Thursday, October 25, 2007

"Who Is Mike Huckabee?" (Not As Conservative As You Think)

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."



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lucas Roebuck smashed Fund's article... look it up.

The thing is, most people do not have any idea how conservative Huckabee is, he is insanely conservative. He just know how not to present himself, and the way not to present them self is in the category of wingnut.

Plus, even if the hack jobs on Huck were right, it does not matter. His Federalist beliefs are far stronger than anyone in the race and has gone out of his way to smack his close friend George Bush for being Hamiltonian.

Throughout his career as Governor he was able to facilitate from the central seat of power in Little Rock... but his conservative roots showed when he would outsource solutions to the private, personal, and non profit sectors with remarkable effectiveness. This aptness with management and facilitation of private and non prof solutions showed itself when he was forced to deal with the Katrina crisis.

This man is the best choice as conservative pure and simple.

9:55 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Hi Nathaniel,

I saw Roebuck's article spammed all over the Internet today...I declined to post it here in full but am willing to post a link...frankly I wasn't that impressed with it. While, as I said in my own piece, I would have liked to see more solid facts in Fund's article than simply expressions of dislike, my own research on Huckabee over the last 24 hours has left me truly questioning his conservative credentials. Putting aside the tax increases, which Huckabee apologists say in some cases were raised by others, consider:

Just how much of a Federalist can Huckabee be if he believes in a Federal law outlawing smoking in public places? I personally loathe smoking, but that should be a local and state issue, not a federal issue. First it's the cigarettes, then it's the transfats...which is a particularly legitimate concern given Huckabee's willingness to use the government to promote his pet cause, weight management (see below).

Would someone who is "insanely conservative" usurp parents' roles and mandate all schoolchildren be weighed, then send home "weight report cards"? That is a matter left for parents and their pediatricians, not schools. I loathe the constant creep of the state, via schools, into micromanaging more and more of our children's lives. The government's not supposed to try to fix every problem that exists in society, no matter how "noble" the cause, and we need to stop legislating and mandating based on the "worst parent scenario," taking freedom away from the rest of us.

As far as my research today shows, Huckabee is against school choice. True? If so, how is insisting parents -- other than those who homeschool or pay for private schools -- stay locked into one particular school, dictated by the government, conservative?

There isn't going to be a "perfect" candidate for conservatives in 2008, but as I commented at another blog today, I at least want to be clear on what the candidates' true positions are. I am finding this particularly problematic with both Romney and Huckabee, as their track records often don't match up with their currently stated conservative positions.

Best wishes,

12:40 AM  

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