -- then so be it. This is a fight worth having, and it will be a real victory if we can wipe out both disease and the ignorance and hatred it causes at the same time. Making sure that Mike Huckabee never takes the presidential oath of office would be a great step forward in that effort.