Category Archives: Huckabee Watch

What American Christians Can Learn From A Muslim Woman Calling Out Her Own Community

There’s a Facebook post that has gone viral of a Georgia woman, who is Muslim, essentially blasting her fellow Muslims for demanding a special increase in food stamp benefits to offset the higher cost of halal food. One of this young lady’s followers screen capped the image, drew a line through her name and eyes to protect her privacy and posted it in Imgur.

Here it is:

L8yrtlK

I know the young lady who wrote this post. She’s a Bosnian immigrant who came to America with her family to escape the Bosnian Civil War of the 1990s. She grew up in the U.S. and became a political activist who lives outside of Atlanta. I have the privilege of knowing her and I am proud to call her a friend.

Obviously I with the post, however it got me to thinking, are American Christians also asking the state for special treatment? Unfortunately, the answer is yes and it is just as wrong as when American Muslims ask the state for special treatment.

All members of religious groups (and those who don’t belong to or believe in any religion for that matter) are entitled to is to practice their religious beliefs in peace, as long as they do not harm others. This applies whether your religion is the majority religion in the country or has very few adherents.

There are many American Christians who want the government to fight poverty and support increased welfare spending to do it. Other American Christians want the government to enforce their definition of marriage and base the laws upon their version of morality. This manifests itself in everything from blue laws to abstinence only sex education.

The worst example of this is Mike Huckabee or as we like to call him around here, “Tax Hike Mike.” Tax Hike Mike believes that God wants him to do everything from support Common Core, to fight global warming, to oppose same sex marriage. Essentially, Tax Hike Mike wants special, religious based privileges for himself and his followers above and beyond the protection of the freedom of religion.

Christians are called to fight poverty by giving to the poor, not to have Caesar redistribute the wealth of your neighbors to fight poverty. Christians are called to demonstrate their faith by living by example, not to have Caesar pass laws to mandate how their neighbors live. Christ instructed us to fufill the Great Commission by bringing the Gospels to the four corners of the world, not give that duty to Caesar. American Christians, on both the right and the left, need to stop outsourcing their own duties as Christians to the government.

 

The day may come that Christianity will not be the majority religion in the United States. It wouldn’t be unparalleled in world history for a nation to change its religious beliefs over a generation or so. One day, Christians even in America may find themselves at the mercy of a government determined to promote its own views that maybe contradictory to Christianity. It’s an experience many Christians around the world already experience daily.

If we as Christians want to be free to practice our beliefs in peace, we must acknowledge the right of all faiths in this country to practice their own faith. We cannot complain about Muslim special privileges if we ourselves are using the state to secure special privileges.

I believe that freedom and virtue go hand in hand and reinforce each other. Sometimes, we Christians need to be mindful of the “freedom” part. After all salvation itself is a gift from God through his son Jesus that must be freely accepted.

 

 

I’m one of the original co-founders of The Liberty Papers all the way back in 2005. Since then, I wound up doing this blogging thing professionally. Now I’m running the site now. You can find my other work at IJ Review.com and Rare. You can also find me over at the R Street Institute.
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Why Libertarians Should Vote Libertarian This November (and Always)

As usual at this stage in the election cycle, my social media newsfeeds are filled with indignant Republicans lecturing libertarians about “spoiling” elections in favor of Democrats. I will do as always, listen to the howls as they cast themselves impotently upon the shoals of my principles—and continue to fill in ovals only for those candidates with an established commitment to limited government, enumerated powers and fiscal restraint.

I urge my fellow libertarians to do the same.

Never mind Libertarian candidates pull votes from Democrats as well as Republicans. Never mind Libertarians sometimes spoil elections in favor of the Republican. What I find even more interesting this election cycle is how much more sympathetic the howlers are to third parties and spoilers now that it is the social conservatives feeling betrayed by the GOP.

Tax-Hike Mike Huckabee is threatening to leave the party and take “a whole bunch of still God-fearing, Bible-believing people” with him if the party “abdicates” on gay marriage. Chairman of the (misnamed) Liberty Council Matthew Staver is now openly calling for the creation of a third party if Republican “cowards” cannot hold the line against gay marriage. The (misnamed) National Organization for Marriage is actively campaigning against Republican candidates Carl DeMaio and Richard Tisei for their breach of party orthodoxy:

We refuse to follow the leaders in Washington as if we were sheep expected to dutifully support candidates whose positions are an insult to conservatives and will severely damage the nation. We are going to do our best to defeat these candidates because they are wholly unworthy of holding high office.

Remember all the times libertarians have said the same thing, not in connection to gay marriage, but as to a plethora of other issues? I know my social media will soon light up with outrage  at these social conservatives actively spoiling elections against Republic candidates.

…Any time now…

It is ironic, really, because however faithless the GOP has been with the theocratic wing of its base, its breach of faith with the small government contingent has been near absolute. The GOP has given us the Patriot Act, warrantless wire-tapping, protectionist tariffs, expensive subsidies for agribusiness, a crony capitalist energy bill, and Sarbanes-Oxley.

It has bequeathed us a $1.9 trillion war waged on credit to topple a secular dictator whose position is now being filled by the group known as ISIS. Its War on Drugs is a spectacular failure, whose face looks like this, and which is now opposed by the majority of Americans—along with five Nobel prize economists.

The GOP “abdicated” long ago on local control of schools, federalizing education to an unprecedented extent with No Child Left Behind. In an irony observed by Edward H. Crane of the Cato Institute back in 2002:

Mr. Bush campaigned for the greatest federal role in education that any president, Republican or Democrat, had in US history. Never mind that 20 years before, Mr. Reagan had won a landslide victory on a platform that called for the abolition of the Department of Education.

The GOP oversaw an incredible expansion in the federal budget, even for non-defense discretionary spending, and a new entitlement program in the form Medicare Part D, with net expenditures of $727.3 billion through 2018. Its candidates now openly campaign against cuts to Medicare and Social Security and the party leadership takes the position that it cannot risk unpopular cuts when winning re-election is so crucial.

…So they can cut spending?

There will always be another election looming. This is not the logic of a party sincere in its intent to rein in the size and scope of government. It is the logic of a party whose purpose in winning elections is to hold onto power for its own sake.

Even if the GOP had given libertarians a reason for support this November, it is increasingly unclear it can deliver in national elections. Only 25% of Americans identify as Republican, the party having lost fully 12% of its base to Independents, who now make up 42% of the electorate (31% are Democrats).

Is there a target electorate for a party of politicians who are entitlement-state liberals on economic issues, hawks on foreign policy, surveillance state security-fetishists, and who believe in using the power of the government to promote conservative values on social issues? How big can that voting block be? According to Dave Nalle writing for American Broadside, Huckabee’s following consists of about 6-8% of Republican voters nationwide.

In contrast, as many as 59 % of voters self-identify as “fiscally conservative and socially liberal,” the exact opposite of the “socially conservative, fiscally liberal” brand of conservatism the GOP has served up in the last fifteen years. Against Huckabee’s 6-8% following, 61% of young Republicans and 64% of millennial evangelicals support treating same-sex marriages equally under the law.

Even the Catholic Church sees the writing on the wall.

Contrary to Huckabee’s handwringing, the GOP can maintain its position on abortion and remain a viable party. Forty-six percent of American adults, 45% of independents and 28% of Democrats are pro-life. Even outspoken Democrat women like Kirsten Powers would put a limits on abortion well before the end of the second trimester. There is common ground to be had there.

But the GOP cannot remain a viable party without the libertarian swing vote. Even under conservative estimates, 15% of voters can be treated as consistently “libertarian” in their positions, representing a voting block as big as the religious right—and one that is far more willing to stray from the GOP.

It is clear the GOP needs libertarians this November—hence the shrill refrain from the peanut gallery of social media. But it is not clear what the GOP has to offer. Its tent is big enough to cover both libertarians and social conservatives. But there is no such thing as a tent big enough to cover both libertarians and social conservatives who want to use the power of the government to promote their social preferences.

Those two are mutually exclusive. They are matter and anti-matter. They cannot exist in the same time in the same place.

Until the GOP chooses, it will remain a splintered force in politics. And unless it chooses the side of small government, it offers little incentive for libertarians to look for shelter in its tent.

Sarah Baker is a libertarian, attorney and writer. She lives in Montana with her daughter and a house full of pets.

Tax Hike Mike Threatens To Take His Toys And Go Home

Former Arkansas Governor “Tax Hike Mike” Huckabee was a guest on the American Family Association’s “Today’s Issues” program where he ripped into the Supreme Court’s decision this week to not hear gay marriage cases, which essentially increased the number of states in which gay marriage became legal to 30 plus the District of Columbia.

Here’s a video of Tax Hike Mike threatening to leave the GOP over gay marriage:

For those of you who prefer to not watch the Huckster, Rare has transcribed what he said:

“If the Republicans want to lose guys like me and a whole bunch of still God-fearing Bible-believing people, go ahead and just abdicate on this issue,” Huckabee said.

“And go ahead and say abortion doesn’t matter, either, because at that point, you lose me, I’m gone, I’ll become an independent, I’ll start finding people that have guts to stand. I’m tired of this,” he said.

Poor Tax Hike Mike is not getting his way so he’s going to take his toys and go home. Well, the problem for Tax Hike Mike is that the Republican Party and the country are changing and it’s not to his liking.

Young Republicans are overwhelmingly in support of gay marriage for example. Pew Research Center found that 61% of young Republicans support gay marriage.

Gay marriage isn’t the only issue where young Republicans are bucking social conservatives. Young Republicans are also bucking social conservatives on marijuana as the AP reported back in May.

Beyond being a generational issue, young Republicans say their positions stem from the party’s belief that government shouldn’t intrude on people’s lives. Ron Paul’s 2012 presidential campaign got most of its following from younger Republicans attracted by his libertarian message that allowed for gay marriage and the legalization of marijuana.

It’s not just Tax Hike Mike’s increasingly out of date positions on social issues that should stop anyone who loves liberty from shedding tears over his departure from the GOP, it’s his terrible positions on just about everything. Here’s a brief summary:

  • There’s a reason why we call him Tax Hike Mike around here, because as Governor of Arkansas, he loved to raise taxes
  • Tax Hike Mike increased spending by 65% as Arkansas governor and Cato gave his overall reign a “D” on their grade for fiscal policy.
  • Tax Hike Mike continues to defend his fiscal progressivism.
  • Tax Hike Mike has supported cap and trade in the past and says “God wants us to fight global warming.
  • Who can forget Tax Hike Mike’s support of Common Core
  • Oh social conservatives, do you know that Tax Hike Mike signed a law in 2005 that mandated contraception coverage, even for religious organizations?
  • For more goodies about Tax Hike Mike, please visit this blog that has compiled a list of the numerous times Mike Huckabee has supported big government.

    After the disaster that was the presidency of George W. Bush and “big-government conservatism”, the last thing the Republican Party and the country needs is for that banner to be carried to victory in an election. It’s time to show Tax Hike Mike and those who support the big government nanny state the left does, except their own version of it, the door.

    I’m one of the original co-founders of The Liberty Papers all the way back in 2005. Since then, I wound up doing this blogging thing professionally. Now I’m running the site now. You can find my other work at IJ Review.com and Rare. You can also find me over at the R Street Institute.

    Mike Huckabee’s American History Lesson

    Or to be more accurate, alternative American history lesson. Mike Huckabee, who is leading ABC’s latest G.O.P. presidential poll, informed George Stephanopoulos that President Obama will be very difficult to beat because “only one time since 1868 has an incumbent president been taken out who ran for reelection and that’s when Jimmy Carter ran in 1980.” (At the 1:17 mark)

    Oh yeah, I forgot – George H.W. Bush won reelection in 1992 (despite violating his “no new taxes” pledge) and Bill Clinton ran again later to beat Dan Quayle in 1996.

    What’s a little surprising to me is how little play this has received so far and that Stephanopoulos, who worked on Bill Clinton’s successful campaign to defeat the incumbent President Bush, didn’t call him on it! Why did he let Huckabee get by with this blatant historical error?

    Okay, so he got his facts wrong, how is this different from other faux pas of presidential candidates of recent memory?

    This one is different. This wasn’t a hasty misstatement of how many states are in the union or a slip of the tongue, Huckabee apparently has spent some time contemplating how Jimmy Carter is the only incumbent president to be voted out of office since 1868. He wanted very much to “remind” the viewers of this historical “fact.”

    This is a man who would be president.

    A big deal?

    You tell me.

    Mike Huckabee: The Benedict Arnold of Today’s Tea Party Movement

    “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.”

    Children Raised By Lesbians Better Off?

    An awesome study turns social conservative thought on families completely on its head:

    Contrary to what the religious right might say, children raised by lesbian parents are doing just as well as their peers, according to a new report based on a 20-year study to be published in the journal Pediatrics. In fact, they may be even better off. “When we compared the adolescents in our study to the so-called gold standard,” Dr. Nanette Gartrell, the study’s author, said, “we found the teens with lesbian mothers were actually doing better.” Researchers found that the children showed significantly fewer social problems and rated much higher academically and socially. As for why their children are faring well, Gartrell suggested that lesbian mothers “are very committed, very involved parents,” and may also be better off economically.

    Such research proves two things: Gay people are actually an exceptionally well-to-do group, likely based on the fact that they are often couples of working individuals. Also, a free society must not only be politically and economically fluid but also culturally so. Every child is different, and there’s no set standard for how to raise every single one.

    Huckabee’s hypocrisy

    The former governor munching on a Huckaburger that he'd try to keep you from eating

    The former governor munching on a Huckaburger that he'd try to prevent you from eating. Credit: Reuters

    According to this Twitter account, if former Governor Mike Huckabee’s lips are moving, he’s lying.  Let put that statement to a test.

    Here’s an excerpt from a recent interview transcript (emphasis added):

    The last time out, my biggest challenge was with the establishment Republicans who just never showed their support. And while I think a person can possibly win without them, the Republican Party needs to unite if it’s going to win in 2012.

    Now let’s compare Huckabee’s appeal for unity to other comments he has made.  This is from a year-old Time article:

    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.

    Then there’s this little gem from HuffPo:

    Republicans need to be Republicans. 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. Historic Republicanism does not hate government; it’s just there to be as little of it as there can be. But they also recognize that government has to be paid for.

    It seems that Huckabee is all for GOP unity so long as everyone in The Village agrees with his big-government prescriptions.  Not to kick a big-government Republican while he’s down, but it seems he’d be more concerned about dealing with his Willie Horton moment right now.

    UPDATE: Here’s why The Humble Libertarian doesn’t heart the Huckster.

    Astroturfing Republican of the Day Award

    Big-government Republican hypocricy knows no limits, it seems.  Here’s the latest tweet from Mike Huckabee:

    Pls support HPAC today, my 3 reasons for $3: rising taxes, deficits, massive exp. of govt http://tinyurl.com/cwpy6t Plse RT #tcot

    Let’s see if I understand this correctly: Tax Hike Mike wants us to give money to the Huck PAC because of taxes, deficits and expansion of government?

    I seem to recall the Club for Growth setting the record straight on just how big Tax Hike Mike would really like the government to be.  Huckabee’s response was to call the organization the Club for Greed.

    I also recall Huckabee lambasting libertarians. There’s this sentence from his book.

    The real threat to the Republican Party is something we saw a lot of this past election cycle: libertarianism masked as conservatism.

    There is also this quote from a HuffPo interview:

    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.”

    Huck PAC will be going without my $3, as I certainly don’t want it to be used to expand the size, scope and expense of government.

    Here’s the response back to Huckabee from my Twitter account:

    @GovMikeHuckabee Astroturfing Tax-Hike-Mike asking for $ to fight taxes & spending http://tinyurl.com/c3wwuo #tcot #tlot

    UPDATE: The retweets begin

    Is Obama a Socialist?

    communist-manifestoWriting that “Calling Barack Obama’s plan socialistic lacks any class,” Albor Ruiz argues that “fear mongering over a ‘class war’ and an Obama conspiracy to turn the U.S. into a ‘socialist’ country is reaching a fever pitch.”

    He then cites “Tax Hike Mike” Huckabee as an example:

    Huckabee, no doubt, takes the cake. “Lenin and Stalin would love this stuff,” he has said with quasi-religious fervor. “The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics may be dead, but a Union of American Socialist Republics is being born.”

    First of all, citing Huckabee was a mistake, as he’s part of the problem and clearly not part of the solution.

    My favored definition of socialism comes from Merriam-Webster: “ any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods.”

    This seems to describe the current administration, but there are other definitions which may or may not apply, as well.

    If we are to pick an accurate word to describe Obama’s (to be fair, Bush laid the foundations which hadn’t already been established by previous administrations) designs on our children’s and even their children’s money, what should it be? If we are to better describe Obama’s move towards what Karl Marx called “a heavy progressive or graduated income tax,” how would we do it?

    “Abolition of all right of inheritance?”  There is already talk of Obama toying with the Death Tax.

    We may have moved from the Agrarian Age to the Information Age, but an “extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the State” seems to apply to AIG fairly well. If seventeen percent of our gross domestic spending is on health care, additional government control of this industry would certainly apply.  Control of the automobile industry clearly involves factories and instruments of production. While Obama has backed off his call for a Car Czar, the fact remains that he certainly made the attempt and likely will again if he gets the opportunity.

    “Centralisation of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State.”  Bush got a good start on transporation with the implementation of various TSA schemes and implementation of the Fairness Doctrine would move us closer to Marxism on the communications front.

    While “a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly,” may not precisely describe the Federal Reserve, for many intents and purposes it does.

    Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac seem a major starting point for “centralisation of credit in the hands of the State.”  Purchasing shares and attaching federal strings to bank bailouts is certainly a big move in this direction.

    Perhaps Mr. Ruiz is correct.  Should we be calling Obama’s attempted takeover of major portions of our economy while further redistributing the wealth socialist or Marxist?  Not that one necessarily excludes the other.

    In reality, it all boils down to one simple question: Does it really matter if we call current policy socialism or a crap sandwich? It tastes the same either way.

    “Socialism on Trial” Will Necessitate Republican Defendants

    About the direction the Republican Party should take, Craig Shirley said:

    “The 2008 campaign was never an honest choice between conservatism and liberalism. Really, it was just a referendum on George Bush,” said Craig Shirley, a consultant and author of a forthcoming book on the 1980 presidential campaign.

    Shirley thinks equating Democratic values with socialism is a formula for victory. “What Republicans want to do and need to do is put socialism on trial,” he said.

    “Socialism has been a conservative talking point since the late 1880s,” one House GOP aide added.

    “As a populist anti-Washington party, we’ve always done best,” Shirley continued.

    Being out of power allows Republicans to explore a populist side they were unable to with the previous administration.

    While I certainly don’t agree with many other items on the GOP agenda, I found this advice sage enough to try to convince members of the right to heed Shirley’s words.  However, if socialism is to be placed on trial, we should probably take a quick peek at who some of the indicted co-conspirators will be:

    Former President George W. Bush

    Senator John McCain and Governor Sarah Palin

    Governor Mike Huckabee

    Governor Bob Riley

    A sizable stack of GOP governors

    A probable stack of GOP senators

    Mind you, this is just a very short list.  For example, one would need to look carefully at each and every Republican legislator who voted for any of Bush’s bloated spending packages.  When John McCain referred to Barack Obama as a socialist, most libertarians I know just laughed.  As the old saying goes, “It takes one to know one.”

    H/T to The Other McCain

    Inconvenient Convention Facts and Fictions Exposed

    Now that the conventions are over, it’s time to separate the facts from the fiction. With so much misinformation being peddled by the political campaigns (not to mention rumors spread through e-mail, the internet and the MSM), this is very often a difficult task. My approach is to be skeptical until I am satisfied that I have looked at a variety of sources which I believe to be objective. Snopes and Factcheck.org are among the sources I use as a starting point.

    The video below comes from factcheck.org. I generally trust this site because, in my judgment at least, they seem to be very even handed in their analysis,* they cite their sources, and go into detail as to how they arrive at their conclusions. This video provides an overview of the misleading statements made in Denver and in St. Paul; the website goes into more detail about these statements complete with sources.

    (If the video fails to play, click here to watch)

    A few observations:

    This b.s. about “giving tax breaks to Big Oil companies” is maddening. Businesses, whether large or small, should neither pay taxes nor be subsidized. Businesses only pay taxes on paper; taxes are passed down to employees in the form of lower wages and higher prices for consumers. Why do we assume that the money that companies or individuals make belong to the government in the first place? If McBama was truly interested in creating jobs, reducing the price of groceries and gas, and improving the overall economy,** he would eliminate taxes and subsidies for all businesses. This would encourage businesses to bring jobs back to America rather than leaving America to escape the tax code. If the practice of subsidizing failing businesses ended, companies would have to survive by producing goods and services people actually want. Now that’s the “change” that I believe in!

    Mike Huckabee. What can I say? As bad of a choice as John McCain is for the Republican ticket, the Republicans would have done much worse with Huckabee. Either Gov. Huckabee is insanely bad at math or he deliberately lied to the G.O.P. delegates and the country about Sarah Palin receiving more votes as Mayor than Joe Biden did in the Democrat primaries. Did he really think that no one would check? Did he really think that he was helping the McCain campaign?

    » Read more

    The Huckster — “Libertarians Want To Steal Grammy’s Meds!”

    It’s obvious to all people with functioning brain cells that the Republican party’s reputation has taken quite a beating over this decade. When it’s been dominated by the profligate spending and mismanagement of the “compassionate conservatives”, Mike Huckabee lays the blame at the people who have been criticizing that profligate spending all along, and makes an utter fool of himself in the process:

    What can the party do to reverse course?

    Republicans need to be Republicans. 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. Historic Republicanism does not hate government; it’s just there to be as little of it as there can be. But they also recognize that government has to be paid for.

    Huckabee makes two logical errors here.

    First, he conflates libertarianism’s goals with methods. The goal is a government that is not providing these services, and a private sector that replaces the government provision of services. The State has been built incrementally over the last century and beyond, and society has grown accustomed to the infringement of their own methods for handling social problems by the government. Most libertarians want to see a dramatic reduction in the State, but understand that the methods must also be incremental. Societies such as post-Communist Russia show what happens when you simply disintegrate heavy-handed state control in a society which does not have the natural infrastructure to support it– the State is replaced by other goons, like the mafia.

    Second, he assumes that if government doesn’t provide these social services, all hell will break loose when the vacuum forms. As a Baptist preacher, he above all should understand the amazing capacity that Americans have for voluntary charity. He seems to impugn libertarians with the motives of “well, if all hell breaks loose, it’s too f’ing bad.” Instead, our belief is that the government is an inefficient, uncaring, and ultimately unreliable provider of social services, and that the poor and elderly will be better off and our children will be better educated if we get the government out of the way. After all, government didn’t socialize medicine for senior citizens up until a few years ago, and the world hadn’t ended. Government has constantly been “improving” (read “throwing more money and bureaucracy at”) education for 50 years, and watched as American children have fallen further and further behind our international rivals.

    Oh, and I don’t understand what Huckabee’s Republican view of government, “to be as little of it as there can be”, defines him any different from that of a Democrat. His view of “as little of it as there can be” seems to include lots of “compassionate conservative” programs, which sounds like it includes a lot of prescription drugs for the elderly and a big federal education bureaucracy. As is true of most politicians, he’d simply prefer that his team be pulling the strings instead of those dirty liberals.

    But, if you can believe it, it gets worse. He goes on to prove that he doesn’t understand a thing about libertarians:

    My experience in Arkansas was, a lot of the so-called conservatives said “Let’s cut the budget.” But they wanted to add prison sentences, they wanted to eliminate parole, they wanted to have harsher sentences for various crimes. And I said “OK, that’s fine, but that’s going to be expensive. So which do you want?” You can’t have both

    I think most libertarians would tell you that our prisons are FAR too crowded, and that we’re wasting our time prosecuting victimless crimes while actual dangerous people roam free. These “so-called conservatives”– who don’t actually call themselves conservatives, mind you– aren’t usually the ones asking for tougher sentences, mandatory minimums, and fuller prisons. We’re the ones arguing against that!

    So it would appear that the Huckster’s main point is that for Republicans to reconnect with electoral success, they need to leave those elements asking for reduction in government behind. Instead, they need to be the party of fiscal responsibility, and not grow government QUITE as quickly as the Democrats want (or spend the money in the same places). Yet government growth hasn’t been a problem over the last 7 years of the Bush administration, and increasing government nannyism has not led to widespread acceptance of Huckabee’s version of Republicanism.

    I disagree strongly with Huckabee, if that hasn’t been evident already. It truly says something when potential voters respond to a centrist-libertarian Republican candidate in record numbers, preferring him to an idealized Democrat, even if he isn’t real:

    And after the debate, a Zogby poll found that even among the young, liberal-skewing viewers of “The West Wing,” Vinick had crushed Santos. Before the episode, viewers between 18 and 29 preferred Santos over Vinick, 54 percent to 37 percent. But after the debate, Vinick led among viewers under age 30, 56 percent to 42 percent. McCain could only dream of such numbers. Or maybe he should try sounding like Arnie Vinick.

    “West Wing” producers were taken aback by the reactions of real live “voters” to their real live debate. After seven years of heroically portraying the honest, decent, liberal President Jed Bartlet–an idealized Bill Clinton who wouldn’t take off his coat, much less his pants, in the Oval Office–they weren’t about to let a crotchety old Republican beat their handsome Hispanic hero. So they conjured up a meltdown in a nuclear power plant that Vinick had supported, and Santos won the election.

    I remember thinking that during those West Wing episodes… “Why don’t real Republicans ever sound like this?” If they did, I might have a reason to support them instead of Bob Barr come November.

    Mike Huckabee vs. The First Amendment

    In an interview on NPR, Mike Huckabee said that he wants to outlaw all independent speech in political campaigns:

    Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee on Wednesday disavowed the use of a negative campaign tactic known as “push polling” being used on his behalf by an independent group ahead of the South Carolina primary.

    Huckabee said he disagreed with the automated phone calls purporting to be part of a survey that instead disparage rival candidates. The “push polling” calls were being made by Colorado-based Common Sense Issues in support of the Huckabee campaign.

    “We don’t know who these people are,” the former Arkansas governor told NPR’s Morning Edition. “I personally wish all of this were outlawed. I think that every candidate ought to speak for himself.”

    More detail from the radio interview itself:

    I personally wish that all of this were outlawed. I think that every candidate ought to speak for himself, and that everything that involves the candidate’s name or another candidate’s name should be authorized and approved by that candidate, otherwise it shouldn’t be spoken . . . The point is that candidates can’t force these special interest 527 groups to stop. I wish we could.

    The Club for Growth’s Pat Toomey puts it best:

    “Under a Mike Huckabee presidency, no individual or group would be allowed to criticize a politician’s policies without the politician’s approval. Which part of ‘Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech,’ is lost on Governor Huckabee?”

    Maybe that’s one of the parts of the Constitution he wants to amend

    Mike Huckabee “Clarifies” His Views On The Constitution And God

    On Wednesday Jason noted that Mike Huckabee had stated his desire to amend the Constitution to bring it in line with “God’s law.”

    Later that day, he appeared on Hannity & Colmes and attempted to clarify what he had said earlier in the day:

    On last night’s Hannity & Colmes, Colmes cited Huckabee’s quote about changing the Constitution and said, “That makes people a little worried. It sounds like you’re looking to have a theocratic state when you make statements like that, talking about changing the Constitution in keeping with your view of God.”

    Huckabee responded, “Not at all. On two things. The context is two things: Human life amendment, which I support and which has been in the Republican platform since 1980. And, by the way, Fred Thompson doesn’t support it. Nor does John McCain. And yet it’s part of our platform. And it’s a very important part of our platform to say that human life is something we’re going to stand for. And the second thing is traditional marriage. So those are the two areas in which I’m talking about. I’m not suggesting that we rewrite the Constitution to reflect tithing or Sunday school attendance. I want to make that very clear… Except for you, Alan. I think maybe you should, maybe you should obey those things.”

    Colmes said drily, “Well, thank you for the suggestion.”

    And here’s the video:

    I don’t buy it. Huckabee meant what he said, his effort to “clarify” the statement seems to be in response to the generally negative reception it got in the press.

    Tax Hike Mike Sees Conspiracies

    Christian leader and GOP Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee sees a vast right wing conspiracy against him:

    MIKE HUCKABEE: We’re doing OK in South Carolina. We’re up on television, we’ve got a good budget here, a good buy. We also have an extraordinary ground operation in South Carolina. I really believe we’re going to win here; it makes sense for us to win here. We’re working hard. We don’t take anything for granted. Voters in South Carolina are very smart.

    I don’t think they’re responding very well — there’s so much negative. There’s a bunch of Washington special interest groups that are coming into town today [the Club for Growth and Freedom Works are holding a joint presser on the Huckabee record] to attack me. It’s amazing. I’m the only guy who’s just getting hammered from some of these special interest groups, and I think that’ll really turn for me and against some of these folks. Because it’s pretty obvious that, there’s gotta be, almost this, I don’t want to use the word conspiracy, but there’s just an anxiety that exists in the Washington power circles about our candidacy.

    Huckafraud should be kept away from the nuclear football at all costs.

    I’m one of the original co-founders of The Liberty Papers all the way back in 2005. Since then, I wound up doing this blogging thing professionally. Now I’m running the site now. You can find my other work at IJ Review.com and Rare. You can also find me over at the R Street Institute.

    Theocracy?

    Why am I not surprised by this comment made by Mike Huckabee:

    I have opponents in the race who do not want to change the Constitution. But I believe it’s a lot easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the Word of the Living God and that’s what we need to do, is to amend the Constitution so its in God’s standards rather than try to change God’s standard so it lines up with some contemporary view of how we treat each other and how we treat the family.

    And he wonders why all the religion questions are always point to him in the debates.

    All joking aside, that comment is scary. Some call it dominionism, Andrew Sullivan calls it Christianism (which I think is a more appropriate term). What Huckabee said highlights the problem with religious collectivism. It is no better than than its secular collectivist counterparts. Both seek to take away liberty from the individual by using the power of government to be more moral or compassionate.

    We are electing a President, not a pastor.

    [UPDATE] Here is the video, courtesy of Doug:

    The Club for Growth Releases New Anti-Huckabee Ad in Michigan

    Clubforgrowth.org

    For the life of me, I don’t understand why so many “conservatives” support Mike Huckabee*. He raises taxes, increases spending, his anti-capitalist/populist rhetoric is indistinguishable from that of John Edwards (minus the “Two Americas” b.s.), he wants a national smoking ban in all workplaces, and he once thought that AIDS patients should be quarantined! Democrats traditionally want into our boardrooms while Republicans traditionally want into our bedrooms; Mike Huckabee wants to be in both! Basically, he is the William Jennings Bryan of our time.
    » Read more

    Taking A Look At The Huckster’s Record

    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.

    Iowa Caucus Wrap-Up

    Democratic side

    Winners:

    Obama
    Edwards

    Loser:

    Hillary

    Obama is the obvious big winner and the anti-Hillary candidate for the Dems. Edwards lives to fight another day. Hillary loses in Iowa and loses New Hampshire, picks up a phyrric victory in uncontested Michigan, and is finally defeated in South Carolina; she’s done. The national polls will narrow between Obama and Hillary.

    Republican side

    Winners:

    Huckabee
    Thompson
    McCain

    Losers:

    Romney
    Paul

    Didn’t help or hurt:

    Giuliani

    Huckabee is the big winner, and now the GOP frontrunner. Thompson will live to fight another day but he needs a miracle. South Carolina maybe Fred’s last stand. McCain has momentum with a surprisingly strong finish to defeat Romney in New Hampshire. New Hampshire is pretty much do or die for Mitt Romney. Ron Paul’s final results were in line with the margin of error for most polls and the “Revolution” failed its first test, however, New Hampshire will be the true test because the organization is more mature in that state. Rudy didn’t seriously contest Iowa, so it didn’t hurt or help.

    More on the political implications later.

    I’m one of the original co-founders of The Liberty Papers all the way back in 2005. Since then, I wound up doing this blogging thing professionally. Now I’m running the site now. You can find my other work at IJ Review.com and Rare. You can also find me over at the R Street Institute.

    Huckabee: My Supporters Are Scarier Than Ron Paul’s!

    Ron Paul has attracted the support of a few unsavory characters, but we’re all sure that Ron Paul doesn’t agree with them on their unsavory beliefs, and his record proves it.

    Mike Huckabee? Not so much. He seems pretty certifiably wacko, and his supporters are most definitely unsavory:

    I read in Robert Novak’s column this morning that Mike Huckabee held a fundraiser earlier this week at the Houston home of Dr. Steven Hotze. As Novak notes, Hotze is “a leader in the highly conservative Christian Reconstruction movement.”

    Christian Reconstructionists, for those unfamiliar with the term, are Religious Right radicals who believe that America, and the rest of the world besides, should be governed in accordance with strict Biblical law. And yes, that includes stoning adulterers. Here’s a snippet from “A Manifesto for the Christian Church,” a 1986 document from an outfit called the Coalition on Revival that was signed by, among others, Steven Hotze:

    We affirm that the Bible is not only God’s statements to us regarding religion, salvation, eternity, and righteousness, but also the final measurement and depository of certain fundamental facts of reality and basic principles that God wants all mankind to know in the sphere of law, government, economics, business, education, arts and communication, medicine, psychology, and science. All theories and practices of these spheres of life are only true, right, and realistic to the degree that they agree with the Bible.

    So let’s ask Mr. Huckabee. “Do you want to institute a theocracy?” He won’t exactly say “yes”, but look at what he will say:

    This is not a man that I would trust in the Oval Office.

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