Monday, May 07, 2007

Our Case For Mike Huckabee

It's no secret that GreenMountainPolitics1 is fond of Senator McCain.

"McCain is the most 'Presidential' candidate in this race," we argue. "And what our country needs right now is a big, heaping double-shot of 'Presidential'."

Crib Note For The Inside Baseball Types: We're not on the "girlfriend" train. Good heavens no. We're on the David Foster Wallace train.

But just because GreenMountainPolitics1 writes it does not (necessarily) make it so.

And there are Republican Primary voters who remain unconvinced by our smarts, style and clever wit. Or McCain's campaign for that matter.

The horror!

Unsatisfied with the current front-runners, these Republican primary voters are still looking for their candidate.

We would suggest then that these voters take a good, hard look at former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee.

We make our suggestion knowing that some "inside-the-beltway" types who read our humble Blog will snort out loud at the idea of a Huckabee nomination.

"But it's all about money," they'll blow and guff over breakfast at the Four Seasons. "And that boy Huckabee don't got any."

Which is true. Money is (predominantly) how people keep score in the pre-primary. Campaign cash on hand, conventional wisdom holds, shows who's up, down, viable and not viable.

Which explains how you end up with Mitt Romney as a perceived Primary front-runner.

That's not a compliment.

And, it's true that Mike Huckabee doesn't have much money at all. Of course, that money may still come. Really.

Only suckers believe that the GOP Primary is anything close to a done deal. We don't agree with that assumption even when the person yapping it has had breakfast with the big boys (and girls) at the Four Seasons.

So, let's look at what Mike Huckabee does have.

The former Governor of Arkansas (10 successful years) has solid compassionate conservative credentials. In fact, they're sterling.

And he's running in a Republican Primary. Hmm. We wonder...

Noted: It's just a damn shame that the Cowboy Governor took the expression "compassionate conservative" out into the political desert, tied it to a cactus and shot it dead.

Put another mark in the "L" column for W.

So Huck isn't going to be labeling himself a compassionate conservative anytime soon. Even though that is exactly what he is. In the absolute best sense of the words.

We spent 30 minutes chatting with Governor Huckabee one-on-one in Manchester on Saturday. It was the third time in 4 months that we had the chance to observe the Governor up close.

The topic of Saturday's wide-ranging chat was (more or less) - "Governor, it's Day 1 of your presidency. Assume that America's national security is under control at the moment. What 3 other issues would you immediately tackle as President?"

His quick reply: 1. Energy Independence 2. Healthcare reform 3. Education reform.

Huckabee spoke with particular passion about healthcare and education reform, citing his successes as Governor on these issues. Lots of detail (much more than we will outline here).

For example Huckabee, who we had nicknamed "The former Southern Fat Boy", championed efforts to implement the nationally recognized Healthy America initiative at the Arkansas level and literally led (thinned-up) by example in order to change people's healthcare focus from a focus on "disease" to a focus on "health".

Crib Note: Personal responsibility and forward thinking. Hey, it works. And, it will save lots and lots of money.

Huck also implemented education programs that raised Arkansas school standards and got results for the students and their teachers.

Crib Note: Who is against transparency and accountability in our children's schools?

Huckabee sure isn't. And, for good measure (and for the children), Huckabee mandated music and art be part of Arkansas's curriculum.

Education reform, healthcare reform and energy independence (which he admitted would entail moving America completely off fossil fuels as an energy source as quickly as humanly possible), that's a healthy domestic agenda.

And most of the solutions that Huckabee offers (but not all, he's a populist at heart after all) are solid Republican solutions.

And he's running in a Republican Primary. Hmm. We wonder...

And, Huckabee doesn't have to "fake" (like several other candidates, 2 in the top tier) his social conservative credentials in order to pander to the Republican base.

Huckabee is a social Conservative with a capitol "C"!

But he's also Compassionate with a capitol "C".

Which is why our politically Independent, New England Yankee, pro-choice, pro-medical marijuana and pro-carbon tax skin doesn't absolutely crawl when we hear southern Republican governor Mike Huckabee talk about "family values".

For example, when Governor Huckabee talks about being Pro-life he certainly talks about his opposition to abortion. Duh.

But Huckabee also says in the same breath - Of course we must nurture our children from conception, but we must not stop at the birth. We must ensure that our kids have quality health care, a solid education, clean air and economic opportunity.

Crib Note: Compassionate AND Conservative. And politically viable.

But for us (because we know we're never going to agree with any candidate on everything) the real "test" is "will the guy (or girl) just do the 'right' thing, whatever the 'right' thing is?"

We can't always define what the "right" thing is. But we know it when we see it (to borrow a line from someone a bit smarter than us).

Inside Baseball Crib Note: The apple falls far from the tree. Doesn't it?

And, the more we listen to Mike Huckabee, the more we think that he's the type of leader who will do the 'right' thing no matter what the 'right' thing is.

That counts. That counts a whole lot.

Which means that if you're a Republican Primary voter still shopping for the 'right' candidate we think you should take a good hard look at Mike Huckabee.

We think you might really like what you see.

We're just saying.