Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Huckabee A Red Tory

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.

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.

Huckabee said that ‘unions will become more powerf
ul’ 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.
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.

Here’s what the Machinists say:

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.

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.
– 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.
Wouldn't the American presidential race be interesting if it was a showdown between a Republican and Democrat from Arkansas.

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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Anonymous said...

Excellent post! You've caught the essence of the man, Mike Huckabee. He's an adroit public speaker who communicates his message in life-like, cogent terms, with compelling examples like the story he told (at the Ames Straw Poll) of what his then-11-yo daughter entered into the "Comments" section of a Visitors Book after visiting the Yad Vashem holocaust museum: “Why didn't somebody do something?” Very effective.

Huckabee is all about calling his listeners to "do something," to awaken them to their own empowerment, and summon them to action in order that "Main Street," and not "Wall Street," will prevail in guarding the values and beliefs upon which the Republic was founded.

Huckabee puts his listeners at ease, and reassures them, articulating clear concepts in a natural, easy style (no doubt something well-cultivated as a pastor). He’s not angry or demanding, like a Ron Paul, nor is he as “rigidly-scripted” as Romney, and his large brown eyes peer through a humble demeanor, drawing a striking contrast to a somewhat mechanical-squinty Brownback. One can easily imagine sitting comfortably with this man over a cup of coffee at the Main Street Cafe.

Most importantly, perhaps, Huckabee convinces many that he is ONE with the FairTax grassroots movement. While many - like Romney, and others, who are invested in the current income tax system - seek to demagog the well-researched FairTax plan, its acceptance in the professional / academic community continues to grow. Renown economist Laurence Kotlikoff believes that failure to enact the FairTax - choosing instead to try to "flatten" what he deems to be a non-flattenable income tax system - will eventuate into an irrevocable economic meltdown because of the hidden aspects of the current system that make political accountability impossible.

Romney's recent WEAK response to FairTax questioning on “This Week with Geo. Stephanopoulos” drew a sharper contrast between Huckabee and all other presidential front-runners who will not embrace it. Huckabee understands that what's wrong with the income tax can't be fixed with "a tap of the hammer, nor a twist of the screwdriver." That his opponents cling to the destructive Tax Code, the IRS, preserving political power of granting tax favors at continued cost to - and misery of - American families, invigorates his campaign's raison d'etre.

Of the FairTax, Huckabee asserts that it's...

• SIMPLE, easy to understand
• EFFICIENT, inexpensive to comply with and doesn't cause less-than-optimal business decisions for tax minimization purposes
• FAIR, FLAT, and FAMILY FRIENDLY, loophole-free, and everyone pays their share
• LOW TAX RATE is achieved by broad base with no exclusions
• PREDICTABLE, doesn't change, so financial planning is possible
• UNINTRUSIVE, doesn't intrude into our personal affairs or limit our liberty
• VISIBLE, not hidden from the public in tax-inflated prices or otherwise
• PRODUCTIVE, rewards - rather than penalizes - work and productivity

A detailed benefits analysis of the plan (from The FairTax Book) explains Huckabee's ardent advocacy:

For individuals:
• No more tax on income - make as much as you wish
• You receive your full paycheck - no more deductions
• You pay the tax when you buy "at retail" - not "used"
• No more double taxation (e.g. like on current Capital Gains)
• Reduction of "pre-FairTaxed" retail prices by 20%-30%
• Adding back 29.9% FairTax maintains current price levels
• FairTax would constitute 23% portion of new prices
• Every household receives a monthly check, or "pre-bate"
• "Prebate" is "advance tax payback" for monthly consumption to poverty level
• FairTax's "prebate" ensures progressivity, poverty protection
Finally, citizens are knowledgeable of what their tax IS
• Elimination of "parasitic" Income Tax industry
• Those possessing illicit forms of income will ALSO pay the FairTax
• Households have more disposable income to purchase goods
• Savings is bolstered with reduction of interest rates

For businesses:
• Corporate income and payroll taxes revoked under FairTax
• Business compensated for collecting tax at "cash register"
• No more tax-related lawyers, lobbyists on company payrolls
No more embedded (hidden) income/payroll taxes in prices
• Reduced costs. Competition - not tax policy - drives prices
• Off-shore "tax haven" headquarters can now return to U.S
No more "favors" from politicians at expense of taxpayers
• Resources go to R&D and study of competition - not taxes
• Marketplace distortions eliminated for fair competition
• US exports increase their share of foreign markets

For the country:
• 7% - 13% economic growth projected in the first year of the FairTax
Jobs return to the U.S.
• Foreign corporations "set up shop" in the U.S.
• Tax system trends are corrected to "enlarge the pie"
• Larger economic "pie," means thinner tax rate "slices"
• Initial 23% portion of price is pressured downward as "pie" increases
No more "closed door" tax deals by politicians and business
• FairTax sets new global standard. Other countries will follow

Passionately supporting FairTax, Huckabee understands that, if elected President, Congress will have to present the bill for his signature. His call to action goes beyond his candidacy: Main Street will have to demand that their legislators deliver the bill.

eugene plawiuk said...

Thanks for expanding on the Fair Tax.Clearly you are a Huckabee supporter.

The MSM and pundits have been poll driven. Which is the only reason that Thompson appears to be a front runner. He has national name recognition for being on TV. Thats it. His apparent lead will disappear in Iowa. Reality will set in and Huckabee will come in Third place if not second. He will also be ahead of McCain in Iowa and New Hampshire.