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.
October 11, 2007
Posted by Brett Harris at 10:49 AM