Robert Novak has a great column in today’s Washington Post that pretty much puts to rest the notion that Mike Huckabee is a small-government conservative:
There is no doubt about Huckabee’s record during a decade in Little Rock. He was regarded by fellow Republican governors as a compulsive tax-and-spender. He increased the Arkansas tax burden 47 percent, boosting the levies on gasoline and cigarettes. When he lost 100 pounds and decided to press his new lifestyle on the American people, he was hardly being a Goldwater-Reagan libertarian.
As a presidential candidate, Huckabee has sought to counteract his reputation as a taxer by pressing for replacement of the income tax with a sales tax. More recently he signed the no-tax-increase pledge of Americans for Tax Reform. But Huckabee simply does not fit within normal boundaries of economic conservatism, such as when he criticized President Bush’s veto of a Democratic expansion of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program. Calling global warming a “moral issue” mandating “a biblical duty” to prevent climate change, he has endorsed a cap-and-trade system that is anathema to the free market.
Moreover, when free-market groups have brought Huckabee’s failings to light, he has attacked them with rhetoric usually heard from pro-government Democrats:
Huckabee clearly departs from the mainstream of the conservative movement in his confusion of “growth” with “greed.” Such ad hominem attacks are part of his intuitive response to criticism from the Club for Growth and the libertarian Cato Institute about his record as governor. On “Fox News Sunday” on Nov. 18, he called the “tactics” of the Club for Growth “some of the most despicable in politics today. It’s why I love to call them the Club for Greed, because they won’t tell you who gave their money.” In fact, all contributors to the organization’s political action committee (which produces campaign ads) are publicly revealed, as are most donors financing issue ads.
Quin Hillyer, a former Arkansas journalist writing in the conservative American Spectator, called Huckabee “a guy with a thin skin, a nasty vindictive streak.” Huckabee’s retort was to attack Hillyer’s journalistic procedures, fitting a mean-spirited image when he responds to conservative criticism.
Exactly what we don’t need in a President.
I’ll say this much for the extended primary season, it’s giving me more time to find reasons not to vote for people, and Mike Huckabee has made it on that list.