October 11, 2007

David Broder: Another Voice in the Choir

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David Broder critiques the debate performance of Giuliani, Thomspon, Romney, and McCain for their lack of fresh policy ideas. Who does Mr. Broder say has fresh ideas? None other than Governor Mike Huckabee.
FULL ARTICLE: It was hard for the leading candidates to acknowledge any serious blemishes in the current economic scene. That was left to others -- most notably former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, a populist preacher who has been gaining traction among religious conservatives and disaffected working people. He admonished his colleagues that people "hear Republicans on this stage talk about how great the economy is, and frankly when they hear that, they're going to probably reach for the dial."

He went on to say that "the people who handle the bags and make the beds at our hotels and serve the food, many of them are having to work two jobs" and still cannot afford college costs for their kids or health insurance for themselves. While the leading candidates preached the virtues of free trade, Huckabee said that Republicans have to address the dislocations caused by imports or "we're going to get our britches beat next year."

When the topic turned to unions, it was Huckabee who suggested that they are likely to grow in size and influence because the gap between top executives' and workers' pay will "create a huge appetite" for protection of wages.

And when confronted with the question of Bush's veto of the children's health insurance bill, a veto that was supported by all the leading candidates, Huckabee demurred. After squirming a bit, he finally said, "I'm not absolutely certain that that's going to be the right way. . . . The political loss of that is going to be enormous."

That kind of candor -- and understanding -- would be welcome among others in the field.


Spunky said...

In a previous debate speaking of the Iraq War Huckabee said, "We should not lose our honor and that’s more important than the Republican Party.”

In this debate speaking about federalizing health care for children and the Bush Veto Huckabee said, "I'm not absolutely certain that that's going to be the right way. . . . The political loss of that is going to be enormous."

I'm am glad Huckabee has a higher standard than the Republican politics when it comes to foreign policy, but when it comes to federal spending for social programs he appears very willing to spend our money and increase federal control for the political gain it may bring.

I have to admit when I first saw Huckabee I thought he was going to be just like Bush on spending and social program, but he looks like he may actually be even worse.

If Huckabee makes it to the top tier, I do hope that Christian conservatives are honest enough to admit that it's not the role of the federal government to take care of widows and orphans and challenge Huckabee on this. Christians that promote federalizing health care for children are admitting that the responsibility rests not with the church, but the state. The federal government is not the church and should not take on the obligations of the Christian.

Jonny said...

Spunky, I think you're unfair in painting what Huckabee said that way. He was given a very short amount of time to answer a question on a very complicated topic.

He was not saying the bill was good or that it was wrong to veto it — and he was not saying that political considerations are all that matter He was explaining that Republicans goofed a bit on SCHIP — and that the ramifications are going to be far-reaching in the fight against the very ills you're talking about.

And Huckabee has been very clear that he does not support universal, federalized health care — and said as much in the debate. He pushes for privatization and personal ownership — not federal or corporate.

Spunky said...
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Spunky said...

I'm not being totally unfair, in that I have researched and examined exactly the way he has governed in Arkansas not just a debate quote. A governor who is accepts or seeks federal handouts, will become a President who will hand them out. I'm basing my assessment not on a quote but on his record.

I'm not saying I'm completely against Huckabee as a candidate, but the purpose of the run-up to a nomination is to understand exactly who the candidate is, not what we want them to be. And Huckabee is social conservative but a fiscal moderate/liberal and his record in Arkansas is there for anyone who would like to examine it. His education and health care initiatives as governor represent something you would see from a moderate Democrat not a conservative Republican.

Spunky said...

Jonny, to show its now just me that has picked up on his propensity spend, Quin Hilyer of the conservative Human Events website said the following after the debate,

"On the other hand, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is about as economically conservative as was liberal New York Republican Governor Nelson Rockefeller -- which means that on substance at least, Huckabee absolutely stunk up the stage, especially when he refused to back President George W. Bush’s veto of the crazily socialistic expansion of the SCHIP children’s health program. (Huckabee was so liberal overall that Clinton’s lefty former Labor Secretary positively gushed over him in post-debate analysis on CNBC.)"

The Labor Secretary that he was referring to was Robert Reich, and if he's gushing on TV about Huckabee, I'm crying.

Here's the link to Human Events


Jonny said...

Spunky, I don't think Rockefeller left his state with a $850 million surplus, strongly pushing that most of it be returned to the people. I also don't think he ever set up a "Tax Me More Fund" for people who wanted to give more money to the government when faced with criticism from Democrat lawmakers for his refusal to raise taxes.

I'm not saying that Huckabee is Ron Paul — but calling him liberal is highly inaccurate.

Alex Harris said...

Hey Spunky,

Thanks for the comments. You know we've gone through all this before — and I don't think either of us are going to be convinced the other way. =)

You really should consider starting a Spunky Politics blog (it's such an awesome name, too!). You've obviously done a lot of research and thinking — and I'd love to hear your thoughts on some of the other candidates... Even on Huckabee! But I'd prefer if we didn't just keep doing this over and over again here.

God bless you, Spunky!

In Christ,

Spunky said...

Here's the summation from an analysis done on Huckabee (they've analyzed six Republican candidates) by Club For Growth an economically conservative group commited to economic freedom.

"Governor Huckabee's record on pro-growth, free-market policies is a mixed bag, with pro-growth positions on trade and tort reform, mixed positions on school choice, political speech, and entitlement reform, and profoundly anti-growth positions on taxes, spending, and government regulation.

While Governor Huckabee's record displays some flashes of economic conservatism, especially during his early years, the overwhelming evidence of his record and rhetoric over the past ten years leaves the Club for Growth and economic conservatives around the country to wonder if a President Huckabee would espouse the relatively pro-growth policies of Governor Huckabee circa 1997 or the anti-growth policies of Governor Huckabee circa 2004. While the Governor has made a concerted effort to defend his record, calling oneself an economic conservative does not make one so. His recent refusals to rule out raising taxes if elected President-the cornerstone of a pro-growth platform-perhaps indicate which path he would choose."

In my opinion, a candidate who doesn't rule out raising taxes becomes a President who will raise taxes and that's not a recipe for economic growth and but federal government growth.


Alex Harris said...

Spunky, I realize you must not have seen my comment before you posted — so let me go ahead and briefly clarify the quote you raised before we're done.

First, the Club for Growth is financially backed by Jackson Stephens — someone who has a well-known grudge against Huckabee. Anyone in the Arkansas media will tell you that — but it also just makes sense. Why else would they come out with their first white paper, not about any of the major candidates (like the two front-runners Giuliani and McCain), but attacking Huckabee, who was polling at 1 percent? Why else would they spend $100,000 in attack ads in Iowa?

Second, Huckabee has signed the pledge to oppose any and all efforts to increase marginal income tax rates. You can read about it here.

Alex said...

And for those interested in what Huckabee really said in the debate about SCHIP, here is the transcript:

Mr. Matthews: We're back with a lightning round.

Gentlemen, it's 30 seconds to respond, just one person per question.

Mr. Matthews: Governor Huckabee, the first one -- President Bush, last week, vetoed a plan to expand health coverage for millions of lower income children, in part because he says the $35 billion it will cost over five year is too expensive.

Would you have vetoed the bill --the SCHIP?

Huckabee: First of all, I really would loved to have had one of those minute and a half questions with a 30-second follow-up. But since you're only giving me 30 seconds, let me do it the best I can.

The president was caught in a tough political battle; the Democrats won the political battle. Unfortunately, the issue wasn't about children; the issue was about political posturing.

And the reality is: You're going to create a huge problem for the Medicare advantage plan and shortfall that. And many of the kids who will be covered under the expanded SCHIP are people who already have insurance -- it'll be coming out of their insurance programs.

But the president was in a very incredibly tough position because 75% of the American people -- if I were president, I would never let that get to the point where that's the only option you had. You ought to make sure that you communicate to the American people that there are better options.

Mr. Matthews: But if you got there, would you have vetoed, Governor?

Mr. Huckabee: I'm sorry?

Mr. Matthews: Would you have vetoed it if it was handed to you, that bill?

Mr. Huckabee: You know, I'm not absolutely certain that that's going to be the right way because there are going to be so many issues we've got to fight. And the political loss of that is going to be enormous.

Mr. Matthews: OK.

Mr. Huckabee: And I just believe this. One thing we've got to remember, there's a real problem, in the health care issue, where Democrats say they want the government to control it; Republicans say they want private insurance to control it. Some people want the businesses to control it.

Let me tell you what the real answer is: letting individuals control their own and let them own it.

Brett Harris said...
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Spunky said...

Alex, I did post at the same time you did. I would not have posted again had I read the comment.

Club For Growth has an agenda, no doubt about it. But that's not unusual in politics, who doesn't have an agenda? But even though his motive may be impure, I still have to ask are his facts incorrect? And in that I have other verifiable and indpendent sources to go to and see if what his record is. And in the case of Mike Hucakbee the facts point to a man who likes to spend our money. ArKids and NextStep are just two examples from his time as Governor. I didn't get my information from Club For Growth, they have just confirmed what I found out on my own by looking at the state of Arkansas websites.

Alex, I am willing to be persuaded by a Hucakbee for President campaign but I will not blindly vote for him without knowing all the facts about him. The fact that you have already made up your mind makes this blog a compelling place to read and share my concerns in order to find out how you overcame these objections or if you had them at all. But I realize that not everyone values such an exchange of ideas in order to cast their vote. There is no right or wrong, we all make our decisions in different ways. And for me that means knowing the good, the bad, and the ugly about a candidate before I say yes or no. My debate is not with you, but within myself to make the best decision possible.

Thank you for the time you've let me engage in these ideas. I can take a hint and I'll move on.


Alex said...

Thanks, Spunky. You know we think you're incredible. =D

BTW, anyone interested in reading more about Huckabee and the Club for Growth should check out these great posts:

+ The Huckabee CFG Wants You to Forget
+ The Club's Revenge
+ Huckabee and the Club for Growth