Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee's latest video has the look and feel of an infomercial, because to a very real degree, that's exactly what it is.
Those who go to the "Diabetes Reversed" website
are greeted with an auto-play video from the Republican presidential hopeful, in which Huckabee tells viewers about an "amazing" treatment option of people with Type 2 diabetes (thanks to reader P.A. for the tip).
"Hello, I'm Mike Huckabee. Let me tell you that diabetes can be reversed. I should know because I did it and today you can too. It's all about making simple lifestyle changes and healthier food choices. And there is no other way to reverse diabetes. "Prescription drugs aren't going to cure you. They're only going to keep you a loyal, pill-popping, finger-pricking, insulin-shooting customer so Big Pharma and the mainstream medical community can rake in over $100 billion a year annually. "But that's not your only option. You can avoid the side effects that could lead to needing more drugs. You don't have to be a part of this failed system any longer, because today you have an amazing opportunity to stop diabetes in its tracks -- and actually reverse it, just as I did, simply and naturally."
In the video, the former governor proceeds to make a pitch for a "profound" diabetes treatment option, which he claims leads "most" people to be rid of medication "within four weeks." To "make the plan work," Huckabee says, customers will need the kind of "structure" provided by the infomercial's sponsor. "I should know; it works," he assures viewers about the "natural secrets that are backed by real science."
Blurring the lines between infomercial and campaign ad, the Republican ends the video by saying, "I'm Mike Huckabee and I approve Barton Publishing's Diabetes Solution Kit."
A New York Times
, "The American Diabetes Association and the Canadian Diabetes Association caution against treatments like the one peddled by the company Mr. Huckabee represents."
So what in the world is the former Fox News host and likely presidential candidate doing
Even as he seeks to put the ghosts of 2008 behind by winning over major Republican donors, he has pursued some highly unconventional income streams -- not just the diabetes endorsement, but selling ads on email commentaries he sends to thousands of his supporters. A spokeswoman for Mr. Huckabee declined to say how much he earned from these efforts. But she said he had broken off as a spokesman for the diabetes cure a couple of weeks ago, suggesting concerns that the unusual endorsements may appear un-presidential. [...] One ad arriving in January in the inboxes of Huckabee supporters, who signed up for his political commentaries at MikeHuckabee.com, claims there is a miracle cure for cancer hidden in the Bible. The ad links to a lengthy Internet video, which offers a booklet about the so-called Matthew 4 Protocol. It is "free" with a $72 subscription to a health newsletter. Another recent pitch sent out to Huckabee's supporters carried the subject line "Food Shortage Could Devastate Country." It promoted Food4Patriots survival food kits, described as the "No. 1 item you should be hoarding."
Huckabee began using his name and mailing list as a lucrative tool for dubious enterprises several years ago
, and it appears to be a habit he's reluctant to break. Even after the former GOP governor gave up his Fox News gig, he continued to send out emails with "really questionable ads
Republican primary voters will have to decide for themselves whether they're comfortable voting for an infomercial spokesperson for national office, and whether they believe someone who believes America's medical professionals are engaged in a racket should serve in the White House, but the lasting damage to Huckabee's reputation appears to already be complete.