Huckabee Is No Better Than the Rest of the Pathetic GOP Pygmies

News & Politics
This post, written by Howie Klien, originally appeared on Down With Tyranny!

I woke up a little late this morning and flicked on CNN while I was getting myself together. Mike Huckabee had just joined Wolf Blintzer for a chat. Until last week, when a poll of likely Republican caucus goers in Iowa-- a subset of bigots, rubes and superstitious kooks who don't deserve to influence the outcome of a vote for anything past Miss Sioux City-- showed Huckabee catching up with Mitt Romney in the pointless race for the GOP nomination (at least in Iowa), no one was taking Huckabee seriously. Well wrestlers and professional clowns were.

Last week respected Arkansas Times journalist Max Brantley did an excellent Huckabee expose at Salon, The Dark Side of Mike Huckabee. The subtitle gives it away: "The national media seems to have a crush on our ex-governor, but here in Arkansas, we know better." Huckabee's main goal on CNN this morning was to come across as a friendly, common sense outsider with an easy sense of humor who wants to go to Washington to clean it up. Sounds familiar.

But in Arkansas people know him as an untrustworthy, vicious and distinctly unfriendly purveyor of hard partisan politics. And an incompetent. Even allies call him "petty," "vindictive," and "thin-skinned," and the many who do not admire him, like Brantley, go much further. In his very first campaign (1992), a failed run for the U.S. Senate, "Huckabee revealed an enduring weakness as glaring as that other Arkansas governor's fondness for women. Huckabee seems to love loot and has a dismissive attitude toward ethics, campaign finance rules and propriety in general. Since that first, failed campaign, the ethical questions have multiplied."
After he became governor in 1996, he raked in tens of thousands of dollars in gifts, including gifts from people he later appointed to prestigious state commissions.
In the governor's office, his grasp never exceeded his reach. Furniture he'd received to doll up his office was carted out with him when he left, after he'd crushed computer hard drives so nobody could ever get a peek behind the curtain of the Huckabee administration.
Until my paper, the Arkansas Times, blew the whistle, he converted a governor's mansion operating account into a personal expense account, claiming public money for a doghouse, dry-cleaning bills, panty hose and meals at Taco Bell. He tried to claim $70,000 in furnishings provided by a wealthy cotton grower for the private part of the residence as his own, until he learned ethics rules prevented it. When a disgruntled former employee disclosed memos revealing all this, the Huckabee camp shut her up by repeatedly suggesting she might be vulnerable to prosecution for theft because she'd shared documents generated by the state's highest official.
And liberals aren't the only ones who distrust and dislike Huckabee. He bristled, if only momentarily, when Blintzer asked him about his humane stance on the children of undocumented workers. Humane stances are not what the Republican Iowa caucus goers have been told they are looking for. Huckabee desperately wants to come across as a conservatove with conservatove positions. The Club For Growth views him warily as a big-spending, government-expanding phony. While governor of Arkansas, he raised taxes for schools, highways and children's health, expanding the role of government-- all no-no's for the hard line conservatives. And he's been a model of right-wing hypocrisy when it comes to the social agenda espoused by the non-millionaire end of the far right coalition, 100% homophobic but willing to be bought off by the purveyors of other "vices."

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