Article in the “Hope Star”
A win and two “shows” in presidential politics have begun to draw increased scrutiny of former Arkansas governor and Hope native Mike Huckabee, who won a distant third place Tuesday in the Michigan Republican Presidential Primary.
No sooner than had the exit polls been counted about 7 p.m. Arkansas time, national media pundits began to focus upon two aspects of Huckabee’s emerging campaign, including an economic policy statement issued on Monday and a statement he made Monday night calling for amendment of the U.S. Constitution to address abortion and homosexual marriages.
Addressing the economy Tuesday night from an election watch party in South Carolina, Huckabee said the other candidates must begin to pay attention to voter concerns rather than Washington concerns.
“You’re going to find out there is a world of hurt out there,” he said.
In a policy statement issued by his campaign on Monday, Huckabee proposed cutting federal taxes and installing a federal sales tax, as well as limiting product and medical liability lawsuits.
“In Arkansas, I signed a bill that would reduce frivolous lawsuits which drive up costs of products and medical care. We need more doctors not fewer; we need more new products, not fewer,” he said. “Our tax system encourages outsourcing of American production overseas and the dismantling of our industrial base. It wastes hundreds of billions in useless tax preparation, paperwork and confusion. It pits industry against industry, class against class.”
Huckabee’s statement outlines five areas of economic policy including focusing on middle class families; pushing the Federal Reserve for pro-growth, low-inflation policies; jobs creation to improve infrastructure, defense, and homeland security; energy independence; and a fairer tax system.
“Every time we fill our cars up, we fill up the pockets of Middle Eastern countries,” he said. “That is going to end. We will have national energy security policy and we will end our dependence on Middle Eastern oil within ten years of my inauguration.”
CNN analyst John King called Huckabee “the economic populist” of the GOP race, while columnist Jeffrey Tobin said Huckabee’s constitutional amendment remarks were startling.
“That’s really something unusal,” Tobin said. “He’s got to deal with that.”
The Associated Press reported Wednesday that Huckabee called for the idea in remarks made Monday in Warren, Mich.
“But I believe it’s a lot easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the word of the living God,” he said Monday night in Warren, Mich. “And that’s what we need to do, is to amend the Constitution so it’s in God’s standards, rather than try to change God’s standards.”
Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, speaking on Fox News, said Tuesday that Huckabee is the candidate that must be reckoned with in the upcoming South Carolina primary because of his appeal to evangelical conservatives.
“I think Huckabee has a huge advantage now in South Carolina. If somebody can knock off Huckabee, that gives them the advantage,” Gingrich said. “For an Arkansas governor in South Carolina, unless Fred Thompson gains momentum, I don’t see Huckabee getting beat.
“Governor Huckabee is a very good country politician,” he said. “And, in southern states, there is an enormous advantage to not having an accent, and Mike Huckabee and Fred Thompson don’t have an accent.”
Despite a 16 percent, third-place showing in Michigan behind former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and U.S. Senator John McCain, Huckabee told cheering supporters Tuesday in Lexington, S.C., that his campaign was going to “plant a flag” in the state.
“We’re going to make it clear that the first in the South primary is going to be the first in the South to give their support to the first in the South candidate,” he said.
The South Carolina primary Saturday is the largest among two including Nevada before the Feb. 5 Super Tuesday primaries conducted in some 29 states, including Arkansas.