Huckabee Not Hawkish Enough For Many Republicans

With Mike Huckabee now a top tier candidate we are getting more of a look at his positions. I’m hardly going to consider supporting a candidate who opposes abortion rights and does not believe in evolution, but in some ways Huckabee might be preferable to many of the other Republicans running. I’ve previously noted that Huckabee has sounded more reasonable than other Republicans on immigration and even on school prayer. Another hopeful sign is seen in this report from The Washington Post:

Huckabee sought to build his foreign policy credentials, meeting with a group of retired generals who are in Des Moines to urge the 2008 candidates to commit to opposing torture. After the meeting, Huckabee joined Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in declaring his opposition to the interrogation procedure known as “waterboarding,” and said he would support closing the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, a contrast with the other leading Republicans.

These positions are not making him very popular in some conservative circles, such as at Power Line which also feels he is insufficiently hawkish on Iraq, but Huckabee is certainly no Ron Paul. Conservatives have also been criticizing Huckabee for raising taxes but this might just be the reality of his position. Governors are forced to be more pragmatic in running a government, and, as Huckabee points out, even Ronald Reagan raised taxes. Mayors are in a similar position and several sources including Factcheck.org have noted that Rudy Giuliani was hardly the fiscal conservative he claims to be.

Some pundits are now predicting that the major consequence of Huckabee winning in Iowa would be to knock out Mitt Romney, who was counting on wins in the early states to offset Giuliani’s lead in the national polls. The conventional wisdom is that Giuliani would then beat Huckabee. This very well could be, but I wonder if Huckabee would appeal more to the social conservatives in the Republican Party, and in a multi-candidate contest it is difficult to predict who will come out on top. While Giuliani will attack Huckabee on tax increases and possibly on being soft on terrorism, it is also possible that this will backfire and turn into a question over character and honesty, in which case a warmongering demagogue like Giuliani is at a disadvantage. While Huckabee is still an underdog, early victories could build momentum, and the Republican race should remain very interesting to watch.

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2 Comments

  1. 1
    melissafrei says:

    Mike Huckabee’s rise in the polls is a hopeful indication that the American public is engaged and not listening to the pundits. He has spent a fraction of the money that Mitt Romney has in Iowa and has become a contender when the pundits were discounting him. This is a win for our democracy. I may not agree with him on all of the issues, but I do see him as a man who would work for this country and not just his party.

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    A few weeks ago the conventional wisdom was that we would have a race between Clinton and Giuliani, which would mean a continuation of extreme partisanship. It would certainly be quite different if the pundits turn out to be totally wrong and we wind up with a general election campaign between Huckabee and Obama.

    Of course both have a way to go in Iowa. It is virtually impossible to predict who will really participate in the Iowa caucuses and how they will turn out.

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