Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Colbert is BACK! (Huckabee transcript)

Even without his writing staff, Stephen Colbert is unto himself a formidable political force. On Wednesday's show, he interviewed former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee (R–AR), who played along with the host better than just about any politician who's been on either The Colbert Réport or The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Don't get me wrong — I will f-word-ing tear my hair out if Huckabee actually becomes President. However, I provide here the transcript of the interview, because I believe it to be of some importance to have a written record of an event of considerable bearing on the political process. For those of you visiting "The Third Path" for the first time, I do actually have a number of things to say of my own accord, but I have also provided transcripts of many interviews that would otherwise be only Comedy Central and/or YouTube clips, including quite a few from sources other than Comedy Central, most notably Al Jazeera English. It is my hope that the political discourse will benefit from the outside perspective — not anti-American, but also not only-American — of a network that sets the standard for journalistic courage in the 21st century, but also that the people will see that America should be embrace Al Jazeera English, not fear it. Al Jazeera English quite simply is what CNN was 25 years ago: serious journalism, with no punches pulled on anybody. But I promise I'm not trying to hijack Stephen Colbert to promote another network, so, without further ado, here are the embedded video clip and the transcript, below the fold.

Stephen Colbert interviewing Gov. Mike Huckabee (R–AR) on Comedy Central's The Colbert Réport, Copyright ©2008 Comedy Central. Original airdate: 2008-01-09.

[Colbert chastises the audience for showing up the Pundits who predicted McCain in '08 (two years ago), Clinton and Giuliani in '08 (four months ago), and Obama and Huckabee in '08 (four days ago), by voting for Clinton.]

Stephen Colbert: I mean, if you [the American people] keep voting the way you want, rather than the way we tell you you want, well then, pundits are just gonna stop tellin' you how to think. [audience cheers] No, no, no. I'm mad! You know what? I'm gonna give you a little taste of your own medicine, right now. The next big contest is South Carolina; I happen to be from South Carolina, I happen to know how you'd like to vote there, but I'm not gonna tell you what you want. I'm not gonna tell you who. the winner. of. South Carolina. should be. [pause] Joining me now — live from South Carolina — is the Republican front-runner, and the man who will win, Mike Huckabee!

Gov. Mike Huckabee (R–AR): Hello, Stephen, I hope you're doing well, and I hope you're ready to take it all the way to the White House, 'cause you know, you promised me you would be my running mate.

Colbert: Sir, I am so glad to hear you honor that promise. I was afraid that maybe I was gonna have to let you out of that.

Huckabee: I will keep that promise because, after all, the only reason that I'm the front-runner now is because of the "Colbert bump." If it were not for that, I would not be sitting in this chair, I would be probably somewhere serving hamburgers at a drive-in restaurant.

Colbert: Hamburgers, or Huckaburgers?

Huckabee: They would be Huckaburgers: whole-wheat bun, lean beef, and very carefully selected organic vegetables to go in the Huckaburger.

Colbert: Let me talk about one something for a second here, sir: when you asked me to be your running mate, I jumped on board when you were less than 1%. Obviously, I was thrilled to see you take the whole shootin' match in Iowa, but I gotta say, I'm underwhelmed about New Hampshire: third place? You might have to re-sell me.

Huckabee: Just two weeks ago, we were like in sixth place, so we saw dramatic move and momentum, just in a very short period of time.

Colbert: Umm, McCain: he's got "big mo,"if you pardon the expression. How are you gonna stop him? You're a man of the Faith; he said he will hunt Osama bin Laden to the gates of Hell — will you hunt Osama bin Laden all the way into Hell?

Huckabee: And beyond. I will charge Hell with a water pistol, if necessary.

Colbert: Okay, let's go over some policy things; I want to make sure we're on the same page here. Do we both still feel that Evolution is a farce?

Huckabee: Huckabee: It's all a farce.

Colbert: Good to hear it. Are we the candidates who think that the Devil and Jesus were brothers?

Huckabee: Uh, no. That's not us. But I'll send you a memo on that, and I'll underline the parts in red that we need to believe.

Colbert: You knew that. Where do you stand on global warming?

Huckabee: I do think we've gotta be better stewards of the environment, and, frankly, we need to take better care of this planet.

Colbert: You know what I say? I say we hit the Environment hard, before it hits us. It's payback for earthquakes and hurricanes. [pause] How 'bout outsourcing jobs?

Huckabee: As long as it isn't mine.

Colbert: Ditto! Now, there's criticism of you, that you do not have foreign policy experience. That's how I can balance the ticket for you, because I've been overseas — I've been to Sandals Resort in Jamaica, I've been to Sandals Resort in the Bahamas, I've been to Sandals Resort in Barbados, I've been to Epcot.

Huckabee: That oughta take care of it.

Colbert: Can I take you to task for something that, I gotta say, alarms me. You are being attacked, and I think in this case rightfully so, for not being harsh enough on illegal immigrants. Is it true that you do not support building a pneumatic tube to fire Mexicans back to Guadalajara?

Huckabee: [laughs vigorously]

Colbert: 'Cause I heard that you're not supporting that.

Huckabee: No, I don't support that; I'm not quite that harsh.

Colbert: Let's talk money problems. Do you have the cash to go all the distance here? I mean, Romney's got all kinds of money. If you're trying to raise a little scratch, South Carolina gun laws are so loose, you can go into any gun shop and buy as many handguns as you want, and just ship 'em up here to New York and sell 'em on the streets illegally and raise some serious scratch.

Huckabee: How do you think I financed my campaign for the past 11 months?

Colbert: Smart man! Pick me up a couple?

Huckabee: [nods] On their way. What kind would you like?

Colbert: Something with the serial number scratched off!

Huckabee: Consider it done.

Colbert: I know you're a man of your word — you would never rescind your offer of making me your Vice President, no matter how well you do in the campaign, but I want to let you know, I believe in you, I believe in what you're doing, I'm gonna give you this opportunity to get out of it with honor. Just ask me, one more time, I'll say no, and then, you know, then you can pick somebody else. Go ahead.

Huckabee: Stephen, please, be my running mate.

Colbert: YES! Yes, a thousand times, yes! [audience laughs] I've got my hooks in you, mister! I will see you at the altar.

Huckabee: Uh, we're not taking it that far.

Colbert: Huckabee, good luck down there, stay strong, be brave, and remember, stay a Hucka-be, not a Hucka-was.

Huckabee: Thank you, Stephen.

Colbert: Thank you, sir. Mike Huckabee, everybody.
A few comments on Huckabee's responses:
  • I would very much like to know, and therefore I call upon Mike Huckabee to disclose, to what extent The Colbert Réport prepped him for the interview. If Huckabee knew the questions in advance, he still handled them well, but if he was doing improv on the spot, then it was especially impressive.

  • In the unlikely event that Huckabee is nominated as President, the selection of his running mate will have more immediate impact than usual, simply because the way Huckabee backs out of his repeated commitment to Stephen Colbert will say a lot about his character and fitness to be President. Sure, he can say, "It was all in a spirit of fun on a program of satire," but the details will matter. Anyone in politics who underestimates the power of Stephen Colbert will learn to regret it.

  • I think that Huckabee's comment that he would "charge Hell with a water pistol, if necessary," in the hunt for Osama bin Laden, speaks more to a fundamental understanding of the struggle against Al Qaeda than any of the façade of macho posturing from the likes of Romney and Giuliani about the extremes to which they would cheerfully go to defeat those extremists.

  • I agree with Gov. Huckabee and the character of Stephen Kohl-Behr that the [Mormon] belief that Jesus and the Devil are brothers is almost as absurd as the [Scientology®] belief that an interstellar overlord exiled prisoners' "thetans" on earth. However, I saw a quote today that pretty well sums up my attitude towards "mainline" Christianity, and especially fundamentalist Christianity:
    CHRISTIANITY: The belief that a cosmic Jewish Zombie who was his own father, can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree... yeah, makes perfect sense. — found on the masthead of the Myth Understood channel on Justin.TV; original source unspecified
    It is absurd, and even blasphemous, to suggest that any human could ever have an infallible understanding of "the will of God," if any God worthy of the capital G exists.

  • It's about non-existent-deity-darned time that some Republican make the simple admission that the Republican leadership of the last 7 years has done a lousy job on environmental issues, and that it's important that we turn around right now. "Frankly, we need to take better care of this planet."

  • Even in jest, claiming to have financed his campaign through the illegal interstate sale of weapons, is tap-dancing in a political minefield. It's not a good first step in bridging the divide between the RKBA'ers and the people who are horrified at the rate of death from gun violence in the United States.

  • Huckabee's ability to grapple with Colbert clearly places him in an intellectual league far beyond President George Dumbya Bush. The pundits who have been saying for nine years, "Oh, George W. Bush isn't stupid!" are just as wide of the mark as the polls that said Obama would carry New Hampshire by double digits. Bush didn't for a moment consider how he would get the United States back out again after we invaded Iraq, which showed a shocking failure to think through the consequences of his decisions. Huckabee's inability or refusal to embrace the core concept of Evolution, though, likewise shows some limitations of his mind.
I hope you've found this transcript, and perhaps even some of my annotations and comments, helpful, and that you'll check out the rest of the blog, including the various transcripts I've done, and maybe some of my own original thoughts. And yes, for the love of America, demand that your cable system carry Al Jazeera English now!

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