Thursday, August 23, 2007

William Jennings Huckabee????

I haven’t been able to focus on it, but a few days ago Matt Lewis at a conservative blog, “”, likened Mike Huckabee’s “populism” to thrice failed Democratic nominee (over one hundred years ago!) William Jennings Bryan.

I am in a personal situation that allows me to pay close attention online to progress in the the 2008 presidential campaign. As a longtime observer of American politics and a strong supporter of Mike Huckabee’s campaign for the Republican nomination, I expect and am not too bothered by criticism and even scorn from sources that are more inclined to think in the terms of The Democratic Party. However, when elements on the conservative side raise questions, there must be a response. Once nominated, Mike Huckabee is quite capable of dealing with charges from Democrats. But attacks from inside conservative ranks can raise the question of his competence or worse, his honesty in presenting himself as a conservative. Incidentally, I have been a conscious and strong conservative for my entire now-middle-aged life.

Critical notices from conservatives have mostly come from sources like the libertarian Cato Institute and The Club For Growth, which eventually aired a television ad in Iowa before the Ames Straw Poll. I have only imagined a couple of motivations for these comments. Either,

1) they apply an awkward standard of evaluating spending which fails to account for the conditions of a specific state and the distinction between state and federal responsibilities. Even accepting these fiscal measurements and particularly accounting for the demands of the situation in Arkansas, government growth under Huckabee was relatively small, even while real dramatic and needful improvements were accomplished in the state. One wonders how these sources measure legislators: on mere votes, rather than actual executive governing? Or

2) is it no more complicated than having a vested interest in another candidate, which is a stronger

suspicion about The Club For Growth after their pre-Straw Poll Iowa ad?

Lewis frets Huckabee’s rhetoric because Huckabee dared to point out that average Americans (read: most voters) are concerned about the possibility of corporate and financial managers selling off their jobs, bankrupting companies, and eviscerating their pensions while they may be awarding themselves multi-million dollar bonuses in the process. Lewis says, “Most conservatives believe that in attacking these entities, Democrats are seeking to change the rules in the middle of the game -- and punish folks merely for making a lot of money.”

Yes, Democrats may do that. But Huckabee does not, saying up-front that profit is a good thing. Of course, he’s right about that, and it’s a little strange for a conservative to be suspicious of a Republican who has made it a pillar of his campaign to call for obliterating Congress’ power to manipulate private and personal behavior by tinkering with the tax code, and ending IRS power to intrude upon and divert private operation by entangling it in nuisance and audit.

But, Huckabee is also right both morally and politically when he says that Republicans are derelict and unwise if they might appear to be blind, deaf and dumb to the actions of financial manners which produce no real wealth but only divert it to themselves from accounts and paychecks of faithful employees. You needn’t seek to intrude and “change the rules in the middle of the game,” to rightly call a greedy spade a spade, after the fact of avarice. And Huckabee is right that conservatives are morally deficient and politically suicidal to be indifferent to such situations.


Stephen R. Maloney said...

I don't disagree with anything you said, which may be an historic first. If the goal of the Republican Party is to make the world safe for the top 3% of income-makers in the U.S., then it will endure the series of devastating defeats it so "richly" deserves. The Club for Growth is a "club" for rich people seeking tax breaks. In America, all citizens get to vote -- not just individuals with a net worth one million dollars or more.


Jeremy said...

These people (Stephens, Toomey, Club for Growth) make my blood boil. I don't know if you caught it or not, but I just posted about the contrast in their reporting of Huckabee, Giuliani and Romney.

Anyway, it's good to see other people on this.

Thanks for the post.

Larry Perrault said...

Despite what Democrats like to say about wealth, EVERY Vote counts the same, from Bill Gates all the way down the economic ladder. If you sweep the wealthy and are swept among the not, they'll have you counted out in the first half-hour of exit polling.

Stephen R. Maloney said...

Listen carefully to the Democratic rhetoric. They are not taxing the wealthy, because as my recent columns have shown, they ARE the wealthy. They're taxing high-income people, those who are trying to become wealthy. It stinks.