Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Why Rush is Responsible for the McCain Surge

Truth be told, I'm getting a little tired of mentioning Rush Limbaugh; but I think he's had a bigger impact on the Republican campaign than some of the Presidential candidates.

Rush has been discussing commentary to the effect that McCain "beat Limbaugh" in South Carolina, and supposes that a McCain win in Florida would result in more pundits claiming McCain "beat" him there. I think rather it is a result of Rush "beating-up on" Mike Huckabee.

Rush is framing these discussions of his influence in the race in the context of other pundits acting as if Rush himself is a candidate. Rush reminds people that he is "not on the ballot", but I (like some actually well known journalists and pundits) contend that he definitely is in the campaign. Rush has been acting as surrogate for Fiscal-First Conservatives Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani and Fred Thompson. (Let's try shortening that to Fi-Cons)

It may be debatable whether Rush has been promoting a single individual. I think an overall analysis of his commentary quite clearly shows his preferences were:
  1. Fred Thompson
  2. Mitt Romney
  3. Rudy Giuliani
Whether or not he can be seen to have promoted a single individual among them; it's undeniable that Limbaugh has been actively practicing negative-campaigning against candidates threatening to unseat his favorite(s). His primary target, at least prior to the outcome of the South Carolina primary, was Mike Huckabee.

Rush Limbaugh's primary method of attacking Huckabee has been to repeat spin, misdirection and outright lies that originated mainly from the Mitt Romney campaign and the open-borders, anti US-sovereignty group "Club for Growth." I contend that Rush's all-out assault on Huckabee caused legions of less than committed likely Huckabee voters to look for another candidate. These southern, mostly middle-class, voters were not about to get on board with obvious "blue-blood country club republican" Mitt Romney or Mr New York,Rudy Giuliani.

Rush's barbs (along with the fact that Fred finally "woke up" in the SC debate) did move some to Fred Thompson, which primarily helped McCain only by hurting Huckabee. Analysis of the "conservative" vote in SC showed Huckabee got much more of it than McCain, and adding any significant part of Thompson's vote to Huckabee would have put him in first place. But having a conservative focused on social and moral issues is the last thing Rush wanted. His statement's on possibly sitting out the election if a candidate not to his liking is nominated shows his dedication to the Fi-Con agenda.

Although Rush did spend some time pointing out McCain's lack of conservatism, he spent much less time hitting McCain than bashing Huckabee. he may have thought it so obvious that McCain was out in left-field that he didn't waste the time on him that he did repeating the anti-Huckabee Romney-isms. So along with legions of "independents"(too impatient to wait for the Democrat primary the following week), Rush had provided the final part of the perfect storm for a McCain surge.

While Limbaugh has usually been "friendly" to causes important to social/moral conservatives, it's become clear in recent months that Rush doesn't really see Reagan Conservatism as a "three-legged stool". He seems to treat the triumvirate of conservative causes more like a motorcycle with a side-car. Using that analogy, "Fiscal" and "Defense" would be the wheels of the motorcycle, while "Social" would be the wheel of the side-car; useful in providing balance and additional carrying capacity, but never seen as providing either driving force or guidance.

While I completely understand and agree with Rush's stated reasons for not wanting a McCain presidency, I question not only his conclusions but his motive when it comes to Mike Huckabee. If Rush were to spend any serious amount of time researching Huckabee's positions and history, he would quickly find the Romney/Club for Growth spin to be the pack of lies that they are.

I just don't think Rush can conceive of the possibility that one who believes Social/Moral Conservatism is more than the wheel of a side-car as a serious contender. He apparently believes that, beneath it all, the "blue blood country club" republicans are either still really in control of the Republican party, or they should be.

Now that Rudy Giuliani has apparently decided to drop out, a number of pundits are saying the Republican nomination is down to a two-man race. I suspect that, on the whole, they are following Rush's lead in now discounting Huckabee.

Unlike Rush, some of them have at least begun to recognize Mike Huckabee as a real conservative, supposing that Huckabee staying in the race is good for McCain. Their rationale is that McCain will have the "moderate" (meaning liberal) vote, while Romney and Huckabee will split the conservative vote.

Some are even making veiled suggestions that Huckabee should drop out to level the playing field and help prevent a RINO (Republican In Name Only, i.e. McCain) from getting the nomination. If anyone should think about heeding the suggestion to drop-out to help beat McCain it's Romney; who if truth be told doesn't have nearly as consistently conservative a record as does Mike Huckabee.

Rush, and many of the other pundits, keep expressing fears that Mike Huckabee would make too easy a target for the liberals as the "Christian" candidate; supposing wackos on the far-left could raise fears among Americans in general that Huckabee would bring some type of theocratic rule. Anyone listening to Huckabee can clearly tell this is nonsense. He upholds the true position of Christianity in this area, which is precisely how America's Founding Fathers saw it. He will neither back down from his Faith, nor impose it on anyone else by means of force in any form or fashion. And i have more faith in American voters than to think they would fall for this kind of humanistic fear-mongering.

What Rush and his ilk fail to understand is that we are more in danger of falling prey to the class-warfare of the left. Romney would be much easier prey for liberals, as an obvious target of their hatred for the multi-millionaire elite, than Huckabee could ever be painted as some sort of religious fanatic. Not only that, but Romney has a vast array of problems with the rank-and-file among Republican voters.
  • To the elderly, when Romney bangs the drum on "ending entitlements" (without providing specifics), they wonder whether he means to cut off or cut-back the social security which they have been promised, and into which they paid all their working lives.
  • To Social Conservatives, Romney has paper-thin credentials on the issues of Abortion and Government sanctions of homosexual practices. (not to mention gun-control etc) Is it possible to be on three sides of an issue?
  • To Middle-Income voters, Romney simply (to paraphrase Mike Huckabee) reminds them more of the guy who laid them off than the guy they work with.
Generally speaking Romney strikes many (and not unjustifiably) as being concerned only about "big business" and not much else. They simply will not support a "blue blood country club" candidate. They don't want "big business" to have such power that they are at it's whim, neither do they want "big government" to control their lives and tax them out of any hope of prosperity.

So when Rush and his legions continually pound voters with the twin lies of "Huckabee is a tax and spend liberal" and "Huckabee doesn't have a chance" in hopes that they head for Romney; voters (who fall for their spin) instead go past the obvious "country-clubber" Romney, for McCain. What too many voters don't seem to realize is that McCain, though not as obviously as Romney, is also a part of the "blue blood country club elite". Not to mention that he seems to have never met a tax cut he actually liked; at least when time to vote for it.

Hopefully voters will be able to see past the Rush/Romney spin, and through the McCain obfuscation to the real history of Mike Huckabee, and the experience and hope his candidacy brings. The real truth about Huckabee is that both his history and his current positions show a man who stands for:
  • Pro-Life advocacy and real progress for recognizing the sanctity of every life as demonstrated by real reform in Arkansas
  • Pro-Family Values and real progress demonstrated by Marriage amendments in Arkansas
  • Tax restraint and economic growth, as demonstrated by lowering overall tax-rates in Arkansas; to the extent that the per-capita income in that state rose so much that it resulted in an increase in revenues, allowing further tax cuts at the end of Huckabee's final term as Governor
  • Smaller Government, as demonstrated by the Arkansas budget having been cut by 11% under Huckabee
  • Enforcing Border Security and a real No-Amnesty policy, as seen in Huckabee's "Secure America Plan" a 9-point plan for immigration enforcement and Border Security.
  • Rational Health-care, controlled by the consumer through common sense and market forces (Huckabee proposed); rather than rationed health-care, controlled by either the government (Democrat proposed) or an employer-mandated insurance company (the common current system).
  • Energy Independence, beginning with more domestic drilling/refining, and then providing incentives for developing new energy sources. Huckabee proposes we can reach this goal of energy independence within ten years.
For more details, go to; and then search for yourselves for background on these issues. Don't rely just on the opinions of Rush Limbaugh and other big voices; or on the opinions of small voices like mine. Find out for yourself, but make sure of the source.

As for Rush and his legions, they may not realize it; but I still contend that by dishonestly attacking Mike Huckabee, it is they who are responsible for the rising popularity of John "the RINO" McCain.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Duncan Hunter Endorses Mike Huckabee

...What will Ann Coulter say now?

Those who have really done their homework know that Duncan Hunter was probably the most conservative candidate in the 2008 Presidential race. So conservative that even the Siren of the farthest right, Ann Coulter, made no secret of her support for Hunter or of her relative disdain for all the other candidates.

In the case of Mike Huckabee, I'm not sure if Coulter's venom against the former Arkansas Governor was mainly just for not being named "Duncan Hunter" or for promoting 98.5% of the same things as her candidate while approximately nine-hundred eighty-five percent more effectively. [OK, I'm finished with my weak impersonation of Ann Coulter's caustic writing style. No disrespect actually intended to Duncan Hunter]

Even I, a steadfast Huckabee supporter, will admit that Hunter rates a few percentage points higher than Huckabee on the conservative scale (though only a few). Even so, Huckabee is much more conservative than his less conservative opponents (that's everyone else still in the race) would have you believe.

Quite plainly, I initially chose Huckabee over Hunter mainly because a President needs to not only have the right positions, but the ability to motivate people and get the job done. As much as I respect Duncan Hunter, I just don't see him as having nearly the ability to turn things around that Huckabee does. Add to that the facts that Huckabee has years of executive experience as a governor, and that the positions of the two men were nearly identical... my choice was clear.

Now that Duncan Hunter has endorsed Mike Huckabee, I hope Coulter and others like her will take a more in-depth look at Huckabee, and see what her favorite former candidate sees in the new man from Hope. As part of Hunter's statement endorsing Huckabee, he said:
"Of the remaining candidates I feel that he is strongly committed to strengthening national defense, constructing the border fence and meeting the challenge of China's emergence as a military superpower that is taking large portions of America‚s industrial base."
Hunter went on to say:
"Along with these issues of national security, border enforcement and protecting the U.S. industrial base, I see another quality of Mike Huckabee's candidacy that compels my endorsement. Mike Huckabee is a man of outstanding character and integrity."
Yes, most of us would like to have another Ronald Reagan. But one of the key things I think was so important about Reagan, was not just that he himself was conservative; but that he was able to convince the country as a whole to move in a more conservative direction.

Some of us "right-wing extremists" have seen a couple of (relatively minor) things from Huckabee's past as compromising a bit too much with the Arkansas Democrat legislature. But it seems plain that he has the best chance of actually moving America back to the right.

With Duncan Hunter now endorsing Mike Huckabee, I think it's clear that he also believes Huckabee has the best chance of moving America back to the right. I for one, trust Hunter much more than Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh or some of the other "right-wing" media personalities when it comes to evaluating just who is and who isn't a "real conservative", and the best man to be President of the United States.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Rush Limbaugh Eerily Silent About Roe v Wade

Rush Limbaugh has historically been pretty good about pointing out the degree to which abortion is a fundamental pillar of liberalism. But today, on the 35th anniversary of the Roe v Wade Supreme Court decision, he seemed to be eerily silent on the subject.

Is it possible that I just missed it? Please tell me Rush couldn't possibly have spent his entire show talking about Fiscal issues and political gamesmanship, on the 35th anniversary of a decision condoning the killing of thousands of babies every year.

Is it possible that Rush has intentionally avoided the issue, because he knows the only candidate in the presidential race who has been a steadfast champion for the unborn his whole career is one Rush has been doing his absolute best to work against? Despite the rhetoric of some of the other campaigns, one can't honestly deny that Mike Huckabee is the only candidate left standing who can lay claim to that title.

The only other reason I can see for Rush ignoring this date is that he really doesn't care about the abortion issue, and he only sees it as relevant when using it as a tool to attack liberals. Even from that perspective, it helps explain his vehement (and frequently false) attacks on Mike Huckabee. After all, Huckabee has the audacity to put issues like the Right-to-Life and the sanctity of marriage out in front, instead of giving them lip-service, like many Republican politicians.

On this 35th anniversary of one of the darkest days of American history, Mike Huckabee makes a statement that includes:
"Today is the 35th anniversary of a great American tragedy, the Roe vs. Wade court decision that has led to the loss of millions of innocent lives. These children were denied the right to life our Constitution grants to everyone in America, only because they had yet to emerge from their mother’s womb. As President Bush noted today, America is better than this.
I support and have always supported passage of a constitutional amendment to protect the right to life. As president, I will fight for passage of this amendment."
Protection of the unborn and efforts such as passage of a right-to-life amendment to the Constitution have, of course, been recognized as part of conservatism and of the Republican platform since the days of Ronald Reagan.

Meanwhile, Rush Limbaugh; supposed bulwark of conservatism and "Doctor of Democracy" says:
If Limbaugh did specifically mention "Roe v Wade" even in passing, then I apologize for mis-characterizing his woeful lack of emphasis on the subject, as completely ignoring it.

The only thing I heard, that even qualifies as a near-reference, was when he listed "abortion" as one of the debate topics typically brought up to Republicans, but which are not asked of Democrats. I don't even consider that a discussion of the issue of abortion, but rather of political gamesmanship.

Although Rush typically has a daily audience of millions, I sincerely hope that today, people will listen instead to Mike Huckabee; and stop the slaughter of the innocents.

Here's a link to a really good Pro-Life article called "We Won't Go Away."

Friday, January 18, 2008

A Loan Against a Tax Increase is NO Stimulus!

Yes, I've heard the news of a proposed "economic stimulus" package, that is supposed to include a $800 - $1600 check from the government. But whenever there is a check "from the government", we have to realize we tax-payers are just writing a check to ourselves, and having to pay for accountants in the process.

Keep in mind that the "Bush tax cuts" are set to expire in 2010, and since congress has refused to make the Bush tax cuts permanent; that means we have a scheduled tax increase coming in two years. What it comes down to is congress is willing to send us a check now, only to take it back with interest when our taxes go up in two years!

Expectation of higher taxes is one of the key components that is likely suppressing hiring. If we want a real functional "stimulus" it should begin with making the 2001 tax cuts permanent. I don't care if they are generally referred to as "the Bush tax cuts", and I don't care if the Democrats want to use taking credit for making them permanent as a political tool. It needs to happen, and it needs to happen now!

Another key component of our current economic slow-down is higher fuel prices. (No it's not a recession, at least not nearly yet.) Oil and gas prices have gone up almost 50% in less than two years, and there is no arguing that it's a result of supply and demand; not some supposed conspiracy between "Big Oil" and Halliburton.

There is a lot of untapped oil in America, and the primary thing that's keeping it untapped is our own government getting in the way. Why we continue to bar American oil companies from drilling in ANWR and within 100 miles of the U.S. coastline is beyond all logic; especially when we have other countries drilling within about 60 miles of our coast. If it's really a concern for "the environment", can't we do it at least as cleanly and safely as other countries, if not better? (read "Seeing Green" on my newly started "Drill Domestic Now" blog)

I agree that we have to keep in mind the importance of conservation, and that we need to be good stewards of natural resources. But the extreme restrictions and over-regulation on domestic oil production in this country is a result of such environmental extremism and minimizing the value of human progress that one can see it as the rise of a sort of anti-human neo-paganism.

We need a whole solution for any economic woes that we have, not a short term "stimulus." If anyone cares to look back to the economic disaster of the early 1970's, it was clearly brought on by over-regulation, high taxes, and trouble with the oil supply/prices. To a great extent, the oil and economic problems of the Carter era were rooted in an issue we still haven't resolved; too much dependence on foreign oil, and in particular from the middle-east.

We need more domestic oil production, a bit less regulation (as in CAFE standards) and lower tax rates (not a quick loan against future tax increases). Long term we absolutely need to change from taxing production (income tax) to a consumption tax; such as the "FairTax", being supported by Mike Huckabee.

And speaking of Mike Huckabee (as I often do), he has his own economic growth plan. Although he does use the currently popular "stimulus" buzzword as part of the description of his "A Fair Deal for All Americans" plan (-link-), it really is more of a long-term growth plan that includes some short-term measures.

We do need a real growth plan, not just a temporary "quick fix;" and I can't say too often or too emphatically, that what amounts to a tax loan against the coming tax increase is no stimulus at all!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Michelle Malkin Recognizes Conservatism in Huckabee...

...but wants to see more.

Michelle Malkin, well known conservative commentator, recently wrote an article titled "Wanted: a 'Suck It Up" Candidate." In her commentary against Nanny State-ism, she both credits Mike Huckabee with a great conservative statement, and faults him for later softening on the same issue. She writes;
Last month, Mike Huckabee told an NPR reporter unequivocally that it "is not the purpose of government to prop people up from every poor decision they make." Amen, Rev. Huckabee. But at the New Hampshire debate, he sheepishly avoided tough pronouncements and instead voiced support for President Bush's Hillarycare-Lite housing bailout approach since it "didn't involve tax dollars." Yet.
There is much more to the article, and it's well worth reading. She goes on to fault every other Republican presidential contender for liberal statements*. I find it particularly noteworthy that she reveals "Fred Thompson, supposedly the conservative's conservative" as only a pretender to the Reagan mantle; pointing to his acceptance of the liberal call for a "fiscal stimulus" package.

OK, so Malkin also faults Huckabee for supporting Bush's "bailout approach." His personal view is still the only candidate statement she finds conservative enough for a hearty "Amen"; at least in her commentary.

As for me, I'm not sure how I feel about Bush's solution for the mortgage situation. I heard Huckabee's statement of "support" myself; and I think Huckabee was trying to make the point that tax dollars shouldn't be spent on a Nanny State solution to personal/corporate bad debt.

As for a "stimulus"; the best economic stimulus I can think of is the combination of lowering marginal rates for everyone (yes even the "rich"), and immediately boosting domestic oil production. If you think you've heard that somewhere before, then you must have been listening to Mike Huckabee.

I'm not ignoring the fact that Malkin finds not even Mike Huckabee conservative enough for her taste. But I was glad to see such a strong conservative as Michelle Malkin willing to give Huckabee credit where it's due.

*[Yeah, she doesn't mention Duncan Hunter or Ron Paul. But Hunter, though conservative, really isn't in the running. Ron Paul on the other hand, not only isn't in the running, but in my opinion should either be running as a libertarian or from the men in "those nice white coats".]

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Limbaugh's Logic Proves Huckabee Lowered Tax Rates

The "Talking-Heads" of both talk radio and cable news are at it again. Spurred on by a Mitt Romney talking-point; they are accusing Mike Huckabee of "a net [tax] increase of half a billion dollars," during his time as Governor of Arkansas. This includes some of the most vocal political analysts and commentators from Rush Limbaugh on down.

They base this conclusion on the fact that, even though Huckabee presided over more tax-reductions than tax-increases, there was an increase in taxes collected. Let's remember one of those economic principles that Reagan's opponents called "voodoo-economics", but which have proved to be true. An overall decrease in tax rates boosts general prosperity, which in turn results in an increase in tax revenues.

Yes, when the government takes a thinner slice of the pie, the pie gets bigger; and as a result, even the government ends up with a bigger piece of pie.

I searched Rush Limbaugh's website , and found this specific instance of how the self-proclaimed "Doctor of Democracy" explains the relationship between tax rates and tax revenues.
"You know, they keep calling the Bush tax cuts, 'tax cuts.' They weren't. They were tax increases! The amount of money that roared into the treasury increased after the tax cuts. We had tax rate reductions, but tax revenue increased. You could actually more accurately say that the Bush tax cuts were tax increases. They were just happened by virtue of rate reductions." - Rush Limbaugh: 2007.12.19 "Stack of Stuff Quick Hits page", article #12 (emphasis mine)
Rush is fond of "illustrating absurdity by being absurd," and it's pretty obvious that he's doing just that in the quote above. Who would be so absurd as to actually call the "Bush tax cuts"; "tax increases".

Likewise, those who confuse (or ignore the difference between) tax revenues and tax rates to tar Mike Huckabee as presiding over "a net increase" in taxes can only be called one of three things; Absurd, Mistaken, or outright lying! Even Rush Limbaugh should admit that either he now thinks Reagan's tax principles are "voodoo-economics"; or that Mike Huckabee really did lower overall tax rates as Governor of Arkansas.

Related posts:
"Can a Populist be Conservative?"-2008.01.04
"Huckabee Shows Fiscal Conservatism"-2007.12.14

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Huckabee is NOT Against School Choice...

...No matter what Rush Limbaugh says.

Yes, Rush continues to beat the drum that Mike Huckabee "just isn't conservative". His latest tactic is to sarcastically say he's finally been convinced that Huckabee is conservative; but then post a litany of statements intended to damage Huckabee, under the banner of "Huckabee & the New Conservatism."

One or two may initially seem to have some grounds. For instance Huckabee's poor choice of words in saying the Bush's administration had an "arrogant bunker mentality"; rather than just saying that there should have been more "boots on the ground" all along. One who reads the whole article from which that quote was taken, will find that's unquestionably the point Huckabee was trying to make.

However, the majority of Rush's anti-Huckabee list is a combination of mischaracterizations, misinterpretations, and outright untruths! Not least of these is the false assertion that Huckabee is against school choice.

I knew I had heard or seen a statement from Governor Huckabee saying he was for school choice so I started checking; but Rush repeatedly claimed he was opposed to school-vouchers and therefore school choice.

Neither willing to believe that Huckabee nor Rush was telling an outright lie, I first thought perhaps he opposed only Federal vouchers because I also know I've heard Huckabee say public schools really should be a state and not a federal matter. When I went checking to make sure, I found it a bit more complicated but really more thoughtful and absolutely right.

I do mean Huckabee is "Right" in both senses; correct and conservative! I found a long interview with him on that very subject at, and I strongly encourage reading the interview. (-link-)

The vouchers in question were actually state-vouchers. But Huckabee was wise enough to realize that the government seldom writes a check for anything*, without strings attached. That includes state governments.

Huckabee's argument seems to be based in the astute perception that if the government starts sending money to private schools, they are virtually being engulfed under the umbrella of the same regulation that makes so many public schools unproductive. Voucher programs run the risk of basically turning a private school into a public school!

Mike Huckabee does, however, propose a mechanism for the financial end of school choice:
"Well, I think that we ought to have tax credits for a family whose decision is to put their children in an alternative environment. And that is something that I would support. It's an empowering method to families."
It might be seem like a trivial distinction, or in some instances seem more cumbersome than a voucher; but seems to be enough of a distinction to keep the government from taking control of private schools. In any case, it's clear that Limbaugh doesn't have all the facts. Mike Huckabee is NOT against school-choice!

*[except maybe foreign-aid]

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Mike Huckabee Using a "Mary Poppins" Strategy

Having spent some time examining the speeches, positions and history of Mike Huckabee; it recently struck me that his combination of Populist concerns (more often raised by Liberals) and Conservative solutions to those concerns seems to utilize the same strategy described in the song "A Spoonful of Sugar."

This song was sung by Julie Andrews as the title character in the classic Walt Disney film "Mary Poppins." In the film, Poppins magically poured medicine from the same bottle in three different sweet flavors. In real life, the lyricist is reported to have been inspired by his son receiving a polio vaccination by swallowing a sugar cube to which the vaccine had been applied.

In the same way the use of sugar was a useful method of getting children to swallow polio vaccine, I think Mike Huckabee is being very shrewd when he talks about what he calls "Vertical Politics." One such recent quote comes from his appearance on Jay Leno's Tonight Show:
"Everything in this country is not left, right, liberal, conservative, Democrat, Republican. I think the country is looking for somebody who's vertical, who's thinking, let's take America up and not down. And people will forgive you for being left or right"

This minimizing of "left, right, liberal, conservative" as identity labels has apparently been driving some Conservative political analysts and commentators crazy. They seem to assume that a lack of pushing the "Conservative" label means Huckabee is abandoning Conservative solutions.

Rush Limbaugh addressed this directly on the January third edition of his radio program. The following quote of Rush, from that day helps show how he interpreted Huckabee's statement.
"let's take the country up instead of taking it left or right. See, that's the thing, folks. You take the country up by taking it right. It's been established."

There is one significant difference between the statement Huckabee made and the way Rush interpreted it. Huckabee didn't say there was no difference between taking the country left or right; just that the motivation should be to take the country up, rather than placing "left or right" labels ahead of the good of the country.

As a generalization, I have to say I agree with Rush's statement; "You take the country up by taking it right"; and I think Huckabee does too. But by putting the focus on the goal while guiding the listeners through the method; Huckabee is using a Populist "Spoonful of Sugar" to get at least the more moderate of his "liberal" listeners past the conservative label through his conservative solutions, to the "vertical" goal.

Such tactics may seem weak or deceptive to some, but I think it's a wise recognition of a well known psychological reality. The single biggest reason for one person to dislike (or be against) another is when the first person thinks the second dislikes (or is against) them, whether it's true or not.

If you tell Liberals you want them to adopt a Conservative goal, especially after years of left/right antipaty, they are very likely to be against your solution before they ever hear the details. You stand at least a marginally better chance of convincing them if you present the details of the solution without focusing on it's "left/right" placement.

It does even seem that Huckabee and hard-line conservatives have different goals. The "hard-right-wingers" have moving America to the right as the primary goal, expecting that it will lift America up. I think Mike Huckabee really has lifting America up as his primary goal. While his solutions that I've examined so far are conservative (at least right-of-center), I think that's secondary to Huckabee.

I would use driving a nail as an example. Now some people may really like hammers and some have an affinity for pillows. When a nail needs to be driven, Mike Huckabee is going to hammer that nail; not because he is primarily a hammer enthusiast, but because that's what you use to drive a nail. In exactly the same way, Huckabee proposes conservative solutions because he's motivated by lifting America up rather than being obsessed with wearing the "Ronald Reagan Mantle" as his foray into "identity politics".

"A Spoonful of Sugar" may not be nearly so great a quote as "Tear down this wall"; but if that's what it takes to nudge more voters toward conservative solutions, so be it.

Related posts:
"Can a Populist be Conservative?"-2008.01.04
"Rush is Wrong about Huckabee Supporters"-2007.12.21
"Huckabee Shows Fiscal Conservatism"-2007.12.14
[I plan a later post detailing examples of Mike Huckabee executing this "Mary Poppins Strategy". Feel free to include your own examples with your comments.]

Friday, January 4, 2008

Will McCain-Feingold be the "Elephant" in the GOP Room?

McCain-Feingold is a travesty. It's the thing that initially made it crystal clear to me the meaning of the term RINO (Republican In Name Only) and that John McCain is a prime example.

Sections of the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance (alleged) Reform law are an outright assault on the First Amendment and the kind of grass-roots support that is helping fuel the Huckabee campaign.

Among other things, this egregious "Incumbent Protection Act", as I've heard it called (by Limbaugh?), prevents any interest group (large or small) from running radio or TV ads (that include a candidate's name) within 30 days of a primary or 60 days of a general election.

This (along with Religious Freedom) is exactly the kind of Speech the First Amendment was created to protect!

I know Mike Huckabee is trying (at least for the most part) to live by Ronald Reagan's "11th Commandment", and not attack other Republicans. But how can Mike Huckabee possibly NOT eventually use this against John McCain, and still stand up for the rights of voters and his grass-roots supporters?

Will both Huckabee's nice-guy strategy and the added clout this gives big-money campaigns (by removing grass-roots competition), make McCain-Feingold the Elephant in the GOP living room during McCain's presidential bid?

[If anyone has a quote from Huckabee on McCain-Feingold, I'd love to see it and the source.]

Rush Seems Concerned About "Christian Conservatives"

In an earlier post, I charged that Rush Limbaugh seemed to be showing lack of concern for issues of concern to those often referred to as "Values Voters" or "Christian Conservatives". This was based on Rush's continued statements against Mike Huckabee.

My opinion of Rush's motivation has changed after a statement Rush made the night of the Iowa caucus. He made a statement to the effect that Democrats want to face Huckabee because of their fear and/or hatred of "Christian Conservatives"; and their hope that they could defeat Huckabee as the embodiment of the "Christian Right", and thus forever eliminate "Christian Conservatives" as a political force.

I now think Limbaugh believes Huckabee would be very likely defeated by the Democrats, and his loss would indeed marginalize "the Christian right." Especially after talking to Rush on his show today, I think he's actually very concerned about "Christian Conservatives", just as much as he has concern for the whole of Conservatism.

I originally called Rush yesterday (yes, one really can get through on that number he gives on air), and told his call-screener that I thought one of the big reasons people were supporting Mike Huckabee was the feeling that our "Christian Conservative" issues were not being taken seriously enough by the GOP. That they talked about them in campaigns, but that there wasn't enough follow through. The call-screener said it was a good comment for the show and raised a topic Rush would want to cover.

I'm really grateful to Rush and his staff. Even though Rush ran out of time and couldn't take my call yesterday; they actually took my number and they called me back today so the topic could be covered. This, along with the respectful way Rush dealt with my comments, really showed his concern for our issues. [Here is the link to this on Rush's site: -link-*]

I was given several minutes on the air with Rush, who in all fairness did point out some significant things Republicans have done on Family Values issues. While I acknowledged them, I pointed out that they were in lower profile areas than things such as a Marriage Amendment that gets bigger media attentions; and insisted issues rather than simply "identity politics" was a big draw for Huckabee.

There was even time to include the fact that although Huckabee often leads with a Populist message, he has real Conservative solutions. When I said I just wish Huckabee would emphasize his conservatism rather than letting it get lost behind the Populist lead-ins; Rush reminded me that this is just the beginning of the race and it remained to be seen whether it might play out that way.

In any case, I regret that I previously jumped to what now seems an obviously wrong conclusion about Rush's motives. Even so, I still disagree with his current take on Huckabee. I think Huckabee's support is based primarily on issues and not in "identity politics."

I may have been mistaken about Rush's motive, but he is the one who's dreadfully wrong about Huckabee; and I still think
Rush Limbaugh is Sawing a Leg Off Reagan's Stool!

Hopefully as the campaign plays out Mike Huckabee will use some of the additional media exposure he's receiving as winner in Iowa to shed more light on his underlying conservatism; and maybe even change the mind of Rush Limbaugh.

*[There is one small error in the transcript on Rush's site. The transcriber thought I said "and once I was told incorrectly", when discussing Fred Thompson's opposition to a Federal Definition of Marriage Amendment. I actually said "unless I was told incorrectly".]

Related posts:
"Can a Populist be Conservative?"-2008.01.04
"Rush Limbaugh Sawing a Leg Off Reagan's Stool"-2007.12.29
"Rush is Wrong about Huckabee Supporters"-2007.12.21
"Huckabee Doesn't Have Time for the Whole Sermon"-2007.12.17
"Huckabee Shows Fiscal Conservatism"-2007.12.14
"Rush Credits Huckabee with Best Debate Statement on Hillary"-2007.10.26

Can a Populist be Conservative?

In the interviews following the Iowa Caucus results last night, Ed Rollins (National Campaign Chariman for Mike Huckabee) said Huckabee's "Populist" message connected with Iowa voters. To me, this begs the question of whether a Populist can be a Conservative.

Those most often proclaiming a Populist message have been Democrats, who then use Populist concerns to lead to a liberal nanny-state conclusion. Meanwhile, they demonize Conservatives as being oppressive Patrician aristocrats. However, as Rush Limbaugh has frequently pointed out on his program, it is the Democrats themselves who are in fact the practicing Patricians.

Therefore, I don't believe that a Populist is of necessity a Liberal. I believe the best real solutions for Populist concerns are Conservative solutions; with both control and responsibility for outcomes shifting away from the Federal Government and toward the State, Local and Family.

It is my perception that Mike Huckabee shares this belief. I also think Huckabee is actually trying to avoid "Identity Politics" by way of not wanting to run on the "I'm the Reagan Conservative" identity.

Huckabee seems to be trying to lead other Populists to Conservative (or more specifically Federalist) solutions, without specifically beating the Conservative drum, and therefore not immediately turning off those who have already fallen prey to the Conservative=Patrician myth. Even so, he needs to be more up-front and clear about his conservative solutions, whether or not he labels them as such.

One thing Mike Huckabee must realize is that those of us who are primarily Conservatives will be watching him closely, to make sure doesn't let his Populist good-intentions pave the road to Liberal perdition.

As for me, his Populism is not as relevant as whether he uses it to pave the road toward (at least 80%) Conservatism. No matter what some think about Family Values Voters (who the MSM labels "Evangelicals"), we would absolutely not become "left-leaning kool-aid-drinkers".

Rather, we should understand that it's possible for a "Christian conservative" to be a "right-leaning Populist". And with in the case of Mike Huckabee, it seems not only possible, but a reality.