Monday, January 21, 2008

A Conservative's Conservative Speaks About the GOP Candidates

Amid charges and counter charges about who's the real conservative, John McCain has been severely and appropriately challenged, for everything from his opposition to the Bush tax cuts to McCain-Feingold. But the conservative talking heads--from Anne Coulter to Rush Limbaugh to Rich Lowry--have, with few exceptions like Michelle Malkin--been savaging Mike Huckabee for no apparent reason that this writer could find or imagine.

Today, at 5:20 pm on the Sean Hannity Show, we heard from a real conservative who's not in the race; one who's walked the walk and fought the fight for conservative principles over the years: Tom DeLay. After DeLay criticised McCain--not personally mind you, but purely on issues, and concluded that he could not support McCain's candidacy, Sean Hannity asked him if he would pick any of the others in the race. Glaringly, Hannity left out Mike Huckabee's name, as he asked DeLay what he thought about Romney, Thompson and Giuliani. Making it clear that he had no clear favorite at this point--not having to make up his mind until the March primary election in Texas--DeLay said that Thompson had "walked the conservative walk", Romney has "talked the conservative talk", and Giuliani, although he has "problems with him on social issues, I (he) could still support him against Hillary Clinton."

Then Tom DeLay volunteered: "And frankly, Huckabee. I have no problem with Huckabee."
A genuine conservative--Tom Delay--knows a genuine conservative--Mike Huckabee when he sees one. Hallelelujah! If Mike Huckabee could be the magnificently successful governor of a state for over ten years--vastly improving roads, schools, cutting taxes and leaving the debt-ridden state of Arkansas with almost a billion dollar surplus--a state controlled by an overwhelming Democrat majority, mind you--and still be considered, on his record, to be a conservative by a conservative's conservative like Tom Delay, that speaks volumes. Are you listening Rush? Anne? Rich? GOP voters?


EGHorst said...

I've been trying to figure out for the longest time why on earth Rush, Anne, Hannity, etc. don't like Huckabee at all. Finally, I've got to say because he is a genuine conservative compassionate Christian -- and that scares them. They don't mind the conservative part, but could you label any of them as truly compassionate? Here is a man who stands up for what he believes is right, and while he allows others to have the freedom to believe what they want, he won't back down in the face of danger and knows what to do when people slam him from all directions. Also, when people attack him, he doesn't sling mud like the other candidates. I think that bothers right-wing conservatives who expect someone to fight back. I could be wrong, but those are just my thoughts and observations.

marska43 said...

They don't like him because Mike Huckabee is ver liberal in his policies and actions. As a conservative I would not choose a man who raised taxes a net of 500 MILLION dollars over ten years. Thompson was the only real conservative, but now he's gone. As a true conservative, I feel I now have limited options. But out of the main four, Huckabee and McCain are the furthest left. The democrats are hoping for either of them, b/c they would crush them. Somebody please prove me wrong

Joel Brind said...

Marska43's comment is a perfect illustration of the kind of misunderstanding--often cultivated by opposition candidates--of liberal v. conservative positions on taxes. I, for one, have always had a problem with the expression "tax cuts". This term is really a misnomer, used to indicate tax RATE cuts. Conservatives often point out that such cuts result in increases in net tax revenue, by stimulating economic activity. This is basically what happened in the US economy with the Kennedy tax cuts of 1962, the Reagan tax cuts of 1987, the Bush Tax cuts and the Huckabee tax cuts in Arkansas.

Under Huckabee, state income tax rates ended up right where they started when he began his tenure as Governor. However, Huckabee cut taxes for the lower end taxpayers by raising the threshold for paying any tax, indexed the brackets for inflation, cut the capital gains tax and eliminated the marriage penalty. True, some taxes were raised, such as a 3 cents per gallon increase in the gasoline tax, which was used to bring the quality of the state's highways from the nation's worst to the nation's "most improved" (according to Trucker Magazine). Increases in property taxes--to cover court-mandated increases in education spending--also were used to bring the quality of the Arkansas public school system up from 49th in the country--where Gov. Bill Clinton had left them--to 8th in the country.

Yes, net revenue was up by half a billion dollars over the ten years of Huckabee's tenure, but that's a good thing. Coupled with substantial decreases in wasteful spending, Arkansas went from a $200million shortfall to an $850 million surplus in those ten years. Governor Huckabee is rightfully proud of this remarkable conservative record.

Finally, with all this talk of who's a real conservative, we should note that Gov. Huckabee is the only one of the leading candidates who favors the elimination of the IRS, and the substitution of the income tax with the Fair Tax. Even "true conservative" Fred Thompson had no interest in abolishing THE most intrusive arm of big government, the IRS, a monster created by a
20th century constitutional amendment (the 16th, ratified in 1913) that would make the framers of the Constitution roll over in their graves.

In reality, Mike Huckabee is the most conservative candidate still in the race, and we can be sure that if he weren't, a true conservative like Tom DeLay would be quick to point that out.

Sherry said...

Are we going to let Romney "BUY" the nomination? It just seems so unfair to me that he should have that advantage. Please help Mike compete effectively by donating to his campaign fund here:

I have already given $150. but will match the next contribution of $25. given to Ranger Donor Code R6119, so that will double your contribution!

Better yet, remember that our Government will soon be giving us at least $300 rebate so consider giving a % of that upfront.

And please remember to Pray, Pray, Pray for God's will to be done.

Erundur said...

Joel, great post. I agree 100%.

Erundur said...

Did my last post publish? If not, I said that Joel was spot on. I agree completely.

Teej MacArthur said...

Hey, here's my point about Romney's contributions to his own campaign.

- Romney has made a lot of money over the years, it's true. But since when, especially among Republicans who believe in the free enterprise system, did it become a bad thing to succeed based on hard work, skills, and ability? That’s what America is all about! Certainly Ronald Reagan believed in this, and traditionally conservatives do as well.

- As Romney himself has said, if so many of his friends are willing to give to his campaign and ask others to do the same, how could he refrain from sacrificing his own money in the cause? He’s done so because he believes he can do the job well, and to give America a choice based on what he can offer.

- Romney began the campaign with very limited name recognition. A significant portion of the money spent has been just to increase his visibility. Romney began without a “natural base of support” of any significant size, which is in contrast to his major competitors, who all had name recognition and/or a natural base of support of significant size.

Joel Brind said...

Sherry and Teej,

I would make the point that all of Romney's money doesn't seem to do the trick, I think, because Republicans generally use more intelligence than Democrats in picking their candidates.

As far a buying an election is concerned, that seems only to work for Democrats. For example, it can certainly be said that in 2000, Maria Cantwell and John Corzine bought themselves US Senate seats for $29 million and $65 million, respectively.

And the idea that Romney needed to spend that kind of money to get his name out there just doesn't wash. For how many months was Romney considered "first tier", while Huckabee was a nobody, back in the "second tier"? And Huck had no money. Yet, although Romney has outspent him more than 10 to 1, and although the right-wing media have gone after Huckabee viciously as they have John McCain, Huckabee and Romney are virtually tied for
2nd place in the polls as we go into super Tuesday.

So if there's one thing we can be confident of, it's that money is not what will make the difference. With all those debates and the availability of TV appearances on all channels, all the candidates have gotten their messages out there.

And to the extent that money matters (It certainly does to some extent), It's Mike Huckabee who has surmounted the greatest shortage of money, and yet he's still in the running. As the Master Card commercials say: "Priceless!"

Teej MacArthur said...

I agree 100% that money can't buy an election (as you say, at least among Republicans!), and if Romney wins it won't be because of money. But it's quite an election. I believe in my guy, you believe in yours. The sad thing is they are both the conservatives and are dividing the vote. I wish we had more time to work this out but we don't. Tomorrow is the critical day. If you even think the assessment me and many others have voices today even MIGHT be true that Huckabee is not in a position at this point to win the nomination, I hope you will consider uniting and see if we can get Romney there to stop McCain. The alternative is horrifying to me. Thanks, all!

Joel Brind said...


Nice try, but partisanship aside, your reasoning is fundamentally flawed. Here's why:

Not everybody who likes Mike prefers Romney as his or her second choice: Some prefer McCain. The same is true on the Romney side. Polls have documented this unequivocally.

Therefore, if Huckabee were to withdraw and endorse Romney, or Romney were to withdraw and endorse Huckabee, the one remaining in the race would certainly gain votes, but so would McCain, of a certainty.

So as we go down the home stretch, the decision process will indeed remain open if, between Huckabee and Romney, McCain is denied a majority of delegates. But if either one drops out (as they are tied for a distant second at this point), it will more likely guarantee McCain the nomination.

Meanwhile, since fewer than 10% of votes have yet been cast, all such speculation still is speculation, and any of the three could still win. So let's just leave the brokering for the convention, OK?