I am shocked and dismayed that this blog, already five days into being, has yet to take aim at Mike Dukakabee’s economic record.
I humbly apologize to the entire readership; I won’t let such an oversight happen again.
Lest anyone be fooled my Mike’s charming rhetoric and folksy manner, take a look at David J. Sanders’ piece in National Review Online. Sanders interviews Jackson T. “Steve” Stephens Jr., a true economic conservative who nearly primaried Huckabee in 2002.
Stephens met with Huckabee in 2002 to talk about education and tax policy. During their conversation, Stephens told the governor that he was supportive of a new citizen effort to get rid of the sales tax on food and medicine. Huckabee responded that he supported getting rid of the tax in principle, and that he wouldn’t take a position on the citizen effort because he was busy focused on his own re-election. But later that same year, Huckabee began speaking out against the “Axe the Food Tax” effort, which Arkansas voters rejected at the polls.
By then, Tax-Hike Mike had become prolific at hitting up Arkansans for more dough. He kept it up until his ten-year-plus tenure ended this past January, by which point “he had increased taxes by a half-billion dollars.”
As bad as that record is, what is even worse was his reaction during the drunken-sailor decade. When outside anti-tax groups called him on his spending, he pulled a variant of Jim Wrights’ old “Reagan’s war on cripples” routine.
In 2003, when Grover Norquist, president for Americans for Tax Reform, criticized Huckabee’s tendency to raise taxes instead of scaling back spending, he fired back.
“What do our critics want – to rip the feeding tubes out of an 8-year-old or an elderly person on Medicaid? Grover needs to run for governor somewhere, win, and then try to govern,” Huckabee told the Washington Times. “He makes it sound so easy.”
Not even John Chichester was that crass (but Russ Potts may have been).
Oh, and for those who read this nonsense and think Huck actually has a point, let me remind you that Norquist (for whom I worked one summer during grad school, BTW and IIoFD) didn’t have to actually serve as Governor anywhere to prove his point against Tax-Hike Mike. Just next door to Grover’s hometown of Washington, DC, another Republican Governor (Bob Ehrlich) spent four years battling a Democratic-run legislature in a state far more “blue” than Arkansas will ever be – Maryland. Yet Ehrlich managed to balance his budgets and improve his state without a single tax increase.
So perhaps is Tax-Hike Mike chose to listen to his critics, rather than accuse them of ungodly callousness, his record wouldn’t have been so terrible. Then again, that kind of humility might have led him to reconsider running for President with such little foreign policy experience.
I’m not worthy of anyone’s clergy or ministry, but pride is still a sin, isn’t it?