The big surprise at this weekend's Iowa straw poll was the sucess of former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, who finished a strong (and surprising) second to Mitt Romney.
Writes, MSNBC's First Read: "In terms of surprises at a straw poll that Romney was destined to win, Huckabee was it. He actually received more votes than he bought, a noble feat in the straw poll ... Huckabee is now first among the second-tier candidates, and he’s making a strong case for first-tier inclusion, if only he could raise more serious money."
The rise of Huckabee should be a major concern both for Republicans (who now have another very failed candidate as their potential nominee) and for Democrats (who should be concerned whenever an extreme candidate gets a whiff of the Presidency).
NJDC has blogged extensively about Huckabee. Here are a few concerns about his record:
- In June, Huckabee issued a call to arms to religious conservatives, urging them to vote on the very social issues that are undermining the wall between church and state.
- Also in June 2007, Huckabee said that "most of our prisoners would love to be in a facility more like Guantanamo ..."
- In May 2007, Huckabee went on record as not believing in evolution.
- In October 2006, Huckabee joked that he lost weight because Democrats put him in a concentration camp.
- In 1998, Huckabee called on the religious right to "take this nation back for Christ."
In January 2007, as Huckabee was preparing his presidential bid, the Washington Post reported on his radical views. Among the interesting points in the article:
[Huckabee] also publicly supported creationism, a philosophy advocated by fervent Christians, arguing that students should be exposed to the study of the doctrine as well as evolution.
During the political campaign, Huckabee could prove a poster boy for political corruption. He made news before leaving the Arkansas Governor's Mansion, when he set up gift registries on several websites, allowing lobbyists and others seeking to curry influence to know exactly which gifts to purchase for he and his wife. As we've blogged in past posts about Huckabee, this quote from a retired Arkansas government official says it all about the former Governor and potential Republican nominee:
“He’s using the trappings of the governor’s office to get everything he can, and the sad part of it is, I honestly believe he does not see anything wrong with this,” said Kerns, a retired lawyer for the Department of Veterans Affairs. “It’s like ‘ethics’ is a foreign word to him.”
Let's hope he never has the opportuntiy to "use the trappings" of the White House to do the same.