Thursday, August 31, 2006

Huckabee No Longer a "Dark Horse"?

National Journal has moved Governor Mike Huckabee up from his long-held number 5 ranking in their list of top tier candidates for President in 2008. The move was made in the wake of Sen. George Allen's ill-fated remarks last month that many considered racist.

Huckabee is now ranked number 4 behind Sen. John McCain, Gov. Mitt Romney, and Rudy Giuliani.

Huckabee is doing so well that National Journal hints they may be preparing to be the first to drop the "dark horse" lable that has thus far defined his candidacy saying: "This "dark horse" has gotten so much attention it's hard to see him as a come-from-nowhere stallion."

We could not be more pleased with Gov. Huckabee's position in this race. For a man who has yet to formally announce his candidacy, and who has not yet even begun a serious effort, he is doing very, very well.

A quick analysis of the field in front of Huckabee reveals the true potential of his candidacy. John McCain has well-publicized problems with the base of the Republican party. Mitt Romney is a talented politician, but not even he will be able to successfully spin his astoundingly liberal record. And finally, Rudy Guiliani has universal name recognition, but most Americans are unaware that he is pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage, and anti-gun.

Governor Mike Huckabee is the ONLY proven compassionate conservative- both socially and fiscally- in this race. Once the mid-term elections are over -and the MSM turns its full attention on 2008--Huckabee's star will rise. Quickly.

You heard it here first!

BSR

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Huckabee Undergoes Scan

Updated: Now with tons of links!

National Journal's Marc Ambinder and Jonathan Martin are conducting a series of "MRI" scans (they call them "H-MRIs") of potential Presidential candidates to "cut to the bone to assess candidates' records and tease out the interplay of policy and politics in their lives."

Yesterday was Mike Huckabee's turn. This ran in The Hotline this week.

Overall we think they did a really good job. Because these things sometimes disappear from the Web over time, we're providing the full text of their assessment below, with some editorial comments and emphasis from us, which you find marked in blue.

To see the article in its original form, click HERE.


HUCKABEE: The Sam's Club Candidate?

To movement conservatives assessing the crop of '08 candidates, Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AR) is an attractive, though beguiling bundle of unorthodoxies. But if he gets through the primaries and becomes the party's nominee, he could be a nightmare for Democrats desperately trying to regain the mantle as the party of the working class.

Democrats talk about improving public health; Huckabee can say that he's done it. Democrats talk about raising the minimum wage; Huckabee signed a law that makes his state's the highest in the region.

First things first. Nat'l reporters covering Huckabee have begun to notice what AR reporters - and many conservative activists - have known all along. It's hard to stereotype the guy. Like another AR governor of recent vintage, The Huck, as he is known by some media wags back home, is not anchored by ideology.

His Anti-Bush/Washington Schtick?

Huckabee conceded he had a "visceral" - and he did not mean positive - reaction to NSA data mining of phone records. He worries that there is some "racism" among those who angrily oppose guest worker programs. He concedes a human role in warming the earth and a human responsibility to steward it. And that is just in the past few months.

He is quick to mention how he supports the public schools. He opposes same-sex marriage and believes government should affirm the primacy of heterosexual marriage, but he's uncomfortable with a constitutional amendment that would "ban" same-sex marriage -- he'd rather see one affirm something, rather than ban something else.

While he supports the reduction of capital gains tax rates, he's contemptuous about a presidential platform based upon a Beltway issue like that. "I didn't grow up a child of privilege," he told reporters at an informal lunch gathering last spring. "If you've grown up like more Americans have, you have an understanding that there are some people out there that, at the end of the day, are really wondering how they're gonna pay the rent tomorrow, and for them, it's not a big discussion about marginal tax rates and capital gains reduction."
"...if the base is more pragmatic ... and if the evangelist for this cause is a pastor himself, Huckabee may become the most electable conservative."

Last year, as oil prices reached record levels and as Wal-Mart, Arkansas's pride and joy, contemplated raising prices to cushion the blow to its profit margins, Huckabee blasted oil companies. "Market forces," he said, are "one thing." But the companies are "stealing from absolutely the poorest people." When people are suffering, he said, "there's no excuse" for windfall profits.

Is Huckabee a populist?

He is certainly not a traditional small-government conservative; he appears to believe that government has an affirmative and unquestionable duty to protect the most vulnerable. At the same time, he seems to have a reflexive distaste for bigness and centralized power, be it in the executive office of the president, in corporations or with government. But that wariness does not extend to his pet issue: public health.

Friends and opponents look to 2002 as the year that changed Huckabee's outlook on politics and life. Like another Arkansas governor, the closest Huckabee's political peril in the state had much to do with his spouse, Janet. Never wildly popular, her run for Sec/State that year was savaged by Republicans in the state, and the relentless media coverage dragged down the governor's popularity and nearly threw own his re-election chances into jeopoardy. Janet Huckabee lost handily; Gov. Huckabee barely won. (Editorial note: Huckabee won 53% to 47%).

The experience -- he called it a slow-passing kidney stone -- upended his perspective on politics. He became more aggressive with the state legislature. He began to insert himself into political debates that a pre-'02 Huckabee would have avoided. Personally, the bruise of the race was slow to heal. A few months later, Huckabee was diagnosed with diabetes and started a medical weight loss program.

Born-Again

He lost 100 pounds and has kept it off, and he's become an evangelist for healthier living - a crunchy conservative with his own recopies of granola. He worries openly about epidemics of childhood obesity and Type 2 diabetes. Chubby children (and skinny children) now get weighed in state schools. (Editorial note: This innovative program, which confidentially provides childrens' Body Mass Index - or BMI- scores to their parents, is often misrepresented by opponents who want to paint Huckabee as a nanny-statist. The facts are that BMI scores do not appear on report cards. Children are weighed and measured separately from one another and not even the child being weighed sees his or her BMI score. The information is mailed to the parents with very general recommendations for actions the parent should consider taking based upon the score. Overall, parents and Doctors in the state are very supportive and pleased and the program has recently been credited with stopping the exploding growth rate of obesity in Arkansas while it continues unabated in other states.)

Huckabee and Bill Clinton brokered a deal to get soda machines out of public schools. They're working with food manufacturers and grocers on other agreements. An Arkansas newspaper (Editorial note: this isnt a "newspaper.") blasted him as a Nanny State governor for suggesting that a ban on women smoking while pregnant - even if unenforceable -- was worth looking at. Said Huckabee: "There are a lot of things pregnant women shouldn't do. The point is, if you're going to make that against the law, you're probably going to have to extend it to all the other things that are equally unhealthy for the child." (Editorial note: The idea of banning smoking among pregnant women was floated by an Arkansas legislator, not Huckabee. Huckabee merely said that while he knows it isn't possible, he'd welcome it, partly because of his health improvement goals and partly because of his strong pro-life and children's health views.)

Huckabee signed into a law a bill that prohibits smoking at most restaurants and bars. He's raised the state's cigarette tax. The "populist" label doesn't fit Huckabee in another important sense: he is not a majoritarian who sways to the passions of the populace -- or even to the activists who set expectations for the Republican voting base. (Editorial note: In other words, he's a leader.)

Huckabee, who supports guest worker programs and is not an immigration hard-liner, said he believes opposition to comprehensive immigration reform was "irrational in many cases." And he did not discount the causative factor of racism. (Editorial note: Huckabee opposes illegal immigration and supports deportation for illegal immigrants who are caught here. However, he insists that they be treated humanely and with human dignity. Especially the children. Huckabee also strongly supports improving border security and was among the very first Governors to respond to the President's request for National Guard troops to aid in border security.)

Always A Preacher Man

Huckabee is a former Southern Baptist minister and counts as a core belief the fallibility of man. He proclaims himself "pleased" that evangelical leaders are beginning to focus more on climate change and poverty. "People are waking up to the fact that if we're going to be true to our faith and believe that God is the creator of the earth and we are manager and steward an taking care of it, we've done a lousy job of really taking care of it."

Asked directly if he believes humans caused global warming, Huckabee says that while he is "not a scientist," he thinks "we ought to act as if that is the case. There is never a downside when it comes to conserving national resources."

As he explores these issues, he is largely short on solutions. But he is quick to say that he does not believe that "government is the answer to most problems. I think people are." But he does like to use government to achieve conservative ends. "I certainly am not ashamed or afraid that we need to be addressing a lot of issues that Republicans historically have ignored," he said.

A Republican And His Taxes

About Gov. Huckabee, the Club for Growth, which aims to be a gatekeeper interest group in 2008, is adamant. The group's leaders in Washington do not like him. He's the only person with his own category on the Club's blog. (Editorial note: Because they know how strong he's going to be, and he doesn't subscribe to their heartless "lets cut Medicaid and health programs for poor children" mentality.)

They point out that the state's per capita income is, by some measures, the second lowest among 50 states. They say he raised taxes five times -- a gas tax increase in 1999, the cigarette tax hike, tax increases in '2004, a tax on beer and a tax on nursing homes. (Editorial note: the nursing home tax is a federal matching program that is being applied in as many as 30 states.).

Huckabee's defenders say his record as a tax-cutting governor is unmatched in the state's history, which is true. During his first two years, he and the Dem legislature cut taxes across the board. They increased the standard deduction for all filers, doubled child care credits, removed the so-called "marriage penalty" in states, indexed the income tax to inflation, eliminating bracket creep. In 1999, he pushed through reform of the state's messy property tax laws. He's also trimmed discretionary spending (which was fairly painless, thanks to growing income from the income taxes. And he says he'll entertain ideas to give back portions of a projected $600M budget surplus this year.

But it's very hard to cast him in the mould of a reflexive anti-taxer. He defends a gas tax increase by noting that an overwhelming majority of Arkansans supported it and he, the governor, makes no apology for fixing the state's dilapidated roadways. (Editorial note: Huckabee inherited a state with a horribly neglected infrastructure, partly because citizen's never trusted their leaders with a multi-billion reconstruction effort. Where his predecessor failed to get voters' approval to fix the roads, Huckabee succeeded in a special election to win permission to launch a $5 billion + highway and bridge reconstruction project, which was completed successfully, taking Arkansas from having among the nations worst highways to among the best.)

In 1996, just months after he came into office, Huckabee championed a state constitutional amendment that aimed to levy a small (1/8th of a cent) conservation tax to help the environment. He later summed up the lesson he learned. "Arkansas proved to me in November 1996 that they don't mind paying reasonable taxes if they understand how the money is being spent and can see a return on their investment." (Editorial note: The conservation tax has proven to be highly popular among Arkansans because it has created many new state parks, repaired and provided amenities to others, and has created a tourism boom in the state.)

Too Much Like Clinton?

Indeed, Arkansans are a confounding lot to pigeonhole. And it is important to understand the state to understand the man. Perhaps most importantly, the Natural State is a small one. It has really just one city, one significant university and one sizable daily newspaper. Folks tend to know each other or at least have mutual friends regardless from where in the state they hail from. This is particularly true among the political class. Leaf back through Bill Clinton's "My Life" and you get a sense for this proximity.

Now instead of a young, shaggy-haired, Ivy League, anti-war liberal whose greatest claim to fame was running Texas for McGovern in '72, imagine a candidate who graduated from an in-state Baptist college, was an ordained Baptist minister and had taken a turn running the state's Baptist Convention. One is recalled as a unifying force to Baptist Arkansans. One who hosted a religious-oriented TV show.

The political connections - the familiarity - were instantaneous for Huckabee. But, unlike Clinton, he was not somebody who dreamt and angled his whole life to be in a place from where he could run for president. His pragmatism, however, cannot be completely chalked up to apolitical principles he brought over with him from church to state. Having lost to iconic Sen. Dale Bumpers (D) in 1992 in his first campaign for office, Huckabee learned something else about the state as important as its small size: its Democratic traditions ran deep.

He's only known a Democratic legislature and has governed in a way that reflects that. Bragging to an in-state reporter this summer, Huckabee declared the Republican leadership had "brought ideas" and "made changes" to the state. But they've only been able to implement those ideas and challenges by working with the opposition party. And helping his cause, he's picked issues that played to the state's conservative and populist traditions. Huckabee's governing principle has been consensus not combat. An accidental governor who's gotten elected twice on his own, he's not sought to overturn his state's political order.

Not Your Usual Arkansas Republican

Then again, Huckabee is from Hope, not from Northwest Arkansas, where the party's financial and foot-soldier base lives. And he was bumped into office after a few years as LG and a life in the pulpit. He wasn't a party hack and has not seen fit to spend much of his time developing the party's capacity in the state. A retrospective of his first few years published by his office ticks off accomplishments like a health care insurance program for poor kids and a long-awaited streamlining of the state's car tag renewal process.

The document calls Huckabee a "progressive, reform-minded" leader. But his reticence to prejudge, through narrow partisan lenses, the contested questions of domestic policy, which sounds refreshing and open-minded, is easy for a governor. It may trip him up when he moves to the next level when quick and pithy answers are de rigueur. (Editorial note: Huckabee is one of the smartest, quickest, and pithiest people we've ever known. You need not concern yourself about his abilities in this area.)

On Iraq

At that spring lunch meeting, analyst Stu Rothenberg wondered why the American electorate would trust the presidency after Bush to a governor with no discernable resume of foreign policy or national security experience. Huckabee had anticipated the question. "For the same reason they handed it to Bill Clinton or Ronald Reagan," he said. "As I recall," interrupted Rothenberg, "Different times. Didn't 9/11 change the nature of the executive branch?" Probably, Huckabee said. "It probably tilted people toward thinking that maybe a person who had executive experience or leadership." He continued: "The point is, people want decisive leadership, even if they disagree with it. I don't think that you see people clamoring for the mindset of a legislator in times of crisis."

Editorial note: Huckabee has been widely acclaimed as a leader who is at his best during times for crisis. See for yourself here and here.

Reporters asked Huckabee whether he would have invaded Iraq, and Huckabee won't take the bait. He does allow that, had he received the same briefings and intel the president did, "I'm not sure I would have made a different decision." He is critical of the aftermath and his answers are indistinguishable from most Democrats and Republicans in Washington. He's not sure where to draw the line about American intervention overseas. As to the balance between civil liberties and counterrorism, he seems to worry about the power of a government unchecked, even in wartime. It is a classical worry of a small-state governor used to federal encroachment of state prerogatives. (Huckabee led the charge against the Defense Department's attempt to reduce the size of the National Guard.)

A Sam's Club Republican?

So Huckabee is not an ideologue. He's a social conservative with a stellar voting record who worries about seeming mean or punitive. He's a political conservative who is a functional pragmatist when it comes to economic issues.

Dare we say: he's a "compassionate conservative?" (Editorial note: No wonder The Club for Growth is so worried. He has compassion! Oh, the horror!)

Two young conservatives -- Ross Douthat and Reihaan Salam, are finishing a book called the Party of Sam's Club. They argue that the voting base of the party today is not accurately described as a collection of single-issue ideologues, be they anti-taxers, anti-regulation zealots, anti-communists or anti-abortion activists. Rather, they're working class whites who were so turned off by Democrats' cultural modernism and secularism that they've given the Republican Party the benefit of the doubt. But that benefit is diminishing and the doubt is growing. Sam's Club Republicans are, yes, Big Government Republicans, but they're not liberals.

It would recognize that "these objectives--individual initiative, social mobility, economic freedom--seem to be slipping away from many less-well-off Americans, and that serving the interests of these voters means talking about economic insecurity as well as about self-reliance.

It would mean recognizing that you can't have an 'ownership society' in a nation where too many Americans owe far more than they own. It would mean matching the culture war rhetoric of family values with an economic policy that places the two-parent family--the institution best capable of providing cultural stability and economic security--at the heart of the GOP agenda."

Is Huckabee the first candidate of Sam's Club Republicans? (Editorial note: We called them "Wal-Mart Republicans"--and yes, he is).

(Hotline examining, 8/23).

Huckabee Announces 'Landmark Data' in Health Improvement

UPDATED 8/17

Governor Huckabee held a press conference yesterday (Wed. Aug. 16) where he announced "landmark data" resulting from his nationally lauded health improvement programs in Arkansas. Governor Huckabee is the only potential candidate for President who understands the gravity of the nation's health crisis -- particularly the obesity epidemic -- which destroys lives and costs billions upon billions of dollars in preventable health care yearly.

UPDATE: "We have stopped the runaway train," Gov. Mike Huckabee said. "This is not the destination, this is the turning point."

That was the quote from Gov. Huckabee yesterday as he announced the results of his "Healthy Arkansas" program, which has among its' focuses the elimination of the epidemic of childhood obesity. The program has not only stopped the growth of obesity among Arkansas' children, but also shows a slight decrease for the first time.
"Up until now, the alarm has been going off, but no one is bringing the hose to the fire."

The results are not a one-time anomaly, state officials said, since all other sources of obesity data consistently show an upward trend.

"We want to make clear we have not resolved the issue -- we've simply stopped it from getting worse," Huckabee cautioned.

Since losing more than 100 pounds after a 2003 diabetes diagnosis, Huckabee has become an outspoken advocate of health promotion and healthcare reform. He has used his personal story to motivate people to get fit in Arkansas, which ranks fourth nationwide for obesity prevalence.

More than 9 million U.S. children over the age of six are now overweight or obese; the rate of childhood obesity has tripled since 1980. Minority children, particularly African-Americans and Hispanics, are more prone to obesity, which is associated with a higher risk of hypertension, diabetes, heart disease and a shortened lifespan.

"Up until now, the alarm has been going off, but no one is bringing the hose to the fire," Huckabee said.

For more, click HERE.

Keep it up, Governor! America needs you.

BSR

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Huckabee Back to Iowa - UPDATED

UPDATED:

We've heard that Governor Huckabee will be back in central Iowa the weekend of September 8-10. Here's the agenda:

Friday, September 8

11:45: Lunch benefit for Polly Granzow, HD 44
Ellsworth Community College
Gentle Student Center, Formal Dining Room 1100
College Ave.
Iowa Falls

2 p.m.: Fundraiser for George Eichhorn, HD 9
Home of Carl and Vicky Hokel
901 Bank Street
Webster City

6 p.m.: Ankeny Christian Academy Potluck Supper
Sandpiper Shelter
Saylorville Lake

Saturday, September 9

10:30: Community Coffee for Dan Clute, HD 59
Home of Paul and Bev Leighton
13982 Lakeview Dr.
Clive

3:30: Fundraiser for David Hartsuch, SD 41
Crown Point Community Center
Prairie View Room 6300
Pioneer Parkway
Johnston

BSR

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


National Journal's Hotline On Call had a fun video of Governor Huckabee up on their site today and it got quite a bit of attention. Wonkette and a few other blogs linked to it as well.

It shows Governor Huckabee playing bass with his band, Capitol Offense at a fundraiser this past weekend in New Hampshire. Its fun because it shows that he's not just another "stuffed suit."

Hop on over the Hotline On Call to check it out!

Click HERE.

BSR

Monday, August 21, 2006

Huckabee on Road to the White House


Here is C-SPAN's coverage of one of Governor Mike Huckabee's events in New Hampshire this past weekend. In this video, you can see:

--Huckabee's easy, natural interactions
--He never forgets a name
--People falling in love with him
--His band, Capitol Offense, performing

Huckabee's portion of the program starts at the 21:21 mark, so fast forward through Gingrich and enjoy!

Click HERE.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Great Reviews for Huckabee in New Hampshire - UPDATED

UPDATE: C-SPAN's Road to the White House will have part of Gov. Huckabee's New Hampshire trip on tonight (Sunday, August 20) at 6:30 PM ET. We'll have a link to the video posted on this blog tomorrow for those who can't catch the broadcast.

This is no surprise to those of us who know Governor Mike Huckabee, but it still fun to watch as place after place and person after person who meet him for the first time have the same reaction: "Wow."

"I think he's the breakout candidate for the 2008 GOP presidential primary...I'm seeing the reaction of people when they meet this guy, and it's amazing; they really connect with him as a person."

Gov. Huckabee just completed a 4-day, 17-stop trip around New Hampshire. Along the way, New Hampshire State Representative Casey Crane of Nashua heard Huckabee speak at the influential "Politics & Eggs" breakfast forum.

According to the Concord Monitor:

"Rep. Crane was wowed by Huckabee's manner (he's a former Baptist minister) and remarks at a Politics and Eggs breakfast forum, then talked up the Arkansas governor at subsequent stops.

'I think he's the breakout candidate' for the 2008 GOP presidential primary, she said. 'I think he's the one that no one is watching that is going to be the big surprise of the race, because he connects with people in a McCain-like fashion, with straight talk and issues that people care about. I'm seeing the reaction of people when they meet this guy, and it's amazing; they really connect with him as a person.'"

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Announcing Iowan's for Huckabee

We've been contacted by a bloggers going by the names I Like Mike and Huckabeefan in Iowa who have seen enough of Governor Huckabee to get behind him with a blog of their own.

Check out Iowans for Huckabee.

Welcome to the team, ILM!

BSR

Friday, August 11, 2006

Huckabee Back to New Hampshire - UPDATED

We've gotten word that Governor Mike Huckabee has been invited to speak to the influential "Politics & Eggs" issues forum sponsored by the New England Council and the New Hampshire Political Library on Friday (8/11) while on another swing through the state. The "Politics & Eggs series is considered a "must-stop" for every major candidate for President.

The topic will focus on the issues that will shape the next presidential election.

Other plans while in New Hampshire include Huckabee and his band performing at a Manchester fund-raiser on Aug. 10 and a cookout with the Manchester Young Republicans on Aug 13.

UPDATE: It seems New Hampshire Republicans enjoyed the concert. From the New Hampshire Union Leader:

Huckabee jams at pig roast

Hooksett – Rumored Presidential hopeful and Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee rocked Granite State Republicans last night when his band, Capitol Offense, performed at a fund-raising pig roast... click HERE for more.

Huckabee's trip to New Hampshire will continue through the weekend and include stops in Bedford, Concord, Manchester, Derry, Keene, and Hollis.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Other Bloggers on Mike Huckabee

Among the things being discussed at this weekend's meeting of the National Governor's Association in South Carolina is the trend toward legislation that would "federalize" the National Guard during times of natural disaster or terrorist threats, reversing a 200-year traditional of Governors' control of guard troops at the state level.

Governor Huckabee, as Chairman of the NGA, said: "...the move to shift control of the Guard to the president during national emergencies 'violates 200 years of American history' and is symptomatic of a larger federal effort to make states no more than 'satallites of the national government'", according to the Washington Post.

Blogger Tom Pauken at DallasBlog noticed Huckabee's remarks and says: "Gov. Huckabee has it right. This increasing centralization of power in the federal government in Washington, D.C., is in direct conflict with our Constitutional principles of limiting the power of the federal government and keeping power in the hands of the states, the local communities and the people whenever possible."

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Huckabee Touts Record on Tax Reform

COLUMBIA, S.C., Aug. 3 /U.S. Newswire

Based on the successes of tax reforms in his own state, Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee said the Senate should use the same approach for national tax issues, beginning with the elimination of the death tax. The Senate is scheduled to vote on important tax issues this week. Huckabee called for Senate passage of the relief measure before a speaking engagement today in South Carolina.

While most Democrats in the Senate support a federal minimum- wage hike and oppose the death tax cuts, and while most Republicans are taking the opposite stand, Huckabee said the Senate should support both issues. "Americans do not deserve for their estates to be bogged down in taxes, and our nation's working poor deserve a raise," he added.

Huckabee also supports President Bush's broad-based tax relief plan, which calls for the extension of tax cuts previously approved by Congress.

"These common-sense approaches to tax reform have been successful in Arkansas and other states, and now is the time to implement these proactive and progressive ideas on the national level," Huckabee said. "Congress needs to pass tax relief for all wage earners, not just the wealthiest Americans."

Reforms in Arkansas during the past decade can provide a clear road map for national leaders. During Huckabee's tenure as governor, the state has doubled the child care tax credit and eliminated the marriage penalty from the tax code; eliminated the capital gains tax on the sale of a home; indexed the state income tax to inflation to keep people from being pushed into higher tax brackets; and adopted the first broad-based tax cut in state history. Earlier this year, Huckabee signed a bill to increase the state's minimum wage from $5.15 to $6.25 an hour, the first such increase since 1997.

Texas Media on Huckabee: Austin-American Statesman

Governor Huckabee made a swing through Texas recently talking with members of the media and local clergy about his interest in running for President. Think Texans will like him?

Judge for yourself. From the Austin-American Statesman:

"Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee stopped by for a visit recently, and we asked about his triple-digit weight loss. Huckabee lost 110 pounds ('a whole person') through diet and exercise, and now he preaches a good health gospel. Even though Texas barbecue differs radically from that stuff they call barbecue in Arkansas, we couldn't help asking if smoked meat was sacrificed to the new regimen."

"'Absolutely not,' Huckabee replied. 'Barbecue is a gift from God.'"

"Amen."

South Carolina Media on Huckabee: Beaufort Gazette

The Beaufort, South Carolina Gazette had this to say about Governor Huckabee after visiting with him about health care (excerpt):

"Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, chairman of the National Governors Association, is in Charleston this weekend at the group's annual meeting, spreading the message on better healthcare and other initiatives..."

"On Wednesday he told The Greenville News that "we are essentially a very diseased people," as indicated by the 16 percent of the nation's gross domestic product that is spent on healthcare."

"...Many reasons exist for the nation's poor health: overeating, smoking and lack of exercise even though the organizations and the Wardle Family YMCA promoted the Greater Lowcountry Shrinkdown, an effort to get South Carolinians to think healthy."

"Listen when he speaks. He is like the E.F. Hutton of the healthcare world."

True, very true.

BSR

Huckabee In South Carolina

We told readers of this blog a while back that Governor Huckabee would be headed to South Carolina this weekend to lead the National Governor's Association meeting there. This is an important weekend for the Governor because South Carolina, like Iowa and New Hampshire, is a very important early primary state.

Often called the "first Southern primary," South Carolina is considered by some to be an early indicator of where the whole Southern bloc is headed. Among the things Huckabee is doing while there is helping the state pass a ban on gay marriage like did for Arkansas.

Huckabee was the keynote speaker at “A Celebration of Classic Marriage” sponsored by First Foundations Inc. and Palmetto Family Council.

Let's "show that marriage still means something," Huckabee said.

South Carolina is very heavily Baptist and very heavily social conservative. They're going to love Mike Huckabee -- bet on it.

In other interesting news, the South Carolina GOP set a date this weekend for the first scheduled GOP presidential debate -- May 15, 2007.

Mark your calendars. We can't wait.

BSR

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Dallas Morning News: Huckabee Unique Among Evangelicals

Evangelicals are broadening their reach

By William McKenzie
The Dallas Morning News

Many Americans see evangelicals as a monolithic group that opposes gay marriage and abortion and worships in the suburbs at megachurches. And many of the estimated 15 million adult evangelicals do fit this pattern, which Republican strategists searching for red-state voters are happy to see.

But when you start looking at this development over here and that one over there, you can see a new trend emerging among evangelicals. In politics and culture, this shift could have huge, and positive, consequences.

If evangelicals - who theologically emphasize personal conversions to Christ, a literal reading of Scripture and Jesus' return - begin to rethink some assumptions about how the world should work, the larger political universe will feel it.

These shifts are part of a pattern that could make evangelicals a less predictable - and stronger - force.

Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is raising his presidential flag. The Southern Baptist minister came to Dallas last week to talk with church folk, business leaders and journalists. Stopping by, he presented ideas he would emphasize if he seeks the GOP nomination in 2008.

His agenda isn't what your normal evangelical emphasizes.

For one thing, this pro-life Republican spoke at length about his concern for what happens to a child after he or she is born, not just that the child is born. Citing his passion for education and health care, the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary graduate said he would violate his faith if he did nothing about those at the bottom of society's ladder.

A Republican candidate shouldn't offend the party's conservative base, he said, but he also shouldn't shrink from challenging it. Huckabee's 10-year stint as governor shows his willingness to do that. Among other things, he passed a major health program for children and didn't veto a sales tax hike to help schools.

He has clear conservative credentials, the kind that allow him to stop by to see Texas televangelist James Robison. But Huckabee's independence is part of the branching out within evangelicalism, where you find someone like Rick Warren of ``The Purpose Driven Life'' fame pressing for attention on environmental issues.

The more this happens, the more evangelicals help themselves. Republican strategists can't take them for granted.

------------

There's more, so be sure you check the link!

BSR