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Huckabee willing to look 'outside the tent'

Patricia Mellin/Flickr

Former Arkansas governor and failed Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee delivered what appeared to be a standard far-right speech in Iowa over the weekend, though it included one interesting twist.

Huckabee, now a Fox News personality, complained that "speaker after speaker" spoke at the Democratic National Convention last summer to declare, "I want to be able to take the life of my baby and I want someone else to pay for it." It wasn't clear what in the world Huckabee was referring to -- taxpayer funding of abortion is already impermissible -- and no one at the DNC said anything to the contrary.

Huckabee also compared legal abortion in the United States to the Nazi Holocaust, which may seem outrageous, but for the GOP activist, has been a standard argument for many years.

This, however, seemed a little more interesting (thanks to my colleague Rebekah Dryden for the heads-up).

[Iowa Family Leader head Bob Vander Plaats] said that if the GOP veers from its anti-abortion stance, "we will run from this party."

Huckabee, too, said: "This is why this issue cannot be moved off our platform and if it is, then I'll meet you somewhere outside the tent and we'll build a new one."

To be sure, the likelihood of Republicans becoming more mainstream on reproductive rights is poor. On the contrary, the party still seems preoccupied with becoming more extreme, not less, going after Planned Parenthood, which has traditionally enjoyed bipartisan support.

But the interesting thing about the comments from the weekend is that it's a lingering threat to the party's leadership: don't even think about adopting mainstream views on these issues, or we'll walk.