Unlike many other conservatives, I haven't been anxious to get on the Mike Huckabee bandwagon. I've had a disquieting sense and vague memory that he wasn't really all that conservative in Arkansas, but didn't make the time to research the facts.
So I was quite interested to read this John Fund article on Huckabee's questionable track record as a conservative in Arkansas. Quoting one Arkansas citizen: "He's hostile to free trade, hiked sales and grocery taxes, backed sales taxes on Internet purchases, and presided over state spending going up more than twice the inflation rate."
I do wish Fund's article had even more solid facts to replace some of the simple dislike expressed for Huckabee, but the article prompted me to do a little digging of my own. The Arkansas Democrat Gazette has the rundown on Huckabee's tax hikes as Governor or Arkansas, and it's quite a list. "The average Arkansan’s tax burden grew from $1,969 in the fiscal year that ended June 30, 1997, to $2,902 in the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2005, including local taxes."
Read it and weep.
Jennifer Rubin at National Review last February: Huckabee "was not the poster child for smaller government."
"By the end of his second term he had raised sales taxes 37 percent, fuel taxes 16 percent, and cigarettes taxes 103 percent, leading to a jump in total tax revenues from $3.9 billion to $6.8 billion. The Cato Institute gave him a failing grade of 'F' on its fiscal report card for 2006 and an only marginally better but still embarrassing 'D' for his entire term."
Huckabee's nanny state initiatives included mandatory weigh-ins for schoolchildren, who were issued "report cards" on their weight and body mass index. I think this was one of the things at the back of my mind that had first troubled me about Huckabee; few things irk me more than the state, via the schools, attempting to take over parenting.
In closing, check out this thought-provoking post at Say Anything: "Why Mike Huckabee Can't Be the Conservative Choice for President."