Hedges' article correctly identifies some very serious reasons to be concerned about a Huckabee candidacy, with his ties to Christian reconstructionism and his complete ignorance of foreign policy. He concludes with a few paragraphs about Huckabee's opposition to the HPV vaccine and his desire to quarantine AIDS patients. It's here that Hedges gives Huckabee too much credit, when he writes that "Huckabee has publicly backed off from this extreme position." In fact, Huckabee hasn't backed off from the position, only from the specific words he used to describe it.
Here's what he said about it to Chris Wallace, as reported at the Huffington Post (with the accompanying video record):
This morning, Huckabee first tried to deny his comments. "Chris, I didn't say that we should quarantine," he said. In fact, he said we "need[ed]" to isolate AIDS patients.That's not backing off from the position.
Pressed repeatedly by host Chris Wallace, however, Huckabee relented. "That is exactly what I said. I don't run from it, I don't recant from it. Would I say it a little differently today? Sure, in light of 15 years of additional knowledge and understanding, I would."