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 Crosswalk.com, 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]

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