POSITIVES:

- Sees both sides of an issue
- Publicly religious
- Teachable
- Kind to everyone

NEGATIVES:

- Takes both sides of an issue
- Politically religious
- Untrustworthy
- Kind to criminals

The whole Huckster controversy is enough to make one feel conflicted. Even though he is already being called the “Howard Dean” of 2008, and is getting clobbered in the press for various critical flip flops, I am the last one to want to take anything away from Huckabee after all he has accomplished in his life and the example he has set.

By losing goodness knows how many pounds he showed Americans it is possible to get a fresh start with one’s health simply by changing habits and hitting the jogging path.

Huckabee before and after

Huckabee’s a personable fellow, a compelling, self-effacing public speaker, not afraid to wear his religiosity on his sleeve, and by all accounts a decent man. He’s an accomplished bass guitar player – certainly a cool skill to list on any prospective president’s resume.

Huckabee Logan bass guitar

As the Arkansas Times recently pointed out, he is “the immigrants’ friend” who makes John McCain “look like a nativist.” (Read all of that article, by the way).

This issue is where the problem arises with regard to Huckabee. The leader of a national advocacy organization said last week in an e-mail that, on the illegal immigration issue, Huckabee is “a carbon copy of President Bush.” Prominent opponents of illegal immigration call Huckabee a “disaster”:

“Every time there was any enforcement in his state, he took the side of the illegal aliens.”

To his detractors Huckabee has said, simply, “I drink a different kind of Jesus juice.”

Fair enough, I say: It’s a free country for Jesus juice drinkers of all persuasions. I take mine the way I like it – neat – and the Huckster should have the same options.

This forthrightness has earned him serious hits from GOP primary opponents and also from political leaders in his own state.

UPDATE: Much more, here.

More, below the fold.

Most recently, Huckabee unveiled a new illegal immigration policy which on the face of it appeared to be a solid agenda, but which also raised important questions about whether he does, in fact, know what he’s talking about. More, here:

He cribbed the plan from Mark Krikorian on the fly, and didn’t even do the basic homework to learn that INS no longer exists, but I’m expected to believe this represents a real conversion of thought?

Huckabee’s competence and honesty were called into question in the Wayne Dumond clemency case: The Huckster purportedly played a key role in gaining amnesty for the convicted rapist who subsequently committed rape and murder.

Yes, he certainly has a soft side, characterized by questionable decision-making, which has gotten him in trouble on more than one front.

It is, admittedly, a part of the man’s charm and apparent electability that he is not hard-edged. We ought to ask, however, whether such softness is what we want in a president. After he recently made a number of statements on foreign policy which call into question his understanding and his will, it is fair to ask if he is right for the job:

These statements, to my mind, reflect that at heart Mr. Huckabee, likeable as he is, is a man too swayed by squishy sentiment and emotion to be a determined wartime leader.

For me, the most instructive episode was his horrific treatment of Special Agent Aaron Pierce, because it illustrated the terrible consequences that result from a president who is soft in his thinking about world affairs: Ironically, such a viewpoint can lead to immense cruelty against those attempting to keep Americans safe.

President Huckabee Logan and Aaron Pierce

As noted by someone smarter than me, President Huckabee Logan was undoubtedly the most treacherous in our nation’s history. I submit this was precisely a result of his seemingly gentle nature.

Who can forget the catastrophic consequences of President Huckabee Logan’s infamous flinch when he was faced with a decision about acceding to terrorists’ demands that he betray Russian President Suvarov?

Logan Huckabee and Suvarov

Suvarov was undoubtedly a friend of America at a time when such an alliance represented a potential turning point in world history. Our nation watched in horror as President Huckabee Logan’s indecision – nay, ignorance – doomed the budding alliance. As so many professional commentators and private citizens observed in the weeks that followed: Crisis situations can turn soft guys into bad guys in an instant.

Well, as we all know, we got lucky that time around because someone had our back. The Huckster fooled many, but he did not fool Jack Bauer.

Huckabee and Jack Bauer

Bauer brought him to the brink of confessing his perfidy but Huckabee toughed it out and talked his way to a temporary reprieve.

Jack Bauer and Huckabee Logan

Eventually, President Logan’s soft side was revealed as insidious and treasonous. The question we must ask ourselves is: As a country, do we really want to go there again?

Have we learned the lesson that a decent man and nice guy, who is nonetheless WRONG on important issues, might spell trouble in the real world, where decisions have consequences and personal achievements are no indication of fitness for national leadership?

Huckabee Logan Before and After

UPDATE II: The single most Mongolian horde-like sacking of President Logan since Bauer himself did it.

This won’t do.