Fiscal conservatives: Anyone but Huckabee

posted at 11:39 am on October 26, 2007 by Allahpundit

That’s an exaggeration but only a slight one per the dueting pieces this morning from John Fund in the WSJ and Club For Growth president Pat Toomey in NRO. Let’s see: he’s soft on immigration, a nanny-stater on health issues, socially conservative, ethically questionable, and John Edwards-ish on economic policy? Where do I sign up?

Fund:

Betsy Hagan, Arkansas director of the conservative Eagle Forum and a key backer of his early runs for office, was once “his No. 1 fan.” She was bitterly disappointed with his record. “He was pro-life and pro-gun, but otherwise a liberal,” she says. “Just like Bill Clinton he will charm you, but don’t be surprised if he takes a completely different turn in office.”

Phyllis Schlafly, president of the national Eagle Forum, is even more blunt. “He destroyed the conservative movement in Arkansas, and left the Republican Party a shambles,” she says. “Yet some of the same evangelicals who sold us on George W. Bush as a ‘compassionate conservative’ are now trying to sell us on Mike Huckabee.”

The business community in Arkansas is split. Some praise Mr. Huckabee’s efforts to raise taxes to repair roads and work with an overwhelmingly Democratic legislature. Free-market advocates are skeptical. “He has zero intellectual underpinnings in the conservative movement,” says Blant Hurt, a former part owner of, and columnist for, Arkansas Business magazine. “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.”

Toomey:

A big-government liberal like Mike Huckabee, who takes pleasure in attacking the Republican party as the “party of Wall Street,” will only reinforce the image of Republicans as “the big spenders that they used to oppose.” A Huckabee nomination, even as vice president, will make it impossible for the Republican party to reclaim its brand of fiscal conservatism and limited government, without which it cannot be a majority party again.

Huckabee makes no secret of his desire to turn the GOP leftward, calling himself a “different kind of Republican,” adopting protectionist positions, and peppering his campaign speeches with the kind of class warfare rhetoric one expects to hear from John Edwards. No doubt, this is the reason that the liberal media is so smitten with him.

Instead of talking about curtailing government spending, Huckabee refuses to endorse President Bush’s veto of a vastly expanded S-CHIP. He is an unabashed fan of No Child Left Behind and an opponent of private school choice. Huckabee is also quickly becoming the labor unions’ favorite Republican, recently gaining a union endorsement along with Hillary Clinton.

Why hold Huckabee’s leftist tendencies against him when we’re willing to forgive in Rudy’s and Mitt’s case? Because, unlike them, he shows no signs of changing his ways, even for electoral advantage. He’s ahead of Giuliani and just behind Fred in Iowa per the RCP average, although as Toomey says, he’s clearly only running to place himself in VP contention. Exit question: In light of all this, would adding Huck to the ticket make Rudy more or less likely to win? You’ll have a socially liberal, fiscally conservative top of the ticket and a socially conservative, fiscally liberal bottom. Is that a net gain by picking up independents and social cons or a net loss by giving conservatives like Fund and Toomey even more reason to stay home? I’m guessing the former, especially with Huckabee out on the trail doing what he does best.


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Why hold Huckabee’s leftist tendencies against him when we’re willing to forgive in Rudy’s and Mitt’s case? Because, unlike them, he shows no signs of changing his ways, even for electoral advantage.

Sorry Allah, but I don’t buy it from Rudy or Mitt any more than I would from Huck. I want someone who doesn’t need to change their positions. Why is that so much to ask, particularly after we should have learned a lesson from our buddy Jorge W?

MadisonConservative on October 26, 2007 at 11:41 AM

I vote “NO” on Huckabee for Prez or VP.

I vote “YES” for Michael Steele for Prez or VP.

ColtsFan on October 26, 2007 at 11:43 AM

Why hold Huckabee’s leftist tendencies against him when we’re willing to forgive in Rudy’s and Mitt’s case?

Because Huck’s views actually would impact us over the entire economic scale.

Spirit of 1776 on October 26, 2007 at 11:49 AM

Money is the root of all evil. Mike Huckabee will protect you!

Dusty on October 26, 2007 at 11:53 AM

He’s pushing for the Fair Tax and an abolition of the IRS. How bad can he be?

tommuck on October 26, 2007 at 11:56 AM

In light of all this, would adding Huck to the ticket make Rudy more or less likely to win? You’ll have a socially liberal, fiscally conservative top of the ticket and a socially conservative, fiscally liberal bottom.

A lose-lose proposition for us.

Thanks for pointing out Huck’s strategy. He’s in it for a VP slot. A “Rudy/Mike” ticket of that combination would guarantee us a Hillary term.

Can we conservatives rally around a real conservative in the primaries? Think of the nightmare words, “Madam President…”

Texas Nick 77 on October 26, 2007 at 12:00 PM

Tom’s right. I like Huck on the Fair Tax. I’m wondering now, though, if he’s for the Fair Tax bringing in extra revenue so he can spend like a liberal (or like Dubya).

crushliberalism on October 26, 2007 at 12:02 PM

Huck sucks.

Bad Candy on October 26, 2007 at 12:04 PM

Talk about overexaggeration against Huck. This is just the Romney/Thompson supporters deciding to FINALLY attack Huck since he is pulling away from their base of support.

EduardoOTI on October 26, 2007 at 12:05 PM

Exit question: In light of all this, would adding Huck to the ticket make Rudy more or less likely to win?

I’m pretty sure Rudy’s going to need a socially conservative Southerner as VP in order to make a run at Hillary. And Fred Thompson is too tall.

Enrique on October 26, 2007 at 12:06 PM

He’s pushing for the Fair Tax and an abolition of the IRS.

A policy position obviously cribbed from Ron Paul and an indication, therefore, of the Huckster’s implicit Nazi tendencies.

Remember well the words of Mrs. Huckabee, my friends:

” [...] you’d want to know who he was married to, and then his wife would be German descent, and you’d have Mike, you’d have him responsible for 600,000 killings of Jews.”

http://www.spectator.org/dsp_article.asp?art_id=12205

Coincidence? I think not.

tad on October 26, 2007 at 12:06 PM

Nah, I’ve never liked Huck since his announcement that he’d like to impose Prohibition on tobacco. Screw that crap, and I don’t even smoke. Take his Nanny State BS and go home.

Bad Candy on October 26, 2007 at 12:09 PM

Phyllis Schlafly, president of the national Eagle Forum, is even more blunt. “He destroyed the conservative movement in Arkansas, and left the Republican Party a shambles,” she says. “Yet some of the same evangelicals who sold us on George W. Bush as a ‘compassionate conservative’ are now trying to sell us on Mike Huckabee.”

I find this kind of odd. Schlafly was a panelist at the Values Voter debate where Huckabee won hands down. The talk before the debate was all about finding a candidate Values Voters could unite behind and they were hoping that the debate would lead to that candidate. Now the VERY clear winner of it they don’t want to back?

I was very impressed by Huckabee at the debate. He gave some good answers about the tax increases as to why they happened. Also just because he doesn’t support NAFTA and CAFTA doesn’t make him a protectionist. He was not denouncing them on protectionist principles.

These are just rhetorical attacks delivered to him by people he’s attacked similarly in the past and it’s very off putting on both accounts. I’m more disappointed with Huckabee not because of his views but in how he has handled disagreements with other conservatives on issues. He kind of deserves the dishonest twisting of his positions at this point.

His past immigration stance is most troubling to me though. I’ve never seen him give anything other than what I consider a correct answer on the issue and yet he has a history of saying and doing things that are quite the opposite.

bj1126 on October 26, 2007 at 12:10 PM

Just wait until Republican Conservatives learn that Huck is a carbon taxer too.

Zetterson on October 26, 2007 at 12:16 PM

Nah, I’ve never liked Huck since his announcement that he’d like to impose Prohibition on tobacco. Screw that crap, and I don’t even smoke. Take his Nanny State BS and go home.

Bad Candy on October 26, 2007 at 12:09 PM

Yeah, tobacco is one thing, but how about the fact that he wants to tax carbon emmissions a la the Goracle? That is a deal breaker as far as I’m concerned.

Zetterson on October 26, 2007 at 12:17 PM

Not necessarily a Huckabee fan, but he’s the one who started that ingenious “Tax Me More” fund, so that lefties could donate more of their income to the state.

That was pretty awesome. Other states tried to follow his lead.

DaveS on October 26, 2007 at 12:21 PM

That’s the theory, anyway. But things have worked out differently: At last report, the fund had raised about $1,900.

That sum would barely cover of the Huckabee’s boat payments.

tad on October 26, 2007 at 12:24 PM

one*

tad on October 26, 2007 at 12:24 PM

Talk about overexaggeration against Huck. This is just the Romney/Thompson supporters deciding to FINALLY attack Huck since he is pulling away from their base of support.

EduardoOTI on October 26, 2007 at 12:05 PM

Care to elaborate on what in particular was an “overexaggeration”? Of course he’s getting more scrutiny now that he’s gained more support. However, there’s a lot not to like once you dig deeper than his nice guy persona.

He’s a big government nanny stater; a less hawkish GW Bush. No thanks.

Hollowpoint on October 26, 2007 at 12:26 PM

He’s pushing for the Fair Tax and an abolition of the IRS. How bad can he be?

tommuck on October 26, 2007 at 11:56 AM

Yawn. I seem to remember candidates advocating similar plans in previous elections. It’s an easy stance to have, because he knows there’s no chance of actually implementing it.

The Fair Tax could just as easily have the effect of a tax increase. Based on his record, Huckster isn’t to be trusted.

Hollowpoint on October 26, 2007 at 12:29 PM

What are the odds of abolishing the IRS with Democrats controlling Congress?

Taking that into account, a wager on the Cubs winning the World Series looks appealing.

This is chatter to excite the base, but there’s no chance the IRS is going away any time soon. Can we please parse the rhetoric from the realism?

gabriel sutherland on October 26, 2007 at 12:33 PM

Why hold Huckabee’s leftist tendencies against him when we’re willing to forgive in Rudy’s and Mitt’s case?

I wish I knew. I’m still beyond baffled that someone who was passionately anti-2nd Amendment, pro-sanctuary city, pro-affirmitive action, pro-choice, pro-federal abortion funding, and pro-amnesty could be the front-runner for the Republican nomination. Or that they’d buy into Mitt’s pre-campaign overnight “epiphany”.

The only explanation is that Hillary has driven the Republican party into some kind of irrational panic that has left voters unable to honestly evaluate candidates against their own views and those of the Republican platform.

When I see conservatives get behind Rudy or Mitt- both RINO to the core- I feel like I’m the only sober one in a room full of people tripping on LSD and chasing a pink elephant that only they can see.

Hollowpoint on October 26, 2007 at 12:43 PM

When I see conservatives get behind Rudy or Mitt- both RINO to the core- I feel like I’m the only sober one in a room full of people tripping on LSD and chasing a pink elephant that only they can see.

Hollowpoint on October 26, 2007 at 12:43 PM

You are not alone.

“I tremble in fear for my country when I remember that God is just.”

I can’t remember which one of the Founding Fathers said that. But I feel the Republic is facing some very hard times in the next five years. Or longer.

Much longer.

Texas Nick 77 on October 26, 2007 at 12:54 PM

I can’t remember which one of the Founding Fathers said that.

That’s Jefferson

Spirit of 1776 on October 26, 2007 at 1:07 PM

I can’t remember which one of the Founding Fathers said that.
That’s Jefferson

Spirit of 1776 on October 26, 2007 at 1:07 PM

Thanks. Glad to see another history buff here.

Texas Nick 77 on October 26, 2007 at 1:22 PM

he’s soft on immigration

Maybe this is a minor point, but I don’t like the word choice “soft on immigration”. Why not be more descriptive and say his stance on immigration is close to an open borders policy?

thuja on October 26, 2007 at 1:23 PM

It’s not an open borders policy. Like most Americans he supports a path to citizenship once border enforcement is in place. He’s with the majority on this.

Spacen on October 26, 2007 at 1:28 PM

But he’s an evangelical Christian that’s strong on our pet issue, so that’s all that matters!!!

Huckabee is bad news, and always has been.

Patriot33 on October 26, 2007 at 1:28 PM

He’s with the majority on this.

I wasn’t aware that the majority thought that God was giving us an opportunity to atone for slavery by ‘comprehensive immigration reform’ aka amnesty.

Spirit of 1776 on October 26, 2007 at 1:40 PM

I’m beginning to think Huckabee is showing such signs of strength that the pundits who support other candidates are bringing out the big guns. The facts are that Huckabee is indeed a fiscal conservative, supports the Fair Tax, supports school choice (HSLDA, the largest home schooling organization in America, has endorsed him), has a great track record on preventative health care, fights for common sense economic opportunities for the poor, and he holds a reasonable position on immigration: secure the border NOW and then deal fairly yet strictly with illegals on the merits (good or bad) of their criminal record and other factors. Just because he’s not keen on deporting millions of people doesn’t mean he’s “soft” on illegal immigration.

Huckabee is the only GOP candidate besides Ron Paul who has motivated a huge groundswell of grassroots support, and unlike Paul his views are far more mainstream and in step with the broad conservative base. It’s no wonder he’s shooting up in the polls, is overtaking Romney, and will soon be giving Thompson and Giuliani a run for their money.

Jared White on October 26, 2007 at 2:03 PM

It’s not an open borders policy. Like most Americans he supports a path to citizenship once border enforcement is in place. He’s with the majority on this.

Spacen on October 26, 2007 at 1:28 PM

Sre you talking about the majority of illegal aliens?

‘Amnesty’ is the word that brought down the immigration ‘reform’ bills. Sponsors complain when their bill is tagged ‘amnesty’ because it scares the public

Huckabee according to Wikpedia never saw a single person who could prove he lost a job to an illegal so of course Huckabee would have trouble locating a single citizen who objected to ‘amnesty’ for 20 million illegals either

entagor on October 26, 2007 at 2:07 PM

I’m beginning to think Huckabee is showing such signs of strength that the pundits who support other candidates are bringing out the big guns. The facts are that Huckabee is indeed a fiscal conservative…
Jared White on October 26, 2007 at 2:03 PM

He was given a pass on his record before because as a second tier candidate no one was paying attention to him.

And he’s a fiscal conservative??? He raised taxes and spending as governor, and still supports big government programs. The facts are that he’s a fiscal liberal who’s hoping that social cons won’t notice his actual record, which ain’t good.

He’s going nowhere, except maybe to get a VP slot. We don’t need a nicer, more eloquent version of GW Bush- which is exactly what Huckster is.

Hollowpoint on October 26, 2007 at 2:10 PM

The logical fallacy is that the base will turn out for the “liberal conservative”, the “evolving conservative”, the “acts conservative”, or the “not conservative”.

Huckabee needs to be given a chance to respond.

moughon on October 26, 2007 at 2:16 PM

Huckabee is the only GOP candidate besides Ron Paul who has motivated a huge groundswell of grassroots support, and unlike Paul his views are far more mainstream and in step with the broad conservative base. It’s no wonder he’s shooting up in the polls, is overtaking Romney, and will soon be giving Thompson and Giuliani a run for their money.

I don’t know about the grassroots, but he certainly is the darling of the established media right now. Now one can hold the belief that that is a factor of his second place finish, or like Paul, one can recognize that they see something in common and therefore praise him. Remember how beloved McCain was in the media when he was the maverick bucking the party line to do liberal leaning things.

Spirit of 1776 on October 26, 2007 at 2:37 PM

RL Dabney:

“American conservatism is merely the shadow that follows Radicalism as it moves forward to perdition. It remains behind it, but never retards it, and always advances near its leader.

This pretended salt hath utterly lost its savor: wherewith shall it be salted? Its impotency is not hard to explain. It is worthless because it is the conservatism of expediency only, and not of sturdy principle. It tends to risk nothing serious for the sake of truth.”

MT on October 26, 2007 at 2:42 PM

Why hold Huckabee’s leftist tendencies against him when we’re willing to forgive in Rudy’s and Mitt’s case?

Who is we?

Scratch all three off my list. Leaves Fred, no?

TexasDan on October 26, 2007 at 2:54 PM

Huckabee numerous times has defended the few specific cases in which he raised taxes in Arkansas. Frankly, the fact that he raised taxes on cigarettes by over 100% percent actually endears me to him. Other that that, calling him a tax-and-spend liberal is just flat out absurd.

Jared White on October 26, 2007 at 2:57 PM

Yeah, tobacco is one thing, but how about the fact that he wants to tax carbon emmissions a la the Goracle? That is a deal breaker as far as I’m concerned.

Zetterson on October 26, 2007 at 12:17 PM

I am a smoker, wish I wasn’t, so take it way from me…please. BUT – ditto Zett, I’m outraged that the lies about carbon impress so many naive believers. The debate is not over, it has only just begun. I will never submit.

taterblade on October 26, 2007 at 3:02 PM

There is a great response to at least the WSJ article at http://roebuckreport.blogspot.com/2007/10/funds-column-assassination-of-huckabee.html

The WSJ is obviously pulling for Rudy since they believe him to be the most fiscally conservative. That doesn’t mean Huckabee isn’t. I find it disappointing that HotAir and the commenters here are so quick to rush to judgment.

Spacen on October 26, 2007 at 3:10 PM

He’s pushing for the Fair Tax and an abolition of the IRS. How bad can he be?

tommuck on October 26, 2007 at 11:56 AM

indeed

Sammy316 on October 26, 2007 at 3:12 PM

Texas Nick 77 on October 26, 2007 at 1:22 PM

Heh, yeah you have company here:)

Spirit of 1776 on October 26, 2007 at 5:08 PM

As of today Huckabee is in the top tier

Unstopable!

moughon on October 26, 2007 at 5:57 PM

Any Republican candidate who is mentioned in the same sentence with Ron Paul should be subjected to some serious reflection. I speak as one who actually voted for Ron in 1980.

Mea culpa. Mea MAXIMA * culpa.

* insert explective deleted here.

Texas Nick 77 on October 27, 2007 at 11:41 AM