The Herd: A Look at The Republican Vice Presidential Candidates. Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee

Bookmark and Share   The Herd is a special White House 2012 series covering the obvious and not so obvious potential choices to be selected as Mitt Romney’s vice presidential running mate on the Republican presidential ticket.  Each day, White House 2012 will introduce you to one the many Republicans which we believe will be at least considered for for the vice presidency by the now inevitable presidential nominee, Mitt Romney.

In addition to a biographical information and a brief assessment of each potential nominee and their chances of being selected by Mitt Romney, White House 2012′s coverage also includes each potential nominee’s voting records, as well as a listing of their public statements and links to their web sites.

Today White House 2012 takes a look at the former Governor of Arkansas, Mike Huckabee.

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee

Born: August 11, 1955, Hope, Arkansas

Spouse(s): Janet Huckabee

Children :John Mark, David, Sarah

Residence :North Little Rock, Arkansas

Alma mater: Ouachita Baptist University

Profession:Politician, Talk Show Host,Author, Public Speaker, & ordained Minister

Religion: Southern Baptist

Political Career :
  • 1992, Ran for U.S. Senate in Arkansas against incumbent Dale Bumpers
  • 1993, Huckabee to run in the special election for lieutenant governor and won, becoming only the second Republican since Reconstruction to serve as Arkansas lieutenant governor.
  • 1994, Huckabee was re-elected to a full term as lieutenant governor, beating Democratic candidate Charlie Cole Chaffin with nearly 59 percent of the vote
  • 1996, Huckabee announced his candidacy for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by retiring Democrat Senator David Pryor.
  • During that campaign Democrat Arkansas Governor Jim Guy Tucker was convicted on one count of arranging nearly $3 million in fraudulent loans in conjunction with the Whitewater scandal. Tucker announced that he would resign. Lt. Governor Huckabee then withdrew from the senate race and assumed the office of Governor on July 15, 1996.
  • 1998, Huckabee was elected to his first full term as Governor.
  • 2002, Huckabee was reelected to his second four-year term
  • 2008, Huckabee ran for the Republican presidential nomination but withdrew from the race when it became apparent that John McCain had won enough delegates to cinch the nomination.

(Click here for Huckabee’s White House 2012 Presidential Contenders Page)

Mike Huckabee could be a surprise pick by Romney designed to appeal to the Southern and evangelical base of the G.O.P. which need to find a good reason to vote Mitt. But picking him could also be a decision to appeal to independent voters. While Huckabee is not necessarily considered a big independent vote getter, if given that mission in a campaign for Vice President, Huckabee could do a good job. His ability to articulate issues in a folksy, down-to-earth manner is quite effective and his command of the issues is admirable.

Some suggest that bad blood from the 2008 Republican nomination contest, still exists between Romney and Huckabee.  And they are probably right.  However contrary to those who believe that will prevent Romney from picking Huckabee or Huckabee from jumping at the chance to be one heartbeat away from the Oval Office, that bad blood will not be the reason for it to actually happen.  Bad blood did not prevent Huckabee from inviting Romney on to his to weekly Fox News show.  Huckabee did not let bad blood get in  the way of ratings for his show, nor did it allow Romney to get in the way some free airtime.  Hard feelings did not prevent John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson from teaming up.  And it didn’t keep Ronald Reagan from calling upon George H. W. Bush to be his Vice President.  So neither Romney or Huckabee will let the campaign rhetoric of 2008 get in their way either.  And both men genuinely know that defeating Barack Obama in  the election is the only thing they need to concern themselves with.

That leaves only a few reasons for why it may not happen.

Romney may easily conclude that there are other better suited running mates who can bring a better advantage to the ticket  regarding a particular state’s electoral college vote, or who can perhaps better appeal to certain needed demographic that Romney needs to win.  Another reason could be that Huckabee just might want to enjoy life and keep making money in the private sector or retire to his lush estate in Florida.

Another reason for Huckabee not being given a place on the ticket could be the same issues which probably prevented him from running for President.

When Huckabee was Governor of Arkansas, he pardoned Maurice Clemons, a man who’s criminal history included five felony convictions In 2009, killed 4 police officers in cold blood as they sat in a Lakewood, Washington coffee house.

The fact is that even after Clemons went on a spree in Arkansas that was so violent that a judge saw fit to sentence him to 95 years behind bars, Governor Huckabee issued Clemons clemency, and he did so over the objections of prosecutors.

In 1988 then Vice President George H.W. Bush used a similar incident in the now infamous Willie Horton ad, to decimate the Democrat presidential nominee, Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis.

For obvious reasons, this will more than likely derail any chance for Huckabee to selected by Mitt Romney as his running mate.

Pros:

  • Excellent campaigner who can connect with voters, especially Independents
  • Can help Romney bolster his standing among Southerners and evangelicals
  • Has a fairly decent conservative record on the issues
  • Executive experience
  • High, positive national name ID
  • Helps to firm up Romney’s committment to his opposition to abortion

Cons:

  • Has a serious Willie Horton-like issue hanging in his closet
  • The material used against Romney by Huckabee in his bid for the Republican presidential nomination against Romney in 2008 could be used against Romney again in 2012. This is not a lethal factor, but it is a consideration.
  • Huckabee may sincerely not be interested in seeking elected office

General Assessment:

Huckabee would make a decent compromise candidate for Vice President who helps compensate for some of the weaknesses that Romney has among conservatives, Southerners, and evangelicals.

He is a good, smooth talking, campaigner who is quick on his feet and could actually make a good choice were it not for the Clemons clemency tragedy, which is far to significant to not become an issue during the campaign and does raise serious, legitimate doubt about Huckabee’s judgement.

Huck is a possible but not probable choice for the Republican vice presidential nomination.

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Mike Huckabee On The Issues

International Issues Domestic Issues Economic Issues Social Issues
Foreign Policy Gun Control Budget & Economy Education
Homeland Security Crime Government Reform Civil Rights
War & Peace Drugs Tax Reform Abortion
Free Trade Health Care Social Security Families & Children
Immigration Technology Corporations Welfare & Poverty
Energy & Oil Environment Jobs Principles & Values

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Huckabee’s Heart Tells Him Not To Run for President

Bookmark and Share In what became a much anticipated decision for the political world, on his Fox News shows, former Arkansas Governor and 2008 presidential candidate Mike Huckabee declared that despite all signs pointing to him that he should run for President, his heart tells him no and so he will not be a candidate for President in 2012.

Huckabees decision came after he described himself as a clear front runner for the Republican presidential nomination who polls have shown beating all others in even the most unlikely of states such as Pennsylvania and New Jersey. He claimed that the ability to raise the amounts of money needed, was there and that his support crossed regional lines and socially conservative ideological lines.

In a swipe at the media, and pundits, Huckabee poked fun at their attempts to downplay his possible role in the 2012 election and claimed that he was often not even mentioned in some polls, while he was high in the polls and other contenders who barely registered a single percent of support were touted as leading contenders.

Huckabee described his decision as one that he only reached when he had time alone, and the clarity of vision that provided him to reach a decision that stirred within him a great inner peace. Huckabee made sure to point out that he had the full support of his family behind him if chose to run and he indicated a belief that he had a majority of public support behind his potential campaign. But despite what he defined as a perfect situation for a successful run for President, Huckabee told viewers that ultimately, he is happy with his career as it stands now and his ability to influence politics from the outside.

In his announcement Huckabee went out of his way to try make himself out to be a shoo-in for the Republican presidential nomination. But what he did not address were the many negatives that would have surfaced and been used to pummel him with. In addition to a week record on taxes, Huckabees record when it comes to the pardoning of violent criminals would have damned him as much, if not more than Willie Horton didfor Michael Dukakis in 1988. It was bad enough that there was a case of a Huckabee setting free a violent felon who upon his release raped and killed and women, but two years ago the issue became an insurmountable wall for Huckabee. It was around that time that headlines touted the news that Huckabee had granted clemency to a criminal who went on to kill four police officers in a Washington state diner.

At the time, Huckabee offered his condolences to the families of the victims but his only defense was an attempt to claim that the real problem existed with a media that was trying to exploit the tragic deaths of the police officers by smearing him politically. That defense did little to change the facts though.

As is the case with all headlines, they eventually faded from view, but Mike Huckabee knew that the issue would be unavoidable if he tried to run for President in 2012. He also knew it would have been a painful issue to address and one that would have weighed him down greatly.

Regardless of any excuses that Huckabee offered up to explain his decision and despite his self proclaimed direct path to the nomination, 2012 would not have been anything like it was for Huckabee in 2008. As it were, with the exception of Iowa, Huckabee won no primary or caucus contests and despite recent polls which did not reflect the issues of the 2012 campaign, it is more than likely that he would have performed just as poorly in 2012 as he did in 2008.

But the decision of Huckabee does still have at least an early effect on the still evolving Republican presidential race. Now that he is not running, who will his limited but enthusiastic base look to? Until there is a definitive decision on whether Sarah Palin will or will not run, candidates like Herman Cain, Rick Santorum and to a lesser degree, Tim Pawlenty will have the most to gain. But ultimately, Mitt Romney is the biggest winner regarding Huckabees decision. Huckabee was the greatest impediment to Mitt Romneys ability to attract enough voters who were dissatisfied with McCain to piece together majorities small enough to edge McCain out in many competitive states. And Huckabee knew this. At one point in 2008, it became clear that Huckabees only purpose was to try to deny Romney the nomination.

Now with Huckabee definitely out of the race, the G.O.P. field will slowly begin to look a little clearer and will begin to set off a natural gravitation of support to those who are running or that we know for certasin will be running.

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Private Email from Huckabee Suggests He’s Running For President

Bookmark and Share In the hours leading up to Mike Huckabees decision regarding a run for President, an email to those who work closely with the former Governor has unleashed a new round of speculation. The email indicates that once he makes his decision on his Saturday night show, he will be free to do and discuss things which up until now, legal restrictions and his obligations to Fox News, prohibited him from taking part in.

In a closing line of the email, Huckabee apologizes in advance if he does not have the opportunity to respond to any emails after his decision is announced and writes I expect that once I pull the trigger Saturday night, things will get even crazier, as if that’s possible.

The email (see the email below this post) was released by Times Mark Halperin and confirmed by Politico but how it was obtained is yet unknown and would seem to me to be an intentional leak by the Huckabee camp. If that is the case, the leak could be designed to lure a large viewing audience.

While the email is somewhat ambiguous about his decision, it clearly suggests that Huckabee expects to be preparing for a frenzy of media attention that will be touting him as an automatic frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination.

Up till now, I have been fairly confident that Huckabee was not running for President in 2012. But his handling of his announcement is beginning to lead me to believe otherwise. For reasons different my own, Huckabee’s senior political advisor, Ed Rollins has also been under the impression that Huckabee is not running. According to Rollins, even though everything has been put in place to get a potential Huckabee presidential campaign up and running and fully operational within one week, it his opinion that from all indications, Huckabee is not running. Now, in light of this new email, even Rollins concedes that he has no idea of Huckabee’s intention.

I still am not convinced that this is not all a well orchestrated attempt to raise ratings but if one is to believe what they can read between the lines, Huckabee is ready to go for it and embark on his second campaign for the Republican presidential nomination.

In the mean time, the first public post decision appearance that Huck will make will be Sunday, on Fox news with Chris Wallace.

The Email:

Tomorrow night (Saturday) I will announce the next step in my plans for 2012 during my show on the Fox News Channel. I would like to be able to call you or email you personally and in advance of the announcement, but due to the fact that the decision was not finalized until today and that I committed to Fox that I will absolutely not release it prior to doing so on the channel, that became impractical.

A lot of information and speculation was already rampant in the press today, and it frankly isn’t fair to you to tell you the details and then put you in the awkward position of saying you didn’t know (which at that point wouldn’t be true) or saying you did know, but couldn’t reveal or discuss it.

It was this afternoon before I could even get word to all of my own children and even now, the executive producer of my show and the staff and crew of the show don’t know and won’t until I actually do the final preparation literally minutes before I share the decision live Saturday night.

I will look forward to speaking with you soon and once I fulfill my sworn obligation to Fox, I will be free to discuss things that I can’t now due to promises to them and to some possible legal considerations of the announcement.

Many friends have said, “how can we help you in the decision?” My answer has consistently been, “Pray that I have clarity.” I have it and will share it Saturday night during the show. Please be patient if I don’t respond immediately to an email because I expect that once I pull the trigger Saturday night, things will get even crazier, as if that’s possible.

My heartfelt thanks for your friendship, prayers, and support,

Mike Huckabee

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Huckabee Ready to Declare His Presidential Intentions on Saturday

Bookmark and Share Will he or wont he make a White House run? The Gov gives his answer on Huckabee!. Thats the teaser offered today on the website of Governor Huckabees Fox News show.

According to a statement by the shows executive producer Woody Fraser, Huck will announce tomorrow night on his program whether or not he intends to explore a presidential bid. He has not told anyone at FOX News Channel his decision.

Huckabees latest Twitter referred fans to his political action committee, Huck PAC, to take a look at schedule which is as follows

Friday (5/13):

Today, Governor Huckabee will be on Your World with Neil Cavuto on the Fox News Channel, at 4pm ET.

Tonight, Governor Huckabee will be on “The O’Reilly Factor with Bill OReilly on the Fox News Channel, at 8pm ET.

And late tonight Governor Huckabee will be on “Follow The Money” with Eric Bolling on the Fox Business Network, at 10pm ET.

Saturday (5/14):

Saturday morning Governor Huckabee will be on Fox and Friends on the Fox News Channel at 8:30am ET.

And dont forget to tune in to Huckabee on the Fox News Channel, Saturday and Sunday nights at 8:00pm ET.

The surprise set up regarding a decision to run or not to run for the Republican presidential nomination for a second timeis savvy to say the least. But it is too early to tell if it is shrewdness intended for ratings of his cable talk show, or for a big audience to kick off his presidential aspirations from. Insofar as I can tell, there is no legal way for Huckabee to officially declare his own presidential candidacy on his own show. Based upon basic the opportunity for equal time principles, Federal Election Commission laws prohibit official candidates from having their own regularly scheduled radio or television programs to promote themselves from. Such an opportunity would be an unfair advantage for candidates with such a platform. It is why Fox News has suspended the contracts they had with other potential other presidential candidates who were Fox News contributors, such as Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum.

But nothing prohibits Huckabee from using his show to state that because of future endeavors that, in time, he will make well known, he will be leaving his cable show. Such a statement would not leave anyone wondering what that future endeavor would be, but it would also not cross any legal lines.

I have been of the school of thought that mike Huckabee is not going to run again in 2012. While early, random polls have the former Arkansas Governor placed high at the top of the still emerging Republican presidential field, such polling does not reflect the harsh realities of the Huckabee record that would be dissected in a public display of messy politics. Indeed, I have suggested that Governor Huckabee will have a great deal of baggage weighing him down in a 2012 race. But despite these sentiments of my own, Huckabee has been in many ways acting like a candidate. He has been meeting with financial bundlers in New York and elsewhere and under the auspices of a book tour, has been stomping the nation as well as any other potential candidate.

If Huckabee is readying himself to take the steps towards an official run at the White House, the timing of such an announcement is unique. Most major political announcements are not conducted on weekends. Common sense dictates that anytime after late Friday afternoon, but before Monday morning, most Americans tune out for weekends of recreation and relaxation. It is for this reason that if politicos have any kind of bad news to deliver, they usually do so around 4:00 pm on any given Friday. Such news tends to pass through several news cycles without immediately gaining all that much attention. However, Huckabees situation is different. First, his show airs on Saturday evenings. This forces him to somehow have to take advantage of that time slot. Second, the logistics of his position with Fox News and the suspense surrounding his decision, has allowed Huckabee to dominate the news for most of Friday and bring with it, a drawn out focus of attention on him at a time when few other headlines will be made. And then of course the story will be anew again on Monday when it is followed up on.

So which will it be? Will Huckabee come out on Saturday evening, during his show, and announce that it is his sad duty to tell us that this will be his last show, but his pleasure to tell us that its because he will be seeking a higher calling with greater responsibilities? Or will Huckabee be announcing that instead of running for President, he intends to focus on changing America for the better by devoting his time to things like Learn Our History, the new education company he started just days ago? Learn Our History sells educational animated history videos for kids. The video featured on the website is about the Reagan Revolution. A sign that the former Arkansas governor isnt running for president?

Huckabee originally stated that he would not make a decision about a run for President until late Summer. This latest PR stunt, has pushed that timetable up significantly and begs the question, whats behind that change? Is it a sense that he is better off establishing himself and making his case sooner rather than later? I tend to think not. I believe that the longer Huck is in, the harder he will be hit. So could it be that Huckabee merely wants to make some bucks, live the good life, and retire to his newly constructed Florida estate? The timing of it all leads me to believe that the Huckster is more inclined to advance that which can make him money as opposed to pursuing that which can cost him much.

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Tim Pawlenty Could Stand To Gain While The Big Names Sit On The Sidelines

Bookmark and ShareThe 1st GOP Presidential debate is in the books. There are those who feel it lacked the “Wow” factor that it would have had if the top polling candidates had taken part. With Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin all declining to attend, the field was filled with candidates whose names are not well known on a national scale. Texas congressman Ron Paul is probably the exception to that statement but his public persona and Libertarian views have never played well to most in the GOP.

Of the remainder of the field that included former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, Former Godfather’s Pizza CEO and conservative talk show host Herman Cain, Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum and former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, it may have been Pawlenty that came out with the most to gain from the absence of the big name candidates.

Most of those polled said that they came away with a better opinion of Herman Cain than any other candidate. I agree. Cain came away as the non-politician’s politician but he is an unknown to most voters and will need much more than this debate to get the recognition he will need to mount a serious run. Santorum is known to a certain degree through his work on Fox News but has established himself as the social issues candidate so far in a time where the economy will likely reign supreme. Gary Johnson is the poor man’s Ron Paul and did little to move up the ladder in the debate and at points looked uncomfortable on the stage. Ron Paul is simply Ron Paul. Most Republican’s tend to agree with his economic stances and most independents with his social stances but he has difficulty communicating them in a manner that helps him in a conservative GOP primary.

That leaves Pawlenty, who did little to “Wow” the audience but came across as a solid candidate when put next to the CEO with little experience, the Libertarian’s with little communication skills and the evangelical social issue guy, as a possible challenger to the big name candidates who themselves have issues that will be exploited if and when they decide to enter the race. Romney has to answer for his health care program he implemented while Governor of MA. Gingrich has had marriage issues that have haunted him for years. Huckabee has issues regarding his stances on crime while Governor of Arkansas and Palin, well she has always incurred the wrath of the media and I expect if she decides to run in 2012 it will be no different.

So although he may have not brought the “wow” factor with him to South Carolina last Thursday night, it could be Tim Pawlenty who very well takes away the most from the debate. Although Herman Cain may have hit the “wow” factor it was Pawlenty who by reason of recognition stands to gain the most from the decision of the big names to sit this one out. If he stays on message and the more recognizable names continue to sit dormant, Tim Pawlenty has one up on the other candidates.

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Huckabee 2.0

Bookmark and ShareIn an interview with The Daily Beast’s John Avlon, Ed Rollins, the 2008 campaign manager for Mike Huckabee, believes that the former Arkansas Governor will again be running for the Republican presidential nomination. Rollins tells Avlon, “Personally, it’s my sense that he’ll go for it this time.”

Rollins adds “Governor Huckabee is considering a presidential race seriously,.”

Currently it seems like there is no political reason in the world for Huckabee not to run. Just about every major poll has him either in first place or within the top three. And except for Mitt Romney who has a an extremely tenuous, titular, hold on frontrunner status, there is no one candidate that is obviously holding the keys to the Republican presidential nomination.

Huckabee is also a perfect candidate. He is not only warm and affable, he is quick on his feet and he knows how to coin a catchy phrase and convey a true understanding of the people he is addressing aswell as, if not better than,any top notch political speech writer or consultant, . Funny, warm, easy going, quick witted, down to earth, a Republican who won a heavily Democrat state, Mike Huckabee has it all. He is so good that it makes it hard for you not to get behind him even if you don’t want to.

So on paper, Huckabee has to be viewed as a top contender and obvious name to throw his hat in the ring. But turn the page and Huckabee has a number of reasons to resist the temptation of a run for President.

On a personal level, Mike Huckabee is making more money than he ever has in his life and is in the midst of having a rather expensive dream home built for him and his family in Florida. He has a lucrative contract with Fox News, is pushing great sales of his latest book and does not have the national media and a dozen perspective Republican opponents, prying into his life and relentlessly attacking his every word and action.

Such will not be the case if he runs.

But that still has little bearing on one who has politics pulsing through their veins. Politics is like a blood disorder that has a mix of power, ego, and invincibility effecting the brain in a way that impairs judgment. And the only cure for it is the certainty inability to get over political liabilities. Take Nevada’s John Ensign, please. Until a little more than a year ago, the two term senator was going to be running for President in 2012. Like Huckabee, he had a lot of the right stuff. Until it came out that he had an affair with the wife of one of his staffers and his mommy and daddy were paying off a settlement with the aide.

Of cause the former minister, Mike Huckabee, has no such problems that we know of. But he does have his share of political baggage. And while the polls that have him high in the sky right do not reflect it, when Mitt Romney alone gets done with the Huckabee record, those poll numbers will not be so high. Then throw in Newt Gingrich, Tim Palwenty, Rick Santorum, Herman Cain, Haley Barbour, Gary Johnson, Fred Karger, and a number of other likely candidates, and what you have is a standoff between Huckabee and a negative insurgency of naysayers who will wear him down.

Then there is the payback factor.

In 2008, Mike Huckabee was the biggest thorn in Mitt Romney’s side. He chipped away at Romney in a tag team-like free for all with John McCain that helped assure McCain of the Republican presidential nomination.

Romney will not let that happen again and he will be gunning for Huckabee early. In fact, if Huckabee runs, his high standings in the polls will make him a key target of all the candidates. Each one of them will have Huckabee’s campaign in their crosshairs. Romney will just be the commander handing out the coordinates of all of Huckabee’s vulnerabilities, such as the paroles of violent criminals who raped and killed after Huckabee set them free, and his much to be desired record on taxes.

But are these weaknesses enough to flush out the politics that rushes through Huckabee’s veins? Probably not. Unless he knows that another candidate’s campaign has the silver bullet, the polls, the lack of an undeniable frontrunner, and the sick mix of power, ego, and invincibility will move Huck towards a run for the White House. Without that silver bullet, the only real way for Huck to get this out of his system is to go as far as he possibly can in the race and after being chewed up and spat out, retiring to his Florida estate with his tail between his legs.

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Huckabee’s Fair Tax Mistake

Bookmark and Share Mike Huckabee has released an editorial promoting the virtues of a national sales tax or as he calls it the Fair Tax.

He writes;

Hopefully by now youre somewhat familiar with how the FairTax works, but if not let me explain it briefly: You get rid of all income and payroll taxes and you get rid of corporate taxes completely. When someone tells you corporations should be taxed more – remember, if more taxes are put on a corporation – the corporation is simply going to raise the prices of their products to cover the increase – passing the increased cost to you.

That sounds good but it is also typical Mike Huckabee.deceptive.

Now I shouldnt be too hard on Huckabee. He does at least have the guts to propose true reform of a tax system that is obsolete, chaotic, oppressive, and a hindrance to economic growth. We need a presidential candidate and President who will not simply tinker with a broken system but prepared to support a cash for clunkers like approach to our tax code by junking it and replacing it with a system that does not penalize success, oppress entrepreneurial innovation, and hold back our economy.

Huckabee is correct when he writes refers to tax reform in his editorial by writing , I do know we wont have a chance if we dont have the courage and leadership in Congress to see the task through. That is most certainly true. But that leadership must come from more than just Congress. Sweeping change must be supported by our Commander-in-Chief, the person who has the power of the bully pulpit behind them and who believes in the reforms that he or she convinces the nation of the need for.

But the Fair Tax is not the reform that this nation needs. First of all, the Fair Tax is anything but fair. If George Soros decides to have his help purchase televisions for all the bathrooms in all of his estates, he can afford the additional cost that a national sales tax places on his purchases. But for an average family that lives from pay check to pay check, the new national sales tax simply makes it harder for them to replace the one TV screen that they have had for 10 years and is displaying a screen with a picture that is shrinking.

For a family making $200,000 a year, a rise in the cost of all products may be affordable but for too many higher prices simply puts more products further out of the reach and places a significant burden on them.

Higher prices are not what I believe the Republican candidate for President or Congress should be proposing.

Instead I believe it is incumbent upon our Party and its candidates to demand that we abolish our current arcane tax code and replace it with a Flat Tax. Unlike the so-called Fair Tax, a Flat Tax is exactly what it says..flat. It is one rate for one nation. There is no discrimination, there is no hike in the costs of products and there is no penalizing of success. Instead, a Flat Tax offers tax relief, puts an end to loopholes, and grows our economy.

Of the last ten years, the fastest growing economies of the world have adopted a flat tax for their nations. The greatest examples of this exist in the former Soviet states of the Balkans. When they adopted a flat tax, they saw their economies boom and have maintained steady economic development and growth. Yet, the United States, still hangs on to our antiquated tax system, a system that only grows our economy whenever we tinker with it to reduce rates. And when we reduce rates, which area of debate is the greatest source of disagreement? Why it is who those reductions should go to. And from there inevitable comes the debate on what constitutes defining one as rich.

The Flat Tax puts an end to all those debates. With a Flat Tax rate of say, 14%, the wealthy still pay a greater percentage than do the less wealthy. 14% of 40 million comes out to be much more than does 14% of 40 thousand. And unlike Mike Huckabees national sales tax, it does unduly burden families with higher costs. In fact for many, it lowers the amount of money that the government currently takes from them.

Huckabee understands that we need real change in America. That is a good thing, but what he does not realize is that the change he proposes does more harm than good and if he really wants to promote tax fairness, then the Flat Tax, one rate for one nation is the way to go.

Government does not produce wealth and it is not naturally sustainable. The people and the entrepreneurial spirit of America through its free markets, are what creates wealth and sustains our government. That is why I believe we must eliminate our current oppressive tax code, a tax code that rewards failure must go. We need leadership that will implement what I call a National Economic Recovery and Responsibility plan that will help spark our economy, reduce spending and put America back on the road to a steady, growing, stable economy. As such I offer my own detailed tax reform plan for Governor Huckabee to consider in place of his national sales tax.

I.-The National Tax Equity Act

(For a detailed explanation click on thebill titlelink above)

1. A flat tax rate on individuals and businesses shall be adopted as outlined below with a rate of 18% that, after three years, will level off at 15.5% of whats left of the total annual income from all wages, salaries, and pensions after subtracting a personal allowance.

Those four allowances would be:

  • – $26,600 for married filling jointly
  • – $16,850 for single head of household
  • – $13,650 for single
  • – $5,300 for each dependent child
1.A Individual gross earnings up to 2 times the established poverty level (based upon the year preceding) are exempt from taxation. All income above that level shall be taxed at the specified rate.

1.B Businesses and Corporations with gross earnings up to the value resulting from multiplying the number of legal US resident employees in the business against 2 times the established poverty level (based on the year preceding) shall be exempt from taxation with all gross income above that level taxed at the specified rate.

1.C– All corporations will be taxed by the same single national tax rate and they will take their total income, subtract total expenses and if the result is a positive amount (profit), they will pay tax on that amount at a the national tax rate.

2.A – All Businesses and Corporations thatexceed federalenergy efficiency and environmental standardswill be entitled to an annual dedcution of10%the amount oftheir annual profit.

2.B-All individual home amd property owners thatexceed federalenergy efficiency and environmental standardswill be entitled to an annual dedcution of10%the amount oftheir annual profit.

3.A -There shall be an exemption up to but not to exceed the greater of 10% of gross annual income or 25% of the annual median income, applied to College Savings Accounts, Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA), Money Market Accounts and Certificates of Deposits.

3.B– Allow for the automatic deposit of tax refunds that are based onthe rate of savings formula implemented upon passage of thefederally insuredPrivatizedFuture Security Annuity Accountsprogram that will take the place of SSI.(see proposed PFSA program here)

3.C-Provide employment-based health insurance to individuals with annuals earnings under $55,000, in the form of refundable, advanceable tax credits. Families would get up to $5,700 a year and individuals up$2,300 to buy insurance and invest in Health Savings Accounts

4. Social Security benefits are exempt from taxation.

5. A complete 100% exemption from the flat tax for spouses of military personnel deployed in a theatre of battle to be effective from the time of deployment to the end of the calendar year after deployment ends.

6– The following will hereby require a 2/3 majority for passage and adoption:

-Raising or reducing the flat tax rate

  • -Extending or eliminating tax credits
  • -Increasing or decreasing the rate of a penalty tax
  • -Creating any new penalty taxes
  • -Borrowing money to pay for general expenses
7. Direct income from inheritance settlements are exempt from taxation.

8. Specific provisions for implementation to be determined by a Congressional review committee with input from regulators, industry representatives and budget experts

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Key Iowa Supporter Abandons Huckabee for Pawlenty

Bookmark and Share A key supporter and critical architect of Mike Huckabees 2008 winning Iowa caucus campaign, has bailed on Huckabee and cast his lot with former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty.

Eric Woolson, a formidable media strategist and campaign press operative, was the manager of Mike Huckabees come-out-nowhere Iowa victory in 2008 and despite a recent meeting with Huckabee when his book tour took him to the Hawkeye State, According to the Des Moines Registers Tom Beaumont, Woolson has said that he expressed to Pawlenty an interest in helping him. Woolson stated “I think he’s got a terrific record. He’s got a great story to tell. He hasn’t said he’s running yet. If he decides to run, I’d love to help him tell that story to Iowans.”

The defection from Huckabee to Pawlenty would be an organizational setback for a potential Huckabee presidential campaign and it is a sign of the soft commitment and sense of loyalty that Huckabees supporters have for him.

Woolson says that he likes Pawlenty’s record, style and profile as a governor. He is also concerned by Huckabee’s late time frame for making a decision on whether or not to seek the Republican presidential nomination again.

Woolson adds;

“As you look at the monumental task of unseating an incumbent president, Republicans need to get about the business of getting that job done and I want to get on with the task of getting that done.”

Tim Pawlenty has not as of yet accepted Woolsons offer, but he also not yet made his own decision to run for President or not. That is expected to come sometime during the course of the next month in a half.

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Huckabee; Hawking Books or Crowing About His Run for President?

Bookmark and Share “Here’s the reality: I think he can be beat,” “I frankly think that I would be in a very good position to do it,”.

That was the response given by former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee regarding Presidednt Obama when Sean Hannity interviewed the Governor regarding the 2012 presidential election, When asked what changed Huckabees mind from six months when he was reluctant to discuss a candidacy, to now, Huckabee replied;

Well, I think there are a couple of things. The poll numbers certainly have been favorable, Huckabee said. I’ve been leading in polls nationally, as well as in a number of key states, but another thing is, you know, I finished this book, I looked at it and I say: You know, these ideas could help change this country.

Over the past two days, when it comes to running for the Republican presidential nomination, Huckabee has suddenly been using his Twitter account to post tweets that sound like a cock crowing. On the 21st he tweeted:

Deadline approaching: Book your reservation on my Alaska Freedom Cruise in June. http://bit.ly/gfon4e Space is limited.

The on the 22nd he sent out two tweets. The first one again dealt with his book, reading;

My new book A Simple Government is available today. Learn more by clicking this link: http://bit.ly/gMkzR1

The second one came later in the day and it plainly declared he is seriously considering a run;

@GovMikeHuckabee to @cbsnews: “I very well may” run for President http://bit.ly/foZq9O

Now on the 23rd he posted a tweet that touted his words the words he used when responding to Sean Hannity and stated he could beat the President;

Newsmax: Huckabee: I Can Beat Obama http://bit.ly/fCBfZk

As you can see, all this coincides with his book tour and the possibility of a run for President could very well just be well time PR aimed at spiking sales of his new book. The fact that Huckabee tied his book into his possible run for President was not exactly understated when he stated , you know, I finished this book, I looked at it and I say: You know, these ideas could help change this country. Thats a pretty good line to inspire interest in buying the book to see what all those great ideas are.

Of course Huckabee does not lie when he speaks of all the polls that have well positioned. However as he told Sean Hannity;

It is the process of getting to that nomination that is tough [and] the Republicans might save him, he said. By that I mean that the Republicans in the House might make enough what I would call sensible votes and actually prevent him from doing some bizarre things like Obamacare, and could put him back in the game.

Huck is right on both accounts.

President Obama is now in check with a new Republican House majority. That will effectively neuter his extremist initiatives. But the former Governor is also quite correct about the nomination being tough. If he does enter the race for President, he will have lot more to answer to than just a few questions from radio and television hosts. One of the toughest things he will have to answer to is the clemency that he has given to prisoners who went on to kill police officers. And as a perceived frontrunner, a lot of people will be aiming for him and making things a lot hotter for Huckabee on the campaign trail than under the studio lights he has gotten used to.

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Romney Not Ready to Write Off Iowa

Bookmark and Share Recent word was that Mitt Romney was going to skip the Iowa caucuses, the first presidential nominating contest in the nation, and focus on insuring a win in New Hampshire and then move on to South Carolina and Nevada. Now in an interview with Hugh Hewitt, Romney has made it clear that if is to run, he and his campaign will be in Iowa and every other state. Romney tells Hewitt “I decide to run, I’ll be planning on running nationwide, and certainly the early states will be places where we concentrate most of our attention,”.
As pointed out in detail in a previous WH2012 post, in 2008, Romney exhausted much time and treasure in Iowa. In fact he began devoting his resources into the Iowa caucus in the early part of 2007. When all totaled, he spent $10 million but in the end he came in second to Mike Huckabee.

Romney aides had been indicating that after that experience, they are not sure how much more they could do or spend in Iowa to insure a win 2012. Another factor to consider is the fact that even though Huckabee won in Iowa, John McCain’s showing in the Iowa Caucus, which waswell behindRomney, did not prohibit him from going on to win the Republican presidential nomination.

As I noted in in the same post that I referred to earlier, this surrender strategy may have some mileage but from my perspective, it doesn’t have legs. If Romney can’t win in Iowa, than he has little chance of winning South Carolina. And if Romney can’t win or at least be extremely close to winning in South Carolina, than he is essentially writing off much off the delegate rich South. For his part Mitt told Hewitt “If I get in this, I’m not going to be doing so much of a political calculus as I am a calculus of what message needs to be heard by the American people and how I can deliver it best,”. He added, “And that surely will take me to Iowa as well as the other early states.”

That statement is encouraging. In translation it means that Mitt is confident that his campaign is confident that they have established a strategy that will overcome his perceived weaknesses while also having a superior approach to delivering the right message to the right people. It also means that his campaign is confident in its ability to do a Tanya Harding on his opponents and make them limp behind him in the race.

Romney still left himself some room on just how aggressively he will run in Iowa. While he stated that he will concentrate on the early, he avoided drawing the type of upbeat language you usually hear from politicians. Instead of using the usual lingo which would be, “if I run I intend to run hard and win big in the early states”, he used language a little more ambiguous. This would lead me to believe that a lot of what the Romney camp will do, is based upon whether or not Huckabee and Palin will enter the race. If that happens Romney could still allow himself to have a presence in Iowa, but one small enough to indicate that a poor showing in Iowa was in part due to the fact that he did not campaign hard there.

That strategy would be one that focuses on building on the momentum from a win in New Hampshire as a means to have an upper hand in South Carolina and then Nevada. Of course winning all 4 of the first nomination contests would be the possible result. Which is why Romney carefully parses his words. The real “if” he talks about here is not “if” he runs. He and the rest of us know he is. But what Mitt really means when he says “if” is “”if Huckabee runs. If Huckabee runs, Romney’s campaign strategy switches to one that may go light in Iowa or concentrate” more on the type of opposition research that takes Huckabee down a few pegs with a few body blows on the issue of taxes and a lethal use of the Horton Strategy……..the use of the multiple clemencies that Huckabee issued which resulted in multiple deaths of innocent people, including four police officers.

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Romney’s Iowa Strategy; Surrender or Fight?

Bookmark and Share Reports have it that Mitt Romney is mulling over the possibility of skipping the Iowa Caucuses in 2012 and having his campaign launch in New Hampshire, the state with the second nominating contest in the nation.
In 2008, Romney ran an aggressive and expensive campaign in Iowa. In fact, Romneys Iowa journey began in 2007 when he was the first to start airing campaign ads. Just in preparation for the Ames. straw poll, an important summertime precursor to the Winter caucus Mitt Romney had hired a legion of 60 statewide, so-called super-volunteers, that were paid between $500 and $1,000 per month to campaign for him; over $2.4 million in television ads, a top notch direct-mailing campaign that along with other non-TV campaign materials cost another $2.5 million in , and a consultant who managed Mitts straw poll campaign for $200,000. None of the other Republican contenders came close to either Romneys organization skills or size, or the financial investment he dumped into the state. And that was just up until the time of the straw poll which was held in August of 2007. When the straw poll results were in , Romney won with 32%, which consisted of 4,516 votes. Translating in to financial costs, that meant Romney spent approximately $1,107 per vote for a total of about $5 million.

By the time the actual Iowa Caucus rolled around , five months later in 2008, Romney more than doubled the $5 million he had spent up till the straw poll. But in the end, he lost the Iowa Caucus to Mike Huckabee by 9.18%. Huckabee spent a fraction of what Romney spent and he received 40,841 votes or 34.41% and Romney garnered 29,949 with 25.23%. Interestingly, John McCain, the man who ultimately went on to win the Republican nomination, he came in fourth place with 15,559, 13.11% of the vote. So was Romneys investment in Iowa worth the bang for his buck? In retrospect, it sure wasnt. Having saved his money in Iowa didnt hurt John McCain. But McCain went on to win in New Hampshire, a state that by nature of demographics, Romney should have won. This time, it looks like Romney is realizing that.

Despite the rash of recent reports about Romney skipping Iowa are not new. The thought of bypassing Iowa in 2012 has been in play by the Romney camp for quite a while now. In an October 20, 2009 article for the Iowa Republican by Craig Robinson, Robinson pointed out that Mitt had over $400,000 in his Iowa state PAC, when his presidential campaign ended in early February of 2008 and since the fall of 2008, he had been draining the funds from that PAC.

Robinson also pointed that in June of 2009, Romneys Iowa PAC was down to $203,380.91 and instead of making contributions to county party organizations and legislative candidates, Robinson writes he was using the state PAC to subsidize the salaries of aides, like his former campaign manager, Beth Myers, and Eric Fehrnstrom, his former communications director. They were expenditures that had nothing to do with supporting Iowa candidates or building an organization for his leadership PAC.

All things considered it is easy to see that that the notion of ignoring Iowa has been in the back of Romneys mind for a while and it is also easy to understand why.

After the all out effort that Romney put into Iowa in 2008 and recent polls which show Iowa Caucus voters preferring Mike Huckabee to him, Mitt has to consider the possibilities of not only Huckabee running again, but of the possible candidacies of people like Sarah Palin, Mike Pence, John Thune and possibly even Rick Santorum. If all of these candidates were to run in Iowa, they could sharply divide the large evangelical vote that Romney is not fairing well with, thereby giving him the chance of consolidating the rest of the vote into a win. But if from that group, only one or two of them run, such as Huckabee or Palin, than Romney risks coming in second or even worse. That result would probably grab the headlines more than the winner would. This would make Romney vulnerable, not so much in New Hampshire but especially in South Carolina, an increasingly important lead in state to the delegate rich Southern contests.

The question becomes this. If Romney cant win in Iowa, can he win in South Carolina, a state that has an evangelical vote of similar influence to that of Iowas? And if Mitt cant win South Carolina, can he seriously compete in the significant string of Southern states that follow?

Mitts thinking could easily be to focus on insuring that he wins the New Hampshire primary that should be in his pocket but lost to McCain last time, and then build up at least the impression of momentum with a win in Nevada followed by even the smallest of wins in South Carolina. Perhaps by taking the money and time that he would have placed into Iowa, and invest it in South Carolina instead, will help provide his campaign with the type of long term strategy that he needs to keep him alive in places like Michigan, New Jersey, New York, and other high delegate count states.

As for Iowa, Mitts strengths exist in the Northeastern and Western border counties of the state. These are some ofIowas most highly populated counties. If Mitt was able to target these approximately 18 counties and increase his pluralities in them, he could have a shot at reversing the results of 2008. And if Huckabee is his major opponent in Iowa, it is worth noting that Huckabee has a rather large Achilles heal that all his rivals could easily exploit. The issue of the multiple clemencies that Huckabee gave as Governor of Arkansas, and subsequently resulted in additional crimes, including the death of 4 police officers in Washington state, will take some of the shine off Huckabee. It is also an issue which could be a decisive factor in Huckabees decision to run or not to run.

But Mitt has to make a decision regarding Iowa soon. If he does plan on competing in Iowa, he cant wait too long to snap his organization back together. But Romney has made sure that a final decision has not yet been made on Iowa. Since Craig Robinson’s, 2009 piece in the Iowa Republican, reported more than $100,000 in expenditures from his Iowa political action committees in the final fundraising report of 2010. His Iowa PAC also contributed $10,000 to the gubernatorial campaign of Terry Branstad, $1,000 to Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey and State Auditor David Vaudt, as well as a $2,500 contribution to Senate candidate Joni Ernst and $1,500 to Iowa Senate candidate Andrew Naeve All totaled, Romneys Free and Strong – Iowa PAC ended the year with more than $108,000 in cash on hand.

So Romney has not closed the door on Iowa just yet. That decision will likely come when he knows who he will be running against.
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2012 Presidential Polling: Romney and Huckabee Tied in New Jersey

Bookmark and Share Public Policy Polling, a largely Democrat operation, has released New Jersey poll numbers for the evolving field of Republican presidential candidates. The survey of 400 usual Republican primary voters unites the results of several previous independent polls of Iowa and New Hampshire Republican voters which give Huckabee the lead in Iowa and Romney the lead in the Granite State. PPPs New Jersey survey has Huckabee and Romney tied at 18% each. Not too far behind them are Newt Gingrich with 15% and Sarah Palin with 14%.

The poll proves that the early energy and buzz is behind the former Massachusetts governor and former Arkansas governor but it also demonstrates that neither have a firm hold on that energy as many voters are still interested in other prospects.

A further breakdown of the poll provides Mitt Romney with additional evidence of his biggest reason for not being the clear frontrunner for the 2012 Republican nomination is his inability to consolidate the trust and support of conservatives, the G.O.P.s base. Among those New Jersey Republicans polled who consider themselves conservative, Romney finds himself with a 64% favorable to 19% unfavorable rating, a net positive of 45%. But Mike Huckabee has a net positive favorable of 58 with 70% having a favorable opinion of him and only 12% having an unfavorable opinion. Adding to the bad news for Romney among the base of the Party is the fact that both former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and former Republican Vice Presidential nominee and Alaska Governor Sarah Palin also have better favorable ratings among conservatives than Romney.

Romneys favorable ratings as they relate to Huckabee, Gingrich and Palin, come from New Jersey Republicans who describe themselves as moderates.

These results come on the heels of a dinner meeting that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie had with Mitt Romney on Monday evening at Drumthwacket, the New Jersey Governors Mansion which Chris Chritie has chosen not to live in, but is used by the Governor for offical events.

New Jerseys Republican presidential primary will take place in March and it is a winner-take-all contest that sends 50 delegates to the Republican National Convention.

See the complete results and breakdown below:

  1. Mike Huckabee / Mitt Romney 18%
  2. Newt Gingrich 15%
  3. Sarah Palin 14%
  4. Ron Paul 8%
  5. Tim Pawlenty 4%
  6. Mitch Daniels 3%
  7. John Thune 2%
  8. Someone else/Undecided 19%

Among Conservatives

  • Mike Huckabee 21%
  • Newt Gingrich 17%
  • Sarah Palin 16%
  • Mitt Romney 14%
  • Ron Paul 5%
  • Tim Pawlenty 5%
  • Mitch Daniels 4%
  • John Thune 2%
  • Someone else/Undecided 16%

Among Moderates

  • Mitt Romney 24%
  • Mike Huckabee 13%
  • Ron Paul 12%
  • Sarah Palin 11%
  • Newt Gingrich 10%
  • Mitch Daniels 2%
  • John Thune 2%
  • Tim Pawlenty 2%
  • Someone else/Undecided 24%

Among Men

  • Mike Huckabee 20%
  • Sarah Palin 18%
  • Mitt Romney 15%
  • Newt Gingrich 14%
  • Ron Paul 9%
  • Tim Pawlenty 4%
  • Mitch Daniels 3%
  • John Thune 2%
  • Someone else/Undecided 16%

Among Women

  • Mitt Romney 23%
  • Newt Gingrich 16%
  • Mike Huckabee 16%
  • Sarah Palin 9%
  • Ron Paul 6%
  • Mitch Daniels 3%
  • Tim Pawlenty 3%
  • John Thune 2%
  • Someone else/Undecided 22%

Favorable / Unfavorable {Net}

  • Mike Huckabee 61% / 17% {+44%}
  • Mitt Romney 60% / 20% {+40%}
  • Newt Gingrich 54% / 25% {+29%}
  • Sarah Palin 58% / 33% {+25%}

Among Conservatives

  • Mike Huckabee 70% / 12% {+58%}
  • Newt Gingrich 68% / 15% {+53%}
  • Sarah Palin 72% / 21% {+51%}
  • Mitt Romney 64% / 19% {+45%}
Among Moderates
  • Mitt Romney 53% / 21% {+32%}
  • Mike Huckabee 47% / 24% {+23%}
  • Newt Gingrich 34% / 37% {-3%}
  • Sarah Palin 38% / 48% {-10%}
Among Men
  • Mike Huckabee 61% / 22% {+39%}
  • Mitt Romney 60% / 25% {+35%}
  • Sarah Palin 62% / 29% {+33%}
  • Newt Gingrich 58% / 25% {+33%}
Among Women
  • Mike Huckabee 61% / 12% {+49%}
  • Mitt Romney 61% / 14% {+47%}
  • Newt Gingrich 49% / 24% {+25%}
  • Sarah Palin 53% / 37% {+16%}

Survey of 400 usual Republican primary voters was conducted January 6-9, 2011. The margin of error is +/- 4.9 percentage points. Political ideology: 60% Conservative; 38% Moderate; 2% Liberal.

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Huckabee Responds to His Lead in New Polls of GOP Presidential Candidates

Bookmark and Share After the results of an ABC News poll puts Mike Huckabee at the head of the evolving Republican presidential field, the Former Arkansas Governor tells Fox News Megyn Kelly that it is flattering to be in that position but makes it clear that he is not giving up his day jobs because of it anytime soon.

Huckabee reminds people that around this time in the last presidential election cycle, Hillary Clinton and Rudy Clinton were out in front and on track to win their Parties nominations.

He also pointed out that President Obama will be a lot harder to beat this time around because he will have a billion dollars and all the powers of incumbency. Another reason Huckabee gives for not putting much weight behind these poll numbers is what he describes the road to the Republican nomination as one that will be a demolition derby that will have the nominee coming out bruised, beaten and bleeding, and then have 4 months to restore their image.

Aside from stating that the poll demonstrates that the American people are intelligent, the former winner of Iowas 2008 Republican presidential caucus gave no indication of giving another go at it in 2012 as he made clear he is comfortable with the money he is making in his current endeavors.

The ABC News/Washington Posthas Mike Huckabee with19 percentfollowed by Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney with 17 percent.The more accurate which is derived at by the polling of only registered voters puts Huckabee at 20 percent, Romney at 18, and Palin at 16.

Click here for the question and full results.

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