Charles Petzold

Let's Not Be Too Hard On Huckabee

December 10, 2007
Roscoe, N.Y.

As former governor Mike Huckabee rises in the polls, it's only natural that journalists are going to try to dig up ugly stuff from his past. And yes, even nice-guy Mike Huckabee has some skeletons in his closet. It turns out that in 1982 Huckabee supported quarantining people with AIDS.

It's important to put this into perspective: The AIDS crisis was very young in 1982. It wasn't until July of that year that the term "Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome" was proposed for the disease. People were confused and frightened. In 1982 some people even thought that AIDS could be spread by casual contact.

It's not surprising that in 1982 even people with enlightened scientific educations such as Mike Huckabee would be caught up in the AIDS panic and propose rash solutions to deal with the crisis. It was only in the decade after 1982 that the real nature of the disease was determined; by that time, of course, no sensible person would ever have recommended quarantines for AIDS patients.

But 1982 was a long time ago. Give the man a break, OK?