Morrissey asked questions about the size and role of the federal government. Here are some of my favorite parts of Huckabee's responses in this area:
- "What government really ought to do is to provide a sort framework in which we can live our lives with as much liberty and freedom and with as little government as possible."
- "Essentially my attitude would be that Government should protect it's people but shouldn't provide for them. It's up to us to provide for ourselves."
- "I'm a big believer that education is a function of the states, not the federal government. If there is any role at all; and there doesn't have to be one; but if there is one, it's to be a clearing-house for the best-practices of the states."
- "The concept is that we have a limited federal government, with power pushed to the states and to the local communities."
One thing Huckabee desperately needs to do, is to say these things more often and louder. By louder, I mean he needs to fight to make space for these statements whenever he has a higher profile interview or event. ( such as those Hannity and Colmes hit-pieces where all they seem to want is to bring up the smears against him)
He needs to be really careful when sharing his views about what "we" should do in regard to things like education, health care, are helping the poor. Having spent a good deal of time watching and listening to Huckabee; I understand the "we" of these statements to range from State government to Federal government to Local Government to the collective effect of individual actions; as appropriate to the subject under discussion.
But there is a tendency to think the "we" must mean the Federal government when coming from a candidate for the highest Federal office. This is especially true for those whose only exposure to the candidate in question has been "drive-by media" sound bites. It's this misunderstanding that has allowed some to erroneously pin a "big-government liberal" label on him. This has served as a weapon of mass distraction for social liberals who don't want voters to notice Huckabee is the only candidate (among those getting serious attention) who is serious about social conservatism.
So Huckabee needs to make clear who the "we" is when talking about the need for social action. And while he's in no danger of joining the teeny-tiny-government-libertarian camp; he needs to be much more insistent about sharing his smaller-government-conservatism. Because when you hear Mike Huckabee say these things, you can tell he means them.