Friday, June 30, 2006

Mike Huckabee Seeks Gay Foster Parent Ban

Governor Mike Huckabee called for a ban on gay foster parents today and boy are the liberals mad!

BSR

Mike Huckabee And The 'Wal-Mart Voter'

Political pollster John Zogby, armed with polling data showing a high correlation between frequency of Wal-Mart shopping and voting preferences, has begun talking about a powerful new voting bloc he calls "the Wal-Mart voter.” According to Zogby, the Wal-Mart voter is the new must-have constituency -- like soccer moms and NASCAR dads in recent elections.

Granted, says Ryan Sager of Real Clear Politics, Wal-Mart voters' politics have less to do with shopping at Wal-Mart than who these people are. Fifty-seven percent of Southerners say they shop at Wal-Mart regularly, according to a recent Pew survey. Wal-Mart shoppers are also disproportionately rural and suburban.

Zogby is definitely on to something, says Sager, because weekly Wal-Mart shoppers make up about one-fifth of the U.S. population.

The Wal-Mart voters share a number of characteristics: they are largely Southern, rural, lower-middle-class, female, socially conservative -- not big fans of tax cuts, but huge fans of government programs.

When Pew looked at the opinions of those pro-government conservatives, it also found that 94 percent favor a higher minimum wage, and 63 percent favor the government guaranteeing health care to all citizens.

Why do we bring this to your attention?

Because we believe Governor Mike Huckabee, if he runs for president in 2008, stands to benefit substantially from the rise of the Wal-Mart voter bloc – and not because Arkansas is Wal-Mart’s world headquarters. Consider the following:

1) Wal-Mart voters are Southern and rural – so is Mike Huckabee.

2) Wal-Mart voters are typically lower-middle-class – Mike Huckabee grew up the same way in Hope, Arkanas (yes, that Hope). He tells a story about how he had to learn how to sit at the head table when he became Governor. “I have more in common with the folks in the kitchen than at the head table,” he says.

3) Wal-Mart voters are socially conservative – according to the Washington Post, “no one has a resumé to match Huckabee's when it comes to courting voters whose first voting priorities are abortion and gay marriage.”

4) Wal-Mart voters are big fans of government programs – Mike Huckabee, who grew up poor and is also a former Southern Baptist Minister, knows that government programs are the lifeline for many, many families on the edge of poverty. He insists that faith should guide how government helps Americans struggling to make ends meet.

5) 94% of Wal-Mart voters favor a higher minimum wage – Just this year (2006) Mike Huckabee went against the Republican party establishment and risked his political future to raise Arkansas’ minimum wage. Because it’s the right thing to do.

6) 63% of Wal-Mart voters favor government guaranteeing health care – Mike Huckabee’s proudest moment, he says, was the day he created ARKids First, a terrifically successful health care program designed to help ensure every hard-working person in Arkansas can provide quality health care for their families. And as chairman of the National Governor’s Association, he has taken the lead in fighting Congress to stop drastic cuts in Medicaid that would threaten the care of millions of elderly and disabled people.

7) If the Democrats had been able to carry just a few Southern states in 2000 and 2004 (all Al Gore needed in 2000 was his home state of Tennessee), they would have won the election. To keep the White House, the GOP must keep the Southern states together.

We submit to you that Mike Huckabee is the ONLY candidate who can do that.

BSR

Welcome NPR Listeners

Welcome NPR listeners! We're pleased to have you here. Please take some time to learn more about Gov. Mike Huckabee and why he's not such a "long shot" after all.

Click HERE. And don't miss all the info in our side bar as well.

BSR

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Huckabee In Demilitarized Zone

Govenor Mike Huckabee, on a two week economic development trip around the Pacific Rim, visited U.S. soldiers in the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea on Saturday. The visit had a profound impact on him, Huckabee said.

"Nothing grabs your attention quite like a warning that the area you are entering has minefields as one of the hazards of straying off the beaten path."

After being carefully briefed on the agreed-upon protocols between the North and South, Huckabee was taken to the "negotiation building," where the armistice was hammered out and where current meetings over major violations are conducted. The United Nations flag sits at one end of this table and no one except the South Korean Special Forces Guard is allowed to stand at that end. Also, no one is allowed to sit in any of the chairs at this table. The military demarcation line actually splits this table lengthwise down the middle.


"I would occasionally find us quiet, staring out the windows, reminded again that freedom, our liberty, is worth the effort, is worth the immense cost of young lives, and should never, ever be taken lightly."

When visitors from the South Korean side are allowed into this room, the door at the North Korean end is double dead-bolt locked to prevent any possible problems. What kind of problems, you ask?

A few years back, North Korean (NK) troops waited outside this door until they heard a South Korean guard securing it. The NK soldiers yanked the door open and attempted to drag the South Korean guard into the North Korean territory. As a result of that incident, the safety procedures now dictate that one South Korean guard will stand at a corner of the wall next to the door and place one hand on the corner, in order to brace himself, while the other hand grasps the belt of the guard assigned to lock the door.

This procedure is repeated so often that the paint has been worn from the wall. "The faded paint serves as a real reminder of the seriousness of the situation and the place where we stood," Huckabee said (see picture, above).

Huckabee finished the day spending time with our young soldiers, who impressed him very much. "These people are there for many personal reasons, probably as many different reasons as you could ever possibly imagine. Yet they all share one overriding reason for their service," he said.

"It is their patriotism and their belief that freedom and liberty are worth having, worth fighting for, and if necessary, worth dying for. I could have sat with these young men and women for hours, listening to them tell their stories, talk of their lives and share their goals. We laughed, joked and all had experiences to share, and yet I would occasionally find us quiet, staring out the windows, reminded again that freedom, our liberty, is worth the effort, is worth the immense cost of young lives, and should never, ever be taken lightly."

For the entire account of the visit to the DMZ, click HERE.

BSR

Monday, June 26, 2006

New 2008 Campaign Link

We found a very nice new 2008 campaign blog called Race 4 2008. Check it out HERE.

BSR

Huckabee Headed Back To Iowa

Governor Mike Huckabee is headed back to Iowa when he returns from the Pacific Rim. This will be his 8th trip to the state since November 2004 -- the most of any prospective 2008 presidential candidate. Details are still sketchy, but we hear Huckabee plans to be in the state for at least three full days.

BSR

Friday, June 23, 2006

National Journal: Huckabee Steady In Top 5 For 2008

National Journal has its latest 2008 candidate rankings out, keeping Mike Huckabee in the top five. The top four are John McCain, Mitt Romney, George Allen and Rudy Guiliani/Newt Gingrich (tie).

Here's what National Journal's Chuck Todd, with the help of Hotline's Marc Ambinder, has to say about Huckabee:

"Did you know that 75 percent of self-identified evangelicals in South Carolina are Southern Baptists? That won't help Huckabee in Iowa, where the plurality of ID'd evangelicals are Lutherans of one type or another. But Eric Woolson, a highly regarded public face for his PAC, will help -- as will just about any speech he gives and any time he spends with a national media that adores him. We've been rough on Huckabee for his lack of staff hirings, but he's showing real signs of real organizing."

As always, Chuck, we appreciate the real and intellectual analysis you and Marc bring to the whole 2008 rankings circus. As for the slow start you perceive in Huckabee's organizing effort, please bear in mind that he is a man of his word. The Governor said he fully intends to continue doing his job as Governor on behalf of the people of Arkansas and that is what he is doing.

He continues working every day on things like securing tax cuts, economic development, and education for Arkansans. Yes, we wish he was more active in pursuing the presidency right now too, but we also can't fault him for doing the job at hand.

On the upside, look at how well he's done in the 2008 sweepstakes to this point with far less effort than any of the other front-runners. We continue to believe that, once Huckabee turns his attention fully to 2008, his rise will nothing short of meteoric.

Warmest regards,

BSR

Welcome Visitors


A special welcome to those of you visiting from South Korea.

Governor Mike Huckabee will be in South Korea on Friday for a meeting with Alexander Vershbow, the U.S. ambassador to Korea, and a lunch with Lee Hee-Beom, president of the Korea International Trade Association. We've noticed many visitors coming to the blog from South Korea this morning, so a special welcome to you!


BSR

Mike Huckabee: Inspiration To Others

Here's another person saying "thank you" to Governor Huckabee for inspiring her to make the necessary changes in her life to successfully battle obesity. Abbe Buck, a Washington DC public relations specialist, says she owes Mike Huckabee "a great big Hooah!"

We provide a short excerpt of her post below, but be sure to check the above link to her full post with before and after pictures.

Memorandum

From: Abbe Buck[PR]

To: Joe Quinn, Policy Director for State of Arkanas, Gov. Mike Huckabee

cc: (undisclosed recipients)

"fyi* Hey, Joe, as you know, I was given a death sentence in August, 2005. I was told that if I did not lose some of my girth, I would be sentenced to a wheelchair. To me that equivalates DEATH. I potentially need a full (two) knee replacement and was too FAT to get one. On November 11, 2005 I gave up all SUGAR, FLOUR and REFINED FOOD cold turkey. I simply did what GOV Mike Huckabee is doing, and will do it for the rest of my life."

"...Mike Huckabee's approach of "Quit digging your grave with a Knife and Fork" is a need in our life and times. ...I lost 88 lbs in 7 mos. I have 88 to go..."

Congrats, Abbe!

BSR

Huckabee's Announces Education Program With Taiwan



Governor Mike Huckabee has announced an agreement between Arkansas and Taiwan for a unique teacher exchange program. For details, click HERE.

BSR

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Tom Curry, MSNBC: 'Huckabee Makes Powerful Impression'

With Gov. Mike Huckabee in the Pacific Rim for the next several days on an economic development trip, we thought we'd spend some time revisiting some posts you may not have have seen. Here's one from March, 2006 in which MSNBC's Tom Curry describes Huckabee's speech at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference:

Tom Curry, National Affairs writer for MSNBC, attended Governor Huckabee's speach at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference earlier today and had the following to say about it:

"Huckabee made a powerful impression in his speech Saturday. 'Let the Democrats say what they will about the war on terrorism, I'd still rather fight the war in Baghdad than Boston any day of the week,' the Arkansas governor declared."

"Activists seemed on the edge of their seats during Huckabee's speech as the Baptist minister, speaking without notes, wove in his life story. All of the activists MSNBC’s David Shuster interviewed afterwards who’d never before seen Huckabee in person said they thought his address was the best of the contenders’ speeches in its style and delivery."

Just wait, America. Your turn to see and hear Mike Huckabee is coming. You're going to love him.

BSR

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

The Club For Growth Lies About Huckabee

You know, its sad, but there is just no other way to say this: Andrew Roth at The Club For Growth is telling lies about Mike Huckabee.

Roth sees that Huckabee is becomming a powerful force in the upcoming presidential election and he doesnt like it because Huckabee doesn't subscribe to The Club Growth's demands that politicians robotically make all decisions based only only on fiscal rationale. Roth thinks it is wrong, for example, to investigate and punish people who price gouge the victims of natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina.

The latest and most blatant lie Roth is telling is a deliberate lie of ommission. Roth is attacking Huckabee's recent calls for a tax rebate in Arkansas by saying that rebates do not stimulate the economy. But what Roth leaves out is that Huckabee is also calling for a total reform of Arkansas' tax system -- tax cuts -- so that such high surpluses do not continue to occur.

Roth read the same articles we did so he knows that Huckabee wants tax cuts. He just doesn't want his readers to know he's wrong about Mike Huckabee.

BSR

Monday, June 19, 2006

North Korean Missle Test Seems Likely


Governor Mike Huckabee is in the Pacific rim area, as a political crisis brews. Huckabee is in Taiwan today, beginning the first day of about two weeks of planned economic development meetings with political leaders and business executives in region. He plans to be in Japan later this week, as North Korea seemingly proceeds with its plans to test a long range ballistic missle capable of delivering a nuclear warhead to parts of the United States.

Despite stern warnings from the U.S., Japan, Australia and others, the North Korean government continues fueling the missile.

BSR

Friday, June 16, 2006

The Left Fears Huckabee, Continued...

Have you ever heard the old saying "Keep your friends close and your enemies even closer?" That is what is happening all around liberal activist circles with Mike Huckabee.

We want to make it clear that we do not believe for a second that Huckabee considers anybody, even far left wingers, to be enemies, but the left apparently does consider him to be one. Lefty activists are on the look-out, examining the republican field for threats to their secularist ideology and Huckabee keeps capturing their attention.

Several months ago, we began to see evidence of growing concern among liberals that Governor Mike Huckabee might run for president. Most recently, Kos from The Daily Kos, perhaps the biggest lefty blog on the net, said:

"When people look at the GOP field for 2008, they worry about McCain or Allen or even Romney. You want to know who the strongest GOP candidate would be, the one that would make me lose sleep at night? Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. The guy is a scary good politician and the more Republican voters see him around the country, the more support he'll get."

Today the "I fear Huckabee" theme continues with Michelle Goldberg, senior political reporter for Salon.com and author of a new book, Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism.

In her book, Goldberg details the "actions and intentions of the Christian right and presents a clear picture of politics under an evangelical president." At one point she describes the current "wave of fundamentalism" by saying, "...something dark is loose..." and she promotes the book by saying she "...traveled through the heartland of a country in the grips of a fevered religious radicalism: the America of our time. From the classroom to the mega-church to the federal court, she saw how the growing influence of dominionism—the doctrine that Christians have the right to rule nonbelievers—is threatening the foundations of democracy."

In a recent interview, published at the Gothamist.com, Goldberg was asked this question:

Gothamist: How will Christian nationalism play into the next presidential election? Will the GOP put up an even more evangelical candidate than Bush?

Goldberg: Well, Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee -- a former Baptist minister -- seems to be a strong possibility, and he's definitely more closely aligned with the evangelical right than Bush is.

We're praying for you, Michelle.

BSR

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Huckabee Again Calls For Tax Cuts

Governor Mike Huckabee's Arkansas will finish its fiscal year in June with at least $600 million in surplus tax dollars. A growing economy and historically high employment rates are just some of the many positive things Arkansans enjoy under Huckabee's leadership, leading to the unprecedented surplus.

For several weeks Huckabee has said he believes surplus funds should be rebated to the taxpayers. "To have $600 million beyond what the Legislature appropriated ... is really simply unjustifiable," he said.

Today Huckabee took things one step further, saying that the surplus is an in opportunity for the state's legislature to reform Arkansas' tax system. "I hope there will be a serious look, if not this year in a special session, but next year at finding ways to bring some meaningful tax reform," Huckabee said.

Any rebate or reforms must be approved by Arkansas' Democrat-controlled legislature.

BSR

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Huckabee Builds Iowa Organization

It was officially announced yesterday that Governor Mike Huckabee has hired Eric Woolson, a very well-respected consultant to direct Huckabee's effort in Iowa. Woolson owns The Concept Works, a public relations firm based in DesMoines.

According to Hershel Krustofski, operator of The Krusty Konservative, one of Iowa's top political blogs, the hiring of Woolson is "a great move" by Huckabee. "I think this is an impressive signing for the Huckabee’s kampaign, and an indication of how serious he is about his presidential aspirations," Krustofski said.

NOTE: While you're visiting Krusty's blog, go ahead and vote for Huckabee in his poll. To cast your vote, click HERE.

Woolson's bio includes experience as a leader in the fields of journalism, politics and public relations in Iowa for almost three decades. He was an adviser and Iowa communications director to George W. Bush during the 2000 presidential campaign after serving in the same roles for Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad during his final term in office.As a member of the Iowa press corps during 20 years before embarking on a public relations career, he continues to enjoy a strong reputation for honesty, hard work and goodwill among the state’s print and electronic reporters.

Krusty feels like Huckabee should be spending more time in Iowa and so do we. The good news is we hear he plans to be back in Iowa soon after he returns from his trade trip to the Pacific Rim.

Governor Huckabee IS still the Governor of Arkansas and he has made it very clear that it is his intention to finish his final term "with a bang, not a whimper." On one hand, we wish he could be out in places like Iowa more, but on the other hand we respect his committment to doing the job the people of Arkansas have elected him to do.

Onward and upward!

BSR

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Huckabee Headed to Pacific Rim

Governor Mike Huckabee announced today that he is headed to the Pacific Rim on Sunday for a two-week series of meetings with trade officials, business executives and U.S. military personnel based in the area.

According to Arkansas Business magazine, Huckabee's first stop will be Taipei, where he is expecting to finalize an education deal with the Taiwanese government. From there, he'll travel to Seoul, South Korea, where he will meet with Korean business executives and visit Arkansas military personnel stationed there.

Huckabee will then fly to Japan and visit the cities of Osaka, Tokyo and Nagoya. He said he will meet with executives of Sanyo Corp., Nucor-Yamato, Sakae Riken Kogyo, and Hino, which all have operations in Arkansas. He'll also meet with Toyota and other companies.

"... in dealing with an international business climate, every relationship that you can foster is very productive. And it's really about relationships, and building them deep and building them over a long period," Huckabee said.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Haley Barbour to Adopt Huckabee Health Programs

Haley Barbour, Governor of Mississippi, recently told the Associated Press that he intends to adopt Mike Huckabee's health improvement initiatives in Mississippi.

The reason?

“The chronic disease burden in our state dramatically increases the cost of Medicaid and Medicare. Businesses lose money because employees miss work,” Barbour said. “We know that we have tens of thousands of people who are in bad health because of their behavior.”

This fiscal year, it cost $3.8 billion to operate Mississippi Medicaid, the federal-state health insurance program for the needy, aged, blind and disabled. It covers about 748,000 people, or about one in every four Mississippians. Nationwide, chronic diseases cause 700,000 deaths a year, costing the economy $117 billion a year.

On Thursday, Barbour will be host of the Healthy Mississippi Summit, where state and national experts will discuss ways to promote nutrition and an active lifestyle. The goal is a statewide approach similar to programs already operating in Arkansas... and taking a cue from Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee - who lost 110 pounds to improve his health, after starting at 290 - Barbour says he’ll lead by example.

“A lot of people will probably judge the seriousness of the program by how the governor acts,” Barbour told The Associated Press.

Nanny state politics or fiscal responsibility?

Leaders like Haley Barbour know the difference.

BSR

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Huckabee on Foreign Policy

Here's an excerpt from an article published today in the Boston news:

Another potential presidential candidate, Republican Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas, said the governors travel under tight security, sleep at the compound in the heavily fortified Green Zone in Baghdad and often get a chance to question troops as well as military leaders. Huckabee, 50, visited in January with three other governors.

"All of us had troops there," Huckabee, who was 18 when Saigon fell in April 1975, said in an interview. "What was most valuable to me was being able to pull my own folks aside and ask, 'Are you getting equipment?'" and other questions. These tend to be cursory visits and it's an open question whether the politicians really learn very much or merely come back with their party-line views reinforced. Republicans return more upbeat than Democrats about progress in getting Iraqis to stand on their own, for example.

Huckabee said he wouldn't pretend that he has all the answers after just a few days in the region, but he spoke of the confidence he heard from Iraqis about shouldering more of the responsibilities and his conviction that U.S. troops cannot be entirely withdrawn before the end of the year. He also asserted it is shortsighted to think of governors as too provincial to handle foreign policy.

"I've been to 40 countries around the world," he said. "I deal regularly with the consulars and ambassadors who come to our state. ... My first trip to the Mideast was in 1973 when I was 18. I've been to Israel nine times."

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Dick Morris on Mike Huckabee

Political guru Dick Morris has just published an article titled "Gore and Giuliani: The Ones to Watch in 2008." But the title is a bit misleading. Morris is not suggesting that either Gore or Giuliani has much of a chance at becomming their party's nominee, but rather that the two are worth watching because of the problems they can cause for the presumptive "frontrunners" John McCain and Hillary Clinton.

Astute readers will notice that Morris quite rightly says that a Giuliani candidacy would most directly affect McCain, which would actually help the more conservative Republican candidate down the road to the nomination.

Morris says, "If Rudy runs, his challenge will most directly affect McCain, who then would have to battle for the moderate side of the party."

But even if McCain survives a Giuliani challenge, he still has a huge hill to climb. According to Morris, "since McCain is to the left of the GOP — despite his efforts to court the Right — he will inevitably face a runoff in the primaries against the great right hope, a title for which Virginia Sen. George Allen, Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, and Tennessee Sen. Bill Frist are competing. The problem is that McCain probably can’t win the Republican nomination. So the challenger who emerges from the right-wing mini-primary will probably be the nominee."

Very interesting and, we might add, exactly in line with what we've been telling readers of this blog for months. Now, which potential candidate among Allen, Romney, Huckabee and Frist catches Morris' eye the most?

"Allen is running a narrow first," says Morris, "with Romney slightly behind him. Frist will probably die early from diseases he caught running the Senate. Huckabee, a tremendous speaker with a clerical past and a galvanizing presence, could be a formidable late starter. My own bet is that Huckabee is the strongest of the field because of his platform skills."

BSR

ABC News: Gary Bauer on Mike Huckabee

Here's a great piece from ABC News' "Political Punch." They interviewed Gary Bauer, one of the leaders of the Christian conservative movement, about the 2008 election. Throughout the interview, Bauer repeatedly said what we've been telling you for months about "frontrunner" John McCain. Basically, McCain has an almost impossibly steep hill to climb to get the GOP nomination.

But thats not why we're interested in the interview. Check out what he says about Mike Huckabee.

ABC News: Political Punch

Gary L. Bauer, president of American Values, is an influential figure among Christian conservatives and in Republican politics came in to ABC News today and we asked him some special questions for Political Punch about the presidential race in 2008.

Q: Now moving on, he (McCain) gave a speech at a Liberty University, Jerry Falwell’s evangelical college and university in Lynchburg, Virginia. Do you think that did enough to make Christian conservatives either like him, or reconsider him?

A: No, I don’t think it’s nearly enough to repair the damage that I believe he wants to repair... I think people were relatively impressed by the man and by his presentation, but on a number of issues, including the marriage issue, the Senator continued to signal that he would look on the marriage issue as being a states rights problem. And I find it very hard to imagine that anybody can get the republican presidential nomination who does not support taking national action to insure that marriage remains one man and one woman.

Q: Well he is supporting a marriage amendment or a marriage law in his home state of Arizona.

A: He is and that’s very helpful.

Q: But is that too little?

A: I don’t think it’s enough

Q: So if he came out more ardently on the marriage issue and on the abortion issue you think he still could be a viable candidate among Christian conservatives?

A: I think he’s got a clearly a very steep climb here to make in order to repair a lot of damage that’s occurred over the years.

Q: What about Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) or Senator George Allen (R-VA)?

A: There’s a number of possibilities, Senators Brownback and Allen are certainly two of them. Huckabee is a long shot dark horse, but you know if there is a Republican disaster this coming November an outsider like Huckabee, somebody that’s not inside the Beltway, may be in a uniquely influential position to say these guys blew it, they forgot their values, I’m going to go in there and remind them what you all believe.

Editor's note: Hmmm. I wonder who Gary Bauer is going to support?

BSR

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

An Interview With Mike Huckabee

Here's a great interview with Governor Mike Huckabee by the Raleigh, North Carolina News & Observer. Because these articles sometimes disappear from the web, we provide an excerpted version for you below. To see the complete article, click HERE.

Even though the presidential election is not until 2008, potential candidates to succeed President Bush are already making their way around the country. When they visit the Triangle, The News & Observer will try to ask them a few questions.

Before entering politics, Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee was an evangelical Baptist minister. But Huckabee has always been a bit hard to pigeonhole.

Although a conservative Republican, Huckabee recently signed into law a minimum wage increase; his position on immigration is close to that of President Bush; and he often talks about helping the poor.

Within the past year, Huckabee has lost more than 110 pounds and is now preaching healthier lifestyles. A native of Hope, Ark. -- yes, just like Bill Clinton -- he has been governor for 10 years and now heads the National Governors Association.

The interview is part of a series of talks with potential 2008 presidential candidates as they visit North Carolina.


Q: What do Republicans need to do to hold the White House?

A: I think we have to appeal to the average American. The Republican message is one that really should be communicated to folks out there raising families and trying to pay the rent.
Sometimes, I feel like we are getting a message that is very appealing to corporate boardrooms and a room full of CPAs. But there are a lot of folks out there who are just wondering whether they will have enough gas in the pickup to get to work.
Will they be able to meet their obligations if their son breaks his arm on the playground?


Q: Do you view yourself as a pickup truck Republican?

A: I grew up blue collar, virtually no collar, quite frankly. I feel like I have never gotten that far away from my roots. I tell people I have a lot more in common with folks working in the kitchen than I do folks at the head table. I had to learn how to sit at the head table. I know how to behave back cleaning up the kitchen.

Q: Do you consider yourself more politician or preacher?

A: Neither one. I'm an evangelical Christian believer. That shapes so much of who I am and what I am about. I think that shapes my political views in a way that is sometimes difficult for people to predict. For example, I am unapologetically a conservative Republican.
But I'm not mad at anybody. And I don't have a stinger out for someone.
Because of my faith, I am not indifferent to people who are struggling and who are poor. I feel like our party needs to do a better job of being inclusive in our policies so it touches all the people in our culture, including the people who are struggling the most. Two things govern my political philosophy. One is the Golden Rule: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto to you." And the other is Scripture from Matthew chapter 25, verse 40: "Inasmuch as you have done to the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me." I feel like that gives you real good ditches to drive between.


Q: How is the war in Iraq going?

A: I was there in January and had an opportunity to visit in Iraq and Afghanistan and Kuwait. I went on to Pakistan to see the relief efforts. In talking with Arkansas soldiers, I said I don't want the official version. I want you to tell me if what you are doing here is significant and really makes a difference. I didn't find anyone who felt their time was being wasted or abused....
I could see very clear progress that is being made. The establishment of democracy is, at best, messy. It's been messy in this country. We've been at it 240 years and we are still working on getting it right. It took women 150 years in America to get the vote. The Iraqi women had it from the very first time they had a free election. Their purple fingers affirmed it.
It's too late to argue, "Should we have gone and had a different strategy going in?" The issue now is to make sure that when we leave, there is a strong beachhead of democracy that's in place and growing.


Q: How did you lose all that weight?

A: The old-fashioned way. I ate less and I exercised more. As my doctor told me, this is not rocket science. If you burn more than you consume, the weight will come off. ... For the first time in my life, I started exercising. It's something I've never done. I've run from it. Hated it. So that was a very different lifestyle for me. For a Southern boy like me, growing up in the Deep South, deep fried, I gave up fried foods, sugar, a lot of processed foods. But I find now that I don't miss them at all. I feel better than I ever felt in my life. I'll be 51 this summer, and I am doing things that I couldn't do when I was 18.

Q: Do I understand that you have sort of become the state's official nag?

A: (chuckles) I'm sure some people feel that way. I'm pretty adamant that the government shouldn't tell people what they can and cannot do. But the government should encourage good behavior. The health issue is one for me that should be front and center, not just because of a lifestyle priority, but really an economic necessity. Americans are essentially killing themselves with chronic disease driven by three behaviors: overeating, under-exercising and smoking. Those three behaviors drive chronic disease, and chronic disease drives 75 percent of America's health care costs. When you stop to think that we spend 16 percent of our GDP on health care and no other nation on earth spends more than 10 percent, what we really have is not an economic crisis at all. What we have is a health crisis. Most politicians talk about health care, which focuses on how we get and spend money on disease. It is the wrong question. What we need to be talking about is how do we create a healthier culture. We cannot spend our way out of this.

AP: Huckabee Program Leads To Better Child Health In Arkansas

Several people on the left and the right have criticized Governor Huckabee's program in Arkansas that provides parents of schoolchildren with their child's BMI score (a measurement of height/weight ratio that can indicate obesity).

But guess what? It works.

And over 70% of parents (and 100% of doctors) in the state are glad he's doing it. And now several states are following Huckabee's lead.

Here's an article from the Associated Press, published today. Because these articles sometimes disappear from the web, we provide an excerpted version for you here. For the complete article, click HERE.

Arkansas policy of weighing kids leads to better health

By JILL ZEMAN
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

It's been two years since Arkansas schools started sending letters home to parents with their children's report cards — letters telling them if their kids were fat.

Plenty of parents weren't happy. But a lot of them did something about it.

Suddenly there were more visits to the pediatrician for talks about weight problems. Fitness-class attendance is up. Diet-pill use by high schoolers is down.

And more states are following Arkansas' lead, including California, Florida and Pennsylvania, which have adopted similar programs.

Dr. Karen Young, medical director for the pediatric fitness clinic at Arkansas Children's Hospital, told of a mother upset when she got word from school that her child was overweight. The mother wanted a second opinion from Young, but in the meantime, she cut sweets from the family diet and slimmed the child down before the appointment.

"Even though she was upset with the letter and felt it was wrong, she still changed the family's lifestyle," Young said. "A lot of positive things have come out of those letters."

The letters record each child's body-mass index, the same weight-height formula used to calculate adult obesity. The first batch went out in the 2003-04 school year.

Across the state 57 percent of doctors said they had at least one parent bring in their child's letter from the school for discussion during the last school year.

Young said she's had more visits from parents seeking help for the entire family.

"I don't care what size their siblings are or their parents, everyone in the family should eat healthy and exercise," she said. "What's good for them is good for everybody."

A local TV news report on Young's clinic led Marsha Simon-Younger to enroll her 11-year-old daughter Nasirah in fitness classes. Since Nasirah joined this spring, she's felt better and is eating healthier, her mother said.

"At first, my daughter was really reluctant to go because she thought of it as a fat camp," said Simon-Younger. But once Nasirah arrived, she saw a friend from church and Girl Scouts and felt at ease.

"She has more self-esteem," and she tries different foods, the mother said. "Sometimes we might fall off the wagon, but we get right back on."

And the state has found that most parents and children are comfortable with the weigh-in program — 71 percent of parents and 61 percent of adolescents, according to a survey.

"Once they realized we didn't hand (the letters) to kids to wave around the schoolyard . . . a lot of the original concerns were alleviated," said Gov. Mike Huckabee, who has championed healthy diets after dropping more than 100 pounds himself. "This was not an invasive procedure where a child is asked to lift a shirt and be pinched with calipers."

Monday, June 05, 2006

This Is Sad

Very sad, indeed.

Fat America: A big opportunity

Overweight Americans have become our fastest-growing consumer segment. To many, that's an unpleasant surprise. To entrepreneurs, it's a market of potentially immense proportions.

By Krysten Crawford, Business 2.0 Magazine associate editor
June 5, 2006: 6:55 AM EDT

SAN FRANCISCO- There is no polite way to say this: Americans are fat, and they're getting fatter. More than 60 million Americans are obese, up from 23 million in 1980. Another 28 million are expected to join their ranks by 2013.

Forget the stereotypes: It's not just people in low-income neighborhoods who are packing on the pounds at McDonald's (Research). Researchers at the University of Iowa have found that obesity rates are rising most rapidly among urbanites who earn $60,000 or more per year.

Heretofore, the main business response to this overwhelming demographic trend has been the $49 billion weight-loss industry. But now a much broader segment of corporate America has begun to see the nation's fattening for what it is: a potentially powerful driver of consumer demand across a wide swath of the economy.

Already, greater girth is forcing American business to rethink -- albeit carefully -- the way it designs and sells everything from sofas and toilets to clothes.

The new Toyota (Research) Rav4 comes with seats up to 3 inches wider than prior models. Select Comfort, the high-end mattress maker, now sells a grand king size that's 30 percent bigger than a traditional king.

Market research firm Mintel estimates that U.S. sales of women's plus-size apparel jumped 50 percent during the past five years to nearly $32 billion. Dana Buchman, Tommy Hilfiger (Research), and Ralph Lauren (Research) now make clothes to fit larger women, and even Jessica Simpson has slapped her name on a new brand of big-bottom jeans.

Small entrepreneurs are tapping into the big business -- often for surprising reasons. Take Tim Barry: The 55-year-old management consultant had no intention of launching a company. He was just frustrated.

Several years ago, as Barry boarded a plane in Boston bound for San Francisco, he heard flight attendants discussing how they would handle an especially sensitive problem with seating. At 6-foot-1 and 365 pounds, the stout Barry and several other heavyset passengers needed seatbelt extenders—standard equipment on most airplanes to accommodate larger customers.
But there weren't enough to go around, and Barry overheard the humiliating options being considered: They might ask the bigger passengers to squeeze into a standard belt, or, if they couldn't, boot them off the flight.


Crisis was averted after airline workers found some extra belt extenders inside the terminal. But Barry didn't want to ever be put in the same situation again. He decided he would buy his own seatbelt extenders and make them part of his travel kit, along with his noise-reduction headphones and Tom Clancy novels

Barry hunted around the Web, in catalogs and travel magazines, and even at private airports. No luck. There was, it seemed to Barry, a nationwide shortage of airline seatbelt extenders on the retail market. It was then that Barry's frustration began to give way to the first whiff of an opportunity.

Barry launched Extend-Its.com from a small warehouse near his home outside Vancouver, Wash., to provide seatbelt extenders directly to the abundant numbers of people who need them. To date, Barry has shipped more than 10,000 belt extenders at $60 to $70 a pop.

And he's launched two other sites, Scale-It.com and SuperSizeWorld.com, to sell household supplies and hard-to-find convenience items for heavyset customers: $20 Hangerzillas that hold coats weighing as much as 100 pounds, high-capacity scales and extra-large plush bath towels that go for $60 apiece.

This year, Barry expects to hit $1 million in sales. "I've done nothing but Google ads," he says. "The demand is there, and the market is wide open."

While Barry and several other retailers sell household convenience items, Aitan Levy is making the same kind of bet with bathroom fixtures, another market that big business has been slow to adapt for the obese.

The owner of a small plumbing manufacturer based outside Los Angeles, Levy had heard people complain for years that standard toilet seats are too small, uncomfortable, and fragile for stout customers.

So three years ago he designed the Big John Toilet Seat, a 19-inch throne made of reinforced plastic, and started making the seats himself. In the first two months, he sold about 2,000 at $88 apiece, and he has since rolled out a newer $170 model and added a $160 open-front version.

Demand has doubled over the last six months. "All you have to do is look around to see that people are bigger," Levy says. "But where are all the products and services?"

The opportunities, in short, seem about as unlimited and surefire as these things get. "I just don't see how I can lose," Barry says. "...once you get past a certain weight, you're probably not going to lose it. You'll be my customer for life."

Editor's note: Obesity is killing America and destroying our children's financial future. Mike Huckabee knows how to motivate America to do something about it.

BSR

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Huckabee Speaks To North Carolina Rebublicans

From WREG TV Memphis:

Huckabee: 'Keep the Faith'

NEW BERN, N.C. Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee knows what it's like to be in a red state with a Democrat-controlled legislature. That made the two-term Arkansas governor a good fit to speak at the North Carolina Republican Convention today in the historic town of New Bern, once that state's capital city when North Carolina was a British colony.

Both North Carolina and Arkansas went to President Bush in 2004, but have Democratic-controlled Legislatures. Huckabee's advice to candidates was simple: Stay true to the message.

He said Republicans should continue to remind people what their principles are. According to Huckabee, people want a government that solves problems.

Among the principles he cited were dedication to keeping taxes low, upholding a strong family, being pro-life and keeping neighborhoods safe. But Huckabee also said that how those principles are addressed was important too. He said Republicans should speak to folks at the dinner table, not in the boardroom -- people who are looking to get ahead, buy homes and send their children to college.

Huckabee, the current chairman of the National Governors Association, said he was considering the idea of running for president in 2008. He said the country needs people with experience in getting things done and governors tend to have that experience. But he said he doesn't plan to make a decision before he leaves office at the end of the year.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Huckabee In The Top 5

UPDATED

Just a year ago, almost no one knew Mike Huckabee was. Now he consistently ranks among the top 5 contenders for the GOP nomination in the opinion of most major journalists and bloggers. The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza publishes "The Friday Line" again today, which again contains Huckabee among the top 5.

We said before that we sure hope Cillizza is right, because if he his Huckabee should start planning his inaguration. Here is Cilliza's other top four candidates and why we think Huckabee is the one to beat:

Senator George Allen (VA) -- A fine man, we're sure. But he's a Senator and Senators have a dismal record in presidentail races. Too many votes that can be picked apart.

Rudy Guiliani -- He may be running for president, but he has virtually no chance of winning the GOP nomination. Guiliani, great leader and 911 hero that he is, believes gay marriage is OK, supports gun control, and pushes pro-choice positions. Becoming the GOP nominee? Ain't. Gonna. Happen.

Senator John McCain (AZ) -- He also has the "Senator problem," only a worse case of it. He has many, many thousands more votes than just about any other Senator to pick apart. He also has a billion hours of face-time on every show in America in which he has said many, many, things he wishes he never said. His "maverick" reputation is also just a code word for what many in the GOP base consider traitorous abandonment. McCain is good on the stump and will be a tough contender, but in the end we think the "Senator problem" does him in again.

Governor Mitt Romney (MA) -- Romney is a polished politician and strong leader. Trouble is, he leads the most liberal state in the nation. How did a Republican become Governor of the most liberal state in the nation? Well, he supported pro-choice positions for one thing. But now, all of the sudden and totally coincidentally to his consideration of running for President, his views on abortion have "evolved." Sorry, but nobody likes to be played by a flip-flopper, especially one who does it on THE issue for a vast number of social conservatives.

UPDATE: Blogger Daniel Mount at Conservative Culture agrees that if Cillizza is right about the top 5, the choice is simple, saying "Huckabee is the only true social conservative of the five."
BSR

Huckabee Launches 'Hope For America' PAC

We told you about this a while back, but today it's official. According to US Newswire:

LITTLE ROCK, Ark., June 2 /U.S. Newswire

Governor Mike Huckabee (AR) has changed the name of his political action committee from Healthy America to Hope for America, it was officially announced today.

While transforming health care will remain one of his top priorities, Huckabee said the name change reflects his "broader focus."

"America has a health care crisis, which has enormous implications for our society and our ability to compete globally," said Huckabee, who has served as governor of Arkansas for nearly 10 years.

"We wanted to make sure that people know that there is also a strong focus on other matters, including reforming education, improving national security, and a commitment to the environment and energy independence, to name a few," he said.

The new 'Hope for America' political action committee allows Huckabee to continue to accept funds for his political activities, which include "helping Republican candidates, causes and organizations." Huckabee, who succeeded to the governor's office in 1996 and was elected in 1998 and re-elected in 2002, was born and raised in Hope, AR.

As the No. 2 most senior governor in the United States, Huckabee said he is committed to keeping Republican majorities in Congress and in governor's seats. "There are 36 governor's races this year. Keeping our majority there is absolutely critical to our Party's future," he said.
His visits to Iowa, New Hampshire, North Carolina, South Carolina and other states are designed to highlight his commitment to "keep the G.O.P. moving forward as we head into the important 2006 mid-terms," he said.

This Saturday, Huckabee will be the keynote luncheon speaker at the North Carolina GOP Convention in New Bern.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Other Bloggers On Mike Huckabee

Blogger Shadi Hamid at Democracy Arsenal has recently discovered Mike Huckabee, saying:

"I just discovered Mike Huckabee, the governor of Arkansas. I now declare Mr. Huckabee to be my favorite Republican evangelical...Mike Huckabee is riding the wave of authenticity and, unlike many – dare I say – Democrats, it seems relatively uncontrived."

Welcome to Huckabee Nation, Shadi!

BSR