Saturday, December 1, 2007

Candidate Analysis: Mike Huckabee

Candidate: Mike Huckabee
Party: Republican
Political Background: Former Governor of Arkansas
Campaign Website: http://www.mikehuckabee.com/

GOP Appeal: Supports FairTax and/or tax code overhaul and simplification, background as Baptist minister appeals to evangelicals, anti-abortion, pro-capital punishment, knows how to attract minority vote, energy plan includes nuclear power, pro-traditional marriage, anti-LOST, pro-free market but with fair trade, pro-strengthening of 10th Amendment (granting of powers to states and to people), pro-2nd Amendment, opposes universal health care, strong belief in personal responsibility, anti-Fairness Doctrine, strong stance on Iran, believes we have responsibility in Iraq, supports vouchers for private schools.

Cross-over Appeal to Dems: Fiscal moderate who appealed to progressives in Arkansas, acknowledges consensus on abortion can never be reached, anti-"3 strikes" law, does not pander to evangelicals despite rabid support from that bloc of voters, good environmental record, fair trade stance has bipartisan appeal, strong advocate of healthy lifestyles due to incredible weight-loss, does not support privatization of Social Security, equal support for public schools as private schools.

Cons: Has mixed record on spending control as Governor, FairTax has mixed support from both parties and many are against it, stances on abortion and gay marriage alienate many moderate and liberal votes, much of his cross-over appeal is at the expense of Republican support, mixed immigration record does not help with GOP base.

My Personal Thoughts: Huckabee is an interesting case, because his policies are all over the board. He's a definite social conservative (without overtly pandering to SoCons and evangelicals), and is a fiscal moderate. He has an honest, "this is who I am and I won't lie to you about it" attitude that people respect and it is an endearing quality to many people. Also, he has a sense of humor and ease about him that is similar to Fred Thompson.

What Huckabee does not have is a record that will appeal to enough Republicans to win him a nomination. Yes, Huckabee's policies will play well in places like Iowa, where you find that the majority of voters are SoCons and fiscal moderates...but he will have problems in other states, where guys like Romney, McCain, Giuliani, and Thompson all have distinct advantages.

Yes, he did cut taxes 90 times as Governor of Arkansas, and he also refused to raise taxes during a budget shortfall...but his state's spending went up 65.3% when during his two terms and he raised taxes 21 times. It's very hard to get a handle on Huckabee's actual positions when you compare his past record to his future plans.

BUT (there's always a "but"), Huckabee's honest approach is also the kind that GOP voters can respect and live with. The fact that he has said, "yes, this is how I feel, this is how I think, this is what I did, and this is what I'm going to do," on every issue and on every question thrown his way is why Huckabee has begun to win over many voters. While you may not agree with him on issues or policy, that kind of honesty is honorable and could win him some surprising votes.

3 comments:

Vote For Hillary Online said...

If the list of candidates to choose from was a line of port-o-potties outside a concert, Huckabee would be the one overflowing with diarrhea.
If you want a real candidate with real values, then you want Hillary Clinton. Just trust me.

Vote For Hillary Online

Phil Chroniger said...

That's funny, because many people say that Huckabee is Bill Clinton with morals.

Both from Hope, Arkansas...both former Governors of that state...both had fiscally centrist records as Governor...both are smooth with handling the media...both of them had wives with political ambitions...

Is this an indication that the Hillary people feeling threatened by Mike Huckabee?

I have already decided on a real candidate with real values...look at my sidebar on the left, and you'll see Fred Thompson.

Ian said...

Increasingly, Mike Huckabee has the look of leadership. Huckabee's ardent support for the FairTax sets him apart from all other viable presidential candidates.

The FairTax Act of 2007 (HR 25/ S 1025) represents a prospective power shift of massive proportions in America. It lays out a practical ideal of voluntary payment of taxes, based on a substantial level of taxpayer choice that the plan affords. Since FairTax untaxes basic necessities (up to socially-accepted poverty-level spending), what is taxed is marginal, and/or desired or preferred, on a broader base of retail products and services. This is to say that the taxpayer may, under the FairTax, choose to purchase used products and avoid paying the tax. And, to the extent desired, the taxpayer may choose to self-perform certain services rather than pay for them. This will stimulate do-it-yourself education, improve citizens' self-reliance; indeed the FairTax represents the possibility of ushering in a new can-do, citizen psychology that would accrue to greater demands for government accountability - truly, a socio-cultural sea change, or - better - a restoration of a freeholder mindset on account that politicians could no longer directly grab dollars from paychecks, nor could they grap operating capital from businesses.

Government is the "necessary glue" that enables the social fabric to cohere. It does this by effecting "rules" that ostensibly provide members with equitable access to wealth and resources. It also must provide ostensibly equitable enforcement of those rules in order to mitigate threats to the social fabric. It is unrealistic to believe that the structures of a national government can be supported on donations, thus the need for taxes. Naysayers love to characterize anything purporting to be a "fair tax" as an oxymoron - but it is not true. The idea of fairness has to do with equitable sharing in the cost by all members who depend upon the social fabric for food, shelter, clothing and post-necessity economic enterprise. And, because of the shift of power from politicians and special interests under an enacted FairTax, the elected will find it more difficult to both enlarge government, and implement any dual system of taxation. FairTax strategist, Dennis Calabrese, discusses how the FairTax repeals the income tax, how it does away with the IRS, and how it addresses other aspects of frequent concern to skeptics.

The FairTax has a much greater opportunity for success to operate as a "self-regulating" mechanism because of increased visibility. One finds that the current system, ostensibly regulated by the Internal Revenue Code, is in fact poorly regulated because of continually increasing complexity (the effect of tax favors from politicians, through lobbyists, to favored corporations and other special interests) stemming from the desire by those holding government position to steer public behavior using tax code "carrots." We have seen how 100 years of this type of behavior has eroded the Nation's currency and the purchasing power of working family incomes. "Visionist," Tom Frey believes the current tax system will simply collapse; and economist Laurence Kotlikoff heralds - short of enactment of FairTax (or an otherwise unlikely change in spending habits) - the U.S. will shortly face an irrevocable economic breakdown. (Kotlikoff believes that passage of the FairTax can stave off the economic ruin we're facing, but would be surprised to see it happen.)

Frey and Kotlikoff may be right on both counts, and we may not be able to successfully evoke change; but shall we not try?

Mike Huckabee believes we should.


(Permission granted to republish, in whole or part. -Ian)