I hate having to add this statement when I begin to rip into somebody, but I have to say that former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee seems like a very nice and likable guy. He has a quick wit, is very charming and is a very engaging public speaker. He is a former preacher and by all accounts is a very devout Christian as well as a devoted family man.
The problem for me is that while all of the things I have mentioned above are excellent traits and exactly the sort of things I look for in deciding who I’d want to be our next commander-in-chief, none of those are indicative of what makes one a “conservative.”
The popularity of Mike Huckabee is something that really amazes me. I’m still not sure what it is that draws so many “conservatives” to him, because as a conservative I always thought that we were smarter then that. Is it the fact that he is a smooth-talking slick snake oil salesman who has fooled people into thinking that he is in fact a “conservative?” or is it just that a vast majority of self-professed conservatives have confused Christianity and conservatism?
Unfortunately, it’s a little bit of both. Here is a bit of what I wrote last December concerning Mike Huckabee and the war against conservatism.
Much like radical leftists have hijacked the term liberal and completely redefined what it has always meant, the religious right’s 30-year-long war to hijack the term Conservative and redefine its meaning is dangerously close to being completed, and will be finalized, if Mike Huckabee were to become the Republican Presidential Candidate.
While Mike Huckabee is indeed a Republican, he is most definitely not a Conservative, by any sense of the word. The extreme religious right seemingly adores him because of his socially conservative views, but those so-called socially conservative views not only do not make Huckabee even remotely a Conservative – they go against everything it means to be a Conservative.
This 30 year war waged by the religious right on Conservatism embraces the leftist viewpoint that we as a society have a duty to help the poor, but takes it one step further by stating that it is not just a “duty” but a “moral obligation.” That is at best George W. Bush’s so-called brand of “compassionate conservatism,” which itself is not really derivative of truly Conservative principles. This ideology is a far cry from the Goldwater/Reagan principles of smaller government, individual responsibility and personal freedom.
I somehow cannot see Mike Huckabee make the same kind of statement as Ronald Reagan did during his first inaugural address when he said, “Government is not the solution to our problem. Government is the problem.”
Fortunately, and I do emphatically mean fortunately, despite the fact that he has refused to drop out of the race, Mike Huckabee has a snowballs chance in hell of winning the Republican Party’s nomination. But the damage is still done, the populist preacher’s presence in the race has served to filter voted from the truest Conservative in the race — Fred Thompson and then later the man who was the most conservative man in the race that was left at the time — Mitt Romney.
Being a good Christian is not what makes someone a conservative, while conservatives can be Christians and most are, you don’t have to be a Christian or even very religious at all to be a conservative and as a matter of fact — you can be an atheist and still be a conservative.
Conservatives also believe in maximizing freedom through decreasing the size of the federal government. We believe in free markets, fair trade, and capitalism. We believe in lowering taxes and lowering government restrictions on business. We believe in cutting the amount of government spending to the bare essentials. We believe in a strong military and national defense. We believe in secure borders and the sanctity of our country’s sovereignty and its immigration system.
We do not believe in the theory that the Constitution is a “living, breathing document,” we believe the constitution has a clear and concise meaning. We believe that “nationalized” or “socialized” anything is usually a very bad thing. We believe that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, that is why the Constitution gives us our federalist system with three branches of government and the checks & balances built within.
As I wrote two weeks ago:
Conservatism isn’t grounded in creating new policy, new processes, or new solutions. Conservatism, by its very nature is a philosophy that does not ever become out-dated. There is no need to ever redefine or improve upon what is already proven. There is no need to add the unnecessary pretext of the word “compassionate,” to Conservatism – because Conservatism by its very nature is compassionate.
Conservatives look at people and when they see them, they see potential. People with more liberal views, when they look at people, they see victims. People with more liberal viewpoints want to use government to try to “help others.” Conservatives, don’t trust the government and don’t want to use the government towards those means – we want the government out of the way, so people can lift themselves up and succeed on their own merits. As the late great, Ronald Reagan – the last Conservative we had in the Oval Office said, “Government is not the solution to our problem. Government is the problem.”
The first concern of a Conservative is “Are we maximizing freedom?” Anybody who wants to use the government for these sort of means is not a genuine Conservative. As a Conservative, as somebody who believes in the time-tested and proven truths of Conservatism – I do not want anybody who is not a Conservative being a representative of my beliefs and of Conservatism in America, you either are or you aren’t.
As far as Mike Huckabee goes, he is most definitely not a Conservative. He keeps saying he is, but I prefer to judge people by their actions and not their words, and these are the actions of Mike Huckabee as Governor of Arkansas:
Immediately upon taking office, Governor Huckabee signed a sales tax hike in 1996 to fund the Games and Fishing Commission and the Department of Parks and Tourism.
- He supported an internet sales tax in 2001.
- He publicly opposed the repeal of a sales tax on groceries and medicine in 2002.
- He signed bills raising taxes on gasoline (1999), cigarettes (2003), and a $5.25 per day bed-tax on private nursing home patients in 2001.
- He proposed another sales take hike in 2002 to fund education improvements.
- He opposed a congressional measure to ban internet taxes in 2003.
- In 2004, he allowed a 17% sales tax increase to become law.
- Raised the minimum wage in April 2006 from $5.15 to $6.25 an hour and encouraged Congress to take the same initiative on a national level, a proposal that President Bush and most congressional GOP members oppose.
- Sought to take revenue from his tax hike proposal to be used on economic development projects in 2002
- Threatened to investigate price-gouging after 9/11 if gasoline prices went up too high
- Ordered regulatory agencies in Arkansas to investigate price-gouging in the nursing home industry
- Signed a bill into law that would prevent companies from raising their prices a mere 10% ahead of a natural disaster; services like roof repair and tree removal were targeted.
Those are not the actions of a Conservative, they are the actions of a John Edwards type of liberal democrat, albeit in the Huckster’s case a liberal democrat who just so happens to be a “good Christian man.” We had a man like that in office once and his name was Jimmy Carter.