In a move conveniently timed for his run for the White House and the January 29th Florida Primary, Mike Huckabee has changed his position on the U.S. embargo of Cuba:
MIAMI — As governor of Arkansas five years ago, Mike Huckabee joined a bipartisan chorus of politicians who concluded that the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba was bad for businesses. Now that he’s a top-tier candidate for president, Huckabee has decided he favors the embargo — so much so that he vowed Monday to outdo even President Bush in strangling the regime of Cuban President Fidel Castro and punishing those who do business there.
It was a change of heart sure to please hard-liners among the Cuban exiles who could make up 10% or more of the electorate in Florida’s crucial Jan. 29 Republican primary. But it also reflected the latest move by a once-obscure candidate now grappling with how to transform a burst of momentum into a sustainable bid for the White House.
And as if the blatant change in position itself weren’t enough, Huckabee pretty much acknowledges that the main reason for his new opinion on the Cuba embargo is the fact that he’s running for President:
Huckabee all but acknowledged the political expediency of his shifting views as he stood Monday in a Cuban restaurant in Miami and explained why he wrote a letter to Bush in 2002 describing how the Cuba trade embargo was hurting Arkansas rice growers.
“Rather than seeing it as some huge change, I would call it, rather, the simple reality that I’m running for president of the United States, not for reelection as governor of Arkansas,” he said. “I’ve got to look at this as an issue that touches the whole country.”
And specifically that part of the country that happens to be holding a primary in January.
As the Times points out, this isn’t the only issue where Huckabee has changed his position since beginning his run for the White House:
Huckabee’s Cuba flip-flop comes just days after he released a new, hard-line plan on illegal immigration described as “radical” by some of the same immigrant-rights advocates who once lauded him for more liberal views. As governor, Huckabee supported in-state college tuition for children of illegal immigrants and stood up for illegal workers caught in a raid of a meatpacking plant. Now he wants all illegal immigrants to return to their native countries within 120 days.
It’s that whole political reality thing again, isn’t it Mike ?