Saturday, October 27, 2007

Dissin' the Huckster

Mike Huckabee's rise in the polls in Iowa and the fawning press coverage he continues to receive is finally producing a backlash. But there is a fair amount of substance to the critique and "conservatives" ought to take note.

Writing in The American Spectator, Quin Hillyer describes numerous ethical mis-steps made by Huck and his wife during his tenure as Arkansas governor. Hillyer writes:

Fourteen times, the ethics commission -- a respected body, not a partisan witch-hunt group -- investigated claims against Huckabee. Five of those times, it officially reprimanded him. And, as only MSNBC among the big national media has reported at any real length, there were lots of other mini-scandals and embarrassments along the way.

He used public money for family restaurant meals, boat expenses, and other personal uses. He tried to claim as his own some $70,000 of furniture donated to the governor's mansion. He repeatedly, and obstinately, against the pleadings even from conservative columnists and editorials, refused to divulge the names of donors to a "charitable" organization he set up while lieutenant governor -- an outfit whose main charitable purpose seemed to be to pay Huckabee to make speeches. Then, as a kicker, he misreported the income itself from the suspicious "charity."

Huckabee has been criticized, reasonably so, for misusing the state airplane for personal reasons. And he and his wife, Janet, actually set up a "wedding gift registry" (they had already been married for years) to which people could donate as the Huckabees left the governorship, in order to furnish their new $525,000 home.

Huckabee also did a Dukakis impersonation, pardoning a serial rapist named Wayne Dumond, who upon release promptly sexually assaulted and murdered a woman in Missouri.

Writing at the WSJ, John Fund writes that Huckabee "is not the 'consistent conservative' he now claims to be."

Admittedly, everything that comes from Fund's mouth or oozes out of his pen must be carefully scrutinized, to say the least. But Fund isn't alone. The head of the Eagle Forum in Arkansas says, "He was pro-life and pro-gun, but otherwise a liberal. Just like Bill Clinton he will charm you, but don't be surprised if he takes a completely different turn in office."

Phyllis Schlafly goes one further saying, "He destroyed the conservative movement in Arkansas, and left the Republican Party a shambles." I'm sure that part of Schlafly's critique has to do with Huck's enthusiasm for immigration, which he is now trying to hide.

Those "easily manipulated" Values Voters ought to beware, too. During the battle between conservative and moderate factions in the Southern Baptist Convention, Huckabee sided with the bad guys. According to Paul Pressler, Huck never appointed a conservative when he headed up the Arkansas Baptist Covention.

Huck was also a tax-and-spend machine as governor of Arkansas according to The Club For Growth (OK, another dubious source, but check it out anyway).


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