By the time this issue of The Vision hits the stand, two dozen states will have put Mike Huckabee, John McCain, Mitt Romney, and Ron Paul – and their Democratic Party counterparts — through the test of fire called Super Tuesday (or Super Duper Tuesday, as it has been dubbed recently). No other contest in recent years has attracted so much attention and drawn so many indelible lines in the public’s consciousness like the 2008 presidential race, perhaps because so much is at stake. If the 2000 and 2004 elections were polarizing, 2008 has elevated polarization to a level of utmost and precarious meltdown.
There has been an insurmountable amount of bickering on both sides of the aisle, and personal attack ads have run rampant in South Carolina and Florida. At times, it’s hard to tell if the candidates have the interest of the people of the United States of America at heart, or if their interest lies in furthering a particular partisan agenda. So it is no surprise that people interested in one candidate or another have to cut through the rhetoric with a machete in search for anything resembling a platform worth adhering to. One candidate, however, has been running what could be called the cleanest, most issues-centered campaign out of the candidates still on the race. His name: former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee.
After winning the Iowa caucus, Huckabee has transformed from a complete unknown into a de facto contender. A former Baptist preacher who also served 11 years as the 44th governor of the state of Arkansas – only the second Republican since Reconstruction to achieve such a feat – Huckabee embarked into the presidential race running a campaign with very little money and relying heavily on the grassroots support of thousands who saw in him a true, unwavering conservative. His orthodox belief in the sanctity of life, his uncompromising and unabashed position regarding his faith, and support of a constitutional amendment that defines marriage as the union between one man and one woman has truly struck a chord with conservatives, especially the evangelical base of the Republican Party. In addition, his proposed policies for securing the border –a 9-point strategy called The Secure America Plan – are one of the toughest by any candidate. His platform also focuses on education, infra-structure modernization, and health care.
But the most audacious feature of his platform is the institution of a progressive national sales tax that would replace all federal income and payroll taxes, a plan commonly known as the FairTax. This would virtually place the IRS out of business and ensure a true economic stimulus, much more so than tax rebates could ever do. Huckabee’s position regarding the IRS should come as no surprise: as governor of Arkansas, Mike Huckabee cut taxes to the tune of $380 million and left the state of Arkansas with a $1 billion surplus.
Pundits have criticized Huckabee, calling him ‘un-electable’, and have dubbed him ‘the destroyer of the conservative movement’, undoubtedly because some of his policies while governor were not to the liking of conservatives. Another writer for The Vision has even quoted Phyllis Schlafly, the conservative political activist, as accusing Huckabee of ‘leaving the Arkansas Republican Party in shambles’. Since I don’t have the hard data pointing to the moribund state of the Republican Party in Arkansas, I will take instead the word of the people in Arkansas, who thought highly enough of Huckabee to actually re-elect him twice as their governor. As a conservative, this is what irks me the most abut the movement: some pundits, especially those in talk radio, are more concerned with whether the tenets of conservatism are upheld, rather than examine each candidate on a case-by-case basis to determine if his policies and decisions were good to the people, and not if these policies were ingratiating to conservatism or the Republican Party. Some of these same pundits who were at Bush’s beck and call were quick to jump boat once the president unveiled some of his more ‘compassionate conservative’ initiatives. Chalk this one up to my global world view, where I tend to side with Christian New Labor in terms of Latin American politics, but effecting social reform for the well-being of all Americans should be its government’s number one priority, whether these policies clash with the elitist position of über -conservatives or not. And this is exactly why I have chosen Mike Huckabee: he is not afraid to go against the elite of the conservative movement or the vicious criticism of liberals in his state and Washington to bring into fruition policies that benefited the people of the state of Arkansas.
As a president, he will continue his legacy and will not play into the hands of establishment know-it-alls who would rather see him as a sheep of the conservative movement.
Alas, the media has dubbed this a ‘3-men-and-one-lady’ race, discarding Huckabee’s chance to become the nominee. In the same week when the New York Giants have pulled off one of the greatest upsets in American football history, I hope Mike Huckabee can pull just as big an upset on Super Tuesday and go on to become the next president of the United States.