Former Arkansas governor and to-be-announced 2016 presidential candidate Mike Huckabee appeared on NBC’s Meet the Press Sunday and talked Common Core, courts and how the Constitution is largely being ignored in regards to making laws.
With host Chuck Todd at the helm, Huckabee clarified previous comments and actions on Common Core, immigration and same-sex marriage.
On the topic of education, Todd reminded his guest that in 2013, a letter was sent to Oklahoma in which Huckabee hailed Common Core standards as “near and dear” to his heart. Yet Todd said Huckabee seems to hold a more negative opinion of the educational system these days. Huckabee responded:
I’m absolutely against what Common Core has come to stand for, but it’s totally different than what it was intended to be. The original intent, which was conceived out of the Achieve movement from the mid-’90s that a number of governors, many of them, most of them in fact, Republicans, put forth to keep state standards — not letting the federal government get in control. And the whole idea was, let the states decide the standards but have high standards. Lift education up. I don’t know anyone in America who thinks we would be better off dumbing down the schools. So that was the genesis of it. Common Core originally only dealt with two things — language arts and math. That was it — and nothing, nothing in curriculum.
Moving to immigration, Todd asked about Huckabee’s “break with conservative orthodoxy” in regards to the subject. Listing his actions as governor which included undocumented immigrants receiving in-state tuition, Todd asked Huckabee if he still felt the same as he did when he said that an undocumented immigrant is better off going to college and becoming a neurosurgeon, or banker, than remaining in the field picking tomatoes.
Huckabee said, “Absolutely.” Then admitting that immigration is “totally out of control” and needs fixing, he said children should not be help responsible for the crimes of their parents.:
Look, we force, by law, people to go to school in our states. So as a governor, if we had a 9-year-old kid, didn’t matter why he came or what his parents did, the kid had to go to school by law. So, he goes all the way through the public schools of our state. He graduates. He’s valedictorian…the big question [is], should he qualify, having been an Arkansas student, having been a part of the public schools of that state, valedictorian — should he be able to qualify for the same scholarships as anyone else did? I said, ‘Yes, he should.’ You don’t punish your child for something his parents did.
Todd assumed this stance would mean that Huckabee, if elected president, would not roll back President Obama’s 2012 executive order which gave undocumented children legal U.S. status. Huckabee turned Todd’s assumption on its head:
Oh, yes, I would, because he didn’t have the authority to do it. And he said he didn’t have the authority to do it when he was interviewed just a year before.
A surprised Todd was then given an explanation on how being president involves following the law of the land:
Well, here’s the problem, Chuck — there’s a process. We have a thing called the Constitution and the Constitution doesn’t allow the chief executive just to make up law.
A quick edit led to the segments final topic, same-sex marriage. Todd sought clarification as to how Huckabee would handle the Supreme Court’s decisions on lifting bans on same-sex marriage and how that would play out in individual states. Again, the Constitution was the central theme to Huckabee’s explanations:
I’m advocating an adherence to the Constitution. I’m really saying that there is a process to change the law and it doesn’t just involve one unilateral branch of government. Gosh, Chuck, when I was governor, I wish unilaterally I could have done some things as governor. With 90% Democrats in the legislature, it would have been much easier sledding for me if I could have just acted. And I’m sure the courts would like to act all by themselves. I guarantee the legislature would like to act by themselves. But that’s why the founders created this very cumbersome, tedious, sometimes disgustingly slow process of changing the law. The courts can’t make a law. They can interpret one [or] they can invalidate one.
Huckabee recounted an instance in Arkansas in which a circuit court judge reversed the ban on same-sex marriage in an Arkansas court late one Friday afternoon — too late for any appeals. By the next morning — on Saturday when normally offices are closed — the county courthouses were open, handing out marriage licenses to homosexual couples.
“You can’t just do that,” Huckabee said.
Exasperated, Huckabee has lost faith that elected officials even know what the Constitution — the thing they swore to uphold — says any more:
It’d be like when the supreme court in my state issued an education funding ruling. We didn’t start sending out checks the next day, until the legislature met, changed the funding formula, made it constitutional, and I enforced it through the state’s department of education. We have a process. We swear to uphold the Constitution. By gosh, I’m convinced a lot of people don’t even know what the Constitution says when it comes to making law. But judges can’t make law — that’s judicial supremacy and that’s not constitutional.