Mike Huckabee attacked Natalie Portman on the radio with Michael Medved recently for glamorizing single motherhood by looking beautiful and happy and very pregnant at the Oscars. “What’s troubling is that people see a Natalie Portman or some other Hollywood starlet who boasts of, ‘Hey look, you know, we’re having children, we’re not married, but we’re having these children, and they’re doing just fine,'” Huckabee said on Michael Medved's radio show. But most single moms live a much more difficult life, he said.
Huckabee said that, unlike Portman, "there aren’t really a lot of single moms out there who are making millions of dollars every year for being in a movie," Media Matters reports.
And I think it gives a distorted image that yes, not everybody hires nannies, and caretakers, and nurses. Most single moms are very poor, uneducated, can’t get a job, and if it weren’t for government assistance, their kids would be starving to death and never have health care. And that’s the story that we’re not seeing, and it’s unfortunate that we glorify and glamorize the idea of out of children wedlock. ... You know, right now, 75 percent of black kids in this country are born out of wedlock. 61 percent of Hispanic kids — across the board, 41 percent of all live births in America are out of wedlock births. And the cost of that is simply staggering.
It's unclear why Huckabee would want to pick on Portman. When Dan Quayle went after Murphy Brown in the early 1990s, he was widely ridiculed. And the comments also raise the question of what Huckabee thinks of Bristol Palin. True, he's considering a presidential run in 2012, and could be taking the usual steps to shore up support among more conservative Republican primary voters. But almost all of the people talking about Huckabee's comments are liberals:
"It was absurd to argue then that Murphy Brown was responsible for society’s ills, and it’s absurd now to suggest that Natalie Portman is responsible for today’s. ... with all the odd things that Huckabee has been saying this week, one wonders if he’s decided that he’s not running for President so he can say whatever he wants," Outside the Beltway's Doug Mataconis writes. Or, as Adrian Chen reponds at Gawker,"Yeah, why isn't Natalie Portman sleeping in a gutter somewhere, turning her big doe eyes up pitifully at every passing stranger, begging for government handouts and then giving birth to a sick baby, to be realistic? Doesn't she know what kind of message it sends to the youth of America, her not being super poor and miserable at the Oscars?" New York's Dan Amira takes on the marriage issue: "Sure, she is engaged to the child's father, Benjamin Millepied. But that's not good enough for Huckabee. Marriage is just that important. Unless you're gay!"
In fact, one of the few conservatives to comment on the story, Robert Stacy McCain, took the opportunity to criticize Huckabee and disown him after a fashion: "Everybody loves Princess Amidala. Luke Skywalker’s mom, for crying out loud! And why would a conservative trash a woman who just called motherhood 'the most important role of my life'? Oh, wait. I forgot. Mike Huckabee isn’t a conservative. Just ask Ann Coulter."
Perhaps the best explanation for Huckabee's comment is that Medved is a savvy radio host and knows how to drum up a little publicity.