Taking A Look At The Huckster’s Recordby Doug Mataconis
Before Republicans jump on the Huckabee bandwagon, they would be wise to take a look at his record as Governor:
Despite cutting taxes in his first legislative session, Huckabee also embraced the ARKids First program, which was then the cornerstone of an agenda pushed by an advocacy group started years earlier by Hillary Clinton. Even then, some were concerned that Huckabee’s conservative instincts didn’t stretch beyond social issues.
And, as time would show, those concerns were justified:
In 2001, when conservative Republican lawmakers opposed a higher sales taxes and fees the governor supported, he began calling them “Shiites.” Huckabee’s positions on fiscal policy became indistinguishable from Democrats’ positions. A year later, he openly campaigned against a ballot initiative to remove the sales tax on food and medicine. While he and Rockefeller won re-election in 2002, Sen. Tim Hutchinson didn’t.
In 2003, Huckabee not only begged lawmakers for new taxes to make up a budget shortfall, but he rebuffed conservatives’ (Republicans and a couple of Democrats) plan to cover the shortfall by tapping one-time money and cutting pork. In 2004, President Bush won re-election, but Huckabee campaigned for some Democrats – even some who had Republican opponents – and Republicans lost state legislative seats for the first time since 1990.
Someone noted a few weeks ago that Mike Huckabee is the logical extension of George W. Bush’s “compassionate conservatism”, which has left the very idea of fiscal responsibility in the trash bin of history. Republicans would do well to recognize that before putting him at the top of their ticket.