Mike Huckabee: The Benedict Arnold of Today’s Tea Party Movementby Stephen Gordon
“If a libertarian thinks he’s a better Republican and calls people like me a RINO or a liberal, I have a real problem with that.” – former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee in a recent television interview.
Of all of the politicians likely to become presidential candidates in 2012, it’s probably former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee who scares me the most. He’s got a unique ability to praise small-government types in one breath then dis them with the next. People, especially in the Tea Party movement, either aren’t aware of how he REALLY feels about them or tend to forget such important details as his actual quotes and voting record.
Because of this, I find it important to remind people of Huckabee’s past whenever his name pops up on the electoral horizon. In my latest attempt at statist Whack-a-Mole, I tried to remind folks of the Huckster’s true record. As a refresher course for folks visiting this site, here’s what he told HuffPo not so very long ago:
The greatest threat to classic Republicanism is not liberalism; it’s this new brand of libertarianism, which is social liberalism and economic conservatism, but it’s a heartless, callous, soulless type of economic conservatism because it says “look, we want to cut taxes and eliminate government. If it means that elderly people don’t get their Medicare drugs, so be it. If it means little kids go without education and healthcare, so be it.” Well, that might be a quote pure economic conservative message, but it’s not an American message. It doesn’t fly. People aren’t going to buy that, because that’s not the way we are as a people. That’s not historic Republicanism.
Lest anyone think this is merely some random quote taken out of context, let’s see what Time does in an interview with Huckabee about his book:
In a chapter titled “Faux-Cons: Worse than Liberalism,” Huckabee identifies what he calls the “real threat” to the Republican Party: “libertarianism masked as conservatism.” He is not so much concerned with the libertarian candidate Ron Paul’s Republican supporters as he is with a strain of mainstream fiscal-conservative thought that demands ideological purity, seeing any tax increase as apostasy and leaving little room for government-driven solutions to people’s problems. “I don’t take issue with what they believe, but the smugness with which they believe it,” writes Huckabee, who raised some taxes as governor and cut deals with his state’s Democratic legislature. “Faux-Cons aren’t interested in spirited or thoughtful debate, because such an endeavor requires accountability for the logical conclusion of their argument.” Among his targets is the Club for Growth, a group that tarred Huckabee as insufficiently conservative in the primaries and ran television ads with funding from one of Huckabee’s longtime Arkansas political foes, Jackson T. Stephens Jr.
It seems that my rant caught the attention of Judge Andrew Napolitano’s producer Austin Peterson. Over the weekend, Napolitano interviewed the former governor on Fox’s Freedom Watch.
“But you don’t believe that the federal government should be concerned with people blowing smoke in other people’s faces?” asked Napolitano.
Huckabee’s responses blew smoke — not in people’s faces — but up a totally different orifice. He avoided answering a question about Constitutional authority, then came out sounding a bit more libertarian on privacy issues.
When Great Britain’s King George III raised taxes and caused other grievous injustices to the colonists, we knew who the enemy was. For the last two years, President Obama, House Speaker Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and others have played a similar role. During the Revolutionary War, the enemy was easy to spot and distinguish: They wore red coats. The traitors were more problematic, though. By squeaking out small-government noises lately, Mike Huckabee has become the Benedict Arnold of today’s Tea Party movement.
In the interview, Huckabee didn’t provide us with a shermanesque statement about his 2012 presidential ambitions. I’ve called out Huckabee’s record on countless blogs and media interviews, and even suggested to Rachel Maddow that Tax Hike Mike can’t tell if his tea bags swing to the left or to the right. Because Huckabee dons new uniforms like Benedict Arnold, it’s imperative that we all continue to tag Tax Hike Mike with “a RINO or a liberal” label as often as possible unless we wish to see the GOP nominate another John McCain as their presidential candidate.
Here’s the “Huckabee & Libertarians” segment on Fox:
UPDATE: Jason Pye pointed to the post which started this all off and a commenter notes:
I think part of that is because people still haven’t dug very deep into his record. Huckabee’s populism is I think as bad as it gets. Take the bad parts of both parties and put them into one dude, and you’ve got an ever-refattening Huckabee.
WaPo’s “Who Runs Gov” blog notes: Trouble on the right? [Mike Huckabee] is christened “The Benedict Arnold of Today’s Tea Party Movement” by the Liberty Papers.
UPDATE II: Over at Liberty Pundits, Melissa Clouthier scribed:
Dear Christian Conservatives intoxicated by the Jesus talk: It’s not Christian to steal from one person and give it to someone else. Mike Huckabee is a Big Government populist who wants to use government programs for Christian ends. The problem with that is it is inherently wrong. You cannot take the liberty of one person and increase the liberty of another. Period.
Doug Mataconis adds: “Hey Huckster, it’s on.”