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Huckabee Plays the Fool

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
Watching Republicans on TV is getting more painful by the week.

And believe it or not, my pain has nothing to do with the successful candidacy of Donald Trump.

The pain started Tuesday, when, joining a few score of my fellow Americans, I accidentally tuned into MSNBC.

There was big Mike Huckabee, live, making a religious, political and constitutional fool of himself.

He was standing in front of a public building somewhere in Kentucky, railing about "judicial tyranny," damning the Supreme Court for upholding gay marriage, pretending to be crying now and then and openly pandering to Christian conservatives for their votes.

The event was supposed to be a rally for Kim Davis, the anti-gay marriage county clerk who'd just been released from jail after serving six days for refusing a judge's order to issue marriage licenses to all couples, gay and straight.

But it really was a campaign stop for Huckabee - and not a very successful one.

When he urged the crowd to defy the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on gay marriage in the name of religious liberty or state rights, he only proved he's not a constitutional scholar.

When he said that what the Supreme Court decides is not the law of the land, he proved it's time for him and his faith-based conservatism to quit running for the White House.

And when Huckabee acted as if Ms. Davis was a cross between Rosa Parks and Joan of Arc, instead of a local bureaucrat who decided she wouldn't do the job she took an oath to do, he insulted everyone's intelligence.

Huckabee clearly - and cynically -- used Davis and her dilemma to try to advance his own political cause.

But all he actually managed to do was hurt the Republican Party's already beat up brand and give the mainstream media another chance to make it look like the GOP's Big Tent is crawling with freaks.

Huckabee, who has become an embarrassment-by-association that hurts the other Republican presidential candidates, had the Davis case all wrong from the start.

He tweeted that "Kim Davis in federal custody removes all doubts about the criminalization of Christianity in this country. We must defend #religiousliberty."

It's true that religious liberty needs to be defended in the private sector, whenever the law is used to force owners of bakeries or photographers or preachers to violate their religious beliefs and take part in a gay marriage.

But Davis is not a private citizen. She's an elected public official.

As a county clerk, as a part of the government, it's her job to follow the law - including the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on same-sex marriages -- until it's overturned.

Or she's free to quit if her moral principles won't let her sign same-sex marriage licenses.

Most Republican candidates - the smartest ones - stayed as far away as they could from Kentucky and Davis.

But Donald Trump, who can say anything about anything without suffering the slightest political scratch, waded in right in - and was right.

He basically said America is a "nation of laws" and Davis should have followed the law or figured out a way to recuse herself from any gay marriage licensing process.

That sounds like something Ronald Reagan might have said if he had been watching the Davis sideshow. I know he definitely would have followed the law, not Mike Huckabee.

I also know my father would agree with me that the worst thing the Davis circus in Kentucky did this week was make his Republican Party look bad.

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