Monday, December 3, 2007

The Soapbox

Choose Who You Want; Huck’s My Guy!
By Joe Shehan

In the spirit of full disclosure I do not hide my support for Governor Mike Huckabee (R-Arkansas) for President of the United States. The only candidate that I would ever try to discourage any reader of the Watchtower from voting for would have a “D” after their name, that being said, I personally believe that Gov. Huckabee is the best choice out of the entire field of eight Republican Primary candidates.

There are many issues that the candidates must take a position on, and it would be impossible for a singular candidate to take the right position on all of them for every person in this country. Many in the current field of Republican candidates have tried to be everyone’s candidate, and they come across as wishy-washy and fake. Gov. Huckabee has not wavered on any of his issues. Yet, he still finds that he is being attacked by individuals in his own party.

Huckabee was quoted as saying he had an old seminary professor who used to tell him, “If you are getting kicked in the butt you must be in the lead,” and this is quickly becoming reality for Gov. Huckabee. The political punditry and talk radio are beginning their investigations into the former Governor, but are falling short of anything better than conjecture and innuendo. Taking what a candidate says out of proportion does not good reporting make.

Much of the problems many pundits and those in talk radio have with Governor Huckabee come from two areas: Tax Reform and Immigration. On the topic of Tax Reform many anti-Huckabee pundits site his raising taxes in Arkansas. Close examination of Governor Huckabee’s record would show that many of the tax hikes were voted into law by the people of Arkansas, and as the representative of the Arkansasian people he had to sign the legislation into law. Also one would discover that he lowered the overall tax burden for the Arkansasian people, and had a multi-billion dollar surplus when he left. You ask anyone in Arkansas about Governor Huckabee, they will tell you he did a lot to fix the infrastructure of his state.

Immigration proving to be the most contentious issue in this country since social security reform has proven to be, yet again, a stumbling block for another qualified candidate. Much of the reason Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) is not the front runner for the GOP nomination (which he was at the beginning of this year) is Comprehensive Immigration Reform. Governor Huckabee, may soon realize that those individuals who have taken a singular opinion on this issue, are a force to be reckoned with.

The same agitators who caused the Senate phone banks to shut down earlier this year have set their eyes on the Governor of Arkansas. Why? Because Gov. Huckabee defends a program which would allow children from illegal immigrants to apply for a state scholarship to go to school, and that is simply unacceptable for them. However, many misunderstand the program and accuse Gov. Huckabee of setting preferential treatment for the children of illegal immigrants, and political pundits and talk show radio hosts do not correct the record when this accusation is made. The truth is that every child, no matter of immigration status, is held to the same standard as every other student during selection. The only difference is that if a child of an illegal is selected, that child must complete citizenship classes and become a citizen before they graduate or face having to pay the money back. This seems fair and reasonable.

What these issues really boil down to is fiscal responsibility or money. Fiscal conservatives have always been at odds with social conservatives, because of the simple issue of spending. People who identify themselves solely as a social conservative tend to be a bit moderate when it comes to spending. However, those who call themselves solely fiscal conservatives desire very limited government and minimal taxation and minimal spending. Yet, what both fail to realize is that we are living in a very complex world, and a little bit of both ideologies is what’s needed.

Many Americans have been raised that the government is here to help them. They live their daily lives dependent on the government for assistance. To suddenly take that assistance away leaves a vacuum that will be difficult to fill. Yet, if this country continues to spend money at its current rate, we will suffer much of the same recession postwar Germany experienced pre-Hitler. What is needed is a balanced approach to spending and entitlement programs that leads to a gradual phase out of the entitlement system. This is the root of many of the programs Gov. Huckabee supports.

I know that if the Governor’s record is closely examined and hyperbole is left at the door, that many Americans will realize that Mike Huckabee is the man for the job. In a time of severe partisan divide in this country we do not need another candidate that will divide us, but we need one that will unite us. Governor Mike Huckabee seems to be the only candidate right now who speaks to all of America, and has those on both sides of the aisle eager to listen.

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