Skip to comments.Dick Armey: Huckabee's Counterproductive Sweet Talk
Posted on 01/08/2008 5:07:00 AM PST by bstein80
With a definitive win in last week's Iowa caucus, Mike Huckabee talked himself into the frontrunner position for the Republican presidential nomination. His folksy demeanor and populist promises are central to his appeal, but they mask a strategy designed to divide the conservative movement. If the Republican party chooses to follow Huckabee's lead, it will allow political sweet talk to destroy its greatest electoral and policy-making advantage: the GOP's traditional political consensus built around limiting the size and scope of government.
Mike Huckabee abandoned conservative governance long ago. As governor of Arkansas from 1996-2007, his record on economic issues was long and dismal. He raised the sales tax and passed a tax on gasoline, increasing the state's overall average tax burden by almost 50 percent. Spending shot up more than 65 percent under his leadership. In the current campaign, he supports expensive, restrictive energy legislation, a misguided new national sales tax, and nanny-state notions like a federal smoking ban.
By now, these facts are well known. Fiscal conservatives have spilled gallons of ink decrying his record, and for good reason. Yet the social conservatives who support him should be concerned as well, for Huckabee undermines the GOP's longstanding unity between its traditional and economic wings, a coalition built to serve the goals of social as well fiscal conservatives.
This coalition, solidified in the Reagan years, rests on the principle that freedom--individual and economic--is not in conflict with virtue, but rather is the key to it. Social conservatives are served by promoting economic freedom, and vice-versa. Moreover, the alignment of these interests is the foundation for the GOP's electoral successes, no small thing in the realm of politics. The enthusiasm for Huckabee from the party's socially conservative wing is not just misplaced; it's counterproductive.
(Excerpt) Read more at realclearpolitics.com ...
Huckabee doesnt tell it like it is...
Its hard to say when we will see
A Lib more glib than Huckabee.
By now, these facts are well known. Fiscal conservatives have spilled gallons of ink decrying his record, and for good reason. Yet the social conservatives who support him should be concerned as well, for Huckabee undermines the GOP’s longstanding unity between its traditional and economic wings, a coalition built to serve the goals of social as well fiscal conservatives
The way I see it the 4 main groups of people who vote for Rats and Pubbies respectively can be broken down like this.
A: People who want to control social/value issues based on traditional religious values but readily blame big business for problems- Pubbie (social conservatives)
B: People who mostly care about free business - Pubbie (libertarian wing)
C: People who equate social issues with economic issues and think the government is always the solution RAT (communist wing)
D: People who generally believe in free business but want the government out of their bedrooms RAT/Independent (Reagan Democrats & Swing voters)
It seems that these could form 4 separate parties and that an alliance via a truce on the religious front could lead to A & C joining forces. That would be truly dangerous for America.
But, the strongest and most American force would actually be between C & D. It is also where the majority - at least based on polls and (personal) observation - appears to lie. Most people want the government out of the bedroom and out of the boardroom. About a quarter want it more intensely in either one.
So why are these groups - who don’t appear to belong together, actually together?
Yes he is. If he wins it will tear the party apart.
He and his Hucksterettes forget that the word Conservative requires no modifier, to be one you are both fiscally and socially like minded.
Excellent article. I was in almost 100% agreement. The one area I disagreed with was this: “Thus, he has worked to make his small-minded populism a credit by pitting his socially conservative supporters against the GOP’s business wing. One of his favorite lines is that he represents the interests of “Main Street, not Wall Street.” But this assumes that the interests of the two are not in alignment, that somehow, one group can only gain at the expense of the other - never mind that the jobs and livelihoods of America’s workers and small towns are tied inexorably with the larger economy. It’s a dark form of class warfare shrewdly masked by his sunny chatter.”
I do think there is a difference in the economic interests of “main street” and “Wall Street.” You see it clearly in areas like immigration. Wall Street benefits from the cheap labor of the illegals. Wall Street levels of wealth also benefit from the dirt cheap servant class since they have houses large enough to accomodate the maid and the nanny and yards large enough to use the gardening service. Wall Street also benefits from offering services and products for sale to these illegals (witness the huge number of mortgages issued to them etc.). Main Street is who pays the price for the illegals. They are close to their neighborhoods in the cities, while the rich are in the suburbs or gated communities or doorman buildings. Main Street sends their children to school with the illegals children; Wall Street sends their children to private schools.
Being a Baptist Preacher does not make him Conservative. Huckabee's record as governor sucks.
I say the divisions among Republicans are more artificial than real. Proof of my assertion is found in the fact that only the artificial conservatives inspire Republicans to choose sides seemingly against each other.
A Huckabee, McCain, or even Romney nomination would cause various subgroups of conservatives to stay home on election day. If a real conservative like Fred Thompson is nominated, there are no subgroups of Republicans who would stay home because they all know instinctively that Fred has no negatives.
Like Huckabee, Jimmy Carter ran as a Christian and voters honestly believed he would advance Christian values. But his presidency greatly harmed the agenda of social conservatives.
Huckabee is the same threat Carter was.
Romney and McCain are conservatives and traditionalists who would support the constitution and place justices in our courts who are sane.
Hillary would put more Ginsberg types on the bench and Obama would probably nominate Al Sharpton for the USSC.
It certainly will tear the party apart, and Ed Rollins of Perot fame, sounds gleeful at the prospect. How exactly does he think Huckabee’s going to win in November without all, and I do mean all, the fiscal conservatives on board?
And yet more than one Huckabee supporter on this forum excoriates fiscal conservatives as only caring about money. No, it’s not about freedom, nor individual autonomy, not about limiting the power of government, if you’re against Huckabee you’re just a selfish money-grubber. Insulting fiscal conservatives who have principled, constitutionally-grounded reasons for opposing ever larger government is a good way to destroy the coalition that is essential to getting Republicans elected.
Some here say that Huckabee will outcharm Obama. Guess again. By the time the MSM is done, Obama will be a cheerful, upbeat, moderate, centrist, problem solver and government reformer and Huckabee will be a dangerous uber-religious demagogue who’s out to take away people’s rights.
If this primary season so far has taught us anything, it’s that the MSM still has an amazing amount of power over the electorate. I mean, honestly, McCain is up in NH? McCain?
By the time they are done heralding Obama as the source of all that’s right and good in the world and excoriating Huckabee as a dangerous religious extremist, it could be a Dem landslide.
The socons are gleeful. But the socons need the fiscons as much as the fiscons need the socons, or get used to saying, “President Obama.”
“Being a Baptist Preacher does not make him Conservative. Huckabee’s record as governor sucks.”
Actually, Huckabee’s record as Jimmy Carter sucks.
As did the GOP. If anyone running has any thought of turning back that tide, it might be Fred Thompson.
But, do the American sheeple want any part of it? More and more of today's "conservatives" have socialist leanings.
The common denominator for Republican coalitions is a belief that laws based on the assumption of personal responsibility and liberty in public matters will make better, smaller government. The assumption is that everyone is an adult.
The Libertarians tend to put too much emphasis on liberty without the acknowledgment that adult “responsibility” includes voluntary charity and protection of the weak, vulnerable and abused and that sometimes government can facilitate these. The assumption is that everyone is an island.
The Dems, socialists, and some conservatives tend to believe that laws can be written to protect us from the consequences of our own liberty as well as that of others. In doing so they kill liberty and denies or pervert personal, voluntary acts of responsibility. The assumption here is that everyone is a child who needs the State to be Mama and Daddy.
And as far as what the MSM would do with the Huckster, Susan Estrich is on record as saying he is the preferred candidate above any other repub. You bet your bippy they will label him, again right or wrong, as a religious nut one step in front of Pat Robertson.
“Romney and McCain are conservatives and traditionalists who would support the constitution and place justices in our courts who are sane.”
Youre using the term conservative to mean candidates with a record for supporting big government, tax increases, and either illegal immigration or various aspects of the pro abortion lobby.
Thats not what conservative means. Take a look at Fred Thompson (or Duncan Hunter) and you will be able to figure out what a conservative is.
Romney is currently broadcasting his own weakness. Notice how quick he was to jump on the change bandwagon? This is a guy we want for president? No.
Romney may look smooth, sound articulate and appear focused. But the only thing he is focused on is his desperate grab for votes. Romney is as much a demagogue as are the liberals on the “change” issue.
On Sunday night Fred Thompson led the pack in raising questions about this silly change hysteria. Only Fred stays focused on the truth.
Man, I thought my post was wonderful. Really expected a wreath or laurels or something for it . . .
McCain gave us a glimpse of what he thinks is important the other night in the debate when he spoke of certain bills he would support from congress and the fact that he would make the authors famous.
This is what the real John McCain thinks is important, paying worship to members of congress for passing bills he likes.
When it comes down to it, Fred dominates Romney. This is not something that can be measured by how excited a candidate appears, by the speed of articulation or quantity of words coming out of his mouth, or even by how well hes managed the winter olympics.
Leadership is gut level, and we recognize leaders by instinct.
True conservatives are not described in your post.
True conservatives reflect the ideology that has made our country great from the beginning, and that is the combination of liberty and personal responsibility. This ideology in my opinion still carries the most weight with the people.
I assumed “true conservatives” were part of the first group - why wouldn’t you?
Excellent analysis. The only thing I would add is that Wall St. also favors “free” trade, esp. with China, again because of their lust for cheap labor. Main St. pays because productive American jobs are lost. Both lose because our national security is undermined, and our greatest potential enemy is built up.
“I assumed true conservatives were part of the first group - why wouldnt you?”
Because they’re not described there.
I agree that trade is another area where “Main Street” and “Wall Street” can come into conflict.
I am not so certain of your assertions. The first is perhaps to differentiate between the term Conservatives and Republican. The GOP happens to be the party that comes closest to the ideals of conservatives, but it is not the only place where conservatives can be found.
Moreover, I would argue that there are plenty of people who are social conservatives, but economic liberals (many Reagan Democrats) who are easily swayed to be anti-trade and anti-business when times are tough and managers are doing better than they are. And, there are quite a few economic conservatives who are socially laisse faire as well (I would argue this is the group to whom FOX speaks with most of its programming aside from news).
These two groups do not fit naturally together.
I also find it difficult to believe that the goal of a leader should be to be “acceptable to everyone”. Anyone who fits that category will be boring as heck - Fred anyone?
A leader should be a leader. A leader isn’t someone you have to agree with everytime. A leader is a person who you trust is making the right choices most of the time - even if they aren’t the choices you would necessarily make. A leader is a person who inspries confidence and radiates competence.
The GOP is fragmented because there are so many groups of 1-issue voters. If you only care about 1 thing than you do not care about leadership, you just care about 1 issue and the rest is irrelevant. Moreover, the past 6 years of GOP leadership have been with a group of people who often present themselves as “true conservatives” and have been strongly supported by the GOP establishment as such. Their actions and policies tell a different story. And, many Americans do not appear to perceive that things are being run well - whether or not this corresponds to reality is irrelevant - politics is about perceptions.
So, what we have is a party that is increasingly focused on single issues, a leadership that is not very well respected and a group of candidates that appeal only to a niche of voters, or to everyone and no one. It seems to me, that the deficit here is mostly about a leadership deficit based on a fear to tell it like it is. In the current environment, Pat Toomey would have attacked Ronald Reagan for raising taxes in California.
Nowadays, people who have this trait are called heroes. They used to just be called normal citizens.
“A leader should be a leader.”
Everyone knows the definition of “leader.” We don’t need to change definitions or even presume to establish them. Changing definitions is one of the foremost tactics of leftists.
How is that not " the ideology that has made our country great from the beginning, and that is the combination of liberty and personal responsibility?"
This gave me a chuckle. I liked the Armey article, and your comments on it.
The GOP might be divided, temporarily. But the conservative instinct of the American people is as unified as ever.
The best hope for the leftists is to exploit natural human tendencies to act on superficial emotion (because it is only emotion that is briefly dividing the GOP) and to break down tradition.
Fred brings us together because he represents traditional conservatism, which is the biggest tent of all.
Thank you. Nowadays, even with “Good Samaritan Laws,” the would be hero needs to check with a lawyer before acting. This is the end result of all those laws written by what I call “Totalitarian Mamas.”
“How is that not “ the ideology that has made our country great from the beginning, and that is the combination of liberty and personal responsibility?””
Okay, that’s partly it. But it’s more than a belief about what laws will do. True conservatism is based on a belief about what’s right and what’s wrong.
This unifying belief is ultimately much stronger and longer lasting than the current artificial divisions on issues.
Okay, I can see that it’s more than laws.
However, the political coalitions - governments and the recent Reagan sort of coalitions - do involve an assumption about laws and lawmaking.