Thompson showed more passion than at any point in the campaign in proclaiming “This is a battle for the heart and soul of the Republican Party.” Thompson reminded South Carolina that Huckabee believes the Reagan coalition of limited government and strong national security is over. “He would be a Christian leader, but he would also bring about liberal economic policies, liberal foreign policies. He believes we have an arrogant foreign policy and the tradition of, blame America first."
“He believes in taxpayer-funded programs for illegals, as he did in Arkansas … So much for federalism. So much for states’ rights. So much for individual rights. That’s not the model of the Reagan coalition; that’s the model of the Democratic Party.”
Huckabee responds with cheap shot
The truth about his record is apparently the last thing Huckabee wants to talk about. Huckabee responded on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program by saying, “I think Fred needs some Metamucil. I think it would help a lot if he gets some. You know, he was in a bad mood last night.”
Huckabee was appearing on Joe Scarborough’s show. This is the same Joe Scarborough who intimated Fred Thompson’s wife, Jeri, was a stripper when he asked “you think she works the pole?”
Is this the kind of program a Presidential candidate, let alone a Baptist Minister, should appear on? He couldn’t have decided to appear on the show based on ratings because nobody watches the show.
Huckabee rose to the top tier of Republican Presidential candidates in large part due to his personality and likeability. He convinced people that he is a nice guy. Huckabee tried to reinforce that nice guy image on New Year’s Eve in Iowa when he called a press conference to announce he decided not to run a negative television commercial against Mitt Romney. However, he then proceeded to show it to the reporters in attendance, including several local television stations. Even worse, nice guy Huckabee did run the negative ad at least 10 times over the course of several days on 4 different Iowa television stations.
Huckabee offers no defense of his record
During the debate, Huckabee offered no defense against the issues raised by Senator Thompson. In his rebuttal during the debate, Huckabee offered no explanation for:
- Calling for the closing of the terrorist detention center at Guantanamo Bay
Huckabee did not explain why he believes we should bring terrorists to America and give them access to our court system. He did not explain how he can support a national smoking ban and believe in limited government. He did not explain why he supported in-state tuition and scholarships for illegal immigrants – but opposed school choice for American students. He did not explain his endorsement by the New Hampshire chapter of the NEA – an endorsement he sought and earned due to his opposition to vouchers. Particularly disturbing is that fact that the NEA has been the main adversary of home schoolers, one of Huckabee’s key constituencies in Iowa. The NEA wants to prohibit home schooling by anyone who is not a licensed teacher. The NH NEA endorsed none other than Howard Dean in 2004 and Hillary Rodham Clinton on the Democratic side this year, who would never be confused with Reagan Coalition conservatives.
Despite his promise to correct the record throughout the debate, Huckabee did not defend those positions. Instead, he said that he must have been doing something right because the people of Arkansas kept re-electing him. But what kind of leader was he for the Republican Party in Arkansas?
Huckabee left the Republican Party in Arkansas in shambles
When Huckabee became governor of Arkansas, he did not appoint conservatives to key government positions - he kept most of the political appointees of Bill Clinton and convicted felon Jim “Guy” Tucker. In 2001, conservative Republicans opposed the higher taxes and fees proposed by Governor Huckabee. In response, Huckabee began to refer to them as "Shiites". State Senator Jim Holt proposed legislation banning state services for illegal immigrants. Huckabee, who supported services for illegal immigrants, said that senator drank a different "Jesus juice" than he did.
Huckabee did not simply engage in name calling of Arkansas Republicans, he actively campaigned for Democrats against Republicans. In 2000, Huckabee supported Barbara Horn, Democrat, in a primary. The Republican in the race ended up dropping out. In 2002, Huckabee supported Rep. Bobby Glover, Democrat, over Rep. Randy Minton, Republican, in a state senate race. Former State Rep Minton now refers to Huckabee as "the biggest RINO I know". RINO = Republican in Name Only. Huckabee worked to defeat a Republican, Shawn Womack in a legislative race in Mountain Home, Arkansas. Womack won, despite Huckabee’s efforts. Since that race, Magness has donated to Huckabee’s Presidential campaign.
After Huckabee pushed for in-state college tuition and scholarships for illegal immigrants in 2005, Democrats swept Republicans for every statewide office the following year and Republicans lost seats in the legislature for the second straight election.
Consequently, the Arkansas State GOP has not endorsed Huckabee, nor have the majority of legislators currently serving in Arkansas. The Arkansas Republican Assembly endorsed Fred Thompson for President with 80% of the vote.
Betsy Hagan, Arkansas director of the conservative Eagle Forum, supported Huckabee at first but quickly became disillusioned. "He was pro-life and pro-gun, but otherwise a liberal," she said. "Just like Bill Clinton he will charm you, but don't be surprised if he takes a completely different turn in office."
Phyllis Schlafly, president of the national Eagle Forum, said. "He destroyed the conservative movement in Arkansas, and left the Republican Party a shambles,"
As Governor of Arkansas Huckabee raised taxes, helped Democrats get elected and helped defeat Republicans. Huckabee has a long pattern of making personal attacks against principled, conservative Republicans that disagree with him on the issues. Mike Huckabee has not proven himself to be Presidential or worthy of leading the Reagan Coalition.