A wonderfully written endorsement of our candidate.
Mike Huckabee for the Republican nomination
Many Republican voters are dissatisfied with the GOP presidential candidates this year. We share that frustration. But one of these men is going to be the party’s nominee. Of this field, Mike Huckabee is the best choice.
It was a hard decision. In most respects, Mr. Huckabee, who governed Arkansas as a pragmatic, compassionate conservative, is not dramatically different from his main GOP competitors. He is somewhat better on energy and the environment, and though none of the Republicans are as forward-thinking about Iraq as they should be, Mr. Huckabee’s emphasis on diplomatic engagement in the Middle East is fresh and welcome.
Mr. Huckabee established a respectable record of fiscal responsibility in Arkansas. Rather than run up deficits, he backed raising taxes to pay for needed infrastructure, health care and education. That’s called prudence, and it was once a Republican virtue.
Mr. Huckabee is not an ideal candidate. Once a Bush-style Republican on immigration, his recent hard-right turn smells of opportunism. He too often wings it on foreign policy. But Govs. Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush also took office without foreign-policy experience. Much depends on the quality of a president’s advisers. A chief executive’s core foreign-policy convictions matter most, and on those, Mr. Huckabee is a standard conservative.
His religious conservatism, particularly his past rhetoric on women and gays, can be alarming. But religious conservatives aren’t easily pigeonholed. A liberal Arkansas professor told The New York Times Magazine that Mr. Huckabee was a good governor. ‘‘When he first came to office, people like me were worried about the religious aspect,” she said. “And he is very orthodox on gays, guns and God. But he knows there’s more than just these issues.”
Indeed. Mr. Huckabee has a stout heart for working families and the poor, which as governor got him crossways with some Republicans. Though his strident criticism of free trade is misguided, the economically moderate Mr. Huckabee seems particularly attuned to the anxieties ordinary Americans face in this era of rapid change.
And he is one social conservative who’s acutely aware of the call to racial healing. In 1997, when Little Rock Central High commemorated integration’s 40th anniversary, Gov. Huckabee delivered a magnificent speech about race, justice and reconciliation that left many in the audience weeping.
It was a profound and profoundly moving address, and it revealed an unusual gift for leadership. Plain-spoken and eloquent, Mr. Huckabee strikes us as decent, principled and empathetic to the views and concerns of others – an antidote to the power-mad partisanship that has led U.S. politics to a dispiriting standstill.
“I’m a conservative,” he likes to say. “I’m just not mad about it.” Along those lines, what sold us on Mr. Huckabee is a sense that of all the Republicans, he is the change agent the nation most needs. John McCain, whose candidacy is quite appealing despite concern about his age and temperament, was arguably that man once. But his moment has passed.
America needs a clean break from the bitter politics of the recent past. From the right, Mike Huckabee, a progressive conservative with a pastor’s heart, can deliver.<!– Image1 start //
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