Until the past few weeks, I liked Mike Huckabee. What was there not to like? His clever witt, along with his excellent stances on social issues like abortion and gun rights, made him a candidate that was easy for me to like.
So what made me change my mind? Well if you’ve read my blogs before, you’d know that I’m a huge Romney supporter and I had never considered Mike Huckabee to be much of a threat to him. But then recently, things have started to change. At this point, one might automatically conclude that this is the sole reason for my dislike of the Huckster.
Unfortunately, such is not the case.
I’ve considered the pros and cons of all the candidates. I even strongly considered Fred Thompson at one point. I don’t like Rudy based on social issues. I don’t like McCain because of his poor immigration policy, along with a host of other problems. Ron Paul was just too crazy. Mike Huckabee just seemed to be that guy that had all the right stances, but just didn’t seem to stand a chance at winning the primary, much less the general election. Oh how I wish it were that simple.
When a candidate reaches the top tier like Huckabee has, their record is subject to a higher level of scrutiny. Guys like Giuliani, Romney, McCain, and Thompson have already had most of their dirt brought to light. I’d like to think that if there had any more skeletons in their closets, they would’ve been found by now. But now it’s Huckabee’s turn. What kind of skeletons will he have to face? Let’s take a look.
Raising taxes is almost always a no-no for Republicans. We cut taxes, we don’t increase them. We leave that to the Democrats. But I really don’t think there’s any excuse for this:
Any tax you want to raise, I’ll raise it. Wow. Not only is he begging to raise taxes, it sounds like he’s desperate to do so. This is extremely troubling from a fiscal standpoint. Perhaps that’s why he’s in favor of the Fair Tax: so he doesn’t have to deal with making as many tough decisions on taxes.
Now Huckabee and his campaign would be quick to point out that they also issued tax cuts. This is true. But unfortunately the Governor can’t take credit for all of them. Plus there’s just one little problem: he also raised taxes. It wouldn’t be so bad if his tax adjusting amounted to a net decrease, but instead it amounted to a net increase of over $500 million. The toll it took on the people of Arkansas? A tax burden that was increased by 47%.
Club for Growth, a conservative PAC that advocates pro-growth, pro-economy fiscal policies, has generated “white papers” on each major GOP candidate, deeply analyzing their decisions in the areas of taxes, spending, school choice, free trade, Social Security, and tort reform. They issued their “white paper” on Huckabee on January 29th, 2007. When Huckabee found their analysis was not to his liking, he referred to them as “Club for Greed,” dismissing their factual and well-researched conclusions.
The Cato Institute gave Huckabee a grade of “F” in fiscal discipline for his final term in office, along with an overall grade of “D,” surpassed by even liberal Democrat governors like Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania.
Unlike successful Republican governors Mitt Romney, Matt Blunt, Haley Barbour, and Bob Riley, Huckabee was unable to manage his state in such a way that would avoid a significant raise in taxes. Instead, Huckabee employed the default Democratic option: when all else fails, raise taxes.
To my surprise, Huckabee was also very poor on illegal immigration. Some have even referred to his record on immigration as “a disaster.” In Arkansas, Huckabee gave tuition breaks for the children of illegal immigrants, to which his response is “you don’t punish children for the sins of their parents.” The only problem is that he later said he would oppose federal aid for the same people. And they call Mitt Romney a flip-flopper…
When legislation requiring a proof of citizenship for voter registration was introduced, Huckabee denounced it as un-Christian and un-American.
His record is extremely dismal here. If I wanted amnesty for illegal immigrants, I’d vote for John McCain.
Mike Huckabee granted clemency to more criminals in the state of Arkansas than all of the other six neighboring states combined. Over a 10 year span, Huckabee released 703 criminals during his administration, roughly 70 a year for 10 years, which basically amounts to the release of a felon every 5 days. Eleven of those were murderers. The Wayne Dumond case almost goes without saying. For more information on the clemencies granted by Huckabee, you can go here.
I’d like to begin this section with a few quotes from Mike Huckabee:
“I may not be the expert that some people are on foreign policy, but I did stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night.”
“I really wasn’t that aware of a lot of the issues that exist between Cuba and the United States.”
When asked about the latest National Intelligence Estimate report on Iran, Huckabee had absolutely no clue what it was all about. What are we going to do about Iran, Mike?
Clearly, Mike Huckabee may be the worst Republican in this race on foreign policy besides Ron Paul. But at least Ron Paul’s stances on foreign policy are educated and somewhat rational. Huckabee’s are nearly non-existent.
Other Things That Bother Me
It almost baffles me why any candidate would support quarantining AIDS patients. He even believed that AIDS could be spread by casual contact!
As governor of Arkansas, Huckabee received thousands of dollars in gifts, which in and of itself isn’t illegal or even necessarily unethical. But considering that one of the gift givers received an appointment from Huckabee makes me suspicious. Not to mention the fact that he and his wife actually registered at Dillard’s and Target for gifts they wanted:
Another thing that urks me is his insistence that God is propelling him towards victory. Now, I’m a God-fearing Christian that believes that the Almighty works in the affairs of mankind, but I’m a bit hesitant to point to poll numbers and popularity and refer to it as the “providence of God.” That’d be like me saying that Britney Spears’ album sales were so high because God prefers her over the Eagles.
Mike Huckabee is great when it comes to abortion. He’s got a 100% pro-life record as far as I know. He’s great on gun control. The NRA probably loves this guy for supporting the 2nd Amendment. Those two issues are near and dear to my heart. In fact, they are part of why I’m a Republican.
If those two issues were all that mattered, I might have even considered voting for Huckabee in the primary. But upon examining his fiscal policies, along with his record on immigration, foreign policy and crime, I couldn’t possibly find myself voting for him to be the nominee of the Republican party in 2008. However, should he win the nomination, as with virtually all of the GOP candidates, I would vote for him in the general election.