Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee complains that trust in government is at an all-time low. Perhaps he is a cause not a solution. Consider this exchange with Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday:

WALLACE: Governor, I want to keep moving along, because as I say, there are a lot of things you said in your announcement. You also seemed to indicate that as president, you wouldn’t necessarily obey court rulings, even the Supreme Court. . . . But, Governor, we have operated under the principle of judicial review since the Marbury versus Madison case in 1803.
HUCKABEE: Judicial review is actually what we’ve operated under. We have not operated under judicial supremacy. Presidents Lincoln, Jefferson, Jackson, presidents have understood that the Supreme Court cannot make a law. They cannot make it. The legislature has to make it, the executive branch has to sign it and enforce it.
And the notion that the Supreme Court comes up with the ruling and that automatically subjects the two other branches to following it defies everything there is about the three equal branches of government. Chris, the Supreme Court is not the supreme branch. And for God’s sake, it isn’t the Supreme Being. It is the Supreme Court.
WALLACE: But, sir, George Will, the conservative columnist, has pointed out that back in 1957, another governor of Arkansas, Orval Faubus, decided to disregard and refuse to obey the ruling to desegregate schools. President Eisenhower had to call in the 101st Airborne.
Are you saying President Huckabee might decide he wasn’t going to obey the ruling on desegregation, or like President Nixon to turn over the tapes? You know, it’s up in the air as to whether you’re going to obey the Supreme Court?
HUCKABEE: Well, Chris, as you know, George Will is no fan of mine. He’s not very fond of me. He recently called me appalling. So, I’m not surprised he would make such a false comparison.
But the point is, in that case, the Supreme Court had ruled the legislature and the executive branch had agreed with the Supreme Court, and precisely what happened is what should happen. The president ordered the airborne to come in and enforce the law, the law that did exist.
HUCKABEE: It wasn’t that the president defied the law. The president was carrying out the law and using all the forces at his resource to do it.
WALLACE: But, OK, let’s say the president decided, “I don’t like the Supreme Court’s ruling on that,” let’s say Nixon had said, for instance, in Watergate, “I don’t want to turn over the tapes and the court can’t make me”?
HUCKABEE: Well, the president has to follow whatever the law is. Does Congress have a law that tells him what he is going to do? In that case, the Congress was ready to impeach Nixon and he ultimately resigned.

So “the president has to follow whatever the law is,” except if he’s Mike Huckabee railing against gay marriage? Huckabee’s notion is incoherent and in any event a recipe for chaos and lawlessness. The right wing can’t demand the president abide by existing immigration law and any rulings on his executive order while at the same time preaching lawlessness on gay marriage. Huckabee is either deeply cynical or deeply ignorant, but in either case he offers a mirage for the unsophisticated. In doing so he, in essence, says that elected leaders are lying or misleading the public when they say they must obey the court’s ruling. In short, Huckabee is spreading cynicism and a sense of betrayal.

He does not stop there. He and politicians like senators Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) prey on voters’ fears that their phone calls are being listened to and their e-mails read. As Wallace reminded Huckabee, “Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which is the section that is going to expire on June 1st, has nothing to do with listening in on phone calls. It’s just recording the fact that my phone number called your phone number. So, aren’t you, one, wrong there when you talk about listening in?” But facts don’t get in the way of the fear-mongers. Again the result is to spread suspicion and cynicism.

There is plenty to be upset about in Washington. Seven years into the Obama administration there is no entitlement or tax reform, for example. Immigration reform is going nowhere (in part, because there are those to tell the public that immigrants will steal our jobs and lower wages). The international scene is frightful. But while presidential candidates should highlight legitimate failures, they should not heighten the anti-government and conspiratorial fever that already exists. The GOP voters can do their part as well — by rejecting the cranks and fear-mongers. They could start by sending Huckabee packing.