Skip to comments.Huckabee's Record: Anything But Conservative
Posted on 07/03/2007 11:03:33 AM PDT by Ultra Sonic 007
Former Arkansas governor and GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee wants to be seen as in his own words an "authentic" conservative, but his governing record shows he does not live up to the image.
Despite Huckabee's campaign mantra, "I'm proud of my record as a fiscal conservative," by the end of his second term as Arkansas governor he had raised sales taxes 37 percent, fuel taxes 16 percent, and cigarettes taxes 103 percent.
These actions and others while in the governor's mansion in Little Rock helped ramp up total state tax revenues from $3.9 billion to $6.8 billion.
For doing so, Huckabee earned the failing grade of "F" on the Cato Institute's 2006 governors' fiscal report card. The Washington-based think tank awarded the candidate a "D" for his overall term.
He also received a failing grade from the tax watchdog group Club for Growth.
"Gov. Huckabee says he is a fiscal conservative," Club for Growth President Pat Toomey said at the time of Huckabee's entry into the presidential sweepstakes, "but his 10-year economic-policy record as the governor of Arkansas is mixed, at best. His history includes numerous tax hikes, ballooning government spending, and increased regulation.
"To be sure, Gov. Huckabee's record displays an occasional deference to a pro-growth philosophy, but that is only a small slice of a much bigger picture," Tommey asserts.
Since entering the race, Huckabee appears to have become born-again on tax matters.
After initial hesitation, Huckabee signed the famous Taxpayer Protection Pledge against tax increases perennially sponsored by the Americans for Tax Reform (ATR).
"The tax increases Huckabee supported as governor in Arkansas were a mistake and cannot be defended," Grover Norquist, president of ATR, told NewsMax.
"However, as a presidential candidate, he has clearly learned that tax increases are always a mistake and he has signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge against tax increases. He has spoken in favor of a number of significant tax reductions that he would support. Elections are about the future."
Such confidence represents a sea change for Norquist, who once recalled Huckabee saying that he would only raise taxes if his arm were twisted. Norquist then quipped: "He has a history of allowing his arm to be twisted and twisting others' arms."
In the pre-pledge-signing days, Norquist in an obvious reference to Huckabee's once scale-breaking weight joked, "We like chubby governors and skinny budgets. Not the other way around."
Club for Growth's Toomey is not so impressed by Huckabee's affirmation to the ATR that he won't increase taxes as president.
"I'm glad to see he signed the pledge, but as a given matter, what politicians have done is a better indicator than what they say they're going to do," Toomey said. "His record clearly does not indicate a strong commitment to limited government."
In its "white paper" review of the candidate, the Club lamented that while governor, Huckabee "consistently supported and initiated measures that increase government's interference in markets, thereby impeding economic growth.
"He told the Washington Times he supports empowering people to make their own decisions,' but many of his key proposals have done just the opposite."
Here are some of those proposals:
-Raised the minimum wage in April 2006 from $5.15 to $6.25 an hour; encouraged Congress to take the same initiative on a national level
-Threatened to investigate price-gouging after 9/11 if gasoline prices went up too high
-Ordered regulatory agencies in Arkansas to investigate price-gouging in the nursing home industry
-Signed a bill into law that would prevent companies from raising their prices a mere 10 percent ahead of a natural disaster (Services like roof repair and tree removal were targeted)
Recently, the National Review tore into Huckabee, charging that he was certainly not the poster child for smaller government.
"During his tenure, the number of state government workers in Arkansas increased over 20 percent. Under Gov. Huckabee's watch, state spending increased a whopping 65.3 percent from 1996 to 2004, three times the rate of inflation, and the state's general obligation debt shot up by almost $1 billion," said the National Review.
Pardoning a Murderer
Meanwhile, the Arkansas Leader newspaper has hounded Huckabee every inch of the campaign trail.
One characteristic editorial chided the candidate for masquerading as a fiscal conservative at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference, where Huckabee received a warm reception:
"The delegates may not have known that he helped arrange the largest expansions of government-paid medical care in Arkansas history (largely paid by U.S. taxpayers), compiled a larger general-obligation debt than all previous governors combined, increased the number of government employees by 20 percent in only nine-and-a-half years, and conducted a liberal policy of criminal pardons and commutations."
That latter mention of a liberal policy of criminal pardons has long been an albatross around the neck of the former Baptist minister and president of the Southern Baptist Convention.
Case-in-point: Wayne Dumond, a convicted rapist who was released during Huckabee's tenure as governor and who subsequently sexually assaulted and murdered a woman in Missouri following his release.
In October 1996, Huckabee met privately with the parole board to talk about the Dumond case. Some members of the board have since stated that they were pressured to re-examine and vote in favor of Dumond's parole. Huckabee has denied influencing the parole board in any way, but acknowledges some responsibility for signing Dumond's parole.
Dumond's case had gained some celebrity status in the mid 1990s from critics of President Bill Clinton who felt the former Arkansas governor had been too harsh with Dumond because Dumond's initial victim was a distant Clinton relative.
Whatever nettlesome baggage he carries, Huckabee is banking that the electorate will concentrate instead on his message.
Huckabee declined to be interviewed for this story.
Today, not surprisingly a good part of the Huckabee message is about taxes.
"I want to completely eliminate all federal income and payroll taxes. And do I mean all personal federal, corporate federal, gift, estate, capital gains, alternative minimum, Social Security, Medicare, self-employment," Huckabee says. "Instead we will have the FairTax, a simple tax based on wealth."
And while on the subject of taxes, Huckabee has shrugged off the criticisms of those who charge him with having been a tax-and-spend executive while in office.
On stumps, he says that during his 10 1/2 years as governor, he cut taxes more than 90 times saving taxpayers almost $380 million. He also points to how he doubled the child care tax credit and eliminated the marriage penalty from the tax code, while cutting welfare rolls by nearly 50 percent and balancing the state budget.
Ping to the article I showed earlier.
Great guy. Liberal candidate.
The anti-tobacco FReepers won’t understand why this guy most certainly is NOT a conservative.
Gov. Huckabee hasn’t clicked with the American public, unfortunately. There is nothing wrong with his fundamentals from what I have read about him - it’s just that he doesn’t excite the voters on television. Gov. Huckabee is a really nice person, but he should drop out now for the sake of narrowing the field.
It’s time that Sen. McVain drop out also - he is finished.
The anit-abortion version of Bloomberg, apparently.
I would still take Huckabee over Rudy McRomeny.
I am not sure that the candidate was quoted correctly (Newsmax isn't a credible news source in my opinion), but the FairTax is a national retail sales tax; it has nothing to do with taxing wealth -- it taxes consumption.
Huckabee is also an illegal immigration apologist. No thanks, had enough arkansas governors in the oval office.
Thought you might be interested in this.
Thanks for the post. I’m glad that I support Tommy Thompson. While he was a governor, he signed bills that cut tax rates and spending more than Huckabee. Two of the last three republican presidents were governors, and Tommy Thompson was a governor almost as long as Huckabee and Romney, combined.
Oh, Yeah! Thanks for the ping. Eberheart did his homework on the Huckster. It’s down the line what I’ve been warning non-Arkansans about since he announced his candidacy for the POTUS. I’ll add this to my article link list. Thanks - OB1
No problem. I’ve used your home page before as a resource when people have tried to forward Huckabee as some kind of conservative option. Thanks for compiling the links!
You are most welcome. And thank you for spreading the word. This country can’t afford to be rope-a-doped by a second man from Hope.
Conservatives and Republicans eating their own, WOW! Who needs Liberal Democrats, we’re our own worst enemies.
Some republicans deserve to be chewed up and spit out. Otherwise you just end up with more RINOs
I forget where the article was I read recently that said Huckabee would be at the top of the list for VP with Giuliani, Romney, or McCain! I don’t like that list of choices.
I don’t know much about the current governor, Mike Beebe, but it sounds like in some ways he is more conservative than Huckabee. Didn’t I read that he rejected some of Huckabee’s guidelines on nutrition and fatty foods in schools because he thought it was too much government intrusion?? Hard to believe for a Dem. Then I thought I read he had proposed cutting taxes. Sounds like maybe the Dems ought to be recruiting the current Arkansas governor for a White House run!
Compared to those who preceded him (Bill J., for example), Huckabee probably was a "conservative".
More to the point, why are we slamming a (bottom of the) second tier candidate, even if he may not be everyone's idea of a great conservative, when we need unity more than ever. Secondly, you won't make Duck Hunter look better by making other Republicans look bad. Tell him to "just say yes" to that charisma transplant procedure.
I didn’t bring Hunter into this, you did. I’m not defending him, I’m going after a liberal republican who is trying to set himself up as a conservative.
And I will not “unite” behind a liberal just because that person has an R next to their name. That attitude gave us the “permanent majority” that lost to nancy pelosi and harry reid because our “unity” with liberal republicans made the party lose its way.
First of all, no one's asking you to unite "behind" Mike Huckabee. I guess your mother never told you that if you can't say something nice about someone (unless that someone's a Democrat), you always have the option of saying nothing. And if you're not a Hunter supporter, you're certainly doing their bidding (in case you hadn't noticed, they're trying to weed out all the so-called "second tier" candidates in the mistaken belief that it will make their boy more appealing).
The reason why, even though Huckabee seemingly fits the profile of the person we should be running, that it shouldn’t be him, is that last thing.
What they left out of the argument is that once he helped arrange the release of this guy, he ended up committing another crime after release. In terms of law and order, Huckabee is not it. And that is a serious problem, because we have to get our justice system back to where it was 100 years ago.
A record is a record. Is it really so bad to ask that a candidate’s record be known before supporting them?
We Arkansans just can’t figure out the fascination with this RINO among the MSM and a seemingly growing number of voters. He is anything but a conservative and was pro-illegal alien to the point of being obnoxious. He even stated that it was unChristian not to welcome illegals into Arkansas with open arms.
My guess is The Huckster, as he is affectionately known among us hillbillies, is positioning himself for the VP slot should some damned yankee get the nomination for POTUS on the R ticket. Trust me, Huckabee in either slot is not something any conservative should support.
TLV, Amen - from a fellow Arkansan.
To everyone else: We conservative Arkansans tried to tell everyone back in '91 & '92 that they would regret putting Slick Willie in the White House and we came out looking like prophets. Well, we're telling you again, this time especially to conservatives, HEED THE WARNING! The Huckster is NOT a conservative and will NOT advance conservative causes if elected to ANY federal office. Don't be rope-a-doped by another man from Hope or you'll regret it.
$ of the last five overall were governors. It ‘s probably safe to say that we won’t continue that trend in 2008 and that we’ll elect our first Senator since (I believe) Nixon.
With respect to stem cells, I support federal funding of research using existing stem cell lines. I do not believe in creating life for the sole purpose of destroying it. Im encouraged by recent discoveries showing that stem cells from the umbilical cord offer great promise.
Not lookin' good, Mike.
Uh oh. Where can I find that?
Definitely not lookin’ good.
I’m working through your links. Thanks for your invaluable compilation of info on Mike Huckabee.
For the last three weeks, I’ve lived on the computer following all the vampire bill news, and I knew all about Brownback. However, I didn’t recall any articles about Huckabee. Right now I’ve started to read “Huckabee: Hispanics Offer U.S. ‘Second Chance,’” and what do you know, this is starting to look familiar! I think I originally saw it on one of those nights that my eyes would go blurry around 1:00AM. :o)
Ok, this guy is a real lib. Thank you.
I'm more impressed with Tommy than I am the other Thompson who voted for McCain-Feingold.
Ditto. IMHO everything thelastvirgil said is right on target. As a fellow Arkansan, I can’t give Hucksterbee any recommendation, but I’m hoping other Arkansans can help my ailing memory...
Around 1997 we had a state law or some such (constitutional amendment maybe?) about not using public funds to pay for abortions. Ole’ Huck stabbed us in the back on this one when the Feds threatened to pull their funding, the line went something like “... I couldn’t risk losing all that money coming into the state, and hurt the people of Arkansas... blah blah blah ad infinitum...”
Somebody help me out with a history lesson, please!
Alas, it’s true, our current Dem governor is more conservative than the previous RINO Hucksterbee...
But don’t even jest about us siccing our Dem’s on the rest of the country, we’re still repairing the damage from the last time that happened!
Don’t vote for “The Dope from Hope II”
Mike Huckabee stands a snowball's chance in hell of gaining the nomination (although at that he has a better chance than Duck Hunter), is it too much to ask that we not flog the dead horse when there are so many better targets (aka Democrats) out there?
Democrats can wait until the general election.
For the time being, I’ll be making sure RINOs and LIRCs (Liberals In Republican Clothing) get booted from any thoughts of serious discussion.
I want to know who I’m voting for. I’m sure other people would appreciate the sentiment.
We all want to know who we're voting for. In fact, most of us at this site are well-informed enough to make that decision without additional assistance, or at least we know where to go to find out.
Since I wasn't clear enough in what I was trying to say to you, let me fall back on that great all-American standard, the sports analogy. If you have a player on you team who you know isn't going to make the varsity squad because his style of play (like Huckabee's style of politics) is fundamentally unsound, would you: a. tell everyone what a lousy player he is, how he deserves to ride the bench, and, by the way, how he should transfer to your bitterest rival and try out for that rival's squad 'cause you just don't need or want his support (even as the water-boy), or b. tell him he while he may need to work on his game, you know that he will continue to support the team, and you appreciate that support.
And, by the way, the Karl Rove post-Lee Atwater theory of electioneering (i.e. don't focus on your Democrat opponent until the "official" start of election season, whenever that is) was soundly rejected in 2006 (went to the well one too many times). So, to bring me back to my original point, we do need to stop eating our young, and remember who the real enemies are. Unless, of course, you want to have an enlightened discussion of Duncan Hunter's "drunken sailor" pork barrel spending habits (it's in the record, don't you know).
Oh, I’ve had plenty of discussion about that particular facet of Hunter’s record. I know that even though he’s great on taxes, his spending habits (which are, in his defense, mostly defense-related) make him less fiscally conservative than some of the other candidates. I know that. Heck, I posted a list of his earmarks in 2007.
I support him because he’s great on everything else.
Besides, does it really hurt to post this article anyway? Not everyone knew this information about Huckabee. Remember how a lot of people in the blogosphere said that Huckabee performed well in the debates? His rhetoric may sound nice now, but his record contradicts himself.
I know his chances are slim to none, but hey; in 1992, another Arkansas governor (Bill Clinton) was around 1-2% in national polls early in the year before the primaries.
Also, nice analogy, but we’re talking about the election of the President of the United States, not some mere football player. There’s a lot that will be affected by whomever becomes President after Bush, so forgive me if I want to help people choose a more conservative candidate than Huckabee, who’s managed to deceive quite a few people with his conservative rhetoric.
How is posting information on current news flogging a dead horse?
You can really apply what you said in post 36 to all news topics. So if we all know where to find the information, why come to FR?
Pardon me, but I'm using FR in my research concerning the Republican Presidential candidates. I'm reading articles, following links to candidate websites, and asking knowledgeable posters for their insights. I have also posted concerning the undesirability of Rudy G., in an effort to share what *I* know.
I want to commit to the best authentic conservative candidate, and FR is helping me to see the facts, records, and what they're up to now, regarding each of the Republican candidates. I, for one, need that assistance. FR is a big website. How about you just scroll, and let the others do their research in peace.
Glad to be of service. We call him “the Huckster” for a reason. I will say this. He is a nice guy to be around, socially. My wife knew him in college and my daughter has performed musically with him a number of times. It’s just that he has transformed himself over the years into the commensurate professional politician and it has led him to become more like an old car with a bad front end, i.e. under certain circumstances he tends to pull hard to the left. He is not one I want to advance as a GOP in office. His type is precisely what is going wrong with the GOP party. - OB1