Upon hearing the bad news, Huckabee did what everyone should do: He made some serious lifestyle changes. Regular exercise was added to the routine; in Huckabee’s case, it was jogging. His diet was overhauled so that his fat and sugar consumption went down.
The results were dramatic. The governor lost more than 100 pounds, and in the process he became a spokesman for healthy living. Huckabee became a champion of public policies that enabled Arkansans to get more exercise and eat healthier. In 2005, he published a book, Quit Digging Your Grave With a Knife and Fork.
Fast forward to the middle of 2012. Much has changed for Huckabee. He’s no longer governor of Arkansas. After some surprising successes in a bid for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008, he landed on his feet. He hosts a weekly program on Fox News, and this April he launched his own radio talk show.
Oh, and he’s leading a massive campaign to persuade Americans to eat fast food this Wednesday, an effort standing in stark contrast to his previous utterances about healthy eating. On his Facebook page, Huckabee is bragging that almost a half-million Americans have pledged to eat at Chick-fil-A, a fast-food chain specializing in — um, you guessed it —chicken, fried foods and sugary drinks.
In the restaurant’s defense, the book Eat This, Not That credits Chick-fil-A for controlling the portions it serves customers, an important factor in the battle of the waistline bulge. Still, a steady diet of the restaurant’s fare could put you in the unhealthy position Huckabee once found himself.
Huckabee’s beef, so to speak, is the reaction from some corners after Chick-fil-A’s president commented on his opposition to gay marriage. “We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives,” executive Dan Cathy said.
Cathy was exercising his First Amendment rights. Critics exercised theirs by blasting Cathy and his company, and that really rubbed Huckabee the wrong way. The ex-governor wrote that he was “incensed at the vitriolic assaults” launched at the restaurant and its upper management.
Some of the high-level criticism aimed at the chain has been way out of proportion. Mayors in Boston and Chicago have made it known that because of Cathy’s views, Chick-fil-A restaurants are not welcome in their towns, declarations that are unenforceable. We might call remarks by Boston’s Thomas M. Menino and Chicago’s Rahm Emanuel little more than political grandstanding. We might also note it’s an ailment Huckabee isn’t immune to, either.