Alex Blaze

What the Huck? Mike responds to Ryan White's mother

Filed By Alex Blaze | December 11, 2007 2:53 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: HIV/AIDS, HRC, Mike Huckabee, quarantine, Ryan White, Ryan White Foundation, Westboro Baptist Church

huck hates.jpg
Mike Huckabee responded to an HRC letter about his statements that poz people should be quarantined

The AP found that Mike Huckabee advocated "isolating" people with HIV back in '92 and opposed increasing funding for AIDS research, years after we knew that HIV wasn't transmitted through casual contact. He said on Fox News this Sunday that he stands by that statement, that it was appropriate back then.

HRC and the AIDS Institute sent Huckabee this letter:

December 10, 2007

Dear Governor Huckabee:

In 1984, a young boy living in Indiana was diagnosed with AIDS. At the time, that boy, thirteen year-old Ryan White, had no idea that his life would become a testament of courage and bravery responsible for opening the hearts and minds of millions of people throughout our country and around the world. Six years later, in 1990, Ryan’s life ended -- a dear, precious life cut short. But Ryan’s death wasn’t the only tragedy in this well-known story in our country’s history. Ryan and his family’s battle with HIV/AIDS was also a stark reminder of what happens in our country when fear and ignorance go unchecked. Governor Huckabee, the Ryan White family was ridiculed, shunned and ostracized by people who thought the answer was to “isolate” them far away from the rest of society. In 1984, this belief was purely based on ignorance. But these same beliefs, which you espoused in 1992 and have refused to recant today, as a candidate for President of the United States, are completely beyond comprehension.

When you answered the Associated Press questionnaire in 1992, we, in fact, knew a great deal about how HIV was transmitted. Four years earlier, in 1988, the Reagan Administration’s Department of Health and Human Services issued a brochure assuring the American public that “you won’t get the AIDS virus through every day contact with the people around you in school, in the workplace, at parties, child care centers, or stores.” To call for such an oppressive and severe policy like “isolation,” when the scientific community and federal government were certain about how HIV is transmitted was then, and remains today, irresponsible. Such statements should be completely repudiated, not simply dismissed as needing to be slightly reworded.

This was not and is not an issue of “political correctness,” as you state. Rather, this is an issue of valuing science-based evidence over unfounded fear or prejudice.

Have we not learned the difficult lesson of how devastating these statements based in ignorance and fear can be to American families? Has it been so long ago that we have forgotten how our neighbors had the backs of entire communities turned on them? Governor Huckabee, those dark moments in American history are the direct result of ignorant views that stifle discussion, hinder resources and delay action. We have a moral obligation as a nation to never allow ourselves to repeat the shameful mistakes of the past. And we cannot sit idly by when a candidate for President of the United States tries to lead us back down that path of ignorance and fear.

Governor Huckabee, if you need a reminder of how calls for “isolation” can shatter a Mother’s heart, you only need to turn to Jeanne White-Ginder. Today, we respectfully ask you to sit down with her and allow her to share with you Ryan’s story. Ms. White-Ginder continues to be active in AIDS advocacy as a member of the board of The AIDS Institute. We hope that, even in 2007, Ryan’s story can continue to open hearts and minds.

We would be happy to facilitate a meeting between Ms. White-Ginder and yourself, or a member of your staff. Please feel free to contact Brad Luna, Communications Director for the Human Rights Campaign, at (202) 216-1514 at your convenience.

Joe Solmonese
Human Rights Campaign

A. Gene Copello
Executive Director
The AIDS Institute

I don't know about the Ryan White angle. I know, I know, he's sympathetic and can't be blamed for his illness, but I found it exacerbating back when no one would care about gay men getting the disease that once a someone put a presumable heterosexual face on it, people cared.

But when it comes to politics, whatever works, I guess. And I can't fault Ryan White's mother for any of that.

So Huckabee responded while on the trail in Iowa, and this is priceless:

I would be very willing to meet with them [Ryan White's parents]. I would tell them we've come a long way in research, in treatment.

So his answer is to lie some more.

That's been his framing so far: he claims that we didn't really know how the disease was transmitted back in 1992 and that his statements were appropriate at the time. While that's simply not true, it sounds decent to people who don't know or don't care.

His answers to the questionnaire betray a whole lot more than his thoughts on public health though. His nasty words about AIDS research and barely concealed homophobia show that he's not any sort of "compassionate conservative".

And the questionnaire helps explain his current pandering to and strategizing with the wackiest of the Religious Right, the sorts who'd be out with Fred Phelps if they weren't worried about remaining media-genic. And now he has to walk the fine line between appeasing his base and still remaining presentable to the population at large, and so he's invested in a false reading of history to make those comments sound a whole lot less "Westboro Baptist Church" and a whole lot more "concerned with public health."

It's pretty tiring how conservatives shamelessly abuse public health rhetoric to justify any policy regulating sexuality. If Huck were really concerned with solving AIDS, he could have advocated money for AIDS research, comprehensive sex education, and money for STD screenings and treatment, as well as lifting the global gag order and supporting universal health care.

But he really just wanted to lock some homos up. He could at least be honest about his reasoning.

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But when it comes to politics, whatever works, I guess.

lol. ENDA.

Joe's response is great.

“I would like to inform Governor Huckabee that the mother of Ryan White, for whom the Ryan White CARE Act is named, doesn’t need to be schooled about how far we've come in HIV/AIDS research and treatment.”

What's infuriating about Huckabee is how much favorable press he's getting in The Times and other "liberal" outlets. (On the other hand, I just read that according to Matt Drudge the DNC is "holding fire" on Huckabee because they think he would be an easier target in a general election, but that kind of cynical election strategy makes me nervous, particularly given Huckabee's crazy gay stands; what happens if the DNC miscalculates (as so often is the case) and he gets elected?

Gay Recluse:

The DNC has to beat one of them. It doesn't really matter to me which one. It's not like any of the Republican nominees would make even an acceptable president. Rudy's contempt for democratic processes terrifies me more than I can communicate, McCain is hardly less socially conservative, Romney seems to be courting the religious right just as aggressively as Huck, Ron Paul is a black helicopter conspiracy theorist concerned with "Mexican anchor babies."

Let them slug it out amongst themselves, and be ready to go on the attack once a winner emerges.

I don't know if I'd trust Drudge, TGR, especially on DNC politics. He's a known conservative liar with an agenda.

BGS is right, one of them will win, but I'm hoping for Romney. My penchant for dramatic irony wants to see a Democratic "flip-floping bad" campaign, no matter how silly the argument really is.

Dominik Bluyskovich | December 4, 2008 4:02 PM

I would never vote for Huckabee. He is a sinner just we all are, but to know were sinning and continue sinning, we are creating a mortal sin. What religion is Huckabee? Because I, a Catholic know that Huckabee is in know way a true Christian. I believe an example of true Christians would be the White family. How brutal can one person with "so called" power be to people living with HIV or AIDS? I wonder how Huckabee would feel if he contracted HIV. first the horrific confirmation from a doctor that puts you in shock and leads you to take anti depressents and benzodiazepines like Xanax or Ativan, just to cope. Then having your blod checked every 6 months.... Slowly watching your viral load go up and down, and yout T-cell's only to go down. Finally thrush sets in, and you need one more med for that. You start becoming sick everytime you come in contact with someone with a cold. Finally at T-cell count of 250 you need to start a med. the best out there right now is Atripla, 30 pills, one a day. one 30 pill bottle costing you 1700 USD. If not helping in time your count will go below 200, overall then you are diagnosed with AIDS. Now the whole Thrush annd inflamed lymphnodes become worse. next you know you have Lymphoma and are in stage 2 but to weak to under go chemo. WELL THATS NOT TRUE FOR EVERYONE DIAGNOSED, BUT FOR ME AT AGE 20 AND DIAGNOSED AFTER A RAPE WHEN I WAS 16, AND DIAGNOSED AT 17, IT IS TRUE FOR ME. So Huckabee just for your understanding, i can give you HIV just as easily as a heterosexual female, who has only just recently been diagnosed. (much healthier than I) but the only way you or anyone is going to contract HIV (remember you DONT contract AIDS!!! HIV IS FIRST) is through anal or vaginal sex, the sharing of needles, bad trials of unteasted blood in a transfussion or organ donation. Other than a dentist coughing blood up in several peoples mouths which had blood openings, there have not been ANY other documented cases of catching HIV. GOD BLESS YOU ALL, AND ESPECIALLY THOSE FIGHTING WITH HIV/AIDS, THOSE WITH LOVED ONES WITH HIV/AIDS, THOSE WHO HAVE LOST, AND THOSE WHO HAVE WON. THOSE INFECTEED AND NON INFECTED FIGHTING FOR HIV/AIDS PEOPLES RIGHTS AND FUTURE ANTIBIOTICS, MAYBE SOME DAY A CURE.... I dont trust anyone who remotly relates to Huckabee, he is nothing but a waist in the United States. (makes me wish i was back in Lithuania) And as for Fred Phelps, you are posesed. God Bless all
-Dominik Vidzalus Bluyskovich