Sunday, November 11, 2007

Let's Look At "Conservative" Criticism Of Mike Huckabee

One wonders why the air is full these days of “conservative” criticism of Mike Huckabee and why his nomination rivals are resorting to curt falsehoods. Well, many apprehensive conservative spokespeople just repeat claims that have been thrown out. And maybe rivals just simplify and exploit falsehoods because unlike in the record of many of his rivals, there are no truths to politically exploit. I discuss The Club for Growth’s relentless crusade against Mike Huckabee and then balance other general accusations with the specific truths for which Huckabee is responsible.

Most recently in a new ad, The Club for Growth in its yearlong jihad against Huckabee has outright accused Huckabee of dishonesty in representing his inclinations and record. At least, that is a change from the usual exaggeration/misrepresentation of some of Huckabee’s statements. However, these charges have the even worse attribute of being outright false. And, I have previously said that The CFG’s criticism of tax increases to improve inferior state schools and highways, made no sense in terms of The Club for Growth’s supposed highest objectives. You can’t optimize a state’s economic vitality by standing pat with poor public schools and a decaying highway system. So, why would The Club for Growth spend money to propagate falsehood against a Republican candidate who actually poses no threat to their ideals? I have said for a long time that something smelled funny and speculated that either a threatened competitor or a CFG contributor had an axe to grind with Huckabee.

In fact you can read in the reports below under “Taxes and Economy,” of both an extraordinarily large contributor’s old score to settle with Huckabee, and a similarly major contributor’s affiliation with the campaign of Mitt Romney, whom Huckabee poses a huge threat to as a conservative competitor, especially in Iowa. Maybe it smells rotten because it is rotten! The bottom line is that the Club for Growth’s donors, not the economy, are its first priority. Of course it is not new advice to first follow the money. But, the Club for Growth plainly does not merit a prima facie assumption of trustworthiness.

Generally, it has been said by others, often parroting The Club for Growth, that Huckabee is a big government liberal. A simple disproof of that would be the fact that I support him, and wholeheartedly so. Anyone who knows me knows that I would not support a “big government liberal” and in fact have called out and rejected Republicans who were. But since you likely aren’t familiar with me, I would first direct you to the issues page of Huckabee’s web site: . Also, you can search the web for all the history and evidence that is readily available: we are no longer confined to broadcast media reports and should get over it.. And, I can sincerely tell you that I have watched politics for forty years and Huckabee and his words very closely all year. He not only is uniquely truthful among this year’s candidates, but among all politicians in my lifetime, which frankly is an attribute that is more important than his mirroring of my own sentiments, which frankly occasionally differ.

Paul Weyrich when endorsing Romney a few days ago, said that Huckabee had wavered on so many issues that he couldn’t support him. I simply have no idea what he is talking about and I suspect that neither does he. Paul Weyrich is not a liar, but he apparently relied on the reports of dishonest or similarly misinformed people.

And Phyllis Schlafly said that Huckabee “destroyed the conservative movement in Arkansas and left The Republican Party a shambles.” When Huckabee took office in 1996, Republican state legislators were outnumbered in Arkansas by more than 5 to 1. At least by the time he left 9 months ago, Republicans had more than doubled their number, and most Arkansas Republicans support Huckabee’s candidacy. What is Schlafly talking about? Again, she’s obviously offering a second-hand assessment.

A few days ago, Chuck Baldwin wrote Chuck Baldwin -- Christians Need To Beware Of Mike Huckabee. By all means, read Baldwin’s article. But then, do what Baldwin didn’t do: dig up the facts to substantiate the claims.

Again, I don’t think these people are lying. Let me try to describe a thin sheet to cover these people that might have motivated the critics they rely on. I’ll list common accusations and the slightly different facts that lie behind them: what Huckabee is and isn’t “guilty” of: Afterward are some links to criticisms and some responses defending Huckabee.

Huckabee Is A Populist

Falsehood: Conservatives cringe and squeal at “populist” rhetoric which, strictly speaking, is appealing to the entire populus, not just the particularly wealthy and powerful. Think about it: in terms of ordinary diction, should we consider this a “bad” thing? I fully understand and so does Mike Huckabee, that liberals have bolstered populist rhetoric with proposals and actions that have expanded the size and intrusiveness of government into the private realm, which is particularly odious and dysfunctional at the distant, inefficient, and unconstitutional federal level. But in recent years it has even gotten through my thick head that conservatives long ago lost the battle over whether the public will judge federal representatives on their expressions of concern for individual lives and not just the constitutional province of federal government action. Conservatives can’t be the advocates of expanding and intrusive federal government, though in case you haven’t noticed (in which case you’ve paid scant attention) Republicans while calling themselves “conservative,” have done precisely that. Mike Huckabee is quite aware of the 10th Amendment distinction of federal and state powers. And he not only cites it frequently, but somewhat ironically does so much more often than any of his competitors in this campaign, or in fact most Republicans on a national stage in many decades.

Truth: It is quite true that Huckabee has wisely spoken of the interests of ordinary Americans and deigned to speak to groups that have traditionally been dominated by Democrats like unions and minorities. Honestly, what if he hung out with tax collectors and drunks and harlots like someone else did? What was his name?... But isn’t the Republican Party closed off from the majority of America if it hasn’t the confidence of its principles to explain how they are a benefit to everyone? This is a wise course in merely political terms. But given the public’s appetites and evaluations, it is the morally proper thing to do.

Huckabee Supports a National Smoking Ban

This is where I first ran into a den of conservative hounds. After this suggestion broke into the public, I encountered a web site headed by a constitutionalist guru, howling about Huckabee’s unconstitutional audacity. As much as I tried to explain, it was like trying to reason with a swarm of wasps after their nest had been rattled with a stick.

Falsehood: This is most often simplified to the assertion that Huckabee seeks a national smoking ban. In fact, I called in to a national radio talk show after a guest voiced just such a charge as an example of Republican heresy from limited government.

Truth: As I had tried to do at the web site, I explained that in the misconstrued statement, Huckabee had set aside public businesses like bars and restaurants. But, Huckabee had never volunteered such a proposal. What had actually happened was this: at Lance Armstrong’s Presidential Cancer forum (at which in fact, Huckabee and the now-departed Sam Brownback were the only Republican candidates to attend), Chris Matthews asked Huckabee whether as president, he would sign a smoking ban if Congress passed and put one on his desk. Huckabee said yes, BUT not as a regulation of businesses like bars and restaurants, but as a workplace safety measure, like an OSHA regulation.

The talk show guest said that that would include bars and restaurants, but I replied that Huckabee had explicitly set such aside. Now, I know that there is a live and animated debate about the extent of the dangers of second-hand smoke. And, I know that an employee can choose where he wants and doesn’t want to work. I tried to say this at that conservative blog, but the wasps were in full attack mode. I conceded that there was no constitutional license for the federal government to regulate private commerce. HOWEVER, rooms full of such regulation are already on the books, including many billions of dollars of assumed health care liability! Given that fact, encouraging a non-smoking ethic on the front end to dampen expenditure on the back end is just bare prudence, never mind the reduction in human suffering. This got me called self-contradictory: conceding it was unconstitutional but defending it, anyway.

But, these liabilities are a bare fact carrying a moral obligation. Suppose someone runs up an enormous credit card bill without informing a spouse of the spending. Because a spouse shouldn’t have done that, is there therefore no liability for the accrued balance? Of course not! Payment is due all the same. And payment is due for the promised health care liabilities. On this point, ideological debate is moot!

Huckabee Soft On Immigration

Falsehood: Some conservatives have repeated the same sort of stories charges made by Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson: Romney said Huckabee favored “special tuition breals” for illegal aliens, and Thompson said that Huckabee had wanted to make Arkansas a “sanctuary state.”


Mike Huckabee opposed a bil to deny the children of illegal aliens the opportunity to apply for a specific college scholarship program, after they had progressed through the school system and done the work to qualify. Huckabee says, do we want a permanent low-wage tax taker, or an educated and productive tax payer? As for a sanctuary state, there’s nothing to that suggestion. Huckabee says we shouldn’t have sanctuary cities! Others have complained about a Mexican consulate that was established in Little Rock to expedite the process of legal documentation!

By the way, either Romney and Thomson are guilty of serious ignorance or deliberate dishonesty. Either disqualifies them in my book.

Huckabee Weak On Foreign Policy

Falsehood: America needs a president with “foreign policy experience.”

Truth: 1) America has always favored governors with executive experience over legislators with

posturing experience for their presidents.

2) What is “foreign policy experience, anyway? Serving on a congressional committee?

Being a UN ambassador? Being mayor of a city that is attacked by terrorists? J

3) Governors deal with foreign companies and foreign governments in establishing

Commercial operations..

4) But what is needed is not this nebulous notion of “experience,” which is a guarantee of

nothing, but a foundation and outlook of principle that will be applied to whatever situation arises. Really, what is it someone fears from this “lack of experience” Frankly, there’s plenty of experience outside of that critical principle that I’d prefer that an American president not have.

You can look at All of Huckabee’s issues positions at:

The New York Times just published an interview that asks about some of these criticisms and Huckabee’s faith. Chatting With Huckabee New York Times - United States Part of his answer to the faith question is:

“What is it that matters at the end of our lives? And it’s not the jobs we hold, it’s not the money we make, it’s not the people who know us. At the end of our lives, we need to listen to six words from the creator: ‘Well done good and faithful servant.’ If we get that affirmation, what the editorialists write and what the cartoonists did to us is immaterial. That’s what we live for. Six words. And that’s what I’m living for. I’m living for those six words.”

Mike Huckabee Not Conservative Enough for Some

Taxes And Economy:

Campaign web site

Chris Celizza of The Washinton Post’s “The Fix” column: Club vs Huck

Nuke's News and Views posted an old WSJ article, and about a large Club For Growth Donor’s anti-Huckabee vendetta and another donor’s affiliation with the Romney campaign. In the interest of full disclosure, Nuke is a Huckabee supporter, but the Wall Street Journal he citers isn’t and the facts are objectively verifiable

And here again, is the Evangelical Outpost rebuttal to the Club For Growth

On Immigration:

Campaign web site immigration document here

The Truth on Huckabee and Immigration

Video: Huckabee on Immigration

Mike Huckabee :: Immigration FACTS

Roebuck Report on Mike Huckabee and Immigration

Huckabee tells Brody File: "I'm Stronger Than Most People" on Terror and Immigration November 8, 2007


vote for hillary online said...

Huckabee doesn't have a chance at all to win the presidency. If you want to check out a real candidate with real values, check out Hillary Clinton. You won't be disappointed.

Anonymous said...

Why should Huckabee not have a chance to win the presidency? After all, he is not offering false hope. In fact, he is offering an approach that in based on statistics and history - the only way we will be able to achieve universal health care in this country.

At the present time we spend 25 percent more than any other country on the planet, 50 percent more than most "first-world" countries, and we do not even make the top 40 in life expectancy. Will spending 150 percent more to insure everyone (where will the money come from), begin to make a difference? Not with our waistlines increasing exponentially.

Huckabee understands the concept of prevention. If everyone followed the guidelines he sets forth in a book he wrote about responsible eating, or even followed his example in personally losing a hundred pounds, universal health care could be possible with our current spending.

Why is Huckabee the only one speaking out on prevention and obesity. Obesity is currently the second leading preventable cause of cancer, rapidly on its way for first place.

As a parent, I can see both sides. It has been predicted that those of us who are late baby-boomers, will outlive our children. Life expectancy is expected to decline due to childhood obesity. As my heart breaks reading the studies, I choose Huckabee's approach, that he has demonstrated during his leadership, in hiswriting, and his own life. If Huckabee is elected president, I believe my children will see a bright future, with measures to make nutrition and fitness in school and beyond a priority. I guess if Hilary is elected, at least their insulin from obesity related diabetes will be paid for - although I cringe thinking about where that money will come from.

Lynne Eldridge MD
Author, "Avoiding Cancer One Day At A Time"

Larry Perrault said...


Of course you are correct. As I'm sure you do, I wish everyone's attention could be focused on this one issue. But, your post got me to thinking about something I want to post on the blog after I finish a few things.

Also, I'm curious as to whether the bok you cited is YOUR book, or one you read. In any case, the author needs to be in coordination with the Huckabee campaign.

Lee said...

One thing is apparent, and that is that the Republican Party establishment is moving heaven and earth to try to keep Huckabee from being nominated.

The prominent religious conservatives who are endorsing candidates just because they think they can win, and approach this with the attitude that a liberal, pro-death Republican is better than no Republican at all are fooling themselves. It is hypocritical for those in the evangelical Christian conservative right to support Rudy Giuliani because of his liberal social position, Fred Thompson because he is very weak on key social issues and favors an economic policy that will simply transfer wealth to the 1% who already have most of it, and Mitt Romney because his views are not consistent with theirs.

Huckabee's positions, on the other hand, are totally and completely consistent with those of the religious right, in terms of Abortion and gay marriage, the death penalty, and economic policy. The latter is why the Republican establishment will do anything they can, including blatantly lying through their teeth, to keep him from being the party nominee. They despise and hate Christian conservative social values, and are only interested in an economic policy that will eventually create an economic oligarchy in this country.

Huckabee is no less likely to win than any other Republican. The party is going to take a drubbing in '08 anyway, in both Congressional and the Presidential election. Giuliani won't get 40% of the popular vote, regardless of who the Democrats run, Thompson and Romney would get even less. Huckabee will keep the majority of the religious right from staying home on election day.

Larry Perrault said...


You're absolutely right. It amazes me how evwn socailly conservative people are criticising Huckabee on economic terms ...because he raised taxes to build roads in a STATE? Because he supported a program to provide Medicare access for POOR CHILDREN? I guess I can't be considered a conservative extremist, any more.

And Pat Robertson...what can you say? He's either losing his mind, sold his soul, or is pathetically crouched in a faithless posture of fear.

The reason I have more hope than you do is 1) Because I think it's the right thing to do to have hope and pray and in fact, despair is a faithless posture and a poor testimony for what is true. And 2) Anymore, I suspect that parties don't win elections, anymore. They just don't lose as badly as the other one. And that's one of the biggest reasons that I support Huckabee: the Democrats are so bad that I don't think a positive and sincere Huckabee would be likely to lose as badl;y as they could. I think the prima facie difference would be stark.

For an example of how pathetic the Democrats are, listen to this: Bill Richardson may be the most sober and serious individual running on The Democrat side. Yet, he goes on a Sunday talk show this past weekend and defends his now longstanding position that ALL US personne;l should be pulled out of Iraq within a year, which not even any other Democratic Party has the irresponsible brass to say.

The report is out that violence is dramatocally down in Iraq and in Bhagsad specifically. But he has to say, "I don't believe the surge is working." All of this is to placate the left-wing delusionalists who are the base and the activists in The Democrat Party. I'm sorry, to me its just pathetic.

Hopeless Optimist

Andy Hudson said...

Great Post Larry!

I agree, people should read the Chuck Baldwin article, and then see the side that Chuck conveniently overlooks.

The only problem with that is that all this media attention has really made it hard to find the answers for the arguments Mr. Baldwin uses, because they are buried within thousands of webpages on each subject (and many of them just repeating the Baldwin article.)

However, I have spent the past several days doing nothing but researching those claims that Baldwin made. I have written a response to his post, which can be found at my blog, or at this link directly:

God Bless,
- Andy Hudson

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