Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Political Facts As Things Stand

I think it’s useful for you and I and others who care about the integrity of American policies like the respect of life, the respect of privacy, the respect of free people and free markets, etc, to acknowledge the facts of how the public behaves, which is not like you and I. I believe strongly that Huckabee brings and delivers the clearest and most urgent message for the good of American culture.

And, as to great extent illustrated in Iowa, when he has plenty of time to deliver that message to personally deliver that message to the American people, it is well-received by a substantial number of Americans. I also believe as I am sure you do that unforseen things can and do happen, as we have seen in this very unique presidential election cycle.

As long as he’s on the ballot, I wil vote for Huckabee. And in fact in Texas where he led in recent polls, he could win on March 4th if he’s still in the mix, and I expect he will if he is a strong presence. But the fact is that the vast majority of people do not vote on any sort of careful consideration: not in the manner that you and I do, nor in the aggravated visceral way that is so often exhibited on the blogs, across the political spectrum. Consider these things:

Only a couple of months ago, John McCain was considered politically dead. Many of the conservative blog bugs wish he still was. Mitt Romney was objectionable to many people, for reasons ranging from his religion to his posturing and pandering to his simple status among many conservatives as a governor of liberal Massachusetts.

Consider also that, as I have said elsewhere, in his last electoral faceoff only ten days ago, Huckabee drew 30% of the electorate, a majority of Republicans (McCain’s 33% included many Independents, who aren’ voting today and in most coming primaries), and almost surely would have won without Fred Thompson in the race and misleading people about both their records – he knew the conflicting truth).

Nevertheless, media and polls (chicken and egg?) today make Huckabee an also-ran in Florida and McCain and Romney the primary competitors. I think that we are in a much superior position today than we were ten years ago, but in terms of being mostly distracted by other things and politically lead around by the nose by media (even including the media, posts on which also largely reflect he promulgated pop-culture reality, there is still a substantial reality. I always strangely paid an extraordinary amount of attention to the political process. But even my perspective has been greatly exaggerated by a personal situation that has narrowed the focus of my life.

I don’t have to look far to see relative normalcy: my own friends and family are quite typically influenced by the popular culture prism. And, while I wish people paid a little closer attention, the bare fact is that most people, even beyond the bemusements of American life, are hard about what are, certainly in the near-term, much more critical activities without which essential concerns would not be met, including governmental ones. These are concerns like…oh, FOOD, clothing, housing, and every manner of industry.

Given those primary diversions yes, like it or not: most people will make their judgments on the pop-perception of the facts: do I prefer Romney or McCain, or later on, one of these or a Democrat? Are there objectionable things about Romney and McCain? Is Huckabee a better candidate? In both cases, I think, “Yes.” And in practical terms, it’s irrelevant. A sliver of the electorate that pays just a little attention with still very incomplete information, will determine two people from hundreds of millions of Americans, who will comprise Americans’ ultimate “choices.” I think that if that is going to change, it won’t be because of but in spite of Americans’ wisdom or lack thereof.

I think America needs dramatic change in its structure and perspective, and I think Huckabee is the only one who poses it: for example with his insistence on the sanctity of human life and his advocacy of The Fair Tax. But from the others, I don’t think we’ll get that change. In sum, I don’t trust McCain’s judgment and I don’t trust Romney’s character. But, I prefer a judgment defect to a character defect. And if McCain’s judgment is sometimes unfortunate, his sentiments are decidedly conservative in terms of spending and even in general.

I’d support a ticket McCain’s heart and and Huckabee’s judgment enthusiastically. I don’t think Romney will win in November and if he did, he would bring remarkable change: more business-as-usual.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

"Huckanomics" and Fair Tax More "Vertical Politics"

The Mike Huckabee for President Campaign website, on Saturday, posted a useful explanation of Governor Mike Huckabee’s economic perspective which justifies The Fair Tax: What is Huckonomics?

The principles of trade discussed here, could be put in a lined yellow cover and called, "Adam Smith for Dummies." The point of course, is not literally that people are "dummies." It is that the immediate social context is one where the perception of reality is distorted by the very assumption of government "commanding" an economy, from either a supply or demand prejudice.
The summary is that we should pull our heads back from the immediate social context and apply common-sense principles to American society.

What 18th century Scottish philosopher Adam Smith wrote about, was the natural human and social moral principles that underlie the creation and distribution of wealth. America was founded as a nation that respected the natural and unadulterated respect of freedom and the economic forces of supply and demand. Of course, this also led to the creation and accumulation of great wealth, which accrued to the general benefit, though more extravagantly among the investing minority.

In concert with the accelerating development of macro-communications, first through widely distributed print and literacy, this cultivated a great development of the natural human tendencies to horde among the wealthier minority and to envy among the more modestly rewarded minority: this was the seed of class identification and the “demand-side” economics that this Huckanomics article speaks of.

Democracy developed governmental means to impose supposed fairness (in reality it calcified economic divisions) for a dissatisfied majority. These “socialist” developments dominated most of the 20th century throughout Europe and less extensively in America. Its most extreme manifestations were in the ostensibly rightward (see Jonah Goldberg’s recently released book, “Liberal Fascism”) National Socialism (or Nazism) and the acknowledged leftward socialism of Karl Marx (communism), that spread even to the East with the expansion of communications.

This acceleration was intensified with the spread of the electronic communications of radio in the early 20th century and television in the mid-twentieth century. With this electronic couriership, the majesty of the economic “commander” became the status quo social understanding in America, embodied in Roosevelt’s New Deal in the 30’s. As marginal tax rates reached 90% in the sixties, production incentives waned and libertarian impulses swelled. In the early sixties, Democrat John Kennedy cut taxes to provoke economic growth, and Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater insolently repudiated expanding and intrusive government, suffering a landslide defeat at the hands of the still status quo stewed public. Goldwater was defeated by Lyndon Johnson, who introduced new government activism with his “Great Society.”

But of course, Goldwater’s campaign was the birth of the National Review-driven conservative movement. Ronald Reagan had recognized the excesses of the New Dealism that he had supported as a young man, had come to harm the America and its people that he had grown to love. After he had risen with this message to the presidency in 1980, he introduced the command reaction of “supply-side” economics, to which establishment conservatism now frantically clings.

“Huckanomics” and The Fair Tax represent the true economic conservatism that would remove the command element of the economy, returning it to the natural and dynamic unsullied forces of human commerce. Though untamed and potentially volatile, these principles restore the fertile soil of prodigious production and the broad expansion of wealth and economic prosperity. The century of command economics was not just one of muzzled production, but one that also provoked unprecedented acrimony and bloodshed. It is a legacy the passing of which should not be mourned.

It is true that, as many challenge, Congress could never be expected to voluntarily cede its massive its power to negotiate and manipulate the tax system, and implement The Fair Tax. That is why an executive is required to inform and inspire the public to hold Congress to account. The Fair Tax is well-named, because taxation would be imposed on the level of consumption rather than the level of production. More extravagant consumption means more extravagant taxation. The poorer are untaxed by a universal “pre-bate” which monthly provides each household with the tax rate of the poverty level. So, you start the month with that AND you receive the entirety of your earnings.

Using rough current numbers, each family starts the month with over $5000 dollars. If of four earns $8000/month, there is $13,000 to spend for the month. Retail tax on spending will be 23%. Burt remember that the average 22% taxation will be removed from the imbedded cost of goods produced in America, lowering those prices dramatically, and making them more competitive with imported goods, which would be taxed equally. This represents a huge boost to American commerce, which also may sell their untaxed goods in foreign markets. Additionally, the untaxed underground economy is eliminated. Illegal members and illegal earners like pimps, prostitutes, drug-dealers, and gamblers will pay taxes on purchases like everyone else. Of course people will barter and bootleg around the system. But at least then, cheaters will be cheaters, not just expert gamers of an arcane system: street-corner hustles not luxurious tax-exemptions. This is no upper-class bonanza.

One very important thing is left to say. And, if we should embark upon this change without resolute attention to it, I fear that it is inevitable that the hording, envy, and acrimony will surely rise again. The mass-culture dampened uninhibited commerce in an effort to impose a social morality. But, an “imposed morality” is an oxymoron. And along with economic limitation, a macro-morality brought a dereliction of personal morality. What Americans must tend even more urgently than free and un-commanded markets, is the resolve to become better people. Even more important than the heightened creation of wealth, is that we support and encourage each other as moral and considerate people in the face of the irregularities of such an unregulated society.

In addition to the market-liberating principles of what the article calls, “Huckanomics,” Mike Huckabee strives to exemplify a model for such consideration that is the provocation of many of his “conservative” critics who have come to hear the idea of compassion only in terms of expanding and intruding government. That disposition is also illustrated in Huckabee’s frequent statement that “I’m a conservative, but I’m not mad at anyone about it.” Conservatism recognizes the value and prudence of personal and market freedom while commending an empathetic application of that freedom. In Christian terms, it respects but exhorts a virtuous rather than errant expression of a God-given freedom.

Huckabee also advocates what he calls a vertical rather than horizontal politics that is directed not at the triumph of the left or right but at the elevation of American society. Conservatism is virtuously applied to this objective, and ignobly applied to the conquest of fellow Americans.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Why Florida Should Support Huckabee

For those in Florida concerned about the Republican options:

I just want to remind Florida to view videos at http://mikehuckabee.com , http://hucksarmy.com , and elsewhere on the web. They are easy to ingest and also give you a sense of the man, of whom I think there is more than of his competitors.

The sentimental right's favorite candidate, Duncan Hunter, has endorsed Mike Huckabee for president after getting to know him on the campaign trail. This stunned and shocked the Piranha right which can't reconcile Huckabee's support for border order and integrity with his lack of spite for immigrants. Both things are true. But, that's a contradiction in terms for coyote conservatives.

Also, John Steinberger of Florida State University and the Institute for Conservative Studies, has endorsed Mike Huckabee, as I posted below: Leading Social Conservative in Florida Switches From Thompson to Huckabee.

Huckabee is also the clearest and most consistent on the right-to-life and the 2nd Amendment. He's questioned the prudence and effectiveness of McCain-Feingold, calling it "campaign finance DEform. And, Huckabee sincerely appeals to populations that have been historically dominated by Democrats. Republican victory is almost guaranteed by modest inroads among minorities and unions, may of which are available if Republicans will just TALK TO THEM.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Remember This In Florida And On Feb. 5

Of course, Thursday, Jan. 24th at 9 Eastern, 8 Central is the Florida Republican Debate on MSNBC. Watch Huckabee and believe what he says. There will be just Huckabee, McCain, Romney, Giuliani and maybe Ron Paul intermissions. They all may support one or two of them but, Huckabee is the only one that pays mind to The Constitution, supports the Republican platform on the right to life, and recognizes the threat of Islamofascism.

Duncan Hunter endorsed Mike Huckabee, today. Hunter’s views are very similar to Huckabee’s , minus the sense of humor and the expressed empathy for Main Street America

A Florida blog posted Huckabee presents the best choice for Reagan supporters by Georgia’s Rep. John Linder. I wish everyone in Florida could read this!

Also, go to http://www.hucksarmy.com/ (also linked at left)

Click on the videos tab at Huck’s Army, and view any videos you like, but specifically, look at that 5 Glenn Beck videos of an hour long video, which covered a range of issues and I think revealed the man. Huckabee is not weak on immigration, American sovereignty, or the nature and urgency of the conflict with “Islamofascism.” There are also videos at the campaign web site: http://mikehuckabee.com

What is the source of these ideas?
Well first and most simply, Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson were competitors and it’s about votes. They were not principled conservatives and their criticisms were pure pragmatism.

Secondly, Big money managers (I mean big: the kind where single trades affect projects and jobs and corporate fortunes) and traders don’t like The Fair Tax. All luxuries now written off as business expenses, shifting the tax burden downward, will be taxed under The Fair Tax though savings and investments won’t. That’s why they call it “fair”: taxes are based on consumption, not production. If you buy, you pay. If you save or invest, you don’t.

Thirdly, conservatives who are sentimental more than intellectual, are traumatized by merely speech that is sympathetic, or to groups traditionally dominated by Democrats, like minorities, labor unions…etc. Again, human equality (not preference) is really a conservative issue, and conservative policy is really the best for working people (many labor unions are 40% Republicans).

And frankly, most establishment Republicans don’t fancy the idea of evangelicals at the head of the table. For them, “low church” means LOOOOOW church, as in to be looked down on. Actually talking about your beliefs is in poor form.


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

What Crime Has He Committed? "Crucify Him!"

Below is a comment on my last post, which complained about my exasperation with “conservative” critics of Huckabee, and my response.

Some of these “conservatives,” I think may be serious, though misguided. But, some are certainly driven by anti-social conservative, anti-Fair Tax, or anti-humane motives. I say "anti-humane" because I feel some of these critics though probably a relatively small minority, are simply reactive to Mike Huckabee’s expressions of concern for people other than Wall Street and investment professionals. I say “reactive” because Huckabee has no record or intention of the kind of expansive and wasteful government that some conservatives instantly fear because they hear a certain tone of concern for the common man. And, he doesn’t have such a record or intention, not because the concern isn’t genuine. He just knows that this kind of activity is socially destructive: he’s conservative not in being dispassionate, but in principle.

And here is the great irony: Mike Huckabee believes that conservative approaches to governance really are the most productive way to help not just upper, but middle and lower income people as well. He just has the temerity to actually TELL people that he would like to help them that way, which jolts some conservatives to apoplexy. Not Fred Thompson, by the way. Heck, Fred Thompson is WAY more liberal than Mike Huckabee is. For example, unlike Thompson who advocated and supported it, Mike Huckabee wouldn’t have touched the 1st Amendment shattering McCain-Feingold “campaign finance reform” bill with a ten foot pole. Huckabee has said that contributions should be unlimited, with full and prompt disclosure on the Internet, which I have thought for years. No, Fred Thompson is no conservative or constitutional idealist. He’s just waving a red flag at those conservatives I was speaking of, who can be agitated. None of these critics are as philosophically conservative as I am.

And, speaking of the constitutional oblivion of McCain-Feingold, that’s just one of McCain’s many demonstrations of that disability. I have watched John McCain for a long time: I think he’s a decent and noble patriot. He just has no sense of what the federal government can and can’t do; either constitutionally or practically. Maybe he’s been swimming in the Washington water for so long that he’s gone native enough to really believe that they can do anything.

Anyway, Huckabee obviously can’t and shouldn’t back off on his expressions of concern for the middle and lower classes. Besides that being morally derelict, Huckabee is exactly right that Republicans can expect to lose a lot of elections if they don’t even want to speak to the concerns of the vast majority of Americans. And, that is something that sunk in with me a few years ago. Certainly I was at one point, one of those conservatives motivated primarily by annoyance at what runaway government had done to America. I still don’t like it. But, do we want to sit on the tack and whine or do we want to steer the country in a positive direction? Do we want America to improve or do we want to perpetually scream while it gets worse? If we choose the latter, we will be doing a lot of screaming, because it only will get worse. The model of aggressive combat doesn’t work. I decided that I’d rather discuss what is right with people with whom I disagreed, than work with people on either side who didn’t care what was right, but only cared about power or short-sighted benefit.

Then, last January, I saw a man who had served as a Republican governor in a Democrat state, who said, “I’m a conservative, but I’m not mad at anybody about it.” And, as a governor, he worked to actually improve the lives of the people in his state, more than to make political points. And, he did it as a conservative in a prudent and restrained way. Sure, Mike Huckabee is unhappy with the consequence of liberal government, but he isn’t angry at people. A long time ago, a man came to an evil-scarred world and mourned what men did, but he didn’t hate them. He came to serve a broken world, and in fact, they killed him. But, he still didn’t hate them. That’s the model: We should ask how we can serve our neighbors and society, speaking for what is right, but working with and for people who aren’t always right. Similar to how it was the religious people who hated Jesus and turned him over to be killed, it’s his fellow conservatives who hate Mike Huckabee and want his candidacy dead. And, if they succeed, we’ll all have to work not to hate them. But, though I’m a conservative too, I won’t see them as infinitely superior to Democrats.

Here’s a response to my irritation with the anti-Huckabee diatribes of Rush Limbaugh who is nether the neither first nor will he likely be the last to scorn in this way. Tonight I heard Mark Levin misguidedly snarling about Huckabee’s anti-conservatism. Huckabee is the punching bag to be knocked down going into Saturday’s South Carolina Primary. Fred Thompson’s been at smearing Huckabee for days, and Romney will join him is he remains determined to play in South Carolina. I don’t know what McCain will do. He may stay decent. But, if he goes after Huckabee as not conservative, it would be being called unfaithful by a practiced heretic. Anyway, the short comment is followed by my short response.

Family Mentors said...

I would encourage as many people as possible to engage Rush and the NeoLib Commentocrats, issue-by-issue.

First, today he went out of his way to endorse a threatened boycott of the general election if one of his guys doesn't win (saying the GOP will be destroyed if McCain or Huck wins). Funny how the NeoLibs always tell social conservatives they'll hurt the party if they sit out like they did in 2006.

We may have to be willing to suffer through four years of HillBillary or Oprahbama in order to be heard. I hope not, but the NeoLibs are hell bent on preventing any social conservative from succeeding. Their opposition to McCain will evaporate if Rudy continues to fade. Flag this post and flog me if I'm wrong ;-)

I have remarked on the irony of the possibility of others being asked to suck it up and support a social conservative. I don’t know, in fact I tend to doubt, that that is the ground of Rush’s problem. Maybe he’s just a sentimental conservative who has inhaled the scuttlebutt and failed to do his homework. Anyway, I do think it’s true that social conservatives have to be prepared to watch Democrats win. If they watch a social conservative actively destroyed and turn in their votes, the message will be that it really doesn’t matter to them. Their leverage (and respect) in the party will be destroyed; and with it, much of the potential to heal American society. Believe me: I was an activist in the Republican Party and I’ve been saying that for years, and suffering scorn for it.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Mike Huckabee Is The Most Conservative Republican Candidate For President/Institute for Conservative Studies Founder Endorsement

Below is yesterday’s post with a comment and a response. But, I hadded a late-arriving message from a friend, noting a conservative endorsement of Huckabee. I am entirely exasperated with establishment Republicans that I could list for a few lines (that would include Rush Limbaugh, though he didn’t used to be considered establishment) howling that Mike Huckabee is not a conservative. The charge is ridiculous and only a brief look at his words and record shows it. These “conservative” critics are either outright deceitful or pathetically ill informed and demonstrably incompetent to be making a case.

That is particularly evident given the history of unconstitutional conservative infidelities of every other Republican candidate for President of the United States. If the party is going to chase the truest conservative candidate who also presents the best opportunity to undercut a Democrat, either out of cultural disdain for social conservatism, raw avarice (the Fair Tax is just that: fair – not an advantage for the wealthy – look it up), or just the simple animosity that is the Democrat caricature of a Republican that I have been denying as a Republican since I was a boy, they can take my vote and hang it in their ear. They will probably lose and they will definitely deserve it.

A longtime pro-life contact of mine (actually a founder of “Buy Pro-Life” in my sig) sent this message to Rush Limbaugh who, in case you hadn’t noticed, has been trashing Mike Huckabee as not a conservative. It seems that John Stemberger has switched his endorsement to Mike Huckabee. With the roster of supposedly “conservative experts” that have been hard about undermining Huckabee, this founder of The Institute for Conservative Studies, obviously doesn’t know what he’s doing?

Hi Rush,

Is your prestigious institute actually endorsing HUCKABEE???

I just caught this news post: Leading Social Conservative in Florida Switches From Thompson to Huckabee

According to the article, John Stemberger, the founder of the Institute for Conservative Studies, has endorsed Mike Huckabee, switching from Fred Thompson’s campaign. There are excerpts below. I assume this is not the same ICS from which you occupy the prestigious Attila the Hun Chair – OH WAIT! Yours is the Institute for ADVANCED Conservative Studies . If they had their hats on down in Florida, one must assume a Mayor from New York would be the only true conservative choice….

By the way: I take it from your comments in recent shows that if McCain or Huckabee beats the odds and becomes the nominee, you will support Michael Bloomberg? Or will you just stay home like the social conservatives will if one of the pro-abortion “establishment” guys gets the nod? I know you’re confident one of the establishment guys will win, but I am curious what you, Hannity, Laura and Bill Bennett will do after investing so much energy in insuring Huckabee’s defeat. Looking at McCain’s numbers, I think you all should have spent your efforts on defeating him; Huckabee isn’t a threat either way. Then again, as they say, that’s why you’re the host and I am not.

Tony Silva
"I found it on Family Mentors!" -- Family Safe Search & shop.
www.familymentors.com | www.curriculumfinder.com

"Governor Huckabee is without question the best candidate to breathe new life and fresh hope into a nation and its people who are fed up with scandal, corruption and big-money power politics. Mike Huckabee is a proven leader with executive experience and a solid record as a champion for pro-life and pro-family values," Stemberger said. "As a result, he has won the trust of more social conservative leaders across America than any other candidate. He has also proven that he is a viable candidate who can take us all the way home by winning both the primary and the general elections."
Stemberger is the founder of the Institute for Conservative Studies at Florida State University and has been one of the leading pro-life, pro-family advocates in Florida over the past 25 years. He was a lobbyist for Florida Right to Life and served as the Political Director for the Republican Party of Florida during the final campaign of former President George H.W. Bush.
"Like Ronald Reagan before him, Mike Huckabee can restore common sense conservative leadership to America both at home and abroad," Stemberger said. "He will re-envision us to once again become 'one nation, under God' while ensuring 'liberty and justice for all."

Mike Huckabee’s very important speech at the Detroit Economic Club broadcast by C-SPAN, which shows a lot of what Governor Huckabee is about and stands in contrast to the charges that have been lodged against him.

Also, Ken Connor’s important article about contesting elements of The Republican Party, “The View from the Back of the Bus”
posted by Larry Perrault at 6:43 PM on Jan 13, 2008
Fraud Examiner said...
Another item to inform because some are trying to mislead:

Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen stated on January 13 that he wants Gitmo shut down as stated in an Associated Press story dated January 14. It states in part…”he favors closing the prison here as soon as possible because he believes negative publicity worldwide about treatment of terrorist suspects has been “pretty damaging” to the image of the United States.”….and even though he is the top military officer…”He stressed that a closure decision was not his to make”…because it is in the hands of the President.

I saw the article on www.military.com as I have interest in this as one of my sons is in the Army National Guard as a Military Policeman and another son looks to be joining the United States Marines any day.

Mike Huckabee is on target in his position; unfortunately, he is receiving flak on it.

Rod Pitzer
Certified Fraud Examiner
January 14, 2008 6:06 AM
Larry said...
Thank you, Rod:

What is so terribly frustrating is that the most conservative, the most moral, and the most patriotic candidate will not be taken down by Democrats, but if he does not succeed, he will have been taken down by Republicans and supposed "conservatives," some of who are quite well meaning (some plainly aren't. These well-meaning conservatives have absorbed the flourish of mostly didingenuous claims by "conservative" deceeivers. Most of this deceit is in r5eality grounded in hostility to evangelical Christian culture: not evangelicals, per se (who are great if they remember to keep their place and faithfully deliver their votes for an "establishment Republican candidate) No, the problem is with an evangelical culture that not only confesses belief, but has the temerity to talk about it. And in the case of Huckabee, even to say things like, "My faith doesn't just inform me, it defines me," which causes "mainstream" Republicans to shudder: "Please, take this man from the table and back to the kitchen."

If the Republican establishment had embraced Huckabee, at least agfter his Iowa win, he might have easily wrapped up the nomination and won the general election, undermining the broadest and deepest emotional appeal of The Democratic Party that Republicans care only for the wealthy and privileged.

But, mere victory is not worth the cultural indignity of having what they consider a social hobo at the head table: better to be a decorous but still privileged minority.

The "Not a conservative" charges against Huckabere are bogus. Just do some study at his site and on the blogs, not about the scuttlebutt, but about the facts. To begin with and most simply, this man from a Democrat home, town, and state is a Republican for a reason: he's a conservative. And he's a conservative not merely out of some sentiments but out of principle, unlike the demonstrated conservative infidels against whom he competes. But, the Republican establishment prefers one who is an infidel to one they simply consider uncouth.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Information For Those Mislead About Huckabee: Detroit Economic Club Video And The View from the Back of the Bus

Mike Huckabee’s very important speech at the Detroit Economic Club broadcast by C-SPAN, which shows a lot of what Governor Huckabee is about and stands in contrast to the charges that have been lodged against him.

Also, Ken Connor’s important article about contesting elements of The Republican Party, “The View from the Back of the Bus”

Friday, January 11, 2008

Huckabee At South Carolina Debate Video

I hope you saw the South Carolina debate, last night. But, there are clips of Huckabee's response to the usual Baptist/religious question and more importantly, his dicussion afterward with Hannity & Comes, in which he talks about some of the deceitful attacks that came his way in the debate, as is now typical. Massachusetss for Huckabee has posted these videos at Video And Thoughts About The Fox News Debate

And, be sure to read my thoughts about the debate, below.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The South Carolina Debate: The Romney-Thompson Winning Strategy?/What About Defining Your Own Agenda?

At tonight’s debate in South Carolina, it appeared that Fred Thompson adopted Mitt Romney’s strategy of first misrepresenting Huckabee in Iowa, and then misrepresenting John McCain in New Hampshire. I hope Thompson has the same crashing success that Romney did with this strategy, even though it may not be as lavishly funded. He has five more days, but based on his tactics tonight, Thompson will not perform as he needs to in order to survive the South Carolina primary on Jan 19. Maybe he should hope that, just as New Hampsire was different from Iowa, South Carolina will be different from both, and lap up the phony toe-hammering tactic. We shall see, I suppose.

But, Thomson charged directly at Huckabee as I expected he would, with Huckabee leading the polls in SC. Listen, I’m not extraordinarily impressed with their records, but I don’t think Thompson or Romney for that matter, are that bad guys. Too bad they can’t sell themselves enough without misleading and misrepresenting other people.

Thompson used Romney’s same (miserably failed) approach of characterizing Huckabee as a “liberal.” Huckabee’s record speaks for itself. Huckabee was elected 3 times as Arkansas governor. And Arkansas is a typical southern rough and tumble, not just historically but still, Democrat-dominated state. And, he’s faced and survived a lot of political attacks. But, I don’t suppose he was attacked too often as “a liberal,” before he declared his candidacy for the Republican nomination for president: and from demonstrable infidels from the principles of America’s founding documents, the kind of American heresies that Huckabee never has or never would engage in.

Thompson was a prime advocate for McCain-Feingold so-called campaign finance reform, which in fact was First Amendment deform. Huckabee wouldn’t have had the fundraising limitations of the first half of the campaign had it not been for that. So, Thompson and McCain got a piece of Huckabee right out of the box. But, it looks like their money deprivation and Romney’s money deluge didn’t stop the message. Romney also has a heterodox history on the 2nd Amendment and the respect for human life in both The Constitution and the opening lines of The Declaration of Independence. In both cases: no problem now; “I’ve changed my mind.”

Here’s what is bothersome in both their cases, though: they both know very well that Huckabee is not a liberal. He has largely supported American foreign policy. To lump him with "blame America first is ridiculous. His fiscal record and instincts are conservative and Arkansas taxes not even relatively exhorbitant. And as for a smoking ban, he didn't introduce the idea, and the one in Arkansas exempted businesses that cater only to adults or have 3 or fewer employees. And with respect to all of this, Huckabnee knows as many appear not to, that state and federal necessities and responsibilities are different. Heck, Huckabee’s not even as liberal as Romney and Thompson are, and never has been. Let them define differences that they may have. But, bald faced lying: that I’m not very impressed with.

And, speaking of McCain(-Feingold), here’s what is notable about him. Though a strong and telling one, McCain-Feingold is just one place where I disagree with him. McCain is a good and honorable patriot, but he’s philosophically opaque. Philosophically-speaking, I disagree with McCain far more than I disagree with Romney or Thompson. But, he’s obviously a much nobler man. Consider:

Huckabee won in Iowa and McCain won in New Hampshire. So, if someone needed to attack Huckabee, wouldn’t it be McCain? Did he? No: he’s better than that. He can be lead down the wrong path (sometimes it seems like he’s been drinking Washington water for too long), but, he isn’t about dishonest disparagement.

Before Thompson dies in South Carolina, I hope McCain and/or Huckabee dispose of Romney (please, Mitt: 3 strikes and you’re out?) in Michigan. Maybe then we can have an honest competition of sincere expressions. That day can’t come soon enough for me, because I’m sick of this sleazy stuff. Huckabee has even expressed an admiration for the fact that Rudolph Giuliani (who hopes to hop the campaign train in Florida), who at least is honest about his disagreements. Yeah, that’ll work: stark but honest differences.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Quick Post-New Hampshire Thoughts

Just a quick post without even an external editor. My predictions for Iowa were pretty accurate, with Huckabee doing even better than I had hoped: I predicted 30% and he got 34%. Ron Paul also got 10% when I had predicted 8%. Especially in the case of Paul, I had predicted that he would exceed his polling, based on the entirely on the uncommon intensity among his supporters. As it happened, Huckabee also drew new voters to the caucuses. He wasn't the overwhelming favorite of the seasoned political observers.

For the same considerations of intensity, I predicted that Paul would reach the low teens and Huckabee 15 to 18 percent in New Hampshire, and he pulled 11: still third. There was much talk over the last month of a possible surprise showing by Paul. And, I predicted that evangelicals (20% or less of the NH Republican electorate) and Fair Taxers would show up in above average numbers.

So, what happened? Well, they did say that the turnout was large. Maybe the media clamor over the Cain-Romney match drew a crowd that overwhelmed what otherwise would have been larger percentages for Huckabee and Paul.

Anyway, if New Hampshire wasn't dictated to bu Iowa, I doubt South Carolina will be dictated to by New Hampshire. In the last Gallup national poll, Huckabee lead Giuliani 25% to 20%, with McCain a little behind Giuliani. If McCain got a bump, OK. But, Giuliani sure didn't: he was behind Huckabee and closer to Paul. Huckabee lead in South Carolina lat week, by DOUBLE DIGITS! He's lead or been a close second to Giuliani in the last few Florida polls.

Between now and those primaries, here is Michigan: which most people see as a must-win for the dogged and moneyed Romney, who grew up there and his father was governor.. He might be a sure favorite in a one-on-one match-up. But against McCain AND Huckabee, who both have natural constituencies, it doesn't loo, pollk quite so promising. And Huckabee and McCain can take any result in Michigan. Romney probably can't. He's lost where he spent ten million dollars in marketing and in his next-door state where he has a summer home. If he can't win in his childhod home where his father was governor, where will he win: not in SC and Florida, where he's just pulled his ads. He has to plan for February 5th and hope spending another 25 million will have a different result" Good luck, but most of us hate to watch those millions flushed that we could put to good use.

Monday, January 7, 2008

McCain, Romney, Giuliani, Paul, Huckabee

Dennis Prager’s thoughts about John McCain are accurate. He believes in restraining imprudent spending and a strong America with resolve against terrorism. And, he is a noble and sincere man, who generally follows his heart. But, his heart is not constrained by a lucid ideal about the proprieties and capacities of the federal government. Perhaps that relative ambiguity has permitted him to acclimate to the misguided culture of Washington, which tends to see itself as master of everything. And, it results in incongruities such as Prager mentions.

I think that Mitt Romney is obviously a competent man and probably a good man, with an obviously good and loyal family. But, I suspect that both his ambition and his great wealth incline him to be pliant in his assertions and intolerant of potential disappointment. To me, this has created a desperate and misleading candidate. Maybe he could have done better, but he hasn’t.

Personally, I LIKE Rudy Giuliani and would recommend him for many jobs. But, one of them is NOT chief executive of The United States, charged with protecting and defending The Constitution, which to me he seems plainly not to understand. I AM a conservative who believes that a culture is in decline that is loosing its respect for human life, especially its own offspring. I believe that a culture that does that can express selfishness and incivility in every area of human commerce. It is striking to me that no political party will generally affront a core constituency. Democrats for example, would understandably never nominate someone who had breathed a word to drive away any homosexual, even though that relatively small constituency is not uniform. Republicans would not nominate someone who called for expanding federal power and taxation, or for the collection of private firearms.

Interestingly though, I think because of pop-culture, put forward early and many lined up behind, a man who does not embrace a defining confession of the largest constituency in America in either party. Is this because they became accustomed to delivering a nominee and watching social conservatives line up to support him, and finally decided to go for broke? Hey, it worked for Pat Robertson, who obviously is not a shepherd, at least any more. But, the brazenness is very striking. I mentioned pop-culture: if media did not largely endorse and promote treating human life as a matter of personal expedience, no politician would endorse that; not even Democrats, I don’t think. “Pro-choicers” would be a smaller constituency than Ron Paul’s.

Speaking of whom, I think Ron Paul WILL make a showing in New Hampshire, competing with Huckabee and Giuliani for third. But, I think that will be his high-water mark. Paul is smart and he is philosophically clear. Unfortunately, his philosophy entails severe moral and security blind spots. Ron Paul has a floor to his support: an intense group will always support him. But, he also has a definite ceiling: He will never gather even 10-15% of Republican support, nationally.

I want to understand your misgivings about Mike Huckabee. Full disclosure: I am an ardent and longtime Huckabee supporter. You played an expression of his firmness about terrorist aggression. Taxes? Just look at the facts not the scuttlebutt, available on the web. As a governor, he had to balance budgets and make state government work, renewing inadequate road and education systems and improving public parks. Yes, in ten and a half years, taxes increased in Arkansas by 500 million dollars. But, the percentage of tax burden increased at half the rate of the average state, over that time. And, the improvements were measurable in all cases. And, Huckabee understand and often cites the difference between the province of state and feral government defined in the 10th Amendment.

I spoke with you a couple of months ago about the smoking ban clamor, saying that he approved a workplace regulation, in response to a Chris Matthews question, and, that he would not target private smoking accommodations. Again, just look at the record: a ban was passed in Arkansas, exempting businesses that catered only to adults or with three or fewer employees. I also cite the black and white fact that the federal government has in fact, assumed a HUGE liability for future medical costs. Discouraging unhealthy behavior is bare humane and fiscal prudence. The hostility some have toward Huckabee is not justified, certainly by facts cited. And, frankly, I am WAY more conservative philosophically than Dennis Prager or any of the vocal Huckabee critics, and my history shows it. Prager once described himself as a having been a Kennedy Democrat. Not me. Economically, George Will once said, “We’re all Keynesians, now.” No, we’re not

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Let's Talk Taxes in New Hampshire

Internet polling showed that Governor Huckabee showed strongly in the debate, tonight. Obviously, New Hampshire has changed and is changing since I lived there, over 15 years ago. But, New Hampshire has always been considered an extraordinarily tax-conscious state. As such, I way surprised that there was very little or no time spent in the debate, on the subject of taxes.

Introducing one question, Charles Gibson raised charges that had been made against each of the candidates. Referring to Governor Huckabee, he said that he had been called a tax and spender and was trying to change that perception. With he and most of the other candidates, by the time they spoke, the focus of the topic had shifted. But, I wish Governor Huckabee could have said, with regard to taxes, I make the best possible plea: in the Internet age, we have the unprecedented ability to look directly at the discussion and the record on al of these questions, and I urge you to do just that. If you think that a state raising taxes to renew highways, or to improve education or parks maintenance is not good and legitimate state action, then I may not be the kind of executive you would approve. The only question I have is, “Who is?”

I know that in campaigning this week in NH, Governor Huckabee is doing a lot of discussion of The Fair Tax. I hope there is a strong contingent of Fair Tax advocates working in New Hampshire for these few days, and I hope it can be discussed at tomorrow night’s FOX debate.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Why Do "Conservatives" Hate Mike Huckabee?

On his radio program Thursday, Michael Medved asked people who dislike or hate Mike Huckabee to call and explain why:

Why Do "Conservatives" Hate Mike Huckabee?

I have been pondering this, for a month. Conservative regulars, people I have read for years, are almost apoplectic about Huckabee. And if he wins in Iowa, based on experience so far, I would predict that the howling will only get worse, probably accompanied by remarks about the foolishness of Iowa voters.

You understand that competitors will disparage him. But, EVERYONE is lining up: Robert Novak, George Will, Charles Krauthammer, Fred Barnes, John Fund, Rich Lowery, Ann Coulter, Phyllis Schlafly, Hugh Hewitt, Rush Limbaugh… I could go on. In fact, it’s WAY easier to name the noted conservatives who have not disparaged or complained of Huckabee than the ones who have. I wonder as you do…why is this?

Your callers are typical of the rank & file conservatives who have picked up pop-culture stories about him being “soft” on immigration, a taxer and spender. I have studied his record and his thoughts and words all year. These stories just aren’t true. Okay, you tell a lie long enough…etc.

But, what should we think about these writers, who can’t be so clueless and divorced from the facts? Understand first, that I am a lifelong conservative. I was a Republican activist who left the party and voted third-party for a few cycles (I know you hate that. I disagree, but set it aside for now). Novak, Will, Limbaugh, Coulter and others are quite explicit about what is often implied: that Huckabee is NOT a conservative. Honestly, it’s painfully difficult to believe that these sentiments are genuine.

But, NOT a conservative? Compared to WHOM? The Bushes? Bob Dole? Where were these critics with these guys? Dole claimed NO allegiance to the Republican platform. Bush Sr. raised FEDERAL (not state – Huckabee knows and frequently cites the 10th Amendment. Bush Jr. presided over a broader and deeper expansion of even DOMESTIC spending than Clinton had, and WITH A REPUBLICAN CONGRESS!

What about Huckabee’s competitors” McCain and Thompson not just voted for, but PROMOTED McCain-Feingold, an audacious defiance of the 1st Amendment. Romney and Giuliani both have defiled the 2nd Amendment. Giuliani endorsed Mario Cuomo, for Pete’s sake, and doesn’t understand the crucial relationship to American civility of the first assertions of The Declaration of Independence. Romney does…NOW…wait a minute, that isn’t the only thing he’s “changed on, is it? Whatever is driving his postures, it isn’t a well-seated moral and/or philosophical framework.

But, where is all of THAT noise among these “conservatives?” Huckabee would not have done ANY of these things. On campaign finance, he has already proposed what I have always believed: that contributions should be unconstrained, but fully disclosed, now almost immediately on the Internet. George Will hammered on McCain over McCain-Feingold before the 2000 election. But I surely sense that he’s rather see a president McCain than a president Huckabee. What the heck is going on?

Unable to believe that many of these complaints are genuine, I am left to speculate. With some, the animus may simply be reflected in Huckabee’s common statement that, “I’m a conservative, but I’m not mad at anybody about it” Maybe, these are just disconcerted by a supposed conservative who doesn’t emanate enough anger for them. Maybe they could say, “I’m a conservative, AND I’M AS MAD AS HELL AT A LOT OF PEOPLE! Ann Coulter, for instance, only likes Duncan Hunter. Actually, he isn’t an ugly guy and he’s very serious. But, he has enough appeal to put him around 1% ‘Nuff said.

Big money traders and managers may not like The Fair Tax: every luxury can be written off as a “business expense,” shifting the tax-burden downward. People accustomed to privilege may not be so hot for a system that is “fair,” taxing everything from jets to paper clips. It’s funny to hear these people despair that The Fair Tax is “regressive.” The wealth will maintain their privilege under Democrats. In fact, creeping socialism favors established business and money. It suppresses aspiring business and money. Will the establishment support the social conservative when the “go-along” shoe is on the other foot?

But with some people I think it may be a very visceral discomfort with an unshaded evangelical Christian faith. Sure, sit in your pews and recite your liturgies…even offer your personal prayer. But for God’s sakes, don’t TALK ABOUT IT! Eccch! How gauche! It’s so…well, unsophisticated!

Like I said, these people aren’t stupid, and their actual words lack credibility, in light of the available facts. So, I’m left to speculate.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Iowa Caucuses Tomorrow/Moneybag And Flustered Critics Notwithstanding, Huckabee The "True" Fiscal Conservative/Blog On Romney's negatives

I want to do some more reading, but I want to put this up now, since the Iowa Caucuses are tomorrow. Here are a few blog exchanges that I have had in the past day or two. The first is with a fellow Huckabee blogger, the others are exchanges with expressed (and misguided) Huckabee detractors. At bottom is a blogger question about
Romney that I thought merited consideration.

I was referred to a post at Matt's Corner and read down to Thursday’s post:

Thursday, December 27, 2007
How Fiscal Conservatives Use Social Conservatives
In an article at bloomberg.com, columnist Matthew Benjamin succinctly describes the division of labor (and rewards) in the Republican Party:
In doing so, he [Huckabee] threatens the uneasy if effective coalition Republicans have counted on for three decades: abortion opponents and other social-issue activists supplying foot soldiers, proponents of tax cuts and business-friendly regulatory policies putting up the money and getting the biggest economic benefits.

Fiscal conservatives have used social conservatives to do all the heavy lifting so that they (the fiscal conservatives) can make a sizeable return on their investments. However, while the fiscal conservatives are making money off of the efforts of social conservatives who labor for their selected candidates, the social conservatives end up getting stuck with the bag. Instead of having a truly pro-life, pro-family candidate who will go out on a limb and say, "Right is right, wrong is wrong," social conservatives are told to be pragmatic. "Would you rather have Hillary Clinton?" they are told.

Well enough!

Even though he may lack financial backing, Mike Huckabee is demonstrating that social conservatives can unite behind a viable cnadidate. In fact, he has demonstrated that money cannot buy elections; otherwise, Mitt Romney would already be picking curtains for the Oval Office.

Larry said:

I have written about so-called fiscal conservatives taking social conservatives for granted. I wrote that social conservatives have always been asked, "Do you want to see the Democrat elected?" And, social conservatives have usually gone along.

But I then asked, "If Huckabee is nominated and the shoe is on the other foot, will the fiscal conservatives go along? I'm not so sure. Democrats too, are up to their necks in corporate money and commitments. And socialistic tendencies favor established financial interest: they will take a tax hike with policies that restrict entry into markets, maintaining/expanding established market-share.

True conservative/free-market policy like Huckabee advocates is friendly to market entry and innovation for enterprises not yet established. That's why all of this so-called fiscal conservative criticism is nonsense. When he talks about being Main Street and/or small business friendly, and about things like the Fair Tax (which would fairly tax EVERYONE'S expenditures, that's what he's talking about. The established money have teams of accountants to make things tax-free and shift the tax burden downward to the middle class.

Now, which side do you think multi-millionaire investment counselor Mitt Romney, looking for sure investments in a less-dynamic and unpredictable economy would be on? You can almost see the hair of he and other big-money investors curling when the consider the Fair Tax. "Fair," means that they won't be special, anymore.

Here is one critical excerpt at Below The Beltway , John McCain’s New Hampshire Surge , and a response:

>So it looks like the Republican race in New Hampshire will be a battle between McCain and Romney, with the rest of the field battling it out for third place. If Huckabee wins in Iowa and McCain takes New Hampshire, we could see a quick end to Mitt Romney’s campaign. And, more distressingly, I may actually find myself rooting for McCain over the Huckster.

• Larry Perrault Says:
January 1st, 2008 at 5:55 pm
I would like to ask, speaking as a lifelong conservative, who many have considered an extreme ideologue, especially after I left being a Republican activist to vote 3rd-party for 2 cycles, what at this point does one who spends a lot of time on the Internet where the truth can be uncovered (as opposed to misguided scuttlebutt), find offensive about Mike Huckabee? This seems especially ironic from someone who has found an appeal in Mitt Romney.
I have speculated about these objections from conservatives and only come up with a few possible explanations beyond the apparent absence of a PRIMARY concern about the sanctity of human life.
Many large money-movers, accustomed to writing off every luxury as a “business expense,” might find the Fair Tax that Huckabee supports, which would levy a tax on everything from paper clips to jets. Accustomed to special treatment, a “Fair” tax system might not be so appealing.
Also, among some “establishment” Republicans, an unshaded evangelical Christianity might be considered just culturally gauche: a little “creepy.” Speaking of that, it’s a little interesting to me to consider a man with his personal history a “cynical opportunist.” (as I began writing, I saw the reference to this post in the margin, which I’ll check out - again, and converesly(?), Romney is just the most genuine and straightforward guy in the race?
Lastly, I think for a lot of particularly aggravated conservatives, there may be some displeasure with Huckabee’s disposition: he often says, “I’m a conservative, but I’m not mad at anybody about it.”
Some conservatives might say, “I’m a conservative, AND I’M MAD AS HELL AT A LOT OF PEOPLE!” Would they find “cynical,” a conservative who is not perpetually angry?
--By the way, I’m a conservative who is working not to be mad about it.

One libertarian blogger at http://www.jasonpye.com/ wrote to Neil Boortz, the libertarian radio talk-show host, expressing dismay at Boortz endorsement of Huckabee. Boortz is a Fair Tax supporter who has actually co-authorerd a book with US Rep. John Linder. But, this blog lists the familiar laundry list of conservative (and inaccurate) objections to Huckabee.

I responded:
These points could be responded to one by one: perrault@sbcglobal.net , if you like. But, all of this dispairing about Huckabee is misguided. In the first place, the idea that Huckabee is a liberal spendthrift is nonsense. People believe that who believe other peoples' words without doing any study of their own. Money inflates and budgets grow. Over the course of Huckabee's governorship, his state's budget grew at about half the rate of the average American state.
In the second place, it is a CRASHING irony for these concerns to be stated over Huckabee, given the conservative/constitutional infidels who are the nearest competitors: Romney, Giuliani, McCain, Thompson? Philosophically clueless. At least Romney knows to pull any leg that sticks out in front of him. None of these are close to as constitutionally constrained as Huckabee. He constantly cites the appropriate state v. federal distinction of powers of the 10th Amendment. Anyone who was paying attention would know that.
The supposed "fiscal conservatives" that oppose Huckabee have ultrior motives, and opposition to The Fair Tax is one of them. People who write off nearly every luxury as a "business expense," effectively shifting the tax burden down to the middle class, don't want it "fair." They are used to being privileged.
The idea that Huckabee is cynically using The Fair Tax to gain power and will then ignore it and tax away is unmitigated paranoia. Huckabee has signed the Americans for Tax Reform "no new taxes " pledge and constantly says the federal government doesn't need more money. Again, pay attention.
And lastly: so-called "populist" rhetoric does not define liberal policy. Huckabee is a smart and honest man who grew up in a Democrat family, in a Democrat town, in a Democrat state, and BECAME a Republican. But not just because he doesn't care about middle and lower class people. He knows that true conservative free-market policy (like our current tax system ISN'T) provides the most opportunity for EVERYONE!
The sound of that rhetoric is the sound of the Democrats' most powerful emotional tool being cut right out from under them. It's the sound of general election victory for conservative principle. Take a muscle relaxer.

Another critical excerpt at http://hardstarboard.blogspot.com and a response comment
>…Nothing shocking or unusual about that (Romney’s) thirty-second spot. It just seeks to remind Republican voters that Mike xxxxx Huckabee is no conservative on foreign policy, national security, fiscal policy, or crime. And it does so very effectively
---I'm sure Mike Huckabee is a swell guy, but in my eyes, he's a mixture of everything I didn't like about Bill Clinton and George Bush.
A big government conservative with a history of accepting gifts from donors, a compulsion to legislate morality, and an "aw shucks," personality designed to catch you off guard, right before you find yourself taxed more to get less freedom.
If our friends in Iowa could give us a hand, we could Chuck Huck January 3rd.

Larry says:
Huckabee is well aware that success breeds criticism. He doesn't expect otherwise. He is just replying that the content misrepresents the facts.
He's not a big government conservative like a Bush. While he was governor, his state raised taxes to tend to state essentials, as state governments must (roads, education, parks, most notably) Huckabee is well aware of and outspoken about the 10th Amendment distinction between federal and state responsibilities, which some pupular culture-saturated "conservatives" evidently no longer are.

Romney’s negative campaigning: is Romney willing to take the party ...
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