Monday, December 24, 2007

Mike Huckabee: The GOP Liberal

Much has been made of the meteoric rise of Ex-Governor of Arkansas Michael Dale Huckabee in the political polls in the past couple of months. He is wowing the social conservative voters of Iowa with his views on abortion and the social issues. He comes across as a good-ole-boy who can charm the socks off the average voter.

Nevertheless, he is the most liberal candidate on fiscal issues. And while a lot of Southern Baptists are supporting him because he is a former Southern Baptist preacher, he is actually a liberal in the Southern Baptist wars.

In 1979, the conservatives in the Southern Baptist Convention (Hereafter abbreviated as "SBC.") wrested control from the moderate wing. They elected Adrian Rogers as President, who was a well-known conservative from Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis, Tenn. When Huckabee became president of the Arkansas Baptist Convention in 1989, he appointed liberals to head major committees in that state convention. NOT ONCE DID HE APPOINT A CONSERVATIVE TO A MAJOR POST. Paul Pressler, one of the architects of the 1979 takeover of the SBC, considered Huckabee a liberal in the Baptist wars. He is not supporting Huckabee for President. Oh, yes. Huckabee will not allow the churches he formerly pastored to release any of his sermons he preached. How come?

I agree with him on abortion and gun rights. I have mixed feelings about his stand on the homosexual marriage issue. As an Old Right Conservative, I think the homosexual marriage issue should be settled on the state issue. If a state wishes to legalized homosexual marriage, that is that state's business. But under no circumstances should another state be forced to recognize that marriage. Huckabee would have a Constitutional amendment banning homosexual marriage.

His record as Arkansas' governor is one of fiscal liberalism. Under Bill Clinton, the per capita tax burden rate was 9.8%. When Huckabee left office, it was 11.1%. He was for raising taxes to pay for his pet programs. He wanted to give driver's licenses to illegal immigrants and allow illegal immigrants to go to college paying the same tuition rate as in-state students. He was all for illegal immigration in his state.

When it came to crime he made Mike Dukakis look like a flaming conservative. In his 10 1/2 years as governor (July 15, 1996-January 9, 2007) he gave 1033 commutations. In the 17 1/2 years of his three predecessors, only 507 commutations were given out. One of his parolees, Wayne Dumond, went out and raped and murdered a woman.

I'll admit a Presidential candidate has a faith that influences his stands on politics. But there is a difference between the other Republican candidates and Huckabee. He is a Shining Path believer. He's personally against smoking. Fine. But he wants a NATIONWIDE ban on smoking. Period. Would we have a Federal Agency to Rid Tobacco (F.A.R.T.) to implement this? He lost a hundred pounds because he was diagnosed as a diabetic. He's to be commended for that. But he wants to spend Federal funds to make people lose weight. He has always been in favor of illegal immigration and giving them benefits because "That's what Jesus would do." His foreign policy would be "Christ-like" and initiate a lot of talks with hostile powers. Well, I have no objections to that. But what happens when they don't want to talk? He wants to abolish the income tax and have the "Fair Tax"of a 23% sales tax? He said that is the kind of tax a "true Christian" would support. A 23% sales tax on groceries and prescription drugs would be a horrendous burden to the poor.

In the past twenty-eight years, Arkansas had three out of four governors that had morals or ethic problems. Bill Clinton (1979-1981, 1983-1993) had problems with the fairer sex. Jim Guy Tucker (1993-1996) had financial scandals and was forced to resign. Frank White (1981-1983) was honest and had a scandal-free administration. And then there was Huckabee.

Huckabee didn't mess around with the babes. You won't find any scandal remotely connecting him to any of that. Give him credit for that. But he sure liked the gifts. He tried to run off with $70000 in furniture that was donated to the Governor's Mansion when he was governor. He was cited on five occasions by the state's ethics commission for his accepting gifts. He made appointments to various boards and commissions to some of those donors. He demanded the state GOP pay for some of his personal expenses.

Huckabee as a person is not as nice as he seems. On the outside, he is very charming, witty and kind. But when conservative Republican state legislators in Arkansas challenged him on his policies and programs, he would get nasty and vindictive with them. He would tell them they "didn't drink the same Jesus juice he did." He made it seem like you were challenging God Himself if you disagreed with him. Is this the guy you want for President?

Do not take Huckabee lightly in Mississippi. I have talked to a lot of people in the Southern Baptist church I attend and they like him a lot. Even though our Presidential primary isn't until March 11th, the primary may still be very important because the Republican Presidential nomination may still be undecided and in a state of flux. Huckabee comes from a state that borders Mississippi and the Southern Baptist connection may just be the right combination for victory in this state.

But if Huckabee is the nominee, the Clinton machine (assuming Hitlery is the nominee) will make toast out of him. He'll be beaten like a bongo drum. The Clinton machine will make him look like a religious kook and ethically challenged (They should talk. But the mainstream media will pick up the Clinton attacks and skewer Huckabee.).

Under no circumstances will I vote for Huckabee for the Republican Presidential nomination.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Conspiracy, anyone?

There is an old cliche' I use when I go to political gatherings or observe politics on television and radio: Just when you are as cynical as you can get and you have reached the maximum in cynicism, you go to a political rally and find out there's room for more (cynicism).

As we all know, Sen. Chester Trent Lott has resigned his Senate seat. And we all know Congressman Chip Pickering announced he was not running for another House term. And, good ole Dickey Scruggs has been indicted for trying to bribe a Federal judge. For those of you in Mississippi who have been hiding under a rock for forty years, Dickey is Lott's brother-in-law.

Now I've been in politics since I was ten years old. I have seen things that seem so surreal it blows one's mind. In fact, a science fiction writer couldn't make some of this up. For example, when President Richard M. Nixon was reelected by eighteen million votes on November 7, 1972, nobody in his right mind would have thought Congressman Gerald Ford would be President in less than two years and Jimmy Carter would be President a little more than two years after that.

Now this is sheer speculation and maybe nut job thinking. But remember, this is politics where you can trust very few people. Sen. Lott knew all this stuff on Dickey was coming down months ago. He knows he will be implicated in some of Dickey's machinations (along with Mike Moore and Jim Hood) and he would be forced to resign. He told Chip Pickering he would resign by the end of the year. (For the politically uninitiated, Pickering is Lott's protege'.) Therefore, Pickering would be appointed as his successor to the U.S. Senate. So it would be best if Pickering were to announce he was not running for reelection.

Nutty? Think about it. Pickering is NOT going to run for a state office in 2011 or 2015. His cousin Stacey Pickering is now the Auditor-elect. Now Stacey is going to be running for something in 2011--either for reelection or for Lt. Governor. It all depends what Dewey Bryant does in 2011. If Dewey runs for Governor, Stacey will probably run for Lt. Governor. Chip would not run for Governor for two reasons: 1. Voters would be very reluctant to vote for members of a family (They are cousins.) for the two top state positions. 2. Chip would be engaged in a nasty primary against Dewey. Chip may win, but it would split the GOP.

It was Lott and the late Governor Kirk Fordice who got Chip his start in politics. Back in 1996, the top GOP areas were Rankin County, Lauderdale County and Forrest County. Cong. Sonny Montgomery stated he was retiring that year. Lott and Fordice encouraged Republicans in Rankin County to run for the Congressional seat. They were State Senators Mike Gunn and Dean Kirby and the 1994 Congressional GOP nominee James Dabbs. All three were led to believe they would get the support of the GOP poo bahs. Instead, in the first primary, those three candidates split the populous Rankin County GOP vote and Meridian's Bill Crawford and Hattiesburg's Chip Pickering slipped into the runoff. As we all know, Pickering won the runoff.

So who will Gov. Haley Barbour appoint? My gut feeling Chip Pickering will get the appointment. This may be his only opportunity to be Senator. I'll bet you dollars to doughnuts Sen. Thad Cochran will run for reelection in 2014. If a Republican other than Pickering succeeds Lott, then the earliest Pickering can run would be 2020. If Cochran were to retire after his next term, than it could be 2014. And there would be others besides Pickering to run for that seat. He may fade into political obscurity for six years and lose to someone who has a "name". Does he want to risk not getting the appointment? And if he wants Barbour to appoint him, he'll get the appointment. The GOP poo bahs will see to that.

We'll see. The Chinese have an ancient curse for this: May you live in interesting times.