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December 10, 2007

Mike Huckabee Is Funny, But His Flaws Are No Joke


Sure, he’s funny and well-spoken. I also understand that he was endorsed by Chuck Norris. And yes, he makes me want to believe everything he says during those punch-line contests that they call debates. But when these are over, Mike Huckabee’s record can only snap me back to reality.


Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee has largely been exempt from criticism due to his long-time status as a second-tier Republican presidential candidate. Now, however, is high time for conservatives to realize that Huckabee is not only unacquainted with foreign policy and seated on a mountain of ethics-related allegations, but that he also possesses a record that would put off any honest conservative.


First, Huckabee’s understanding of pressing national security issues appears to be sub-par, even by the standard of governors with no experience in such issues. For instance, he knew nothing of the National Intelligence Estimate report made public last week, concerning Iran’s nuclear program, until a reporter explained it to him. Regardless of the accuracy of the report, its potential impact on our Iran policy is much too important for a presidential candidate not to be apprised of it.


Maybe Huckabee and his staffers were too busy penning jokes for the next debate to read up on one of the greatest threats to the United States and the world.


Huckabee has also come out in favor of the closure of Guantanamo Bay, worrying about what others think of us. Of course he is not much stronger against those whose first action in the United States was to break its laws – he has gone so far as to fight to give illegal immigrants the same in-state tuition that is denied to Americans from 49 states.


Huckabee’s misplaced “compassion” does not end there. According to the Arkansas Leader, Huckabee issued more than 700 pardons and commutations to criminals as governor, including a dozen murderers. This is more than his three predecessors combined and more than Arkansas’s six neighboring states put together (the combined population of which is nearly 20 times that of Arkansas). Imagine being related to one of the victims of those released.


Behind the numbers, of course, are real stories. One of them concerns Wayne DuMond, who was convicted in Arkansas of raping a 17-year-old girl and was thrown in prison for it. As governor, however, Huckabee decided it would be a good idea to support DuMond’s parole, despite letters from DuMond’s previous victims and a phone call from one who was raped at knifepoint, all urging him not to release the rapist.


But the victims’ efforts proved futile, and merely months after being released, DuMond made a new victim out of Carol Shields, whom he raped and suffocated to death. DuMond is also the leading suspect in the murder of a pregnant woman who was found bloodied in a bathtub with the water running.


All of this is greatly disconcerting, but perhaps the best-hidden truth about Huckabee is his progressive view of government and his liberal economic policies. Huckabee has tried to cover for his past by saying he will abolish the IRS and institute the Fair Tax, both of which are realistically unachievable, at least in the near future. His next favorite go-to claim is the tired assertion that he cut taxes 94 times as Arkansas governor.


His claim to fiscal conservatism can easily be debunked with even a cursory look at his record. The 94 tax cuts he constantly references include every minuscule credit and adjustment possible, all of which were heavily outweighed by the taxes he raised. In fact, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, the average Arkansan taxpayer’s burden grew from $1,969 to $2,902 in eight years. That’s a 47 percent net increase, and entirely under Huckabee’s reign.


Incidentally, taxes were raised more under Huckabee than under a previous governor of Arkansas, a fellow by the name of Bill Clinton.


But it is not just about taxes. Huckabee supports economically damaging policies such as forcing small businesses to pay a higher minimum wage and subsidizing farmers with our money. He is a protectionist who opposes liberating free trade agreements such as the one with South Korea, he supports big government policies on education and health, and he stands as an opponent of private school choice.


Huckabee has also labeled the Club for Growth, one of the foremost defenders of economic liberty, the “Club for Greed.” It could be because the Club has restricted the liberties Huckabee himself has taken with stretching the truth to its breaking point – the Club has demonstrated that his claims about being essentially forced to raise the gas tax and education taxes in Arkansas are more than misleading.


Considering he actually declared, only days ago, that divine intervention was responsible for his rise in the polls, Huckabee’s deceptive presentation of supposed facts does not seem to be very, oh how you say . . . Christian?


Huckabee has been showered with ethics-related allegations as well, but it is not necessary to delve into these to discredit him as a viable Republican nominee. His record, once presented to primary voters, would be sufficient in getting the job done. He can only joke his way out of it for so long. And at that point, not even Chuck Norris will be able to save him.


© 2007 North Star Writers Group. May not be republished without permission.


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