Over the last month or so, Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee has surged in the polls. He's now first place in Iowa and second nationally. This is all great news except for one small problem: Mike Huckabee is by far the worst candidate in the GOP field.
He's essentially the John Edwards of the Republican party - he uses populist sentiment to justify government intervention in the economy and in our personal lives. He thinks we need a nationwide ban on smoking, and that new guidelines should be enacted to ensure Americans exercise and remain healthy. He has no respect for the concept of federalism and the responsibilities of individual decision-making, instead favoring a top-down command and control structure.
He raised taxes countless times in Arkansas (more than Bill Clinton, by some measures). He's an opponent of free trade and has said as president he will take the necessary steps to "preserve the middle class" by "creating good-paying jobs here." As I've said a million times on here, presidents don't create jobs, businesses do. But who cares, right? As we've seen, economic fallacy is typical and key when campaigning for president or any public office. But usually, such fallacies are preached by those on the left, not the right. This is what surprises me.
So this all begs the question, how in the hell is this guy leading in Republican polls? If this man's stand on the issues is no different than John Edwards, how is this possible? Huckabee's candidacy truly demonstrates the fractures that have emerged in the GOP over the last 7 years or so. "Values" voters have taken over much of the party while free-market libertarians have largely been left behind and alienated.
To be fair, I agree with these values voters on most things (abortion, for example). I'm not just some yuppie Patrick Bateman Wall Street Republican that says to hell with values and fetishes property rights and markets merely because they are a way to make everyone rich. Quite the contrary: I support private property rights because they are the foundation of civilization and are a necessary means of keeping Leviathan in check. I support markets because they allow decisions to be made at the local level by those on the ground who actually know what's going on, instead of some out-of-touch and idealistic Washington politician trying to re-make society.
So this is where Huckabee and many of these values people go wrong: they are unhesitatingly willing to implement big-government, federal solutions to advance their agenda. They are fine with big government so long as it's their big government. This is a serious problem and will only serve to drive true conservatives like me further away from the party should Huckabee win the nomination.