With Mike Huckabee surging in both Iowa and in national polls the business portion of the former Republican majority has launched an all out attack on his “conservative” credentials. The attack has been led by the “Club for Growth”, who have attacked Huckabee for raising taxes while governor of Arkansas. A recent column by conservative columnist Robert Novak gave rise to main street Republican frustrations with “evangelical Christians” who desire to nominate one of their own rather than marching in lockstep with more traditional Republicans. Huckabee’s designation as a “heretic” is widening the growing chasm between the two main branches of modern Republican thought, and bodes well for the Democrats in November. How hard is the hit being placed on Huckabee? From Novak:
Huckabee is campaigning as a conservative, but serious Republicans know that he is a high-tax, protectionist, big-government advocate of a strong hand in the Oval Office directing the lives of Americans. Until now, they did not bother to expose the former governor of Arkansas as a false conservative because he seemed an underfunded, unknown nuisance candidate. Now that he has pulled even with Mitt Romney for the Iowa caucuses with the possibility of more progress, the beleaguered Republican Party has a frightening problem on its hands.
What has Huckabee done to warrant such conservative concern?
There is no doubt about Huckabee’s record during a decade in Little Rock as governor. He was regarded by fellow Republican governors as a compulsive tax increaser and spender. He increased the Arkansas tax burden by 47 percent, boosting the levies on gasoline and cigarettes. When he decided to lose 100 pounds and pressed his new lifestyle on the American people, he was far from a Goldwater-Reagan libertarian.
I wish Novak would define libertarian. Goldwater was a libertarian. Reagan? I don’t think so. But back to the subject at hand. How about the sniping between the Club for Growth and Huckabee.
Huckabee clearly departs from the mainstream of the conservative movement in his confusion of “growth” with “greed.” Such ad hominem attacks are part of his intuitive response to criticism from the Club for Growth and the libertarian Cato Institute for his record as governor. On Fox News Sunday Nov. 18, he called the “tactics” of the Club for Growth “some of the most despicable in politics today. It’s why I love to call them the Club for Greed because they won’t tell you who gave their money.” In fact, all contributors to the organization’s political action committee (which produces campaign ads) are publicly revealed, as are most donors financing issue ads.
Huckabee’s rise in the polls has brought significant attention to him, including the highlighting of the many ethics charges filed against him while governor. Kudos to the opp research team at Club Mitt. Should get pretty nasty by caucus time.