Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Mike Huckabee: Genuine Conservative or Pro-Life Liberal?
As Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee has risen in the polls and now in one poll has the lead in Iowa, the critiquing of his record has accelerated in the high gear.
I have been delaying the writing of this blog for weeks because it seems that whenever someone writes an article tearing Huckabee down, there is always another one "clarifying" Huckabee's positions. I want to break down really quick the "Negatives" brought against Huckabee than present the "clarifications" before giving my opinion.
* Without going into extensive details, Conservatives such as Phyllis Schlafly, John Fund, Randy Minton and Ann Coulter point to Huckabee's past positions on Illegal Immigration and Taxes.
-According to Schlafly, Huckabee "destroyed the conservative movement in Arkansas, and left the Republican Party a shambles....Yet some of the same evangelicals who sold us on George W. Bush as a 'compassionate conservative' are now trying to sell us on Mike Huckabee." (http://www.renewamerica.us/columns/baldwin/071103)
-Ann Coulter has said, "On illegal immigration, Huckabee makes George Bush sound like Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO). Huckabee has compared illegal aliens to slaves brought here in chains from Africa, saying, 'I think, frankly, the Lord is giving us a second chance to do better than we did before.' Toward that end, when an Arkansas legislator introduced a bill that would prevent illegal aliens from voting and receiving state benefits, Huckabee denounced the bill, saying it would rile up 'those who are racist and bigots.' Like all the (other) Democratic candidates for President, he supports a federal law to ban smoking — unless you're an illegal alien smoking at a Toyota plant." (http://www.renewamerica.us/columns/baldwin/071103)
-John Fund has written, "But it's Mr. Huckabee who is creating the doubts. 'He's just like Bill Clinton in that he practices management by news cycle,' a former top Huckabee aide told me. 'As with Clinton there was no long-term planning, just putting out fires on a daily basis. One thing I'll guarantee is that won't lead to competent conservative governance.'" (http://www.opinionjournal.com/diary/?id=110010782)
*On the other side, those who support Huckabee point to his positions as a Pro-Life, Second Amendment supporter who is a "Christian Conservative" and either try to clarify or "dismiss" his record:
-Donald Wildmon, founder of American Family Association (AFA) has endorsed Mike Huckabee saying, "I feel that Gov. Huckabee understands the needs of our country and has the ability to lead us in meeting those needs...." (http://www.mikehuckabee.com/index.cfm?FuseAction=Newsroom.PressRelease&ID=351)
-Janet Folger has written, "May I suggest a driver without a long record of traffic violations like driving the wrong way on one-way streets such as abortion, marriage and judicial appointments? .... To get to where we need to go, we need someone who won't negotiate on the non-negotiables of life and marriage. Someone who can reach the Reagan Democrats, union workers and African Americans. And someone who can take on Hillary." (http://worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=58159)
-Dick Morris, who has worked as a political consultant and strategist for Bill Clinton and Mike Huckabee, has written, "He raised the sales tax one cent in 11 years and did that only after the courts ordered him to do so. (He also got voter approval for a one-eighth-of-one-cent hike for parks and recreation.) He wants to repeal the income tax, abolish the IRS and institute a “fair tax” based on consumption, and opposes any tax increase for Social Security. And he can win in Iowa. When voters who have decided not to back Rudy Giuliani because of his social positions consider the contest between Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee, they will have no difficulty choosing between a real social conservative and an ersatz one." (http://www.dickmorris.com/blog/?p=203)
Conclusion: The real points of contention are about Huckabee's validation as a Conservative on the issues of Illegal Immigration, Taxes and Spending.
From everything I have read, defending Huckabee as a guy who will not be another "Amnesty Republican" is very thin and on this issue I would suggest wait and see if you like what he says about the issue. Track record is very important, but if one were to compare the track records and campaign promises of Presidents on "in the moment" issues such as George W. Bush with Education and Jimmy Carter with the Death Penalty, their Presidential policies were more inline with their campaign promises than their track records.
Concerning Huckabee's "Fiscal Conservative" credentials, just read Dick Morris' column entitled "MIKE HUCKABEE IS A FISCAL CONSERVATIVE". In this column, Morris explains how many of the accusations put against Huckabee while he was Governor of Arkansas is exaggerated. Basically, Huckabee isn't as bad as everyone makes him out to be and he is more so a Neo-Fiscal Conservative than a Traditional Fiscal Conservative.
The fact is that in a Republican field of where the "leading" candidates have either questionable social track records (Giuliani and Romney), a past of flip flopping and appeasement (McCain), or just can't seem to gain traction (Thompson, Paul, Tancredo), Huckabee seems like "the best option" for many Republicans at this point. I, for one, am very skeptical of the opinions and perspectives of those such as Schlafly and Fund. Re-phrasing a term from the movie "Mean Girls", Schlafly and Fund are "almost too Conservative to function". What I mean by this statement is both are so staunchly positioned on the traditionally Conservative side of politics, they have positions that are a little "farther right" on issues than a large number of Republicans, Neo-Conservatives, and Moderates in this nation. As for Ms. Coulter, while she is for the most part a genuine, uncompromising Neo-Conservative, her brazen honesty leads her to take positions that are on the harsh side of reality.
The major problem with the criticisms of Huckabee lies with in the idea that Republicans and Conservatives keep looking for the "Next Reagan". But guess what people? There is and was only one Ronald Reagan! He is not coming back from the dead or will be reincarnated in another political individual. Reagan was the man the nation need at the time he was elected President. Today, we are at a cross roads in the political world where the "old guard" is making it's way out the door and "new blood" is rising up, the next President is one who will define how the next generation will stand and vote for the next 30 years, similar to how the Kennedy-Johnson-Nixon-Ford-Carter Presidencies defined a generation of voters. In the same way, Bush Sr.-Clinton-Bush Jr. and who ever is elected in 2008 will define the next generation of voters. But in order to continue a "positive" direction for this nation's future, we need to get away from the sort of politics this nation has been molded to live with for the last 30 years.
People need to get out of this mold of wanting a Republican "Like Reagan" and a Democrat "Like Clinton". Huckabee doesn't fit the molds some Conservatives are looking for. In fact, none of the Republicans running for the nomination are not from the Reagan or Traditional Conservative molds. Many of the attacks on Huckabee are from those who nit pick. The end game choice comes down to this: If Hillary Clinton is the Democratic Nominee, do you want her as your President for 4 years? Remember, it's your choice, your vote does count.