A reader writes:
“It ought to be a reminder that here is a family that loves one another. They stuck with each other though the tough times and that’s what families do." ... Huckabee said the surprise pregnancy announcement should not affect vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s support in the conservative and religious right communities. ... “I’m grateful for the way she’s being supported by her family."
Another thinks Huckabee is being canny:
You said, "She seems an unlikely culture war target. And a hopelessly tone-deaf one." I've never been a fan of Huckabee, but is it possible you're missing the point here? Natalie Portman may be a horrible target, but clearly "Natalie Portman" is just code for "Bristol Palin." The question was specifically about Natalie Portman, and the first thing Huckabee said (to play armchair shrink here) was "people see a Natalie Portman or some other Hollywood starlet ..."
Of course Huckabee can't come out and say "Bristol Palin embodies our culture's willingingess to 'glorify and glamorize the idea of out of children wedlock,'" but consider his audience: isn't Bristol who he is really talking about? Does the right-wing base really give a damn about Natalie Portman and the seriousness of her life and the maturity she plainly has demonstrated about her choices? I doubt it.
Huckabee has shown before he is extremely adept at speaking the code of evangelicals. The single biggest obstacle to his nomination is Sarah Palin. We know she's a joke, and I suspect he knows it too. But how does he communicate that without turning off the very people he needs? That's not to excuse his throwing Natalie under the bus, but I'd be careful to call this a gaffe.
Don't underestimate the man.