Huckabee's Sermon on the Mound of Plenty
It was legal, but was it really ethical? And what does it say about the values of a man who wants us to believe he is honorable, moral, and humble?
According to the Guardian:
A $1,000 pair of cufflinks from a supporter, tens of thousands of dollars of clothing from a wealthy Little Rock businessman and thousands in gift certificates and cash from staff and appointees were among the lavish gifts given to Republican presidential candidate and unexpected frontrunner Mike Huckabee while he was governor of Arkansas.
The gifts fell within Arkansas's ethics rules but have raised questions among the governor's political opponents and ethics analysts at a time when scrutiny of the candidate is intensifying, and are at odds with the humble persona Huckabee has adopted on the campaign trail.
It also raises questions about Arkansas's ethics rules, but that's a story for another day. The real question is about what exactly that supporter got for his $1000 cufflinks. And what did that wealthy businessman get for his tens of thousands of dollars of clothing? And were Huckabee's staff and appointees buying their jobs and appointments? Robert Stern, of the Centre for Governmental Studies, points out that, at the very least, the gifts bought the givers recognition. Without the gifts, would the governor have given them the time of day?
It was previously in the news that Huckabee actually registered for gifts at department stores, after he left the governor's mansion. Why was he expecting so many gifts that he needed register? Because he was such a beloved governor?
A review of state records by the Guardian indicates that during his more than 10 years as governor, Huckabee received thousands of dollars in presents almost every year: gift certificates to sporting goods stores, clothing boutiques and Wal-Mart, a $3,695 pair of cowboy boots, a $500 belt and more.
Former Huckabee staffers admitted that the governor's chief of staff used to actually solicit Christmas gifts for his boss. Receiving expensive gifts was clearly something Huckabee saw as a routine perk of being governor. One wonders what happened to those who refused to give. One guesses there were no jobs or appointments for them.
One former top staffer said the gifts came because Huckabee's a Baptist Minister.
"It was because of his background as a preacher," said the staffer, who asked to remain anonymous. "They typically get gifts. In his own mind he was righteous, so the appearance didn't matter."
In his own mind?
So, the Sermon on Huckabee's Mound of Plenty appears to teach this: Jesus died for our sins; Huckabee cashes in.