Another day, another GOP presidential candidate. Yesterday Mike Huckabee, former Arkansas governor, made his announcement by preaching the good word from his birthplace of Hope, also Bill Clinton’s birth place. Using ministerial language to match that of candidate Ted Cruz, Huckabee declaimed that the United States has “lost our way morally” while his crowd cheered.
Huckabee trails in sixth place at 7.5 percent, following two undeclared candidates—Jeb Bush (15.5 percent) and Scott Walker (12.3 percent)—and three already in the field: Marco Rubio (14.3 percent), Rand Paul (10 percent), and Ted Cruz (8.8 percent). His attacks in the speech were directed not only against the president but also GOP candidates. According to Huckabee, a politician running for higher office should “at least have the integrity and decency to resign” from his current job. He attacked Jeb Bush for hailing from a “family political dynasty.” Huckabee said, “I grew up blue collar, not blue blood.”
The “blue collar” guy has come a long way in the last eight years as testified by his $3 million beachfront home in Florida. He and Texarkana friend and former legislator David Haak got permits to build neighboring homes on an eroding beach in Santa Rosa. Seven hurricanes in six years made the lots unbuildable because the “frontal dune” was too close to the street for the 11,000 square-foot compounds. They simply dumped truckloads of sand farther out on the beach, shaped it into a mound, and declared the man-made hump to be the new frontal dune. The Florida DEP wouldn’t give permits until Huckabee’s contractor moved the home sites back five feet and made a deal with the head of the agency. Taxpayers are provided $43 million for the replenishment of the 19-mile stretch of beach in front of his vacation home.
During the past eight years ago, Huckabee made money from his own show on the Fox network, a syndicated radio program, and several books. More funds went into his coffers from “renting” his campaign email list. One group charges people $72 to locate the miracle cure for cancer hidden in the Bible; another one sells food to survivalists for the upcoming disaster. When CNN host Jake Tepper asked him about allowing his mailing list to pedal bogus cancer cures, Huckabee compared it to selling legitimate medical equipment. He said he hadn’t lost his credibility because “I never signed that letter.” He followed up his justification by saying, “I didn’t actually run that part of my company.” His name, however, was on the promo.
As huckster, Huckabee had a video on the “Diabetes Reversed” website in which he touts the “amazing” treatment for Type 2 diabetes. He recommends getting rid of all those medications and switching to Barton Publishing’s Diabetes Solution Kit. A New York Times report stated that “the American Diabetes Association and the Canadian Diabetes Association caution against treatments like the one peddled by the company Mr. Huckabee represents.” A spokeswoman said that the candidate had dropped his connection with Barton early this year, but the website had a reference to the “governor” earlier today. (It’s not there now.)
Huckabee finds the IRS as criminal as abortion. He wants to replace income taxes with a 23-percent sales tax. To Huckabee and his supporters, this so-called FairTax would fund the government, including Social Security and Medicare. Laurence Kotlikoff, a Boston University economist, pointed out that multi-million-dollar houses would not be taxed and wealthy people might effectively avoid paying the sales tax.
The candidate also suffers from the same flip-flopping that other presidential candidates do. Common Core educational standards were “near and dear to my heart” just two years ago, but now he hates them. As governor, he called for lifting Cuba’s economic embargo of Cuba to help his rice farmers but now opposes the president’s foreign policy by saying that Cuba’s government is tyrannical. While running for president, he said that “climate change … is real”; now he opposes “cap and trade” legislation. At the same time that he objects to what he calls “wage stagnation,” he opposes a higher minimum wage.
In a promo for his candidacy, Huckabee claims that he cut taxes and welfare … and raised average family income by 50 percent.” A fact check shows that the increase over 11 years wasn’t adjusted for inflation. It was actually 20 percent at a time (1996-2007) when the federal average increased more than this. He also took total credit for the income change. Huckabee was governor during increases in sales taxes, a three-percent income-tax surcharge, a 25-cent cigarette increase, and a tax on beds in nursing homes. Club for Growth maintains during Huckabee’s governorship that state sales tax rose 37 percent over his tenure, motor fuel taxes rose 16 percent, and cigarette taxes rose 103 percent, while spending rose at three times the rate of inflation.
Huckabee has been an Obama “birther” and made other personal attacks against the president. Because President Obama lived with his mother and stepfather in Indonesia, he’s neither a Christian nor a “real American.” As Huckabee told Bryan Fischer:
“Most of us grew up going to Boy Scout meetings and, you know, our communities were filled with Rotary Clubs, not madrassas.”
Huckabee also pushed the conspiracy theory that Obama may have identified as a foreign student in college and said that the president’s administration gives “special rights and privileges ” to Muslim-Americans. He told people to refuse to join the military until there is no longer a conservative president in the White House and wants officials to defy federal law on marriage equality.
According to Huckabee, President Obama is making the U.S. less free than North Korea, and an expansion of contraceptive access is comparable to the belief that “cannot control their libido.” He declared that “Obamacare” would have forced Ted Kennedy to commit suicide were the celebrated senator not already dead and blamed the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre on the lack of government-sponsored school prayer. One of his religious claims is that “a wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband.”
During his 11 years as governor, Huckabee commuted and pardoned 1,033 prisoners, twice as many as his three predecessors combined. Twelve of them had been convicted of murder. Maurice Clemmons went on to kill four police officers in Washington state, and serial rapist Wayne DuMond moved to Missouri where he raped and killed two women after Huckabee pressured the state parole board for his release in an illegal private meeting.
Huckabee assured his audience in his candidacy announcement that he hasn’t changed even if he has more money. In the past he endorsed quarantining AIDS patients, condemned efforts to shield homosexuals from discrimination, and called for the death penalty to be imposed on big-time drug dealers. Being gay should be a criminal offense, he has argued. Max Brantley, editor of the Arkansas Times, thinks Huckabee’s ideas haven’t changed:
“He’s got a penchant for sort of cheap-shot quips. He thinks a lot of himself. He thinks he can talk himself out of anything. The main thing I still marvel at is how many people think he’s a nice guy, because he’s got a real mean streak.”
Chuck Norris is still a strong Huckabee support, which may be a mixed blessing for the candidate. The actor has been highly visible recently in his declaration that the federal government is planning a military takeover of Texas in Jade Helm 15, a U.S. military training program.
Jon Stewart is definitely not a supporter of Huckabee—or of Carly Fiorina and Ben Carson. A piece on The Daily Show supplements news footage about the most recent “crazies.” About Huckabee’s objection to the worshipping of “the false god of judicial supremacy,” Stewart commented, “Ah yes the false god of Judicial Supremacy, or as your founding father dinner-mates once called it, the constitutional rule of law.”
A year ago, Huckabee said that female political candidates should be put on a pedestal. We’ll see where he puts his competition now.