Huckabee in Nebraska

Great speech today in Omaha by Mike Huckabee.

h/t Robt D

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Attacking Sarah Palin: A familiar ring

The anonymous attacks on Gov. Sarah Palin have a familiar ring to me.

I was thinking about this after hearing Carl Cameron’s report on Fox, and after reading several other kneecap-recaps as reported in the blogosphere. I have no way of verifying my suspicions, so I haven’t commented on it. But, since the stealth attackers probably won’t be identified any time soon, I might as well go ahead and put forth my thoughts. If proven wrong, I’ll admit it — unlike those faceless cowards who started this.

I started noticing the similarities after reading and re-reading M.O.R.’s post-election rant. Following one of his links led me to the adjective “odious” which was used to describe religious conservatives. I couldn’t help but wonder about that, as I am one of those very same “odious” voters (who, incidentally supply about 40% of the Republican turnout). I wasn’t too terribly surprised by the animosity: it is really nothing new. Tolerating religious conservatives as a necessary part of the voting coalition is something that other conservatives have learned to become accustomed to, if not become altogether comfortable with, since Mr. Reagan cobbled together a winning strategy in 1980.

Neither are we altogether comfortable with them. But, there are enough interests in common to remain a viable political coalition.

A great example came in the last round of primaries, when moneyed interests within the Republican party decided to inject themselves into primary politics, not that there’s anything wrong with supporting one’s self interest. There isn’t. But, their tactics were, to use M.O.R.’s description, odious. Their preemtive and innuendo-laced attack destroyed the candidacy of the only religious conservative in the fold. It seems that this group would much prefer to continue to occupy a position of influence within a significantly smaller Republican coalition rather than have a religious conservative at the helm.

Interestingly enough, these people were completely silent in the general election; their money and advertising budgets unused. They did not get their candidate in the primaries, so they sat out the general election, only to emerge in the aftermath to attempt the same innuendo-based attacks on the next promising religious conservative. The preemptive attack on Sarah Palin is of the same tenor, tenacity, and calumny.

Sources in the McCain campaign? Bah, this smells like The Club for Growth.

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Belmont Debate

Here are a couple of items from tonight’s debate that sent a tingle up my leg ….

This snippet from Obama on government spending (from CNN transcript, emphasis mine),

“So we’re going to have to make some investments, but we’ve also got to make spending cuts. And what I’ve proposed, you’ll hear Sen. McCain say, well, he’s proposing a whole bunch of new spending, but actually I’m cutting more than I’m spending so that it will be a net spending cut.”

A net spending cut? That’s the first time I’ve heard this. It is nowhere to be found at his website. Perhaps he has detailed these spending cuts somewhere else. Or perhaps it is similar to the so-called “peace dividend” of the Clinton Administration when only the Defense budget was cut.

In fact, Major Garrett reporting on Fox News stated that the Obama Campaign described the spending cuts as a combination of savings that will be realized by withdrawing from Iraq, and by sunsetting the rate reductions in the Tax Reform Act of 2001. In other words, there are no targeted spending cuts in any government spending programs at all.

And later, responding to another question on fiscal policy, Obama said,

“It means looking at the spending side, but also at the revenue side. I mean, Sen. McCain has been talking tough about earmarks, and that’s good, but earmarks account for about $18 billion of our budget.

Now, when Sen. McCain is proposing tax cuts that would give the average Fortune 500 CEO an additional $700,000 in tax cuts, that’s not sharing a burden.”

If I’m doing my math correctly, 500 CEO’s getting a $700k tax cut comes to some $350 million. A tidy sum, to be sure, but it pales next to the $18 Billion in earmark pork barrel spending that Obama minimizes. The fact that Obama himself has requested more in earmark pork barrel spending than would be raised by his targeting of the CEO’s of the Fortune 500 speaks for itself. This was a poorly played piece of class warfare, but it does speak to the need of the Right to put the TCFTR meme to bed once and for all.

Huck, are you listening?

Goin’ vertical

It’s “Vertical Day” at Mike Huckabee’s website. The former campaign website has been transformed to become the new home for Huck-PAC, and promises to endorse the candidates who will support the ideas and efforts the Huckabee campaign. And, it’s off to a great start.

“Vertical politics” relate to issues which are neither Left nor Right, but seek to lift everyone “Up”.

Here is what Governor Huckabee says about it:

If you followed my campaign for President than you may remember the first “Vertical Day” we held on September 24 of last year. On a day when many said we should have focused on our fundraising for that “all important” 3rd quarter financial report, we instead focused on the issues. I blogged about the issues, answered questions about specific issues and used video to speak to voters about issues important to our campaign. We also featured guest blog posts from key supporters of the campaign, supportive bloggers and a guest post from Newt Gingrich. We had a great time and received lots of positive feedback from supporters.

The campaign also featured a post from this blog. Cool, huh?

Today’s event also invites readers to submit there own ideas to some pretty serious challenges facing our nation:

-How would you control spending in Washington?

-How would you make America energy independent?

-What would you do to improve our education system?

-What would you do to improve our health care system?

-What sort of tax reform do you think America needs to boost our economy?

-What steps would you take to promote conservation and good stewardship of the environment?

Weighty issues, indeed. Here is where I would begin on the economy/tax reform/business ethics question…..

President Bush is catching some flak for saying that the core of our economic problem is that “Wall Street got drunk.” I think there is a lot of truth in that very blunt assessment. And, within that assessment lies the key to possibly fixing the problem.

Derivative investments, with their lack of transparency, and lack of a consistent method for fair valuation are a ticking bomb which threatens to wreck our economic system. Here is what I propose to begin getting back on the right track.

Tie executive compensation directly to the derivative investments held within that company’s asset portfolio. Compensation over and above $1,000,000 per year must be paid out in the form of these financial products, as valued on the company’s most recent 10-K. In addition, instead of granting incentive-based stock options in company stock, require that companies first use their existing portfolio of derivatives.

The way I see it is, if these “financial products” are good enough to invest the hard-earned stockholder’s equity in, then they’re good enough to pay the top execs with. Oh yeah, and those multi-million dollar severance packages? You guessed it. Forget paying those out in cash. Pay them out in “financial products” instead.

Obviously, the derivatives problem is not going to go away overnight. But, I’ll wager that if the top execs understand that the gravy train is over, and their own compensation will be directly affected by dabbling in these disasters, then they will begin to address the underlying challenges of transparency and valuation.

Sound too simplistic? Well, sometimes the simplest solutions are the best.

For more solutions, click on over to Huck-PAC

Later, y’all.
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Mississippi on my mind

I just got this email from Mike Huckabee…

Last night was a reminder of what a tough year this will be for Republicans. The loss of the Congressional seat in Mississippi was tough. We had a great candidate, but the Democrat very effectively ran as a pro life, pro 2nd amendment conservative. I’m convinced that for the GOP to have wins this year we have to focus on specific issues and not party building (for us) or party bashing (against them).

What do you think the GOP needs to do to reverse the slide in support and start winning elections? LINK

You know, Mike. A few months ago, you spent a great deal of time talking about Vertical Politics: policies and issues which were neither right nor left, but were about lifting everyone up. Is was an effective message. We conservatives truly believe that conservative principles are the very essence of Vertical Politics. The abandonment of conservative principles by the Republican Party is the main reason for the election losses.

There’s more.

High gas prices, the war, and the overall general funk that I tie up in a neat little ball called “Bush Fatigue.” The general public blames the Republicans for all of the ills in the world, and the President won’t defend himself or the Party. And even when he tries, he is so inarticulate that we cringe every time he steps up to the microphone.

Mike, we’ve been waiting to go on offense since the budget battle of ’96. But, one by one, we’ve watched our leadership get picked off by a sex or money scandal, and all our time has been spent on defense. And then we get junk coming out of the Congress like Foley, Abramoff, Delay, Ney, and Cunningham, Craig, and now Vito …… and uncontrolled spending, and bigger and more obtrusive government programs … illegal immigration out the wazoo, and the President, as well as our presumptive nominee, on record as supporting a path to citizenship for those who have entered here illegally (just doing jobs Americans won’t do, my foot), even going so far as to tie the hands of the border enforcement agents charged with a near impossible and thankless task. The fact that Compean and Ramos are still in a jail cell irks us to no end.

The fact is, we’re mad, Mike. But not so much at the Democrats. They aren’t doing anything that we don’t expect out of them. They’ve behaved disgustingly, and continue to do so. No, we’re mad at the Republicans for not carrying the fight to the Democrats. We vote for men and women who promise to fight the good fight when they are back home campaigning, but when they get to DC, they seem to be interested only in being liked by the opposition, lining their pockets, or getting their groove on. Our elected representatives have refused to stand up and fight for our principles, and we don’t see any real advantage to returning them to DC.

I’m going to tell you something else, Mike. If John McCain doesn’t get off this global warming kick, he’s going to need a heck of a lot of crossover voters in order to win — because there are a whole bunch of us who will not vote for him if he stabs us in the back. Again.
++++

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Huckabee voter issue guide

ACCOMPLISHMENTS
1. With ten-and-a-half years of experience running state government, Governor Mike Huckabee of Arkansas has more relevant executive experience than any candidate in the race – either Republican or Democrat.

2. Recognized and tapped by his peers for leadership, the National Governor’s Association selected Governor Huckabee as it’s Chairman.

3. TIME Magazine honored him as one of the five best Governors in America.

4. Governor Huckabee is a fiscal conservative who cut taxes almost 100 times in the state of Arkansas, including the state’s first broad-based tax cuts, and turned a $200 million deficit into an $850 million surplus.

ISSUES
1. TAXES/ECONOMY –Governor Huckabee supports The FairTax because it will restore the “Made in America” label, making American goods 12-25% more competitive, boosting economic growth, increasing our exports, and securing American jobs. It also prevents criminals or illegal aliens from avoiding taxes, and makes the taxes we all pay 100% transparent.

2. GOVERNMENT SPENDING – Governor Huckabee is committed to reducing government spending. One way he’ll do this is by reducing the cost of welfare. Governor Huckabee will work with states to reduce welfare roles through programs like the one he implemented in Arkansas, which reduced welfare roles by 50%.

3. HEALTH CARE –Governor Huckabee will implement a consumer-based healthcare system that emphasizes preventative medicine and wellness. Because 70% of our $2 trillion dollar healthcare costs is spent treating chronic, preventable diseases, this approach will make healthcare more affordable for everybody while keeping us healthier.

4. FAMILY VALUES –Governor Huckabee supports a federal constitutional amendment to protect the right to life. He Successfully fought for Arknasas’ marriage amendment and strongly supports a similar, federal constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman.

5. IMMIGRATION –Governor Huckabee will secure the border (with physical barriers, electronic surveillance, and more border-patrol personnel and detention facilities). He will also end sanctuary cities and increase penalties on, and enforcement against, employers who hire illegal immigrants. Governor Huckabee will make sure the border patrol has adequate funding to end our “catch and release” system so that everyone caught trying to enter illegally, overstaying their visa, or committing a crime will be held until they’re tried, convicted, and deported. Gov. Huckabee has also signed the Numbers USA “No Amnesty” Pledge.

6. WAR ON TERROR AND IRAQ – Governor Huckabee knows it takes a large, well-equipped military to ensure our national defense and to deter conventional military confrontations. He also knows we need large, well-equipped intelligence and Special Forces operations for our national offense – so we can effectively find and eliminate terrorist threats at home or abroad. Governor Huckabee will be a Commander in Chief who knows that IF WE HAVE TO FIGHT A WAR, our President has to fight it the way our GENERALS tell him it can be won, not the way we want it to be won.

7. ENERGY INDEPENDENCE –Governor Huckabee will implement a program to end the import of foreign oil in the next ten years by increasing domestic oil production in the short term, and then replacing oil-based energy infrastructure with alternative and renewable energies.

8. CLEMENCIES – Arkansas Governors grant clemency, but the parole board grants parole. Wayne DuMond’s parole was granted by the board and NOT Governor Huckabee.

9. TAXES –When Governor Huckabee left office, the tax rates remained exactly the same as when he first came into office. Governor Huckabee returned almost $400 million to Arkansas taxpayers, and he also DOUBLED the standard deduction for individuals and married couples, DOUBLED the childcare tax credit, and eliminated the marriage penalty. He also repealed capital gains taxes for home sales, lowered the capital gains rate by 25%, expanded the homestead exemption, and set up tax-free savings accounts for medical care and college tuition.  Gov. Huckabee has also signed the Americans for Tax Reform’s pledge not to raise taxes.

10. SECOND AMENDMENT
• Lifetime member of the NRA, member for over 15 years
• First Governor to have concealed-carry permit
• Removed restrictions on carry permit holders
• Protected gun manufacturers from frivolous lawsuits
• Opposes reauthorization of the Assault Weapon Ban
• Opposes expansion of the unconstitutional “Brady Bill”
• Opposes waiting period for purchase of firearms
• Opposes background checks on private firearms transactions at gun shows
• Will nominate judges who interpret the constitution as the Founders intended, rather than as a “living document reflecting current political trends or opinions”
• An avid hunter and conservationist, and a member of the Ducks Unlimited, National Wild Turkey Federation and BASS.

Read more at MikeHuckabee.com 

Hey Virginia — Look at this before you vote, part 2

Hey Virginia — Look at this before you vote

Here is a great explanation of Defending the Right to Keep and Bear Arms from Mike Huckabee.

Here is how “The Maverick”  John McCain Defends the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.

See the difference?

Now, Go Forth, and VOTE!!!

Go Mike!

Message from Ed Rollins

From: Ed Rollins, Campaign Chairman; Chip Saltsman,
Campaign Manager

Re: Our Path to Victory at the Minneapolis-St. Paul
convention

Too many Republicans have tried to turn this nomination battle into a coronation, not a series of further election contests. Big mistake on their part. They are wrong. We know that we are running an underdog campaign, but that’s nothing new—we have always been the underdog. And yet a whole lot of onetime “overdogs” are now on the sidelines, licking their wounds. The Republican National Convention is seven long months away; a lot can happen in that much time. A lot will happen.

But in the meantime, as you all know, Governor Huckabee is not a quitter. He has never shirked from a challenge, and he never will. He has always told us—and personally reaffirmed to us just today—that he is in this race to win. That is, to win the Republican presidential nomination, and to win the White House. Why? Because he cares deeply about the issues that inspired him to get into politics in the first place—back in the 60s, when he started studying the works of the great conservative thinkers and writers, back in the 70s, when he was an ardent supporter of another underdog Republican. And what was that fellow’s name? Oh yes—it was Ronald Reagan.

So don’t let anyone tell you that it’s over! In fact, as of today, no fewer than 27 states, districts, and territories have not yet had a chance to vote. That includes such big states as Texas (Chuck Norris’ home state, ‘nuff said), Ohio, and Pennsylvania. All the Republicans and Republican-minded independents in those states want to be part of the process, too, and they deserve to have a choice put before them. Folks don’t want the Republican Establishment to pick the nominee for them, through a premature rush to judgment, and they sure as heck don’t want the media to pick the nominee!

We note that in many of the hottest contests so far, the vote has been divided into thirds—typically, about one-third for Gov. Huckabee, one third for Senator McCain, and one third for all the other candidates. And as you know, typically, Governor Huckabee has done best among hardcore Republicans—the activist base. That’s one reason why we are looking forward to Governor Huckabee’s speech to the legendary CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Conference, in DC tomorrow morning. You’d better believe that the folks gathered at the Omni Shoreham hotel are the go-getters who make or break primary elections. Just wait till they get a load of Mike Huckabee!

We are confident that we will get most of the activists, the folks who work the hardest because they care the most about the issues. In addition, we note that many of the jurisdictions that have already voted have merely had the first round of their delegate-selection process. To be frank, there’s still plenty of time for politicking, as Republicans really focus on the question of who should lead their party into the November election. Who’s the most stalwart champion of Republican and conservative values? Who’s the most articulate and effective campaigner? We know the answer to those questions—that’s why we have been working our hearts out for Mike Huckabee. But soon, everyone paying attention will know that, too. As the campaignseason grinds on—and let’s again remember, this is just February!—there will be plenty of time for reflection and reconsideration, especially among those hundreds of delegates pledged to candidates who have now dropped out.

As we saw in West Virginia on Tuesday—where Governor Huckabee swooped in on the day of the state convention and won a decisive victory that changed the tone of the remaining Super Tuesday coverage—a single good speech from our candidate is often worth more than all the tens of millions of dollars, and all the big-shot endorsements, that the other candidates have been able to drum up.

Indeed, it’s interesting that Mike Huckabee has done so well in the states so critical to Republican prospects this November. That is, those “swing states” that are essential building blocks of a Republican victory coalition this year. Let’s face it: This November, we’re not likely to be looking forward to a GOP landslide! The last two presidential elections were close—the GOP won 271 electoral votes in ’00, and 286 in ’04—and we fully expect the ’08 election to be hard-fought and close, too, as both parties wrestle to get the majority of those 538 electoral votes. What does all this mean to Republican activists? Well, it means that the next Republican nominee has to be able to nail down the electoral votes of such “must-win” states in the South and Border States—exactly the states where Mike Huckabee has done so well this year. Hard-nosed political activists know that it doesn’t do much good, November-wise, to run well in the blue bicoastal states. Sure, it would be great to carry New York and Massachusetts and California, but those mostly liberal states aren’t a part of any gut-it-out “270” strategy. (In fact, we think that Mike Huckabee would actually run stronger among traditional Independent and Democratic constituencies than any other Republican, but that’ll be the subject of a future memo.)

And now, with the endorsement of Dr. James Dobson, who is the “gold standard” of social conservatism, we fully expect that Movement Conservatives—those who fight the good fight on Life, on Marriage, on the Second Amendment—will increasingly rally to our cause. In fact, come to think of it, any American who reveres the US Constitution has a stake in Mike Huckabee’s success, because he has been an unstinting proponent of all our Constitutional freedoms, including the First Amendment, which he believes has been wrongly abridged by wrong-headed campaign finance “reform” legislation. Of course, there is one amendment that MH doesn’t like: The 16th Amendment. That one was a mistake, which he will fix with the Fair Tax!

Mike Huckabee has great respect for John McCain. He has always defended the senior senator from Arizona against unfair and scurrilous attacks, and he always will. And because MH is who he is, he will continue to campaign as he always has—in an honorable and honest way. He will draw distinctions, he will debate and debate hard, but he will always be civil and decent. In fact, even many McCain supporters have told us that they appreciate the constructive role that Governor Huckabee can play in the months to come, because a vigorous discussion will keep all the media “oxygen” from migrating over to the heated Democratic contest.

Faith. Family. Freedom. Those are the words that have guided Mike Huckabee this far, and they will continue to guide him, and us, all the way to the White House next January. The 44th governor of Arkansas will be the 44th President of the United States.

See you at the Inauguration!

Tax cuts for the rich, part 2

Decision Week for the Republican Primary has brought some interesting, although not completely unexpected developments with the withdrawal of Romney, the rise of McCain, and the near unanimous chorus in the punditeria that “it’s over.”

Also heard from the the pundit class is that Huckabee has had his 15 minutes, but he must not be the VP choice.

It may come as a surprise to many, but Huck is not running to be McCain’s VP. He hasn’t been running to spoil it for Romney. Or Thompson. Or anyone else.

He’s been running to win. Period.

And, with the time and money short, the delegate math becoming nearly impossible, and the odds growing longer than ever, Huck is facing the hard decision of either withdrawing from the race, or performing a near miracle at C-PAC on Saturday morning.

If there is one candidate in the race, on either side, who has the rhetorical flair to pull it off, it is Mike Huckabee. But what can he say, what words can he employ, what theme can he strike, to win the hearts and minds of the conservative base to become the viable alternative to John McCain?

I can think of only one.

Huckabee can answer, once and for all, the thorn in the side of fiscal conservatism: “Tax Cuts For The Rich.”

If there were any doubt that TCFTR would be a dominant theme in the general election, just listen to Obama’s Super Tuesday Speech. As I listened to the Senator’s list of grievances against the Right, the overblown hysteria about “100 years of war” just made me chuckle. Any Right-brain worth his salt can chew that up for breakfast. In fact, anyone who believes that either of the Donk Senators can compete on the National security field with the Republicans just hasn’t been paying attention. But, the TCFTR language was front and center, brought forth as the proximate cause of every fiscal problem facing the nation. The one thing, that if removed, would allow for the full implementation of every liberal pipe dream ever imagined.

John McCain will not answer it. He believes it. He used the rhetoric of Left to oppose the Tax Reform Act of 2001.

Mitt Romney can’t, nor can Stephen Moore, Arthur Laffer, The CfG, Cato, or anyone else who would attempt a scholarly rebuttal. They’ve all tried and failed. Their words have fallen on deaf ears.

Mike Huckabee can.

The way to respond to a gutteral, populist charge is with a response that is equal parts of emotion and populism, and delivered with conviction. Huckabee can do it with the credibility that will be necessary to make it stick. He is, in fact, the only one who can. And, once successfully countered, it is put to bed, once and for all.

If he does it Saturday morning at C-PAC, then this really can become a two man race.

UPDATE: James Dobson endorses Huckabee

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Huck takes WV, AL, AR,TN, GA–SuperDuper Tuesday Thread

Update4: 9:52 Hillary Clinton takes the stage, and miracle of miracles, she is no longer “hoarse from cheering on the Giants in the super bowl.”Now, I’ve been hoarse from hollering before, and an overnite recovery just never has happened. Think she might have been faking it? Heh, /naaahhhh.

Anyone running a tab on all of the wonderful things Hillary “sees” for America?

Update 3: 9:41 Huck takes Tennessee, and Georgia!!!

Update2: Dems accept FoxNews debate. Why FoxNews would want them is another story.

9:01 — TN, Huck leading 34-33 over Mccain

8:33 — Karl Rove says–“great night for Huck”

Update: Huck leading in Georgia 36-32 over McCain, and Missouri 37-30 over McCain

I’m watching the bottom screen trailer on Fox News…

Huckabee is being shown as the projected winner in Alabama. and Arkansas. Won earlier in WV.

Go Mike!

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Huck takes WV

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Mike Huckabee won the first contest declared on Super Tuesday, picking up all 18 national delegates awarded at West Virginia’s state GOP convention. Huckabee bested Mitt Romney, who entered the Mountain State event with the largest bloc of pledged convention-goers.

Both men and Ron Paul made in-person appeals to the more than 1,100 convention delegates attending Tuesday’s convention. But the former Arkansas governor beat his Massachusetts counterpart after delegates for John McCain defected to his side.

The first round of voting at the state convention produced no winner, but eliminated Paul after his fourth-place finish.

Meanwhile, radio talk show host Sean “Puff-Daddy” Hannity repeated his demand that Mike Huckabee drop out of the race because he was getting in Mitt Romney’s way. He charged “collusion” on his afternoon radio show between McCain and Huckabee, claiming they had no right to deny the only “true conservative” a clear path to the White House.

While we’re at it, I think it’s also time to demand that John McCain, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama withdraw from the race as well, so that any and all obstructions to Mitt Romney be forever and completely removed. Come to think of it, we should just do away with all this election shiite and just ask Sean “Puff Daddy” Hannity who he thinks the new President should be. Think of all the time and money we could save.

Update: Maybe we should let Hannity and Limbaugh play rock-paper-scissors for the right to name the new President.

Update 2: Huck says, Romney “can’t even keep a straight answer on the whining or no-whining question.”

 

The Reagan Legacy

We must defeat islamofascism

satellite.jpgI have had the pleasure of visiting Israel, our staunch ally, our great friend and the most exemplary democracy in the Middle East, a total of nine times. On one of those trips, I took my then 11-year-old daughter, Sarah, to Yad Vashem. As we faced the grimly surreal pictures from Dachau and Auschwitz, she confronted the horrors of the thousands of bodies stacked on top of one another like so much lumber – six million dead. At the end of our visit, Sarah went to the guest book and wrote simple words that I will never forget: “Why didn’t somebody do something?”

That is all she wrote, but with those words, I knew that, in her own way, she “got it.”

Unfortunately, some in America, even some running for president, don’t get it. Those who don’t understand that the war in Iraq is a critical part of the war on terror, don’t get it. Those who pledge to withdraw our troops according to some politically-motivated rationale before this war is won, don’t get it. Iraq must be stable and secure within its borders. It is not just Iraq’s security that is at stake, but the security of the entire region and of the United States.

But among those who seem to want to leave as soon as possible, regardless of the strategic and humanitarian consequences, is Sen. Barack Obama, one of the two remaining Democratic candidates for the presidency.

I have another grave concern about Sen. Obama, which was well-expressed by Matt Brooks, Executive Director of the Republican Jewish Coalition:

“We are deeply troubled by Senator Obama’s desire to ‘hold a summit in the Muslim world, with all heads of state’ many of whom have yet to renounce terrorism or refrain from anti-Semitic incitement. …Senator Obama said he wanted to listen to the ‘concerns’ of these nations. For many, their biggest concern is Israel’s existence. It’s worrisome that Senator Obama wants to ‘listen’ to those calling for Israel’s destruction.”

AMERICA MUST be effective in the Middle East, and we must of course listen – and learn, and safeguard. But most of all, we need to be resolute in our strength, military and moral. Specifically, we must not pay any sort of tribute to terrorist states – including the honor of “listening” in some formal setting, where every splenetic utterance will be aired worldwide. For example, what would the president do in the face of some outrageously anti-American or anti-Semitic statement: Just sit there? Get up and walk out?

We shouldn’t engage in impromptu diplomacy based on a misplaced sense of “empathy.” That’s why I am concerned about Sen. Obama’s suggestion.

I don’t want to hear the “concerns” of terrorist states – but I do want them to hear me.

I want everyone in the Middle East to know that America is committed to its strategic interests in the region, including a safe and secure Israel. Does Senator Obama really want to meet with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran, for example? Sen. Obama has said he wants to, both as part of his summit, and privately. Hard to believe, but true, according to his interviews with Paris Match (January 31, 2008) and the International Herald Tribune (November 1, 2007). Iran and its partner Syria bring danger and death to Americans and Israelis on a daily basis though their support of terrorists – in Gaza, Lebanon, and of course, in Iraq.

If the annihilation of six million Jews taught us anything, it is that appeasement doesn’t work; it just results in the deaths of innocents and makes the job of eradicating evil all the more difficult.

So I share Israel’s concern about an aggressive unchecked Iran. And I share Israel’s determination that Iran will not become a nuclear power. As president, I will not take the military option off the table. I will work to strengthen sanctions against Iran both through the United Nations and the European Union.

No one seeking the presidency in either party is more steadfastly committed to Israel’s security, survival as a Jewish state, and ability to defend herself than I am. As president, I will ensure that Israel always has the state-of-the-art weaponry and technology she needs. And in addition, I will dramatically increase American defense spending. Before there can be true peace, there must be the basic recognition of Israel’s right to exist and an end to anti-Semitic and anti-Israel lies and propaganda.

Together, we must prevent nuclear proliferation and defeat Islamofascism. Together, we must be the people who confront and overcome evil. We must be the people who take action now, so that future generations of Sarahs don’t look back and ask “Why didn’t somebody do something?”

by Mike Huckabee in the Jerusalem Post 

Tax cuts for the rich

You’ve heard it for years. Depending upon your point of view, it’s either one of the more disingenuous claims of the populist Left, or it explains the unholy alliance of power and money of corporate America with the wealthy oligarchy.

You’ve examined the veracity of the claim, and answered it to your own satisfaction.

There is only one reason the Left continues to trot out the “tax cuts for the rich” theme: it works.

The reason it works is equally simple.

It is true.

It’s also false.

There are infinite possibilities to spin “the truth” from both sides of the political spectrum, with each side scoring points, discrediting the position of their opponent, and making convincing arguments of the “rightness” of their position.

TCFTR is an emotional, almost gutteral indictment that will never be successfully countered by a scholarly rebuttal, even with a little snark mixed in. That hasn’t stopped the Right from trying. Stephen Moore has tried, and tried, and tried. His case is persuasive – if you want it to be persuasive, and shameless propoaganda – if you are so inclined to believe. Largely ignored during the primary season, it will again become the Left’s weapon of choice in the general election season.

John McCain will not counter it. He believes it. He used the rhetoric of Left to oppose the Tax Reform Act of 2001.

Mitt Romney cannot counter it. A Harvard Business School response will fall upon deaf ears. Romney knows this, and he won’t even try.

Mike Huckabee can. He is, in fact, the only one who can. The way to respond to an emotional, populist charge is with a response that is equal parts of emotion and populism, and delivered with conviction. Huckabee can do it with the credibility that will be necessary to make it stick. And, once successfully countered, it is put to bed, once and for all.

The question is, “Will he?” It is a general election theme. The rewards for rolling out a tactic before time might decrease it’s effectiveness, but as time grows short, it may be the last card that Huckabee has left to play.

Interesting tidbit: “Who pays income taxes?”

+++++

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Would Ronald Reagan endorse your candidacy?

Absolutely the best response of the evening, and Mike Huckabee knocked it out of the park:

HUCKABEE:

huck2.jpgI think it would be incredibly presumptuous and even arrogant for me to try to suggest what Ronald Reagan would do, that he would endorse any of us against the others.

Let me just say this, I’m not going to pretend he would endorse me. I wish he would. I would love that, but I endorse him, and I’m going to tell you why.

It wasn’t just his specific policies, but Ronald 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 Ronald Reagan a great president was not just the intricacies of his policies, though they were good policies. It was that he loved America and saw it as a good nation and a great nation because of the greatness of its people.

And if we can recapture that, that’s when we recapture the Reagan spirit. It’s that spirit that has a can-do attitude about America’s futures and that makes us love our country whether we’re Democrats or Republicans. And that’s what I believe Ronald Reagan did — he brought this country back together and made us believe in ourselves.

And whether he believes in us, I hope we still believe in those things which made him a great leader and a great American.

Huckabee could go a long way towards rebuilding the Reagan coalition by offering the VP slot to Mitt Romney. It could work.

Reagan Library GOP Debate

Not a bad showing for the four candidates. Well, three. I like Ron Paul, he seems like a nice old man, and pretty smart. But his foreign policy creds are scary, and he is not a serious candidate.

The questions were weighted heavily toward Romney and McCain. At least 4 to 1, I haven’t counted, but it sure seemed that way. Plus, there was someone who would interrupt Huckabee on his few responses. I don’t know if it was Anderson Cooper, or someone else close to a microphone, but it was clearly an attempt to cut him off, when CNN had begun the night saying they would allow each candidate to give full answers without a clock.

The final question of the night, “Would Ronald Reagan endorse your candidacy?”

Huck hit it out of the park. Hopefully it will be up on youtube soon. I’ll post it when available.

Update:  CNN has posted the transcript
AP has more

Huckabee–the big winner

All in all: Huckabee gained ground, McCain probably lost ground, and Romney didn’t help or hurt himself – although he did effectively defend himself. McCain sounded petty – and that’s not the McCain voters know and like.

But to the extent that Huckabee may have made any gains from his performance, Romney’s got bigger worries out of tonight than the Arizona senator. – CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider

Fiscon Identity Politics

images3.jpg“I would also suggest that one needs to look very carefully at exactly what the business record is,” Huckabee said.”If it’s taking companies that are in serious trouble, buying them when they are in pain, selling off their assets, then making huge profit off of it then that’s not something a lot of Americans can relate to, except those that have lost their jobs because of those kind of transactions.If that’s the turnaround then there are a lot of Americans who do not want to see their lives turned around like that.” source

Before taking a morning jog in Ft. Lauderdale, Mike Huckabee’s remarks regarding Mitt Romney’s business record drew a very sharp distinction between the vision of conservatism espoused by Wall Street Republicans and Main Street Republicans. It is a distinction drawn previously by both Huckabee and Duncan Hunter, and one that has come into increasing focus as the economy emerges as the top issue in the campaign.

Ironically, it is the success of the Bush national security policy, and the counter-insurgency strategy in Iraq that has diminished the war and national security as the primary focus of the campaign. But, if the economy is Romney’s supposed strong suit, a closer look at his record in the private equity business is warranted.

romney3.jpg …as the leader of private equity firm Bain Capital from 1984 to 1999, Romney’s record shows that while some of the firm’s investments helped companies grow, others ended in thousands of layoffs, and in some cases, bankruptcy.

Layoffs are a common result of private equity takeovers, with Bain Capital no exception….

Companies such as office supplier Staples Inc. and pizza company Domino’s were successful Bain investments under Romney.

But medical test maker Dade Behring, circuit board maker DDi, American Pad & Paper and auto parts company Cambridge Industries are among the companies that went bankrupt after Bain invested in them with Romney at the helm….

The private equity model is built on loading companies up with debt — which can ultimately prove too heavy a load for the business, as was the case with DDi.

Bain invested $46 million in DDi in October 1997 and later sold shares worth at least $93 million, according to a report by the Orange County Register newspaper. The Anaheim, California, company ultimately went bankrupt, laying off 2,100 employees. source

“It always makes sense to fight for every single good job.”

This was Mitt’s campaign rhetoric in Michigan and SC. It makes perfect sense for a candidate for President to say this.

But, if this had been his attitude as a businessman, this is certain: He would not have amassed the personal fortune that is financing his run for the Presidency, and thousands of “good jobs” at DDI, American Pad and Paper, Cambridge Industries, and others might still be around.

It does help to explain, however the club for growth’s enthusiastic support for Romney, despite his less than sterling fiscal record as governor of Massachusetts — he’s one of their own.

“his support for broad-based tax cuts in liberal Massachusetts together with his enthusiastic embrace of the Bush tax cuts on the campaign trail offers hope that Governor Romney’s previous ambivalence on tax policy is more a function of Massachusetts politics than his core beliefs.”

Ah yes. hope!

The fiscal record of Romney is somewhat similar to Huckabee. They both governed Democrat majority states as pragmatic conservatives. But Romney comports himself as a fiscon, so establishment Republicans give him a pass, and praise his record as offering hope.

He’s one of their own. More “identity politics?”

==========

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Identity Politics in Nevada

From the Associated Press:

On the Republican side, Mormons comprised a quarter of those attending Nevada’s GOP caucuses, and more than nine in 10 were voting for Romney. Romney is a Mormon, and his religion has been cited as a problem by some Republican voters.

About half of Romney’s overall vote in Nevada came from Mormons.

This would seem to be a clear-cut case of “identity politics.” Fine with me. I don’t give a hoot why a voter chooses to vote for a particular candidate. It isn’t any of my business. It isn’t anybody else’s business either.

Mike Huckabee has been criticized and reviled by a large number of conservative pundits and molders of conservative opinion for “identity politics.”

NRO’s Kathryn Lopez’s , in a post-Iowa Caucus piece captures the truly dramatic rhetoric from Michigan congressman Pete Hoekstra, who says he is “scared.” According to the Congressman, the identity politics of the Huckabee campaign, and the implied bigotry of Christians who will not support a Mormon candidate causes divisiveness, is a threat to world peace, apple pie, and the Rule of Law.

Republicans “need to stick up for our principles,” Hoekstra told National Review Online on Monday afternoon. We’re about “freedom and opportunity” — we don’t exclude people based on such things as race or gender, class or religion. But Hoekstra sees the Huckabee campaign as a divisive vessel of religious and class warfare.

No doubt Hoekstra, Lopez, Lowry, et al, have a perfectly reasonable explanation for the fact that 9 out of 10 Mormon voters in Nevada supported the Mormon candidate. And, we can be absolutely sure that it has “nothing at all to do with religion.”

After hearing CAIR deliver that same line for the last 6+ years, hearing NRO use jihadist rhetoric will be strange, to say the least.

But with NRO’s implicit support of Congressman Hoekstra for using Al Sharpton’s rhetoric, then I guess we really shouldn’t be too surprised.

Update: (1/21)
Chas Johnson calls Huck a Leftist.

This time last year, there was a lot of buzz over at his blog as to whether or not the social conservatives would support Rudy if he won the nomination. I thought so, at that time. Seeing this come from the self-proclaimed leader of the counter-jihad, I am now not so sure.

You don’t win support by trying to marginalize potential allies. But, since Rudy has been invisible in the Republican race up to this point, I suppose Johnson is just releasing some pent-up energy, and the same can probably be said of Tammy Bruce’s statement that she would vote for the donk candidate rather than vote for Huck.

So, Johnson and Bruce join the NRO-WSJ chorus, accusing Huck of being unable to expand his base. The unspoken irony is that none of the leading candidates have been able to do so.

Hawkeye Cauci GOP Presidential Poll

Welcome to The Hawkey Cauci Presidential Preference Poll. Posted over at the CB site Please vote for your favorite!

fredhead.jpghunter.jpghuckabee.jpgmccain2.jpgromneyannmitt.jpgronpaul.jpgrudy.jpg
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