Washington Watch: Huckabee: The underdog on the march

This Article is a great read, I found it here from insightmag.com.

The summer of 2007 has come and gone with one Republican Cinderella fading quickly while another rises rapidly: such is the contrast between Fred Thompson and Mike Huckabee. Since various candidates have thrown their hat in the ring for the Republican nomination, the conservative base has been asking: Who is our man? While Giuliani has the greatest charisma and national appeal, his stance on social issues has left conservatives cold. They cannot find the energy to support him. He appears, at best, to be “the one who can stop Hillary.” But this is like voting for a plumber, not a president.

For months, conservatives have been hoping that there is an individual, a hidden savior who will emerge to captivate their hearts. Until Thompson became an official candidate, he was the mythical “Reagan”: perhaps this actor too would have the charm, grace and conservative credentials of the Great Communicator. No sooner has Thompson made his official bid than it has become painfully obvious that he is a horrible speaker, has no new ideas and is not likely to win the Republican nomination.

For example, at the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) conference in July, Thompson presented a speech in a room full of journalists and state legislators. Here was his opportunity to impress an important group of opinion makers. Instead, he appeared ill-prepared, he wore glasses and looked down as he read his speech, made little eye contact and uttered themes that could have been taken from a lecture written twenty years ago. “The size of the federal government must be reduced,” he declared. Really? Did he come to that conclusion in between takes of Law and Order? He did not have any fresh ideas on how exactly the Government Mammoth can be shrunk nor did he seem to recognize that the electorate is more concerned with the state of Britney Spear’s mental health than with the size of government. In short, he was bland, lethargic and woefully out of touch. The reaction in the room was a harbinger of the national reaction to come: great hope fading into disillusionment and then sheer indifference.

National polls indicate that Rudy Giuliani still leads the Republican pack. Even conservatives reluctantly have to admit that a plumber, after all, is better than the handyman who doesn’t want to come to your home, doesn’t initially have the right address and doesn’t know what to do when he finally gets there. Thompson will turn out to be the summer fling of 2007.

Yet, as disappointing as is Thompson, there is hope on the horizon for conservatives; there is a dark horse on the march–one whose mane gleams a little brighter every day, and one who, as he gallops forward from the sunny horizon, has a gleam that goes from black to sheer white. The contrast between Thompson and Huckabee could not be greater. When Huckabee spoke at the very same venue, the crowd was mesmerized and moved. He is full of energy and zeal; eager to improve an America he clearly loves.

Mike Huckabee, the former Baptist preacher and two-term governor of Arkansas, has all of the skills, attributes and credentials conservatives have been looking for. He is an avid and uncompromising proponent of life. His brave, passionate speeches against abortion have been amongst the most stirring of the campaign so far. He opposes same-sex marriage and civil unions; he supports teaching creationism in public schools. He is not packaged, stiff and artificial: he speaks with the depth of conviction of a man who has a spiritual life. He is, in essence, an authentic Christian.

Moreover, he has been consistent and firm on the war on terror. He has a steely and level-headed view of the dangers presented by Islamic fascism. He has not buckled under the weight of public opinion—he has supported Bush’s troop surge and has even expressed his support for the Guantanamo Bay detention camp. On foreign affairs, he speaks in a clear, forthright and uncompromising manner—as a leader confronting national enemies should.

He has also been prone to a few folksy antics which have rendered him endearing to the Arkansas electorate and which reveal his overall ability to relate to the common man: in order to garner support for a sales tax to improve the state’s park system he traveled across the Arkansas river in a boat; when the Governor’s mansion was being remodeled, he moved into a mobile home on the mansion grounds in order to save the state money; he lost 110 pounds due to a medical recommendation, then wrote a health book and ran a marathon. He has also secured the people’s trust by his actions as governor: for example, he provided speedy assistance for Katrina victims who fled to Arkansas and he was on the vanguard in health care in providing a program that cut the number of uninsured children in his state in half (from 18% to 9%). Due to his record in Arkansas, he was declared by Time magazine in November 2005 to be one of the five best governors in the U.S.

Conservatives may be a little weary of his fiscal record and his lax views on immigration. Nonetheless, they can count on him to be consistent in his social conservatism and his defense of national interests. More than any of this, he is a man of character. He, unlike Giuliani, can represent a striking contrast to the libertinism of the Clintons.

It is no wonder then that as Republicans take stock of their options, Mike Huckabee surges ahead. In August, Newt Gingrich referred to Huckabee “as the most interesting dark horse”; Gingrich predicted that Huckabee will catch fire with Republican primary voters due to his candor and authenticity. In fact, in the Iowa straw poll in August, Huckabee came in second behind Romney—all the more remarkable given how much less money the former Arkansas governor has spent on his campaign. Huckabee is also making headway in New Hampshire and South Carolina. Thus, in the summer of 2007, the Cinderella conservatives have been looking for did not turn out to be Fred Thompson. Instead, the glass slipper best fits the underdog candidate who was already in the race.

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3 Responses

  1. I am just in complete disbelief!

    The campaign is falling apart and some in Arkansas are saying Huckabee is coming to reality that its all over. I was a volunteer and a donor and today with his weak weak weak fundraising numbers I can’t continue to support Huckabee.

    We need to find another conservative to rally! Let me know if you have any Cinderealla conservatives who can actually compete.

  2. Mike Huckabee is a frugal guy and He can do more with the little that he raised than some of the big boys can. Also I just recieved an email from Mike Huckabee campaign stating that in the last 10 days, they are pulling $20, 000 in online donations a day and that in the first three days of october they have raised $160,000! I can’t believe you would change your vote simply because of an amount raised, is this campaign about who can raise the most money or who has the best Ideas? I still like Mike!!!!

  3. Huckabee is an adroit public speaker. He communicates his message in life-like, cogent terms, with compelling examples like the story he told (at the Ames Straw Poll) of what his then-11-yo daughter entered into the “Comments” section of a Visitors Book after visiting the Yad Vashem holocaust museum: “Why didn’t somebody do something?” Very effective.

    Huckabee is all about calling his listeners to “do something,” to awaken them to their own empowerment, and summon them to action in order that “Main Street,” and not “Wall Street,” will prevail in guarding the values and beliefs upon which the Republic was founded.

    Huckabee puts his listeners at ease, and reassures them, articulating clear concepts in a natural, easy style (no doubt something well-cultivated as a pastor). He’s not angry or demanding, like a Ron Paul, nor is he as “rigidly-scripted” as Romney, and his large brown eyes peer through a humble demeanor, drawing a striking contrast to a somewhat mechanical-squinty Brownback. One can easily imagine sitting comfortably with this man over a cup of coffee at the Main Street Cafe.

    Most importantly, Huckabee convinces many that he is ONE with the FairTax grassroots movement. While many – like Romney, and others, who are invested in the current income tax system – seek to demagog ( http://snipurl.com/taxpanelrebutted ) the well-researched FairTax plan, its acceptance in the professional / academic community ( http://snipurl.com/econsopenletter ) continues to grow. Renown economist Laurence Kotlikoff believes that failure to enact the FairTax – choosing instead to try to “flatten” what he deems to be a non-flattenable income tax system – will eventuate into an irrevocable economic meltdown ( http://snipurl.com/meltdowninprogress ) because of the hidden aspects of the current system that make political accountability impossible.

    Romney’s recent WEAK response to FairTax questioning on “This Week with Geo. Stephanopoulos ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CW4fa6Z_4Po )” drew a sharp contrast between Huckabee and all other presidential front-runners who will not embrace it. Huckabee understands that what’s wrong with the income tax can’t be fixed with “a tap of the hammer, nor a twist of the screwdriver.” That his opponents cling to the destructive Tax Code, the IRS, preserving political power of granting tax favors at continued cost to – and misery of – American families, invigorates his campaign’s raison d’etre.

    Of the FairTax, Huckabee asserts that it’s…

    • SIMPLE, easy to understand
    • EFFICIENT, inexpensive to comply with and doesn’t cause less-than-optimal business decisions for tax minimization purposes
    • FAIR, FLAT, and FAMILY FRIENDLY, loophole-free, and everyone pays their share
    • LOW TAX RATE is achieved by broad base with no exclusions
    • PREDICTABLE, doesn’t change, so financial planning is possible
    • UNINTRUSIVE, doesn’t intrude into our personal affairs or limit our liberty
    • VISIBLE, not hidden from the public in tax-inflated prices or otherwise
    • PRODUCTIVE, rewards – rather than penalizes – work and productivity

    A detailed benefits analysis of the plan (from The FairTax Book) explains Huckabee’s ardent advocacy:

    For INDIVIDUALS:
    • No more tax on income – make as much as you wish
    • You receive your full paycheck – no more deductions
    • You pay the tax when you buy “at retail” – not “used”
    • No more double taxation (e.g. like on current Capital Gains)
    • Reduction of “pre-FairTaxed” retail prices by 20%-30%
    • Adding back 29.9% FairTax maintains current price levels
    • FairTax would constitute 23% portion of new prices
    • Every household receives a monthly check, or “pre-bate”
    • “Prebate” is “advance tax payback” for monthly consumption to poverty level
    • FairTax’s “prebate” ensures progressivity, poverty protection
    • Finally, citizens are knowledgeable of what their tax IS
    • Elimination of “parasitic” Income Tax industry
    • NO MORE IRS. NO MORE FILING OF TAX RETURNS by individuals
    • Those possessing illicit forms of income will ALSO pay the FairTax
    • Households have more disposable income to purchase goods
    • Savings is bolstered with reduction of interest rates

    For BUSINESSES:
    • Corporate income and payroll taxes revoked under FairTax
    • Business compensated for collecting tax at “cash register”
    • No more tax-related lawyers, lobbyists on company payrolls
    • No more embedded (hidden) income/payroll taxes in prices
    • Reduced costs. Competition – not tax policy – drives prices
    • Off-shore “tax haven” headquarters can now return to U.S
    • No more “favors” from politicians at expense of taxpayers
    • Resources go to R&D and study of competition – not taxes
    • Marketplace distortions eliminated for fair competition
    • US exports increase their share of foreign markets

    For THE COUNTRY:
    • 7% – 13% economic growth projected in the first year of the FairTax
    • Jobs return to the U.S.
    • Foreign corporations “set up shop” in the U.S.
    • Tax system trends are corrected to “enlarge the pie”
    • Larger economic “pie,” means thinner tax rate “slices”
    • Initial 23% portion of price is pressured downward as “pie” increases
    • No more “closed door” tax deals by politicians and business
    • FairTax sets new global standard. Other countries will follow

    While passionately supporting FairTax, Huckabee understands that, if elected President, Congress will have to present the bill for his signature. His call to action goes beyond his candidacy, Main Street will have to demand ( http://snipr.com/scrapthecode ) that their legislators deliver the bill.

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