What the Heck is Huckabee Doing?

I must admit, I was at one time a Mike Huckabee fan, but my ignorance only lasted for a few weeks until I found out where he really stands on policies. He is extremely well spoken and comfortable in front of the camera, which is something that has been lacking in the White House lately. This alone fooled many conservative voters who don’t keep up with presidential politics more than watching ten minutes of a debate before casting a vote. Huckabee articulates social conservative values better than anyone in the Republican field did this year. Many “values voters” supported him simply because of his social conservative values, but there remains a small contingent of people that voted for him because of his support of the Fair Tax. However, besides witty one-liners, the Fair Tax, and his staunch support of sanctity of life issues, there is little from his record to suggest that he would govern conservatively.

HuckbearSome Americans are “one issue voters”, whether it’s a stance on abortion, foreign policy, immigration, or taxes. Huckabee gained a lot of ground this year because he portrayed himself as only “Christian” candidate, while preaching the dangerous rhetoric of populism. This led many people to vote for him because of identity politics. Identity politics happens everywhere—blacks vote for Obama because he’s black, women vote for Hillary because she’s a woman, Christians vote for Huckabee because he’s a Christian. It’s a dangerous way to vote and it clearly exists.

While governor of Arkansas, Huckabee demonstrated throughout his governing that he is not a fiscal conservative by raising both government spending and taxes overall in the state. On foreign policy issues, Huckabee called the Bush administration’s foreign policy an “arrogant bunker mentality”. Much of his political speech closely mirrored John Edwards populist message. But all this is moot because he likely won’t be the nominee.

So back to my original question…what the heck is he doing? According to an article posted just yesterday by Jim Forsyth, Huckabee is shooting for a brokered convention. In other words, he’s hoping that John McCain doesn’t get the required number of delegates needed by September, leading to a debate and vote at the convention as to who wins the nomination. This same interesting scenario is also playing out among the Democrats between Hillary and Obama.

Others have speculated that Huckabee is shooting for a Vice Presidential spot, but it appears that won’t happen since he’s attempting to spoil McCain’s nomination process. But what definitely appears obvious is that Huckabee is building himself up for a run at the presidency in 2012. By hanging around and garnering more support now while he can, perhaps people will remember him in 4 years when either Hillary or Obama occupies the White House. But is his staying in the race now actually building up more support for him or is it just demonstrating the conservative distaste for John McCain? Huckabee is more of a social conservative than McCain, but it’s laughable when either claims to be carrying the banner of conservatism.

Huckabee’s mantra in this campaign of “I’m the candidate of miracles” is getting old. He has overstayed his welcome and has become annoyingly optimistic. Even though many conservatives don’t care for John McCain and probably never will, Huckabee drawing this out is just leaving everyone with a bad taste in their mouth. While his presence has contributed to an interesting and ultimately disappointing 2008 Republican nomination process, hopefully the Republicans can find a genuine conservative candidate in 2012.

Article: Is Huck Still Running for ’08 or ’12?

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8 Responses

  1. I found your site on technorati and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed to my Google News Reader. Looking forward to reading more from you.

    Mike Harmon

  2. It certainly doesn’t help the Huckabee cause when Google Contextual Ads deliver this result.

    http://criminalslang.wordpress.com/2008/02/24/obamahuckabee-08/

  3. Thanks for the info on Huckabee. I was one of the ones who voted for him a few weeks ago. Are you going to say on your website who you will vote for BEFORE the November ballot? I would like to know since I trust you more than many others!

  4. I don’t think you’re being completely fair to Huckabee… maybe you just heard the comments by people like Rush and Hanity.

    He lowered taxes at least 89 times in various areas. Yes it’s true that while he was governing taxes were raised to more than they were when he took office, but you didn’t explain the context. He lowered taxes and cut spending. Because he had already cut spending there wasn’t much else to do when mandated by the state to raise more money for schools. So they raised taxes for a legit reason and almost no one complained in the state including most conservatives.

    The other major tax increase was voter approved for roads…should he say no to voters if they want a tax increase? This is not the same type of condition as is common in other states like California or Washington where we have tons of wasteful spending and they keep raising taxes without cutting spending. He cut spending and then raised taxes only when it was necessary.

  5. hmschmom,

    I don’t think I’m being unfair. I understand the context that Huckabee raised taxes and I still don’t think they’re legit. I think the tax increase was too much for too little. Confiscating more money from the people of Arkansas isn’t the only way to raise revenue. If the state “mandated” Huckaee to raise more money for schools, they I’m sure many of those elected officials would have considered cutting MORE spending than what already occurred. There are two main ways to raise revenue; more taxes or less spending. I don’t consider it a legit reason just because it’s for education or roads. How much education money is truly wasted nationwide? Billions, I’m sure. If we delve into the realm of determining what types of income tax increases are okay and which ones aren’t, we are getting onto a slippery slope. Both Obama and Hillary would like to raise our income taxes to pay for more education, but is it really needed? Maybe, but I’d like to cut some of the budget that is going to welfare, social security, and other entitlement programs (60% of the national budget).

    Even if Huckabee did have legit reasons to increase taxes, he increased them 63%, which is a giant leap. That seems more than just education and roads.

    Huckabee at best had one and perhaps one and a half legs of a three legged stool of conservatism. He was a strong social conservative, but at best a weak fiscal and foreign policy conservative.

    My only point is that conservatives can do better than Huckabee. If he wins the nomination in 2012 (assuming McCain loses), he won’t be able to win a state outside the conservative areas of the southeast and some parts of the midwest. If that happens, just prepare for an additional 4 years of rule by either Obama or Hillary.

  6. I don’t know where you heard that information but it’s incorrect.

    The fact is Huckabee lowered taxes around 90 times. You ignored what I said in the last comment or didn’t see it. One of those “major tax increases” was voter approved. In other words, Huckabee didn’t raise those taxes, the voters did.

    The total tax increase from when he took office in 1996 to 2007 did not increase 63%. The total tax increase was about 2%.

    According to the non-partisan Tax Foundation (based on data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, Department of Commerce bea.gov) the total state tax burden was 10.1% in 1996, and when Huckabee left in 2007 it was 11.1 and the combined total burden (federal, state, local) went from 30.3 – 30.5.

    Keep in mind those “huge tax” increases only raised the tax burden a little over 1% because he cut spending and waste approximately 90 times. And again, one of those tax increases was approved by voters.

    I’m not saying he’s the perfect candidate, but he is very good on social issues, he is not even close to being as bad fiscally as has been claimed.

  7. Huckabee did cut taxes 90+ times but he RAISED taxes over 21 times and in the end presided over a large tax increase. He cut taxes by $378 million (which he championed all the time on the campaign trail), but raised taxes for a total net increase of $505 million for a total tax burden increase of 47%. It depends on where you look, but these numbers vary a little. I was incorrect above when I said he increased taxes by 63%. I was thinking of the overall spending by the Arkansas government that did increase by 65% while he was in office. Spending by the Arkansas government was $10.4 billion in 1998 and when Huckabee left office it was $15.6 billion. Most of his tax increases were in sales tax, not income tax.

    Overall he was in part responsible for a 37% higher sales tax in Arkansas, 16% higher fuel taxes and 103% higher cigarette taxes.

    His claim that he was forced to increase taxes by the Arkansas supreme court is disingenuous. The Supreme Court only ruled that more money had to be spent on education. It didn’t say that he had to increase taxes to do it.

    The “major” gas tax was passed into law before voters in Arkansas even voted for it. It was supposed to be tied to a bond referendum that would mandate higher spending on the roads and the bond referendum did pass by an 80% vote. However, the tax had already been increased by the time the voters voted on it.

    You might consider this semantics, but Huckabee did sign all these tax hikes into law when he could have chosen not to, including the gas tax hike before any voters approved anything. I’ve done research on this before and multiple “non-profit” organizations dispute the numbers you quoted.

    http://www.factcheck.org/elections-2008/huckabees_fiscal_record.html
    http://www.cnsnews.com/ViewPolitics.asp?Page=/Politics/archive/200801/POL20080110a.html
    http://www.clubforgrowth.org/media/uploads/071113-white-paper-huckabee-update.pdf

    With all that said, I do respect Huckabee for supporting the FairTax, which would effectively take away the power from government to confiscate our earnings, which the 16th amendment does provide. I think in this campaign he was frankly dishonest about his tax record in Arkansas, which is why more fiscal conservatives didn’t vote for him. If his numbers really demonstrated that he was truly a fiscal conservative, he would have easily won over these voters. The problem is that the numbers and the tax hikes didn’t jive with his message and voters got that.

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