Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Huckabee Wants Leaders to Work to Get Things Done

I have been intrigued by Huckabee for sometime after hearing him on CSPAN last fall. His remarks on education aren't your typical Republican talking points and he was the only Republican to speak at the NEA convention earlier this month. Unlike many other Republicans Huckabee actually sees the human side of the immigration debate.

Last week, I attended an event with Mike Huckabee in Marshalltown. When I arrived, there was one staffer who had set up the small room at the Pizza Ranch and made sure the pizza's were ordered. (There seems to be food at a lot of Republican events.) I introduced myself to his staffer as a Liberal blogger in Iowa that liked some of the things I have heard from Governor Huckabee and then noted the things I talked about above. We talked some and I told him I was a teacher.

When Gov. Huckabee arrived he went around the room shaking hands. The staffer introduced me to Gov. Huckabee, saying I was a teacher and we talked about his warm welcome at the NEA convention and some of the things he did for education as Governor of Arkansas. The biggest thing separating him on the issue of education is his support of music and the arts and educating the whole child, instead of teaching to the test. From his campaign site...

Music and the arts are not extraneous, extra-curricular, or expendable - I believe they are essential.

Bob Vander Plaats is working for Gov. Huckabee and travels with him to events. Vander Plaats introduced Gov. Huckabee by talking about the things the bible says we need to be looking for in a leader. Vander Plaats said he had the chance to talk with most of the Republican candidates and it was easy for him to support Gov. Huckabee. (Note: I talked to Vander Plaats after the event and he is eyeing a 2010 race for Governor against Culver.)

Gov. Huckabee then spoke to the 35 people in attendence. Huckabee spoke as if he was telling a story. His message flowed from topic to topic, coming back to faith being the foundation of everything. Though, religion was mentioned often, it didn't dominate his speech like it has at other Republican candidate's events I have attended. Huckabee didn't sound the trumpets or shout, or demand religion be brought back to the public square when speaking about religion. He used it as his underlying message.

There were many times when Gov. Huckabee was speaking where he stopped just short of the typical rightwing talking points. The Republicans in attendence probably made the connections, but from a Democrat's point of view, it made him seem more moderate.

There were a couple quotes that stuck out during his speech. First, he said he was...
tired of people who see politics on a horizontal scale. We have to govern on a vertical scale that lifts people up. Our duty is to lead vertically on the issues of education, health care, and to make the world safer.
He spoke a lot about working in a largely Democratic state of Arkansas. He said if he didn't work with Democrats nothing would have gotten done. He had to find solutions to the problems with Democrats that weren't eager to make Gov. Huckabee look good. He learned a lot including that...
Government doesn't have to be divisive and confrontational and it shouldn't be.
The biggest disagreement I had with him was on a question about Wal Mart. Gov. Huckabee was asked a question about corporations like Wal Mart that aren't providing health insurance for their employees. The person asking the question cited a report showing that Wal Mart has the most workers receiving tax payer funded health care. Huckabee said he didn't know about this report, but from his experiences as Governor of Arkansas, Wal Mart is a great company. He said he worked a lot with the CEO of Wal Mart in Arkansas and they are friends. Huckabee then went on to question why everyone is picking on Wal Mart and saying they are a great place to work.

There were some slight disagreements over what Gov. Huckabee said about fighting Islamic Jihadists, the Fair Tax, and health care. However, I did find myself agreeing a lot with his core message on the issues and got the feeling that he would work to find a solution and not get bogged down in partisan bickering.


Massachusetts For Mike Huckabee said...

This is a great post about Governor Huckabee, thank you for taking the time to really listen to him and not dismiss him just because he is a Republican. If Mike Huckabee were President I am sure that he would have Democrats & Republicans working together in no time. Thats what America needs, a whole government again..

Anonymous said...

Huckabee would concern me greatly as a general-election opponent. He comes across very well on tv. I agree that he sounds more moderate. I do not actually believe that he would govern as a moderate, though (only slightly less conservative than the others). We cannot afford to have him making appointments to the US Supreme Court.


Susan said...

Terrific post and a very fair assessment of our former governor. He certainly does have a gift, an obvious one as you saw, of bringing people together for the common good, which should sit well with democrats, I think.

Just a side note that I agree with what he said about Wal-Mart. I have personal experience and they are a good employer. They have revamped their health insurance options to make them more affordable (some people just want everything for nothing). People pick on Wal-Mart because they are obviously a very successful business. Instead, study their business practices; they do business better than anyone. Not perfect, but still better than anyone else.

Conservative from Arkansas