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A Simple Government: Twelve Things We Really Need from Washington
(and a Trillion That We Don't!),
by Mike Huckabee
(Click for Amazon book review)
BOOK REVIEW by OnTheIssues.org:
Mike Huckabee, the former Governor of Arkansas, ran for president in 2008. Technically, he came in second place to John McCain (because Mitt Romney and others dropped out). But that's really only because he stayed in the race long after it was obvious he would lose (when reporters asked why he was still in despite the mathematical impossibility of winning the nomination, Huckabee said, "I didn't major in math; I majored in miracles.") So the immediate question for 2012 looms: "Will Huckabee run?" This book answers, "Unambiguously yes." The second question then follows: "Will Huckabee run seriously, or just seeking a miracle?" This book answers, "Seriously." [NOTE: Shortly after this review was written, Huckabee in fact said "No"! -- May 2011]
The race for president in 2012 starts as soon as the 2010 Congressional race ends. The new Congress and Governors got sworn in during January 2011; this book came out the next month. That timing says to pundits, "I'm running", even if there's nothing "official" for many months. Huckabee also has a popular Fox News TV show, modestly entitled "Huckabee", to keep his face and his views in front of his fans. That also says to pundits, "I'm running." So let's look at the content of this book to see the game plan....
Huckabee faces two races for the presidency: the Republican primary, and then the general election against Pres. Obama. This book addresses both. Huckabee outlines his strategy against Obama: A family-values social conservative, but not a nasty partisan. Huckabee takes pains to point out where he agrees with Obama (for example, on Obama's education initiative, "Race to the Top", p. 100). He further points out that his non-partisanship extends to Bill Clinton (who preceded Huckabee as Arkansas governor, p. 3). Huckabee is a nice guy -- even his opponents concede that -- and he positions himself as the non-partisan nice-guy alternative to the other family-values social conservatives, such as Sarah Palin. Huckabee pretty much agrees with Palin on bashing Obama on just about every issue -- Obama is inexperienced (p. 3); and therefore Obama has done everything wrong on the economy; on immigration; on foreign policy; and on everything else -- but he's not nearly as nasty as his fellow Fox News commentators.
Huckabee reserves some partisan nastiness for Mitt Romney, a likely rival for the GOP nomination. "Mitt Romney" is omitted from Huckabee's index, but "RomneyCare" is there! As governor of Massachusetts, Romney created a healthcare system with an individual mandate, which Obama partly used as a model for the national healthcare system. Huckabee calls them RomneyCare and ObamaCare respectively (p. 32-33), and attempts to demonstrate how both of them fail for the same reasons, impugning Romney and Obama accordingly. Romney, if he runs, will likely highlight the success of the Massachusetts healthcare system, especially highlighting how it DIFFERS from ObamaCare. Huckabee stops being such a nice guy when it comes to Romney -- for example, he endorses Cape Wind (p. 113), an offshore wind turbine project in Massachusetts, but neglects to mention who was the governor during the initial process (that was Romney, who actively pursued the project against Ted Kennedy's objections).
Speaking of environmental issues, Huckabee comes out as an environmental moralist in this book (p. 107-112). Huckabee toes the line on the standard GOP stance of endorsing all forms of domestic energy, including coal, oil, and nuclear. But he makes a moral case instead of the usual national security and economic case, asserting that "conservation is patriotism" (p. 122). He puts his money where his mouth is, explaining how he powers his family home with wind turbines and solar panels on the roof (p. 111). Huckabee's background as a preacher comes out with regards to this issue -- he preaches the Good News of environmental stewardship.
This book positions Huckabee well for the vice-presidency too. The Republican ticket will likely be split between an economic conservative and a social conservative (McCain, an economic conservative, chose Palin, a social conservative, to balance the 2008 ticket among these two most important Republican factions). If an economic conservative wins the nomination, the same logic from 2008 still applies -- which might just be the miracle that Huckabee has counted on.
-- Jesse Gordon, editor-in-chief, OnTheIssues.org, April 2011
(and a Trillion That We Don't!),
by Mike Huckabee.
Page last edited: Aug 19, 2011