Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, now a host on the Fox News Channel, was Jon Stewart's guest on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, discussing politics, religion, and their intersection. The full transcript appears below the fold, with embedded video.
Part 1Jon Stewart: Welcome back. My guest tonight, the former governor of Arkansas, host of Huckabee on the Fox News Channel, also a best-selling author, his new book is called Dear Chandler, Dear Scarlett: A Grandfather's Thoughts on Faith, Family and the Things That Matter Most, please welcome back to the program Mike Huckabee!
Sir! Come and sit. How are ya?
Huckabee: Well, I'm doing great, Jon, let's just don't talk about the elections.
Stewart: Look at this. Look at this book right here.
Huckabee: That's a good thing to talk about.
Stewart: Dear Chandler, Dear Scarlett. You know, I find that there is nothing kids love more than letters from their grandparents.
Huckabee: Uh, yeah, that's why I wrote it, because I knew that even when they're just tots, they'll say, "Please, read those to me again!"
Stewart: Hopefully they'll be about how the weather used to be. [laughs]
Huckabee: [laughs] It could be!
Stewart: All right. Let me ask you a question.
Stewart: So, you said something. I don't know if it was election night or one of those nights. It was about the Republican Party...
Stewart: ... and they have to expand their base. Take a look at this, Mike Huckabee talking about reaching out.
I think Republicans have done a pathetic job of reaching out to people of color, something we've gotta work on. — Mike Huckabee on Fox News Live, election night Nov. 6th (2012-11-06)Stewart: Uh, why do they have to work on that? In other words, like, is it work, or is it something you feel like — how do you reach out to people of color without necessarily addressing their concerns?
Huckabee: Well, let me just — no, that's a fair question. Jon, I got 49% of the African American vote in my state when I ran for governor.
Huckabee: I think it's ridiculous for Republicans to assume, Well, we're not going to get that vote, it's automatic for the Democrats. That's just not true.
Stewart: All right.
Huckabee: I think the fact is, Republicans have done a pathetic job of communicating what conservatism does to empower people and how it helps people to move from one rung of the ladder to the next. And, to be honest —
Huckabee: — some brands of conservatism don't help people make it to the next rung of the ladder.
Stewart: Well, that's possibility #1, but here's what I think is actually a larger problem for conservatives in this arena, because I've noticed the pivot among certain, you know, all of a sudden they're saying, like, "Oh, maybe we should talk about immigration, because we need to pick off some Hispanic votes," or "We should talk to black people because —" and there's a certain, uh, patronizing feeling of, like, "Oh, God, now we — all right, so we've got to talk to Latinos and black people now...."
Huckabee: And that'll never work.
Huckabee: That will never work, because you can't show up in October of an election year and say, "Oh, my, we wanted to come by and say hello and we'd sure like for you to vote for us."
Huckabee: It's about appointments. It's about policy. It changes the way people perceive your party, because of the reality that you're actually doing something that helps them. Whether it's education or economic development — and you have to make sure that it's not just some kind of an election-year window dressing, 'cause that doesn't do a doggone thing.
Stewart: Here's what I think is the largest obstacle you're going to have to overcome: what they have utilized minorities for in the conservative world in a lot of ways — This is election day. This is a compilation. Election day, this is a story on Fox News that they ran with all day long. This was talked about 21 times on Fox on election day. Watch.
Steve Ducey: What's goin' on in Philly with the New Black Panther Party?Stewart: So that, basically ... there's a story on Fox that ran 21 times: There's a black guy in Philadelphia!!!
Bill O'Reilly: The New Black Panther Party....
Neil Cavuto: Number of Black Panthers were out in front of polling sites.
(female, 5:30p ET): That Black Panther is there...
Lou Dobbs, 6:43p ET: A member of the New Black Panther Party...
(male, no time stamp): ... standing guard...
(male, 8:17p ET): ... semi-military pose ...
William Kristol, 9:28p ET: ... so as to intimidate voters ...
(male, 5:30p ET): Fox News confirmed he is a "designated poll watcher"!
(male voice off-screen, 5:50p ET): I mean, if it's not voter intimidation, what is it?
(female voiceover, 9:26p ET): ... standing guard outside a polling place...
(male voiceover, 8:17p ET): Some critics say that looks like intimidation.
(Doug Burns, election attorney, 2000 post-election in Florida): Intimidating voters in Philadelphia ... [flash cut] ... Last time, 4 years ago, one of 'em had a billy club...
(male voiceover, no timestamp): In 2008, in Philadephia ... [flash cut] ... He said, "Cracker, you're about to be ruled by a black man!"
— Fox News Channel clips from election day, Nov. 6, 2012, except as noted
Huckabee: Well, the good thing is, you're watching Fox!
Stewart: And by the door!!
But, do you understand what I'm saying? You cannot simultaneously use a group of people as a boogie man — you can't scare — here's the hope, it seemed like, of the Right: "We're gonna scare you enough to vote out this one black guy by showing you these other black guys, but we don't want to scare you so much about these other black guys that you think they might be near where you vote."
Huckabee: Well, you know, I think it'd be a little bit of a stretch to say that every conservative has this anxiety.
Stewart: Not saying that. Not saying that.
Huckabee: — Because that's not true: there are a lot of black conservatives, and here's the problem —
Stewart: Would you say, though, that they used that to stir up fear about a "Black Panther Man at a polling place"?
Huckabee: Well, I think it goes back to the election four years ago, when there was apparently some voter intimidation —
Stewart: There were two guys at that polling station.
Huckabee: — with billy clubs in their hands, walkin' around. That kinda — that kinda maybe dissuade me from wanting to vote, if somebody's crackin' a billy club — [pantomimes striking his hand with a billy club]
Stewart: If that's what they were doin'.
Huckabee: Well, that's what the photographs show, Jon.
Huckabee: But here's what I do think has to happen: Let me ask you this:
Stewart: But do you get what I'm saying, governor? You can't reach out to people and use them as a way to stir up fear amongst a base that can easily fall prey to that, and do you at least admit that that was an attempt to use that as a boogie man for the white base, to stir them up.
Huckabee: Oh, I don't think that there was — you know, I don't know, because I wasn't there. I didn't make any editorial decisions about why that picture was used or why that whole scenario was done, but here is also what I would say, to be fair, when there are true African Americans who are conservatives — philosophical conservatives —
Huckabee: — they're often dismissed by people on the left —
Huckabee: — as being pawns and used —
Stewart: Sure, no question.
Huckabee: — even though it's not fair —
Stewart: No question.
Huckabee: — to somehow act as if they automatically have to be liberal.
Stewart: No question.
Huckabee: Why does anybody have to be automatically anything other than what they truly believe?
Stewart: I don't think anybody's arguing that. I mean, that is — I think that's an argument — I guess my point is, and I watch an awful lot of this particular media arm, let's call it Fox —
Huckabee: Yes, you do. Thank you. That's why they're getting so many great ratings, because you keep watching.
Stewart: [overlapping the above] Since the election — Oh, I'm in hell, brother! — Since the election — you know, single women voted very heavily toward the Democrats. Since the election, there's been a lot of talk on Fox of, "What's wrong with single women??" It seems like that if you don't vote with the Republicans, it is because of your own lack of virtue.
Huckabee: Oh, no, no, I don't think that, Jon.
Stewart: Bill O'Reilly said 50% of the people voted for Obama because 50% of the country wants stuff.
Huckabee: You know, but I don't think that's true, and let me tell you something —
Stewart: No, I don't think that's true, I'm telling you what they're saying!
Huckabee: You know, I was governor 10½ years, and I'm telling you, people who are in poverty and who get government assistance, wish they didn't.
Stewart: Of course!!! And it ain't 50%.
Huckabee: That is nonsense.
Stewart: Of course!!!
Huckabee: Here's my point, Jon! Not all conservatives think that people are on Welfare because they want to be.
Stewart: No one's saying all do, but here's what we are saying: there is a very powerful media arm that is creating a narrative that that is the case, and reinforcing it, day after day, time after time, minute after minute —
Stewart: — and blaming other people. It's true. Go ahead.
Huckabee: Let's be fair, because if you say, well, it's as if Fox is doing it, well, I'm on Fox, I don't think that and I don't do that.
Stewart: We'll be right back with Mike Huckabee, and we will challenge that assumption.
Part 2Stewart: We're talking with Governor Mike Huckabee about, I think it's an important issue, that, when you keep demonizing these groups, whether it be single women, black people, illegal immigrants — it makes it impossible to work with them as a collaboration. Why would you collaborate with evil people, and when you convince them that they're evil, why work with them.
Huckabee: I'm not gonna defend that, and I hope you wouldn't defend that every time Christians are depicted on many of the talk shows, they're depicted as homophobic, racist, uh, you know —
Stewart: No, but don't confuse —
Huckabee: — unscientific.
Stewart: Well, don't confuse that, though, when people are not being scientific, or when they're against gay marriage. You can argue with someone about gay marriage and not call them homophobic. You can challenge someone on climate change when they pretend it doesn't exist and say, "That's unscientific," because that is unscientific — that's a fact.
Huckabee: One of the most fundamental conservative views is to be pro-life, to believe that every life has value and worth. That's scientific, because you know that biologically life begins at conception; that's irrefutable, from the biological standpoint. You can argue the theology of it, you can argue the philosophy of it, you can't argue the biology of the beginning of life.
Stewart: [talking over the above] You can't argue that something isn't happening, but I don't know that — I mean, that's such a loaded — well, here's why I asked you, because I never know who you are any more. I don't know if you're the nice grandfather who sits and writes letters to them —
Huckabee: I'm a wonderful grandfather!
Stewart: — and talks to me very respectfully. There was something, there was a commercial that you made during the election that troubled me to some extent.
Huckabee: Oh, I hope it's the one I'm thinking of.
Stewart: I want to show you. Show it.
Mike Huckabee, voiceover: This November, Christians across the nation will be put to the test. Some issues are not negotiable: the right to life from conception to natural death. Marriage should be reinforced, not redefined. It is an egregious violation of our cherished principle of religious liberty. Your vote will affect the future, and be recorded in eternity. This is Mike Huckabee, asking you to join me November 6th, and vote based on values that will stand the test of fire. — TV adStewart: Okay.
Huckabee: No, I'm glad you — I'm glad you brought that one up.
Stewart: But here's what I look at that, and I go, like, Are you saying that if you vote for the Democrat, you're going to hell??
Huckabee: No!! Jon!
Stewart: It sure looked like it.
Huckabee: I don't expect you —
Stewart: I mean, I'm goin' to hell, anyway. I'm a Jew.
Huckabee: Well, you know —
Stewart: I'm a Jew; I already know where I'm goin'. The point is —
Huckabee: No, no, no —
Stewart: Can you understand how somebody could watch and go, So, wait, if I disagree with you about gay marriage, I'm going to hell??
Huckabee: If they're biblically illiterate they would, but if they knew I Corinthians 10, the whole metaphor of the Christian gospel — listen to me, listen to me —
Stewart: [to audience] Settle down, guys. This is not — we're talkin'
Huckabee: No, seriously. That whole metaphor is about that your works are tested by fire, and that biblical passage is one that every believer, every New Testament believer, is gonna understand what that means, and I heard people on television say, "Oh, Mike Huckabee is saying if you don't vote for Mitt Romney you're going to hell." Never said that, never said "Romney," never said "hell."
Stewart: It's a pretty good connection between that and hell.
Huckabee: No, there's not! I Corinthians chapter 10, read it, Jon. It talks about that our works are put to the test of fire, just like you would put metal in the forge, and that is the imagery that you see.
Stewart: But you narrowed "your works" to two things: pro-life or anti-gay-marriage.
Huckabee: Not "anti-gay-marriage." There's a difference between "anti" something and if you're for something.
Stewart: What are you for?
Huckabee: I'm for the idea that marriage is that which is a biblical model.
Stewart: "The biblical model" is polygamy.
Huckabee: [condescendingly] No, Jon. The Biblical model, Adam and Eve. Polygamy came much later than that, and later was repudiated —
Stewart: So the people in the Bible redefined —
Huckabee: — because Jesus said, "A man shall leave his mother and father, and a woman shall leave her home, and the two shall become one flesh." That is the biblical model.
Stewart: Would you agree that it is the height of Man's arrogance to presume what Jesus would vote for, down the line, for whatever it was, as a value? Now, this is my point: we can come on and have a conversation, but when I see that and I go, Mike Huckabee doesn't just disagree with me, he believes that my position that gay people are members of the species and whoever they love, marriage strengthens traditional families because gay families are wonderful families rraising wonderful kids, and that the value of them is not gayness. It's not their gayness, it's — marriage is about honest, trustworthy people working in a loving household, having nothing to do with what their sexuality is. How can you say that me believing that is registered in the Book of Fire??
Huckabee: No, no, it's not the "Book of Fire."
Stewart: Or the anvil of fire, with the fire guy. Do you know what I'm saying?
Huckabee: I'm gonna have to teach you how to go to a blacksmith shop, and how you create —
Stewart: You're saying, all you are saying is this is gonna be in a "metal book"??
Huckabee: Jon, the point of all of this is, it is a message to Christian believers, saying to them that your vote can't be separated from your faith, and all of our works are gonna be tested as if by fire.
Stewart: Well, let me ask you this: what if they voted for someone who they felt wasn't good for poverty, wasn't good for the poor? Is that going to be reported in the same way as the gay marriage vote?
Huckabee: We all — every vote is going to be —
Stewart: Well, where is that commercial??
Huckabee: Well, we only had 60 seconds.
Stewart: It's — it's — Here's why it's upsetting to me:
Huckabee: You pick and choose what you want. You pick and choose what you want. Okay.
Stewart: When I speak with you —
Stewart: — I always enjoy it, I always find it very respectful. I always learn an awful lot about points of view that I don't share.
Huckabee: Most of them, I think.
Stewart: But when I see something like that, I think to myself, Well, that guy then leaves me and turns around and goes, "I don't care what he thinks; he's going to hell anyway."
Huckabee: Well, if you had listened, and if you had asked me, I'll give you my number.
Huckabee: I would've said, Jon, this isn't about hell. This isn't about hell. It's about our works are tested, and they're tried, and the way that you create something of value is that you get rid of all that dross, the things that are impure, and you end up with something that has value, and that was the message, coming directly from I Corinthians 10.
Stewart: I would say it is not an unreasonable interpretation of that commercial that if you vote for gay marriage, or for a pro-choice candidate, God is writing it down, and He's gonna git ya.
Huckabee: Now, I think what you have to understand is, if you are a believer, and you have a biblical model and a biblical standard, then that biblical standard is what you wanna apply. It may not be your standard, it may not be the standard that we ultimately end up with in this country, because people are gonna vote.
Stewart: No, no, no. It's not the standard we have in this country. The Constitution is the standard we have in this country.
Huckabee: It is, but the Constitution is still based on what the people decide —
Stewart: It is not based, it is not a literal translation of the Bible for the Constitution. The Constitution doesn't even mention God. It mentions welfare and unions, but it doesn't mention God.
Huckabee: Jon, still the point comes that as we as a society create laws, it is in essence the consent of the governed —
Huckabee: — and if the governed ever decide that things are gonna change, they're gonna change.
Huckabee: But shouldn't we have the opportunity to speak to people and give them our values, so that if they reject them, they reject them.
Stewart: I think we have to have an honest and open conversation and not one on one channel and one on another. I think you have to open that conversation up and say, in the same way that when someone says they're pro-life from conception, I think people need to know that means the law would be that if you're raped, you have to keep that baby, but you don't get an IVF baby because that's against the law. I think those kinds of things have to be discussed openly and honestly.
Huckabee: I would love to have that discussion. You and I have had that discussion before —
Stewart: We have.
Huckabee: — and I always welcome it.
Stewart: In many ways, we love each other. Stop it! But do you know what I mean? We'll go, but do you get at some level where my dissatisfaction is coming from?
Huckabee: No, I never will understand your dissatisfaction, Jon. I don't understand it.
Stewart: Dear Chandler and Dear Scarlett, it's on the bookshelves now, buy the book. Mike Huckabee!