The real conservative, Canadian style, in the Republican Presidential race is Mike Huckabee. He is actually a Red Tory, and has potential to come from behind and be the American 'Everyman' the Republicans say they want to lead them.
He is folksy being called Mike not Michael, and not afraid to lay down some mean riffs. The common man of the party of Abraham Lincoln, not Reagan. And heck he is from Arkansas so even Clinton gives him the thumbs up him, Bill, not Hillary.
It also appears that former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee did receive a bounce from his second place finish in Ames. After garnering only 4 percent in the May poll, Huckabee scored 12 percent support in the latest survey, putting him in a race for third place with Giuliani.
Yesterday in the CNBC/MSNBC debate he said something that most pundits missed, while most of the other candidates promoted 'Free Trade' he called for 'Fair Trade'. It passed over all their heads, without a response from them or the pundit questioners.
Fair trade has been actively discussed by exactly two of the GOP Presidential candidates: Huckabee and Hunter*. The other candidates have expressed only free-trade sentiment, with varying degrees of clarity and stridency. Could this issue also be a part of Huck's climb in the polls? Perhaps.
It didn't even come up on Kudlow's show after the debate interview with him. Though Huckabee got support from an unlikely source Kudlow's guest Democrat Robert Reich.
Aside from a few exceptions last night, there really wasn’t much beef.
Sam Brownback did propose an optional flat tax. And Gov. Huckabee is staying with his fair tax/national sales tax. But none of the big four are touting these ideas.
You see Huckabee supports a Fair Tax and Fair Trade, not Free Trade.
- I believe in free trade, but it has to be fair trade.
- Globalization, done right, done fairly, can be the equivalent of a big pay raise by allowing us to buy things more cheaply.
His fair tax is a consumption tax, all other taxes would be eliminated. Thus leveling the playing field for workers with the rich. A plan similar to one I have discussed here. Reich supports Huckabee's Fair Tax idea as well.
Kudlow took him to task over unions as did right wing bloggers. Though Huckabee was not alone, it appeared last night like all the candidates had suddenly discovered Sam Gompers was a libertarian. They were in Michigan, union country on the eve of a pending strike at Chrysler.
Huckabee predicted unions would gain strength in the coming years because of the growing disparity between executive pay and the working class. When people have their pay dramatically cut, they will turn to unions, he said. “That’s when unions are going to come back in roaring form,” Huckabee said.
Later when questioned about this by Kudlow, Huckabee hit back with the line that if the Republicans and CEO's continue to enjoy the spoils of the capitalist boom without sharing it with the rest of America then they will face the largest unionization drive ever. Wow. From a Republican yet.
Of course he redeemed himself as a Republican by saying he would not tax CEO salary increases, but instead eliminate taxes, especially payroll taxes on the working class. Failure to share the wealth he said, sounding like John Edwards, will lead to further working class unrest and assure the success of unions.
Huckabee said that ‘unions will become more powerful’ because of wage deflation. Huckabee also promoted the ‘Fair Tax’ because it ‘untaxes productivity’ and ‘levels the playing field” he emphasized that the “The Fair Tax lifts everybody.”
The Fair Tax is a 23% consumption tax proposed to replace the income tax. Huckabee said it would ‘end the underground economy”.
The real problem, Huckabee said, is that American companies have to pay more in taxes on their products than their foreign competitors. That’s why people in the U.S. and Michigan are losing jobs, he said. “This party is going to have to start addressing it or we’re going to get our britches beat next year,” Huckabee said.
“Mike Huckabee was the only Republican candidate with the guts to meet with our members and the only one willing to figure out where and how we might work together,” said Buffenbarger. “He is entitled to serious consideration from our members voting in the upcoming Republican primaries.”
Mike Huckbee’s campaign fills out a little what they talked about:
Huckabee spoke before over 700 members of the IAM in Orlando, Florida on Monday about jobs, globalization, health care, and other 21st century domestic issues.
What does that mean? Specifically, on trade, or "fair trade" as Huckabee calls it:
Huckabee also said he believes in fair trade. “Free trade has to be fair trade. We are losing jobs because of an unlevel, unfair trading arena that has to be fixed. Behind the statistics, there are real families, real lives, and real pain. I’m running for President because I don’t want people who have worked loyally for a company for 20 or 30 years to walk in one morning and be handed a pink slip and be told, ‘I’m sorry, but everything you spent your life working for is no longer here.’"
And while Fred Thompson did get chuckles for his zingers last night, given the softballs tossed at him by the Hardball crowd, Huckabee was no slouch in the off the cuff humour department.
Wouldn't the American presidential race be interesting if it was a showdown between a Republican and Democrat from Arkansas.
Funniest Man: Once again, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee was the most fluid and humorous communicator. He worked in references to the "Jetsons," the "Flintstones," Gomer Pyle and Goober -- excellent stuff for Baby Boom voters.
HUCKABEE – He really is an enjoyable presence up there, a very able politician. If Fred’s not the nominee, Huckabee may have earned himself a spot on the ticket.
So far of all the candidates who stand a chance of coming from behind, to take on the four front runners it appears that Huckabee stands the best chance. And as a conservative Christian, he can appeal to the evangelical right as well as to the social progressive compassionate Christians at Sojourners. He is not only pro life, unlike Romney, Giuliani and Thompson, but he is Anti-Poverty. Which is unusual for a Republican.
Huckabee says one of his priorities is to address poverty because it's "consistent with me being pro-life." He calls his desire to fight poverty a "faith position" rather than a political position. He says that it is impossible to address poverty without prioritizing stable homes and families, which he sees as "critical economic issues."Huckabee is the only Republican politician with substance amongst the leading contenders in this race. The others are hacks.
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