Mike Huckabee on Principles & Values
Republican AR Governor
You can see the growing influence of the faux-cons in the 2008 election cycle from the so-called Ron Paul Revolution to the economics-only conservatism reflected by some of the supporters of Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani (even if not entirely by the candidates themselves).
A: I don’t know how the math works out, but there’s always the chance something stumbles. Senator McCain also needs that many. And if he doesn’t get that many, he’s not the nominee either. This thing could go to the convention. Who knows?
Q: Romney withdrew because if he stayed in, he felt it’d make it easier for the Democrats to win.
A: Oh, that’s total nonsense. Do we tell the people in Texas and Ohio and all these other states that “You don’t matter?” If our party can’t have some meaningful debate about the issues important to us as a party, then we’re really not prepared to lead. For us to all step aside and have a coronation instead of an election, that’s the antithesis of everything Republicans are supposed to believe. We believe that competition breeds excellence and that the lack of it breeds mediocrity.
A: Kenneth Copeland has been a friend of mine for a long time. And my only experience with him is a positive one and a person of integrity.
Q: But Senator Charles Grassley, a Republican from Iowa, has an investigation about Copeland. The newspapers said, “Copeland remains defiant in refusing to cooperate with a US senator’s request for information about his finances.”
A: People are innocent until they’re proven guilty.
Q: Isn’t standing behind Copeland interfering in an investigation?
A: No. It’d be interfering if I called up Chuck Grassley and said lay off Kenneth Copeland. I’ve not done that, nor would I do that.
A: Yeah. We really did that.
Q: Did you eat them?
A: Well, of course we ate them.
Q: What does it taste like?
A: I should say it tastes a lot like chicken, but it doesn’t.
Q: What’s it taste like?
A: It tastes like squirrel. It’s not the best thing in the world but, you know, when you go squirrel hunting, you got to do something with those things. And part of it was just to say we could do it. It was a college thing. But fried squirrel is a Southern delicacy.
Q: But you’re off the squirrel now?
A: I haven’t eaten fried squirrel I think since college.
Q: This may help you in Virginia.
A: It may kill me in other states, however.
In 1968-1969, we had a definite choice of being a country of law and order, or of mayhem. I believed in law and order, that some things were right and some things were wrong. When we went with the right we had strength. When we saw that there was no moral center, and nothing that ever could be defined as a moral absolute, then we are lost and confused.
As a teenager, I was given a Phyllis Schlafly book, “ A Choice Not an Echo”. That book had a tremendous impact on me. It reminded me that we should not simply be echoing the sentiments of others, but making deep personal choices about what we believe, and most importantly, why we believe it.
The reason that America is a great nation is because America is a special nation. And the reason America is a special nation is because it was founded by people who were first on their knees before they were on their feet. We are a nation rooted in our faith.
I know what the pundits say, that the math doesn’t workout. Folks, I didn’t major in math. I majored in miracles and I still believe in those.
A: I wish Rush loved me as much as I love Rush. He’s a great voice for conservatism. It doesn’t mean he’s infallible. On this he’s very wrong.
A: It would be incredibly presumptuous and even arrogant for me to try to suggest what Reagan would do, that he would endorse any of us against the others. I’m not going to pretend he would endorse me. I wis he would. I would love that, but I endorse him. It wasn’t just his specific policies, but Reagan was something more than just a policy wonk. He was a man who loved this country, and he inspired this country to believe in itself again. What made Reagan a great president was not just the intricacies of his policies, though they were good policies. It was that he loved the US and saw it as a good nation and a great nation because of the greatness of its people. If we can recapture that, that’s when we recapture the Reagan spirit. It’s that spirit that has a can-do attitude about the US’s futures and that makes us love our country. Whether he believes in us, I hope we still believe in those things which made him a great leader and a great American.
A: I do pay attention, because, after all, you’ve got to remember, I’m the only person running for president who’s faced the Clinton political machine before. I understand it better than anybody else running for president. And I can certainly watch with some sense of, I guess, maybe educated perception about what’s taking place.
Q: Are you at all surprised by the way Bill Clinton is going after Barack Obama?
A: I have great respect and have a cordial & civil relationship with the Clintons, even though we’ve been on opposite sides of political races every time I’ve ever run or they’ve run. But there are not two people who are better at street fighting politics than Bill and Hillary Clinton. And I’ve been telling people a long time, “Don’t underestimate the scrappiness with which they’ll approach this race.” So no, I’m not surprised.
A: I would say that would be his problem, not mine. My faith does not give me a queasy feeling; it gives me a solid core from which I’m able to live every day. I don’t wake up every day and have to look at a poll to decide what I believe. My faith grounds me. It gives me some sense of direction and purpose. I don’t try to impose it on other people, and I certainly would never use the auspices of government to try to push my faith. But for me to run from it? Impossible. It’s who I am. If it gives some people a queasy feeling, then they’ll have to deal with it. The fact is, this country has always been a country where people were able to respect people who had faith.
A: The candidate declined to answer this question.
Q: Under what circumstances would you sign a bill into law but also issue a signing statement reserving a constitutional right to bypass the law?
A: The candidate declined to answer this question.
Q: Does the Constitution permit a president to detain US citizens without charges as unlawful enemy combatants?
A: The candidate declined to answer this question.
Q: Under what circumstances is the president free to disregard international human rights treaties that the US Senate has ratified?
A: The candidate declined to answer this question.
Q: Do you think it is important for all would-be presidents to answer questions like these before voters decide which one to entrust with the powers of the presidency?
A: The candidate declined to answer this question.
A: I’m not a conservative that wants to be a wholly owned subsidiary of anybody. I’m an independent conservative. When I think we’re right, I’m with us all the way. And I think my record reflects that. But you know, I also believe that the purpose of government is to function. It’s not to just stand at one side, throw stones at the other guys and act like they’re wrong all the time. Well, I say Republicans aren’t right all the time. Democrats aren’t wrong all the time--now, maybe most of the time, but not all the time. And America is looking for leadership that’s not so much about beating up the other guys. They really want this country to move forward and upward. It’s what I call vertical politics, going up, not down, rather than just saying, “Let’s go left, let’s go right.”
A: Well, I think I am. When the voters who consider themselves values voters are actually given the opportunity, overwhelmingly, I win those contests. And I think it is becoming clearer & clearer that this part of our party and our country wants somebody who is a hard-working, consistent conservative with some authenticity about those convictions.
Q: And you’re that man?
A: Well, I think so.
Q: Last time you were with us, you said that you were moving from no shot to long shot to slingshot, and we actually have some evidence of that in the latest poll out of Iowa. Do you have to win Iowa?
A: Well, I think I’ve got to do very well.
HUCKABEE: We are one nation. We can’t be divided. We have to be one nation, under God. That means if we make a mistake, we make it as a single country: the United States of America, not the divided states of America.
PAUL: No, when we make a mistake, it is the obligation of the people, through their representatives, to correct the mistake, not to continue the mistake.
HUCKABEE: And that’s what we do on the floor of the Senate.
PAUL: No, we’ve dug a hole for ourselves and we’ve dug a hole for our party. We’re losing elections and we’re going down next year if we don’t change it, and it has all to do with foreign policy and we have to wake up to this fact.
HUCKABEE: Even if we lose elections, we should not lose our honor, and that is more important than [electoral gains for] the Republican Party
A: Well, I wouldn’t call the strategy “ambush.” We’re going after a victory there. And it’s not an ambush. It’s straight up--we’re trying to win. I think we will win.
Q: Why New Hampshire?
A: Because voters there are very savvy. They look for a person who truly has the convictions and sticks by them. Even if it’s not necessarily what they agree with, they want you to look them in the eye and give them a straight answer and give it to them the same way tomorrow as you gave it to them today. People like those kind of ideas that are bigger and fresher than the carefully tuned and tweaked sort of version of minor reform. That’s just not what New Hampshire voters, I think, are expecting and looking for in their next president.
A: Well, I’d like to think I’m presidential material. You know, the point is I’ve never seen a guy say, “I’m going to the Olympics and, man, my goal is to be the silver medalist.” Nobody says, “That’s what I spent my whole life working toward, is being number two.“ So, no, I’m not sitting around thinking about, ”Gosh, what if I could be vice president?“ I’m thinking about, ”What would happen if I could become president,“ how I would lead this country, what I would do to reform taxes, what I would do to try to bring a domestic agenda that builds this country back so we have some strength. And I think the voters are still going to respond to me when they get a chance to hear the message.
A: I would put the very same frame on my wall in the White House I did as governor for 10 and a half years. It’s a frame that has a photo, and underneath the photo it says, “Our boss.” My picture was never in that frame in 10 and a half years. Every week or so, we’d put the picture of some ordinary Arkansas citizen. And I told our staff, let’s never forget who the real boss is. I hope every day I’d never forget I work for those people; they don’t work for me. I’d like to be the kind of president that’s more concerned about the people on Main Street, not just the folks on Wall Street. And we need that kind of Republican running, that kind of Republican winning. I’d never forget who the boss really, really is.
A: If you define a moral issue, it is our respect, our sanctity and our understanding of the value of every single human life, because that is what makes America a unique place. We value every life of an individual as if it represents the life of us all.
Many of us who are pro-life have made the mistake of giving people the impression that pro-life means we care intensely about people as long as that child is in the womb, but beyond the gestation period, we’ve not demonstrated as demonstrably as we should that we respect life at all levels, not just during pregnancy. The unique part of our country is that we elevate and we celebrate human life.
And if you contrast us with the Islamic jihadists, who would strap a bomb to the belly of their own child and kill innocent people, they celebrate death, we celebrate life. It’s the fundamental thing that makes us unique and it keeps us free. I pray we never, ever abandon that basic principle.
Over the past 30 years, a decline in moral character has produced a decline in the character of our society. Everything hinges on the men & women we choose to establish public policy. And their character depends on you. There is something you can do: you can live a God-centered life of high moral character, and you can support candidates who share your Christian standards.
Character is the issue, and your character makes a difference every day--in the work you do, the people you vote for, the people you look to for leadership. Live your faith proudly & publicly and support & uplift fellow Christians as we work together to build God’s kingdom.
A: Tomorrow I’ll be filing papers to launch an exploratory committee & yes, I’ll be out there.
A: I think America needs positive, optimistic leadership to kind of turn this country around, to see a revival of our national soul, and to reclaim a sense of the greatness of this country that we love, and also to help bring people together to find a practical solution to a lot of the issues that people really worry about when they sit around the dinner table.
A: Well, I think he’s had a lot of struggles, particularly in managing the war in Iraq. We did a great job of going in and toppling Saddam Hussein. The tough part has been bringing some sense of stability there. The domestic agenda has almost been ignored and overlooked.
Three years earlier, running a marathon seemed as likely to me as piloting the Space Shuttle or performing brain surgery. But back then there had also been 110 pounds more of me. After I was freshly diagnosed as a type 2 diabetic, my doctor had sat me down and told me that without a lifestyle change, I would be dead within a decade. The news propelled me on a life-changing and life-saving pilgrimage that eventually led to the achievement of something I would have thought unreasonable for a once nonathletic “sofa spud” like me. When people ask about the experience, I tell them that running the marathon was not difficult. But the discipline to prepare for the even was as challenging as anything I have ever done.
Thermostat leadership is different. A thermostat can read and report the temperature, but it also adjusts the temperature to what it should be. Thermostat leadership is aware of poll numbers but is even more aware of the principles worth living for and dying for.
There is a difference between a person’s values and recognizing the “value” of very person. Many political debates center around whose “values” are superior as they relate to the family, the economy, health care, etc. I am convinced that even those of us who are conservatives have missed that the true issue is not creating a must believe set of values but rather adhering to the notion that the worth of each human being should drive our public policies.
In the chapters [of “Living Beyond Your Lifetime”], I hope you’ll be challenged to think about living beyond your lifetime. I’m not referring to going to heaven and living the everlasting life. Rather, I’m talking about living a life that will continue to be felt by those whose character wouldn’t have been the same if the seeds of your faith and faithfulness had not been planted.
This life, though important, is not the only one we live for. As we continue through our pilgrimage, we will by faith share the legacy of our Lord in eternal life.
Still, it’s important to live as though this life really matters. The seeds we plant will bear fruit through the character of those who live beyond us.
One of the fallacies of the positive thinking movement is that being a positive person consists of working up enough emotion to ignore reality and talk yourself into believing everything will be fine. There are some principles we can apply to unleash the power of being positive.
A: We lost credibility because we didn’t do what we were hired to do. When you’re elected, you’re hired to do a job. You’re hired to cut spending, lower taxes, bring more government back to the local people. We did the polar opposite, and the people fired us. And I think in many ways, although there are some good people that got caught up in the tsunami of the 2006 elections, the Republican Party as a whole deserved to get beat. We’ve lost credibility--the way we bungled Katrina, the fact that there was corruption that was unchecked in Washington, and the fact that there was a feeling that there was not a proper handling of the Iraqi war in all of these details, and the indifference to people pouring over our borders.
A: I’ve not tried to say anything about Mitt Romney or anybody else. I’m happy to talk about my faith, but I’m not going to evaluate someone else’s. In fact, if people will look through the record, they’ll see me defending Hillary Clinton and her faith in this campaign--when asked to make a comment when she had talked about her Methodist faith, I defended her, saying I have no reason to doubt her sincerity. I’ve done the same thing with Mitt Romney and the same thing I’ve done with any other candidate.
Q: Do you think it’s intolerant for voters to consider the tenets of Mormonism in judging Mitt Romney?
A: I do think that’s inappropriate. I think people should judge Mitt Romney on his record.
A: I believe there is a place for a death penalty. Some crimes are so heinous, that the only response that we, as a civilized nation, have for a most uncivil action is not only to try to deter that person from ever committing that crime again, but also as a warning to others that some crimes are beyond any capacity for us to fix.
Q: But what would Jesus do?
A: Jesus was too smart to ever run for public office. That’s what Jesus would do.
A: Sure. I believe the Bible is exactly what it is. It’s the word of revelation to us from God himself. I don’t fully comprehend and understand [it all], because the Bible is a revelation of an infinite god, and no finite person is ever going to fully understand it. If they do, their god is too small.
HUCKABEE: Whether God did it in six days or whether he did it in six days that represented periods of time, he did it, and that’s what’s important. But I’ll tell you what I can tell the country. If they want a president who doesn’t believe in God, there’s probably plenty of choices. If anybody wants to believe that they are the descendants of a primate, they are certainly welcome to do it. But I believe that all of us in this room are the unique creations of a God who knows us and loves us and who created us for his own purpose.
BROWNBACK: I believe that we are created in the image of God for a particular purpose. And I am fully convinced there’s a God of the universe that loves us very much and was involved in the process. How he did it, I don’t know. One of the problems we have with our society today is that we put faith and science at odds with each other. They aren’t at odds with each other.
This clash is going to occur between those who think man is basically good (if he has enough education and economic parity, he will do good things and avoid crime, poverty, and disease) and those who say man is basically self-centered (he’ll do whatever he can get away with unless his nature is changed by God, or he is shamed by the consequences of doing wrong). The winning worldview will dominate public policy, the laws we make, and every other detail of our existence.
What are some principles worth living by? Ask a roomful of people, and you will get a roomful of answers. There already exists a code of principles established thousands of years ago & adhered to by people from a variety of religious backgrounds. It has been accepted as a basis for appropriate behavior. Fortunately, no one has copyrighted the Ten Commandments.
Although some attempts have been made to prohibit these principles from being displayed, they have survived through the ages. They are the foundation of our laws and commonly accepted codes of human behavior.
The Ten Commandments are divided into two sections--the vertical laws dealing with man’s relationship with God and the horizontal laws dealing with man’s relationship with others.
My struggle with legalism greatly affected my walk with the Lord. Today I am definitely a “grace Christian” & not a “law Christian.” One of the few things I detest more than liberalism is legalism. I think both are cancers to the Christian faith-- liberalism because it doesn’t believe in anything, & legalism because it restricts us only to things we can live up to. Liberalism makes God seem so commonplace that He becomes meaningless, while legalism makes God so small that He becomes insignificant.
A: I never criticized Gov. Romney for that. I said, in general, that when a person says, “My faith doesn’t affect my decision-making,” I would say that the person is saying their faith is not significant to impact their decision process. I tell people up front, “My faith does affect my decision process.” It explains me. No apology for that.
Q: But you answered a question on Feb. 11 about Romney in this way: “I’m not as troubled by a person who has a different faith. I’m troubled by a person who tells me their faith doesn’t influence their decisions.” Why are you changing that point of view now?
A: Well, I didn’t know I was changing the point of view. I want to state very clearly: A person’s faith shouldn’t qualify or disqualify for public office. But we ought to be honest and open about it. And I think it does help explain who we are, what our value systems are, what makes us tick.
A: I think it’s dangerous to say that we are a nation that ought to be pushed into a Christian faith by its leaders. However, I make no apology for my faith. We are a nation of faith.
Q: But when you said, “I hope we answer the alarm clock and take this nation back for Christ,” what does that say to Jews, Muslims, agnostics?
A: I’d probably phrase it a little differently today. It means that people of faith need to exercise their sense of responsibility toward education, toward health, toward the environment. All of those issues, for me, are driven by my sense that this is a wonderful world that God’s made, we’re responsible for taking care of it, for being stewards of it.
Q: I want to ask you about something you said earlier in your political career: “Huckabee explained why he left pastoring for politics. ‘I didn’t get into politics because I thought government had a better answer. I got into politics because I knew government didn’t have the real answers, that the real answers lie in accepting Jesus Christ into our lives.’” Would you, as president, consider America a Christian nation and try to lead into a situation as being a more Christian nation?
A: I think it’s dangerous to say that we are a nation that ought to be pushed into a Christian faith by its leaders. However, I make no apology for my faith. My faith explains me. We are a nation of faith. It doesn’t necessarily have to be mine. But we are a nation that believes that faith is an important part of describing who we are, and our generosity, and our sense of optimism and hope. That does describe me.
A: I’m appalled when someone says, “Tell me about your faith,” and they say, “Oh, my faith doesn’t influence my public policy.” Because when someone says that, it’s as if they’re saying, “My faith is not so consequential that it affects me.” Well, truthfully my faith does affect me.
Q: But when you say “take this nation back for Christ,” what does that say to Jews, Muslims, agnostics, atheists?
A: I’d probably phrase it a little differently today. I don’t want to make people think that I’m going to replace the Capitol dome with a steeple. What it does mean is that people of faith do need to exercise their sense of responsibility toward education, toward health, toward the environment. All of those issues, for me, are driven by my sense that this is a wonderful world that God’s made, we’re responsible for taking care of it.
Although some attempts have been made to prohibit these principles from being displayed, they have survived through the ages. They are the foundation for most of our laws and commonly accepted code of human behavior.
A person who has no standard to live by other than the culture of the moment is a person whose principles might as well come from the latest public opinion polls. This would be like repairing an appliance by holding it against a mirror rather than reading the directions to determine how it should be performing.
We will be challenged to ask whether in the final analysis our life really mattered and, if so, in what way. If we live, die, and that is all there is, then it may not matter what we do. But if we believe that something about life matters because of the lasting implications our actions have, this should cause us to leave a different legacy.
I believe the spiritual side of our lives really does matter. To believe otherwise is to define persons as little more than animated protoplasm hopelessly going about our routines. If we do possess a soul capable of living beyond our lifetimes, then the seeds we plant in this life will yield fruit forever.
While I’m not everything I want to be, I’m not all the things I once was. Our lives are filled with pressure and stress. This is not necessarily bad. Stress and tension, properly balanced, actually give us strength.
Faith involves having something in the distance to motivate us and keep us moving, as the apostle Paul admonished in his Epistle to the Philippians. We should “press on toward the goal.”
Faith gives us a focus for our future, helps us move in the direction of our destiny, and gives us the capacity to continue working toward a worthy legacy.
A: I think probably the greatest mistake I made was not taking good care of my own personal health for the first half of my life. And that’s been one of the most transformational things I’ve done, and I just wish I’d started much earlier.
[At five minutes before my inauguration was scheduled, Tucker called to say he had decided NOT to resign, but to instead declare himself disabled, so I would only be Acting Governor pending his appeal.]
I told Tucker that I would make a speech in 2 hours; and if he resigned, I would not use the word “impeachment,” and we’d say he had reconsidered, and resigned as promised. [Tucker refused. I made the speech calling for his impeachment. Tucker resigned on July 15 1996].
A: Uh-oh, I’m in trouble now.
Q: (Videotape of Gov. Huckabee playing guitar). I believe that song is “Born To Be Wild.” Is that your inner self?
A: “Born To Be Mild” would be a better one for me. I love music. One of the things that I’m very passionate about is music and art and education because it was life-changing for me. I think in a creative economy we’ve got to have a whole group of kids coming up and a generation whose left and right brains are stimulated. I think this country has made a huge mistake in cutting music and art out of school budgets. And it’s something we’ve got to address because the future economy is dependent upon a creative generation.
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Such factors as religious service attendance, belief, practice, familiarity with doctrine, belief in certain creeds, etc., may be important to sociologists, religious leaders, and others. But these are measures of religiosity and are usually not used academically to define a person’s membership in a particular religion. It is important to recognize there are various levels of adherence, or membership within religious traditions or religious bodies. There’s no single definition, and sources of adherent statistics do not always make it clear what definition they are using.
The National Governors Association (NGA) is the collective voice of the nation’s governors and one of Washington’s most respected public policy organizations. NGA provides governors with services that range from representing states on Capitol Hill and before the Administration on key federal issues to developing policy reports on innovative state programs and hosting networking seminars for state government executive branch officials. The NGA Center for Best Practices focuses on state innovations and best practices on issues that range from education and health to technology, welfare reform, and the environment. NGA also provides management and technical assistance to both new and incumbent governors.
Since their initial meeting in 1908 to discuss interstate water problems, governors have worked through the National Governors Association to deal with issues of public policy and governance relating to the states. The association’s ongoing mission is to support the work of the governors by providing a bipartisan forum to help shape and implement national policy and to solve state problems.
Fortune Magazine recently named NGA as one of Washington’s most powerful lobbying organizations due, in large part, to NGA’s ability to lead the debate on issues that impact states. From welfare reform to education, from the historic tobacco settlement to wireless communications tax policies, NGA has influenced major public policy issues while maintaining the strength of our Federalist system of government.
There are three standing committees—on Economic Development and Commerce, Human Resources, and Natural Resources—that provide a venue for governors to examine and develop policy positions on key state and national issues.
[Note: NGA positions represent a majority view of the nation’s governors, but do not necessarily reflect a governor’s individual viewpoint. Governors vote on NGA policy positions but the votes are not made public.]
Founded in 1963, the Republican Governors Association (RGA) is the official public policy and political organization of the Republican governors and governors-elect of the United States of America
The RGA will enhance the visibility of the Association as a unified policy-making and political force with the national media, business community and government through a coordinated communications strategy. By building more awareness of the policies of the Republican governors, the political and policy objectives of the Association as a whole can be achieved. Currently, there are 29 Republican governors representing roughly 60 percent of the American people.
The Southern Governors’ Association first met in 1934 to discuss the repeal of discriminatory rates for transporting goods by rail, [and since then SGA] has represented the common interests of southern states’ chief executives and provided a vehicle for promoting them. The ongoing mission of SGA is to support the work of the governors by providing a bipartisan, regional forum to help shape and implement national policy and to solve state and regional problems.
|Other candidates on Principles & Values:||Mike Huckabee on other issues:|
GOP: Sen.John McCain
GOP V.P.: Gov.Sarah Palin
Democrat: Sen.Barack Obama
Dem.V.P.: Sen.Joe Biden
Constitution: Chuck Baldwin
Libertarian: Rep.Bob Barr
Constitution: Amb.Alan Keyes
Liberation: Gloria La Riva
Green: Rep.Cynthia McKinney
Socialist: Brian Moore
Independent: Ralph Nader