Sunday, November 22, 2009

To Huckabee or Not to Huckabee

Mike Huckabee.From Hope to Higher Ground: !2 Steps for Restoring America’s Greatness. New York: Center Street, 2007.

The author begins by stating he doesn’t have much self-confidence but that he places his hope on God. He literally was born in Hope, a town in Arkansas which is the same birthplace as Bill Clinton. Huckabee acquired faith and was asked to substitute at a church that was in between pastors. He did so well he was hired as their full time pastor. He later became President of the Arkansas Baptist Convention.

In 1002, Huckabee decided to enter politics. He ran for the U.S. Senate and lost. He impressed state Republican Party Chairman Asa Hutchinson who urged him to run for Lt. Governor in a 1993 special election. Huckabee won despite spending less campaign funds than did his opponent. Huckabee became the fourth Republican since Reconstruction to win a statewide Arkansas election.

Huckabee arrived to find the Lt. Governor’s office nailed shut and his budget slashed. Public outrage led to the office doors being opened after six days. He was reelected Lt. Governor in the regular 1994 election.

Governor Jim Guy Tucker resigned after felony convictions. Huckabee became Governor. He discovered that years of counseling people as a pastor served him well in dealing with people in politics.

Huckabee was upset to discover there was a lack of resources to handle the emergencies caused by Hurrican Katrina. He summoned assistance from churches, Scouts, and 4-H to open their camps to handle to overflow of people fleeing the devastation. Huckabee told people assisting victims to treat them as they would want to be treated.

Huckabee encourages optimism and hope. He believes having a good attitude helps achieve success. Ronald Reagan showed how to do this in politics.

As Governor, Huckabee had school systems create seamless coordinated classes from pre-K through college. He increased academic standards and required measuring academic progress.

Huckabee opposed excessive government spending. He opposed a tax increased to raise revenues for road construction. He favors environmental protection and supported a dedicated funding stream for protecting natural resources. He favors increasing energy production to meet rising demand by allowing drilling in the Outer Continental Shelf and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. He favors developing ethanol and biodiesel bio-fuels as well as solar and wind energy. He established faith based programs within prisons that reduced recidivism. He increased community service for nonviolent offenders. He allowed sentence reductions for prisoners who completed new skills programs while in prison.

Huckabee favors zero based budgeting that requires each expenditure to be justified. He favors keeping spending as small as possible. He likes the idea of a flat tax yet notes this idea has some flaws.

Huckabee is pro-life on the abortion issue. While Arkansas resident tend to be pro-life it wasn’t until 1997 that the Arkansas legislature adopted pro-life legislation. As Governor, laws were approved that require parental consent of a minor’s abortion, require informed consent from a woman before an abortion, and that prohibit partial birth abortion.

To attract businesses to locate in Arkansas, Huckabee favors minimizing business litigation, reducing taxes, and avoiding over-regulating businesses.


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