November 11, 2007

Weekend News Roundup

A new Florida poll from the St. Petersburg Times has Huckabee in fourth place at 9%, ahead of Thompson at 8%, and close behind McCain at 12%.

The Washington Post features a conversation about Huckabee with popular Iowa senator Charles Grassley:

In 1996, Bob Dole credited Charles Grassley's endorsement as a key reason that he won the Iowa caucus and clinched the Republican presidential nomination.

This year, the popular veteran Iowa senator said he may skip picking a favorite, because he's skeptical that any Republican in the field can put away Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton. Like many of his GOP friends, Grassley believes she can be defeated, and with greater ease than some other Democrats in the field. But Grassley is still waiting for Mr. Right. "I want to know who can beat Hillary," Grassley said over a breakfast fit for the farmer that he is - three eggs, four sausages, and five pancakes.

There is a darkhorse candidate in the GOP field. "I think the guy who could surprise everybody is Huckabee," Grassley said, referring to former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a second-tier candidate with minimal resources, whose support has been rising. "He seems to be catching on a little bit. His presentations are good. He fits in well with social conservatives."

Huckabee is the guy who matches up best with Iowa Republicans, Grassley said. "It's demeanor, background, personal beliefs, friendliness, stuff like that. How he conducts himself, things of that nature. I'm talking about who fits in with the average Iowan, who are they going to feel comfortable with."

So why not endorse him? Because, Grassley explained, he's not yet a national contender. "If he had $10 million to spend on television, to reinforce what he tells you personally, then I think it would make a difference," Grassley said.
The Observer also has a good piece today about how Huckabee could be the saviour of the Republicans:
He is a former governor of Arkansas from a town called Hope. He has a nice line in campaign humour and speaks like a Deep South preacher. He is also running for President.

But this is not Bill Clinton of 1992. This is Mike Huckabee, a long-shot Republican contender for the 2008 White House who has burst into the leading pack of the race for his party's nomination.

From barely appearing in the polls a few months ago, Huckabee has surged forward in recent weeks. Some surveys have placed him second in the key state of Iowa, ahead of better-known candidates including Rudy Giuliani, John McCain and Fred Thompson. This has led to a flurry of positive press around Huckabee's campaign, including a profile in Newsweek and glowing praise from top political columnists. 'Mike Huckabee is on a roll,' said Dick Morris, a conservative commentator in the political newspaper The Hill. 'Huckabee could surprise everybody before the votes are counted.'

There is little doubt that Huckabee has forced his way into the top tier of Republican candidates. He has done it by representing the most socially conservative wing of the party. A former Baptist minister who used to have his sermons broadcast over his own Christian radio and TV station, he is firmly anti-abortion, regards the Bible as literal truth and does not believe in evolution. Such hardline views are endearing him to the powerful evangelical wing of the Republican party, dismayed by the liberal social views of the national frontrunner, former New York mayor Giuliani.

'Huckabee is the ticking time bomb of the party,' said Professor Cary Covington, a politics expert at the University of Iowa. 'Religious voters are soon going to realise that he is the candidate who best fits their profile and get behind him.'

Huckabee's support has rocketed in Iowa, where evangelical Christians play a significant role. In one recent poll he was at 19 per cent, just eight points behind the leader, Mitt Romney, and three ahead of Giuliani.
Read the whole thing here...

1 comment:

Ian said...

Huckabee stands up for the FairTax Act of 2007 (HR 25/ S 1025) like no other candidate. A successfully-enacted FairTax will represent a 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 cultural sea change.

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?

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