Friday, November 23, 2007

Down the River with Huck

This is why I keep going back to Huckabee for second-looks. I know I disagree with him on things like how the universe likely was created. But that's not in the job description of "chief executive." On the other hand, setting a tone for national policies often is part of what a president does. And Huckabee, among the gaggle of schemers seeking the job, often has just the right tone -- for me. Here, for instance, on immigration:

We penalize law-breakers. We don't penalize their children for something they can't help.

If a child is gasping for air, asthmatic, and he's on the hospital steps, what do the other candidates suggest we do, let him sit there and gasp until he doesn't have any air left and he dies? If a child comes to our school -- and our law, by the way, in most of our states, mine certainly says you've got to educate a child if he's of child age -- what do you, break your own law and say, `No, you can't come in the schoolhouse door'?

No, you don't do that. What you do is you elect a president who will fix the problem where it needs to be fixed: At the border. But if your government at the federal government is so incompetent that it fails to secure the border, you don't then grind your heel into the face of a 6-year-old child over it. That's not what this country does. We're a better country than that.

It's not a policy. But it's a vision of what the country -- the people collectively -- is and ought to be. And that's a place to begin. Sort of like his accidental namesake in the Twain book, even if his head isn't clear of some of the artificial prejudices of his time and place, his heart often seems to know what the right thing is.