With Christian conservatives trying to scramble to find a Republican presidential candidate they can support, some of them seem to be coalescing around former Arkansas governor, Mike Huckabee. Janet Folger, especially, seems to be trumpeting his candidacy.
But is Mike Huckabee someone Christian conservatives should be supporting? Not everyone thinks so.
Randy Minton, chairman of the Arkansas chapter of Phyllis Schlafly's national Eagle Forum, said, "We called him a pro-life, pro-gun liberal, when I was in the state legislature and he was governor."
Phyllis Schlafly herself was even more direct. The President and Founder of Eagle Forum said this about Governor Huckabee: "He destroyed the conservative movement in Arkansas, and left the Republican Party a shambles."
She went on to say, "Yet some of the same evangelicals who sold us on George W. Bush as a 'compassionate conservative' are now trying to sell us on Mike Huckabee."
Even one of Huckabee's strongest supporters within the Religious Right, Pastor Rick Scarborough, head of Vision America, admitted, "Mike has always sought the validation of elites." Of course, my question for Rick Scarborough is, With an indictment such as that, how can you continue to support Mike Huckabee?
According to an opinion piece written by John Fund in the Wall Street Journal, "Paul Pressler, a former Texas judge who led the conservative Southern Baptist revolt, told me, 'I know of no conservative he [Huckabee] appointed while he headed the Arkansas Baptist Convention.'"[Another Man From Hope, October 26, 2007]
Fund went on to say that "Mr. Huckabee's reluctance to surround himself with conservatives was evident as governor, when he kept many agency heads appointed by Bill Clinton."
Fund also said this about Huckabee: "'He's just like Bill Clinton in that he practices management by news cycle,' a former top Huckabee aide told me. 'As with Clinton there was no long-term planning, just putting out fires on a daily basis. One thing I'll guarantee is that won't lead to competent conservative governance.'"
Mike Huckabee is also terrible on immigration. According to Jim Boulet, Jr., executive director of English First:
"Rudy Giuliani spent years defending the right of New York City to remain a sanctuary for illegal aliens. Yet Giuliani was a veritable Lou Dobbs Jr. on illegal immigration in comparison to Mike Huckabee."[Huckabee stirs up third-party fear, Washington Times, By Ralph Z. Hallow, October 29, 2007]
Regarding Huckabee's stance on immigration, Mr. Minton said, "Until of late, he has been an open-borders guy on immigration—amnesty, the whole works. As governor, he wanted to give free college scholarships to all illegals."
Minton's assertion is backed up by Daniel Larison at The American Conservative. He said, "Like his fellow presidential candidate [who recently dropped out of the race], Sen. Sam Brownback, Huckabee regards it as his Christian duty to help subvert and liberalize U.S. immigration laws. Together, they embrace the notion that fidelity to the Gospel requires privileging the interests of non-citizens over those of fellow citizens."
Ann Coulter agrees:
"On illegal immigration, Huckabee makes George Bush sound like Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO). Huckabee has compared illegal aliens to slaves brought here in chains from Africa, saying, 'I think, frankly, the Lord is giving us a second chance to do better than we did before.'
"Toward that end, when an Arkansas legislator introduced a bill that would prevent illegal aliens from voting and receiving state benefits, Huckabee denounced the bill, saying it would rile up 'those who are racist and bigots.'
"He also made the insane point that companies such as Toyota would not invest in Arkansas if the state didn't allow non-citizens to vote, because it would 'send the message that, essentially, "If you don't look like us, talk like us and speak like us, we don't want you."'
"Like all the (other) Democratic candidates for President, he supports a federal law to ban smoking—unless you're an illegal alien smoking at a Toyota plant."[Fred Sawyer and Huckabee Finn, By Ann Coulter, October 10, 2007]
A former state lawmaker, Minton also said, that Huckabee was not a "fiscally conservative Republican." Rather, Huckabee was regarded as just another liberal "tax and spender" in fiscal matters.
This is in direct opposition to Huckabee's boast of "90 tax cuts during his tenure." And the facts seem to validate Minton, not Huckabee.
An Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration report showed a "net tax increase of $505 million, a figure adjusted for inflation and economic growth" on Huckabee's watch.
That Huckabee is a liberal "tax and spender" is also affirmed by Tom Roeser. According to Roeser, "[Huckabee] hiked state spending 65.3%, from 1996 to 2004. He supported five tax increases, leading the 'Club for Growth' to call him a liberal in disguise . . ."
Roeser also points out that "The Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank with heavy ties to the national GOP, gives him an F grade for spending and taxes in 2006 and an overall grade of D in his governorship. During his tenure, the number of state employees increased over 20% and Arkansas' general obligation debt rose by almost $1 billion." (The Wanderer, September 6, 2007).
Furthermore, according to the Washington Times, "Until recently, he [Huckabee] had refused to sign the famous no-tax pledge offered to candidates by Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform."
In spite of Huckabee's proven big-government, big-spending, and pro-amnesty record, however, some Christian conservatives are falling for his conservative rhetoric. It seems that all a Republican candidate has to do is start talking "pro-life" and "pro-marriage" and he or she will gain the support of certain Christian conservatives.
First it was Bob Jones, III endorsing the liberal former governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney, and now it is Janet Folger endorsing the liberal former governor of Arkansas, Mike Huckabee.
Why any Christian leader would want to support a man with such a dubious record truly escapes me.
Christians need to beware of Mike Huckabee. He is not a conservative. Even worse, he is not a constitutionalist. He is an opportunist, however. This is demonstrated by the fact that many of his supporters are openly posturing (with Huckabee's consent, obviously) for an opportunity to run Huckabee as a potential Vice Presidential candidate with either Giuliani or Romney at the top of the ticket.
Let me ask the reader something. How could a principled pro-life, pro-Second Amendment, pro-Constitution conservative be willing to run on a ticket with a liberal presidential candidate such as Rudy Giuliani or Mitt Romney?
That's right, he couldn't.
I say again, beware of Mike Huckabee!
P.S. I would like to invite everyone who lives within driving distance of Pensacola, Florida to come hear the former Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, Judge Roy Moore, "The Ten Commandments Judge," this Sunday, November 4, 2007 at Crossroad Baptist Church. The service begins at 10am CST. In my opinion, Judge Roy Moore is one of America's greatest Christian statesmen. He will be speaking live and in person to the people of Crossroad Baptist Church this Sunday, November 4. The church is located at 6800 Mobile Highway (US Highway 90), 1/2 mile past the Fairgrounds in Northwest Pensacola.
As a point of reference, Pensacola is located in the western-most tip of the State of Florida, about 50 miles East of Mobile, Alabama. Pensacola is approximately a 5 hour drive from Atlanta; a 6 1/2 hour drive from Orlando; a 3 hour drive from New Orleans; and a 7 hour drive from Nashville.
Dr. Chuck Baldwin is the pastor of Crossroad Baptist Church in Pensacola, Florida. He hosts a weekly radio show. His website is here.