The EFM Feature

That’s what Nancy said on Friday about one of her posts. And that’s what Governor Romney has been humble enough to say about his previously being pro-choice.
We’ve suggested that such statements are rare from politicians. Now, Governor Huckabee is proving us right.

Yesterday, this story hit the AP wire:

Mike Huckabee once advocated isolating AIDS patients from the general public, opposed increased federal funding in the search for a cure and said homosexuality could “pose a dangerous public health risk.”

As a candidate for a U.S. Senate seat in 1992, Huckabee answered 229 questions submitted to him by The Associated Press. Besides a quarantine, Huckabee suggested that Hollywood celebrities fund AIDS research from their own pockets, rather than federal health agencies.

Well, Governor Huckabee has said that he drinks “a different kind of Jesus juice,” but a quarantine would seem to be a little bit much. And he did say it in 1992. You’d think that now, he might reaffirm what the Bible says about homosexual behavior — but also take back the quarantine stuff and admit that he was wrong.

That’s not what he’s doing. Here, according to Byron York, is his response:

In the late 80’s and early 90’s we were still learning about the virus that causes AIDS. My concern, as a Senate candidate at the time, was to deal with the virus using the same public health protocols that medical science and public health professionals would use with any infectious disease.

Before a disease can be cured and contained we need to know exactly how and with near certainty what level of contact transmits the disease. There was still too much confusion about HIV transmission in those early years. Recall that in 1991, Kimberly Bergalis testified in front of Congress after contracting HIV from her dentist, and that summer a study was published showing that HIV was transmitted through breastmilk more easily than had been thought. But the federal government provided some guidelines: Also in 1991 the Centers for Disease Control recommended restrictions on the practice of HIV-positive health care workers.

At the time, there was widespread concern over modes of transmission and the possibility of epidemic. In the absence of conclusive data, my focus was on efforts to limit the exposure of the virus, following traditional medical practices developed from our public health experience and medical science in dealing with tuberculosis and other infectious diseases.

We now know that the virus that causes AIDS is spread differently, with a lower level of contact than with TB. But looking back almost 20 years, my concern was the uncertain risk to the general population – if we got it wrong, many people would die needlessly. My concern was safety first, political correctness last…

This is utter grandstanding. As Chris Wallace pointed out on Fox News Sunday, we’ve known since 1985 that AIDS was not spread through casual contact:

And as the video shows, Governor Huckabee danced all around to avoid saying three simple words: “I was wrong.” In an era when people really don’t trust Republicans, is this the kind of behavior we need?

About Charles Mitchell

EFM's resident Yankee, Charles Mitchell, works in the non-profit arena in his native Pennsylvania. He and his wife, Charissa, live near the state capital of Harrisburg with their daughter, Adeline, and are members of a congregation of the Presbyterian Church in America.

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