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Romney Campaign Press Release - ... On Governor Huckabee's "Conservatism"

December 07, 2007

"Redefining Conservatism – Mike Huckabee Is Far From Being Reagan's Heir"

By Kimberley A. Strassel

The Wall Street Journal

December 7, 2007

"If Mr. Huckabee does turn out to be everything Republicans 'want' or 'need' in a conservative, it will only be because the definition of a conservative has morphed to include tax hiking, protectionism, corporate scolding and an unserious approach to foreign policy."


"The yawning questions are Mr. Huckabee's stances on those other big GOP-voter concerns – national security and the economy. When he can get away with it, Mr. Huckabee is vague, broadly supporting 'school choice,' 'health-care reform,' 'lower taxes' and a 'strong America.' It's when he's pressed for details that things get dodgy.

"On the stump, Mr. Huckabee likes to point out that we are in a 'world war' against terror, and that his first duty would be to protect Americans. Yet don't expect the Arkansan to stand firm against liberal opinion over America's more controversial strategies. On Monday, he became the only Republican candidate to attend a meeting with retired military officers who have complained about the Bush administration's supposed use of 'torture.' At an ensuing press conference, Mr. Huckabee quickly jumped on the politically popular bandwagon to condemn 'waterboarding,' and to further declare his support for closing down Guantanamo Bay because of the 'symbol' it 'represents' to the 'rest of the world.'

"On other questions of foreign policy, the Arkansan has yet to prove he is ready for international prime time."


"A populist at heart, Mr. Huckabee claims he's 'no protectionist,' but over and over this week he complained about the U.S. trade deficit with China and vowed, in the best Democratic tradition, to only sign 'fair trade' deals. To bring up big companies is to invite a Huckabee lecture on the 'greed' of corporate executives who tower over 'average employees.'"


"But the benefit of Mr. Huckabee's dreamy tax proposal is that it has, until now, allowed him to avoid talk of his own checkered tax past in Little Rock. That tenure included sales tax hikes, strong support for Internet taxation, bills raising gas and cigarette taxes, etc. By this week, Mr. Huckabee had been slammed on this tax history so much he was no longer disputing the details."


"Another benefit is that Mr. Huckabee hasn't had to talk about what he'd do with the existing, messy tax system. When I pointed out the unlikelihood of a fair tax, and asked how he'd handle the real-world questions of the Bush tax cuts, the exploding AMT and high corporate taxation, Mr. Huckabee allowed that he'd keep the Bush cuts, said something about the problems Democrats face with the AMT, and launched back into a discussion of the virtues of the fair tax.

"Voters are only now beginning to hear some of this, and Mr. Huckabee, with little money or infrastructure in other primary states, is still a long way from the nomination. But if by some chance he keeps up this surge, Republican voters need to understand they are signing up for a whole new brand of 'conservatism.'"

Ms. Strassel is a member of The Wall Street Journal's editorial board, based in Washington. Her column appears Fridays.

To read the full op-ed, please click here .

Mitt Romney, Romney Campaign Press Release - ... On Governor Huckabee's "Conservatism" Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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