Heart Huckabee? Not so much

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Todd Seavey sends a couple of witty darts in the direction of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee's popularity bubble and in the process introduces a useful phrase into the political lexicon (which I've highlighted in bold):

A vote for Huckabee might as well be -- well, a vote for some other Arkansas governor. Just enough centrism to govern, not enough principle to make a difference. Huckabee is the sort of politician that makes one fear that mass democracy, after enough decades of refinement, will almost always produce de facto committees in the form of individuals....

Regarding Huckabee's philosophy of "verticalism":

But Huckabee does not -- because he cannot -- explain exactly what it is that he wants us to move vertically toward. "Upward to freedom" makes sense. "Upward to totalitarianism" even makes sense, bad idea though it may be. "Upward to a grab bag of focus-grouped ideas, some left, some right, none daring, that might play well in a Midwestern state like Iowa and get me on the ticket later as a southerner" is hollow. Don't fall for this Rorschach approach to politics, America. We already have one Clinton in the race.

Meanwhile, Greg Kaza, the head of the Arkansas Policy Foundation, that state's free market think-tank, writes at National Review Online that Arkansas has just had its biggest tax cut in history: a 50% cut in sales taxes on groceries. That cut didn't come under former Governors Bill Clinton or Mike Huckabee. How, Kaza asks, "did the tax survive two decades that included Clinton's "Bridge to the 21st Century" and Huckabee-style 'compassionate conservatism'?"

The long answer, however, was a failure to cross the fiscal T's, as in taxes, and dot the visionary I's, as in imagination. This is where freshman Democratic governor Mike Beebe comes in.

Beebe, raised by his working mother, a waitress, had the imagination to make a phase-out of the grocery tax his main issue in the 2006 election. And this year he turned that idea into reality. The governor skillfully navigated the grocery-tax cut around legislative critics who preferred an earned-income tax credit that excluded the middle class. He would also base the tax cut on a budget surplus of nearly $1 billion that Mike Huckabee did not use to reduce taxes.

The story also notes that it was a Democrat in the Arkansas legislature that led the charge to eliminate the state grocery sales tax.

It's not good for the GOP if a Democratic governor is better at cutting taxes than a Republican governor.

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6 Comments

mad okie Author Profile Page said:

Michael, who is your pick for president? All your negativity on Huckabee hasn't encouraged me to vote for someone else, especially the four front runners, Guliani, Romney, McCain or Thompson. They are all far from ideal republican candidates, and to be honest Huckabee probably doesn't stand a chance outside of Iowa (as shown by the national & NH polls) so instead of concentrating on destroying one man's (very slim) chances, you should let us know why you are voting for your guy.

That's a fair point. I do need to make the case for my chosen candidate. I'm supporting Fred Thompson because on fiscal, social, constitutional, and international issues, he's not only right on the issues, but he holds the right position for the right philosophical reasons.

I started writing about Huckabee because some of his supporters in the blogosphere were accusing the Club for Growth of dishonesty in its critique of his fiscal record in Arkansas. I dug into the points under dispute and came to the conclusion that CfG was right and it was Huckabee and his backers who were distorting his record.

I was very impressed by the man when I heard him speak a couple of years ago, but the more I dig the more I see the same eagerness to raise taxes and the same reluctance to restrain the growth of government that I see in some of our local Republican officials.

I thought Todd Seavey's remarks were worth noting not only because of what they say about Huckabee, but also because they capture a type of politician that has become all too common, the antithesis of leadership.

James said:

If you don't know, Huckabee has been tied for 2nd or 3rd in the national Rasmussen polls for the last few weeks (yes, weeks plural).

Here's the CONTEXT of that tax speech you posted recently by Huckabee.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uak5akm8NXY (part 1)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3B7s-iwlpjA (part 2)

Context is very important. You can't just cherry-pick stuff like this (not that you purposefully did that; this has been passing around the web for a while).

Like someone said in your other post, the AR legislature was greatly Democratic. Think 90% Democratic. With that many Dems, it's mighty hard to cut taxes and spending. It mighty hard to not pass taxes, either. All the Dems have to do is do a veto override.

One of the taxes during his time as governor went into law without his signature.

Justin Pickard said:

The caustic tone of Todd Seavey's "witty darts" make more sense when they are understood to be thrown from the direction of an athiest libertarian supporter of Ron Paul as he describes himself in blog entries. Huckabee's position as the most genuine on social conservative issues obviously has little influence on a Republican who is only interested in fiscal conservatism.

I agree with mad okie that "Guliani, Romney, McCain or Thompson ... are all far from ideal republican candidates" and as regards Huckabee's chances I find the analysis in this Newsweek online article from this week relevant. http://www.newsweek.com/id/57616/output/print

Truth is truth, even when it's spoken by an atheist libertarian. Although I agree that Huckabee is solid on social conservative issues, his approach to fiscal issues is worrisome. I believe that the best way for government to show compassion to the poor is to limit the size and scope of government, keep taxes low, protect property rights, maintain a sound currency, and let the free market work. I see Huckabee buying in to the same statist solutions that have only increased poverty and misery.

Carl said:

After reading Mr. Seaver's blog, his opposition to Huckabee makes me consider voting for the former Governor more than I have before.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on November 18, 2007 12:05 AM.

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