Friday, March 4, 2011

Huckabee: Natalie Portman 'Glorifies' Unwed Pregnancy

Mike Huckabee has been an interesting person for me to watch since he announced his candidacy for the 2008 election. Unlike Romney, McCain, or most Republican politicians, he seems relatable, like someone you could go out and have a beer with. I'm also not alone in thinking this, as polls taken among conservatives show that Huckabee is overwhelmingly liked as a possible choice for the 2012 election. I've even heard some liberals say that he seems more 'level-headed' than most other Republicans. But remembering Huck's speech about amending the Constitution to fit with the bible [1], I know that he's just as far right and crazy as most other GOP candidates.

And now he's showing that side of himself again, by criticizing Natalie Portman for 'glamorizing' unwed pregnancy [2]. Huckabee told Michael Medved, a conservative radio host...

"She got up, she was very visibly pregnant, and it's really it's a problem because she's about seven months pregnant, it's her first pregnancy, and she and the baby's father aren't married, and before two billion people, Natalie Portman says, 'Oh I want to thank my love and he's given me the most wonderful gift.' He didn't give her the most wonderful gift, which would be a wedding ring! And it just seems to me that sending that kind of message is problematic."

Portman is engaged to Benjamin Millepied, a choreographer she met while filming The Black Swan. The two have been engaged since at least December of last year, when the announcement was made to the press. Typically an engagement ring is a big part of a couple getting engaged, so Huckabee may be dead wrong about Millepied not giving Portman the 'most wonderful gift.' However, I'd still have to take issue with his statements, even if Portman and her beau were not already engaged.

What would be the benefit of having a child in wedlock as opposed to having one out of wedlock? Child support may become an issue for some unwed parents later down the road, if they part ways, but even married couples may divorce and have to face child support. Huckabee brings up the expenses involved in having a child and notes that, "Most single moms are very poor, uneducated, can't get a job, and if it weren't for government assistance, their kids would be starving to death and never have health care." And marriage, which isn't exactly cheap, will resolve this how?

It cracks me up that these 'small government' types - even though they may not advocate government intervention in areas like this - still so often act like they know what is best for you better than you do. If a loving and financially stable couple wants to have a child without getting married, what's the harm, and who is Mike Huckabee to tell them it's wrong? He has no business telling a celebrity couple to set an example for poor single mothers. Perhaps he'd like it if they undid their evil unwed pregnancy by having an abortion? Maybe not.

If Huckabee is truly concerned about the financial burden of children on unmarried parents, the solution is simple: let's educate more men and women about the costs of pregnancy and childcare. Telling them to get married before having kids won't do a damn thing, nor will telling rich couples to be better role models. But Huck's focus is not on the financial burden of single parents, because, if it were, he wouldn't care about the parents who are stable enough to make it work. His focus is on the sinfulness of sex outside of wedlock.

Portman did not glorify or glamorize unmarried pregnancy, she is only happy to be a mother, which seems like it should be something that the 'family values' crowd would appreciate. The 'most wonderful gift' to her was not a baby outside of marriage, it was just a baby, and the odds are good that she would've said the exact same thing if she'd already been married for years. Huckabee can't be happy for Portman because what he sees is a sin: a child born outside the 'sanctity' of marriage.

Huckabee is a very skilled rhetorician. He knows just what to say and how to say it to make himself come across like a good and sensible guy, but his underlying beliefs are much more fundamentalist than he's letting on. I've watched interviews with Huck on Bill Maher and the Colbert Report, and it's been fascinating to me to observe how centrist he acts on liberal shows, while his appearances on conservative shows, like this one with Michael Medved, usually seem to produce a quite different and controversial side of him that is a lot more far right leaning.

1 comment:

  1. The idea that celebrities should be role models is quite common among conservative pundits and politicians, and it strikes me how they want American celebrities to uphold Christian values while they often disregard them when this suits their conservative goals. Bill O'Reilly's interview with Marilyn Manson and Sean Hannity's open support of torture come to mind.
    Conservative ideology embodies three different and irreconcilable traits: free market (all-for-profit, with no intervention to help the poor or the environment), nationalism (systematic xenophobia, to the point of sociopathy) and Christianity (which teaches to love your enemies and help the poor).
    It's nasty to see how these three traits have been put together to benefit a particular group: the owners of oil/gun industries, who appeal to the religiosity of the American lower class to legitimize the unfettered trade of their dangerous merchandise.
    Role-model celebrities help to sustain the part of the American southern/heartland identity (christian, free-market nationalist) that makes the support of an otherwise unsupportable enterprise possible.