Monday, November 26, 2007

What's With Novak And Other Conservatives Resistance To Huckabee?

Robert Novak published another conservative denigration of Mike Huckabee today, The False Conservative .

The Huckabee campaign web site posted a response by a Huckabee-supporting K-Street lobbyist:

Robert Novak is trying to stir the waters against Governor Huckabee. Well K Street Mole has set him straight.

I must say that all of this supposed conservative disparagement of Huckabee has been something of an eye-opener for me. Were it not for the fact that the lines of rhetoric are transparently fictitious, I might feel rather insulted. As have others, Novakdepicts a problem of the competing interest of social and fiscal conservatives. There are obviously potential competing interests if you assume the horses act to pull the conservative sled in diverse directions.

However, as I have said before, I was conservative before there were adjectives or prefixes to conservatism. Social, fiscal, defense…I’m all three. I was born under Eisenhower and my first political consciousness was of Barry Goldwater, whom my family supported in all quarters in 1964. My cousin is not named Barry for a relative. We were fiscal conservatives before adolescent baby-boomers introduced a need for social conservatives. And as Novak acknowledges, the reason that Republicans gained power in America in my lifetime is because all three have tended to pull in one direction.

I refer to transparent fiction promulgated by these howling fiscal conservatives: The unsubstantiated sloppiness of Novak’s piece is not typical of his reporting or writing. I said I could be insulted because the tone of his rhetoric suggests that as a social conservative, I have been unable in a near year of intense observation, to recognize a fiscal liberal when it hits me right in the face. I’m not stupid and neither are the many millions of us who were unaware the supposed potential dissolution of our fiscal conservatism by our social conservatism.

I suppose we’ll see just how strong the fiscal conservatism is among social conservatives. Because in my case, many of these people are in the process of discrediting themselves: not because my social and fiscal conservatism cannot dwell together as they always have. Rather, it is because Mike Huckabee presents no strain between the two. And contrary to what Novak suggests, it is clearly not the social side, but the fiscal side that is fomenting division. To consider why, drives me into the realm of speculation.

Oh, I understand that Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson must create contrast because they are competing for the nomination. As a Huckabee supporter, to me this points up the distinction between personal on their part and social ambition on Huckabee’s part. You may disagree. But, consider Huckabee’s explanation that the course is easier for him, because he does not have to consider what he once said or how strategists have coached him. His Republican convictions have not changed since he formed them as a teenager in a Democratic fishbowl: family, town, and state. As he has said, you won’t find YouTube video of him taking positions contradictory to those he takes, today. I beg you to look at all of the candidates... Giuliani and Romney have sung different tunes in the past. And, though Thompson’s charges sound desperate in his waning campaign, I won’t criticize the character of him and McCain, though they clearly haven’t a crystal clear view of the fundamentals of America’s founding, and shouldn’t be the chief executive charged with protecting and defending The Constitution. Neither should Giuliani. Romney may have had a recent epiphany?

But, back to the non-competitor critics: You can search this blog for comment on The Club for Growth’s criticism, which I think is motivated by political and contributor ties, and for links to others’ meticulous combing of Huckabee’s record, for which Novak only offers a broad rake. Radio talk-show host Hugh Hewitt has something large vested in Romney and has been talking Huckabee down, though today he said Huckabee will be on his program this week, which airs daily at 6pm ET, 5pm CT. Hewitt’s comments also seem shallow and contrived. For example, today when a caller asked why Duncan Hunter has not fared better with conservatives, Hewitt said that he doesn’t have the money to get his message out…Huckabee is now getting it out because he’s finally getting some money. Hugh Hewitt doesn’t strike me as a stupid man. But, anyone can clearly see that it’s the other way around: Huckabee’s now getting some money BECAUSE he’s gotten his message out. Hewitt also said the Huckabee boomlet is over once word like Novak’s column, which he repeated twice before I tuned out, gets out. He was also asked about the Zogby poll that showed Huckabee beating Hillary Clinton by the widest margin. “Well, that’s Zogby,” Hewitt said dismissively.

So, what’s up with these fiscal conservative critics? Honestly, I can’t say, but something isn’t straight up. Is it just jealousy that money conservatives might not be distinctly primary in The Republican Party? Who would they like to be the Bob Michel in a new permanent House minority?

Novak was raised Jewish but began attending Christian services in the 1990’s and was baptized Roman Catholic in 1998. So, I wouldn’t expect a violent reaction to social conservatism. Or are his fiscal roots just older and deeper? I don’t know. But Novak isn’t known for specious reporting, and this looks weak to me. Again, I’m a conservative who has been called an extremist by other conservatives. I argued with liberal teachers in junior high-school. The only Democrat I ever voted for was a South Texas judge that a fellow conservative recommended to me. The great irony of all of this is that Huckabee represents the best opportunity to firm up the conservative divisions. In fact, I have the most confidence in Huckabee to press forward fiscal conservatism!

I will add this: I’m not a fiscal conservative because I don’t care about the non-wealthy, but because I feel strongly that a fiscally conservative system bodes best for everyone in America. I have always hated having to explain that a fiscal conservative is not just an avaricious and heartless derelict. Have I been too confident in some cases? I hope that’s not the case. Anyway, these people at least make me confident that I’m in the right boat.


Anonymous said...

I think it is fair to criticize Huckabee's relative lack of fiscal conservative "credentials" when compared to Reagan. On the other hand, the rest of the pack should be subject to the same kind of scrutiny.

I'll grant that Huckabee is not a perfect conservative. Huckabee has, after all shown a fondness for raising taxes on cigarettes, has sought to expand the government's involvement in health care and has had previous views supportive of illegals.

My problem is not that there is anything good about his fiscal record but that he can't "grow" and adopt different, more conservative policies for his national run the same way Mitt & Rudy, his liberal counterparts have. Face it, there is no true conservative in the top five candidates. However, each of them can boast about SOME conservative qualities. Of the lot, I believe Huckabee has the greatest potential to GOVERN as a conservative in the office of president even though he was not 100% conservative as governor in a moderately liberal and Democratically corrupted state.

Anyone who believes Mitt or Rudy would govern as a conservative (fiscal or otherwise) is buying a line of hooey from the punditocracy, the handlers and the K-Street crowd. It might be an easier election for all of us if it were possible to put all the pundits, handlers and pollsters in GITMO until November of 2008 and let us deal only with the candidates and their less than perfect records.

Larry Perrault said...


It's a received, not an objective disposition to describe a "fondness" for raising taxes. The "fondness is for addressing responsibilities that are EXPECTED of a state government like balancing budgets and improving highways and education, both tasks at which money was not just thrown at but the objective was measurably improved, to the benefit of the state and the citizens. "Fondness" for tax increases is an intentionally disparaging description.

"Expansion of government in health-care" amounted to providing coverage for poor children below a given income level coverage under an existing program, Medicare.

Likewise, what has been described as "supportive of illegals" was to permit the children of illegals who had ecelled in Arkansas public schools to APPLY for the same merit scholarship program as other public school students, IF THEY BECAME CITIZENS!. And, a Mexican consulate was opened in Little Rock to ease commercial development and LEGALIZATION!

HELLOO? Do some people really want The Republican Party to be the one in favor of non-treatment for poor sick children and permanent poverty for the children of illegal immigrants who want to improve themselves and become productive citizens. I have been a Republican all of my life. Bit, I don't describe it that way. And, I don't call moving in that direction "growth." If you want a "grower" (or posturer) I would look into Mitt Romney. He has "grown" like a weed...coincidentally, precisely in accordance with conservative polls.

I've been watching all year and I don't see Huckabee's apostasy. But, I could begin to wonder whether some define conservatism differently. By the way, the chance of a President Huckabee promoting a national health-care program (as Romney DOES, BTW) or working to maintain the open and unregulated borders, is ZERO!

And the irony is that Huckabee offers the berst chance to avoid the election of a Democrat as president, in 2008.

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