Taking Aim at Huckabee / James Besser in Washington
You can tell former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is rising like a rocket in the polls: Democratic strategists who once largely ignored him as a nonentity in the 2008 presidential race, are frantically digging for political ammunition to use against him.
The latest example: Democratic operatives are calling Jewish reporters to make sure everybody knows that Huckabee’s "Secure America Plan," a nine-point strategy for "immigration enforcement and border security," could impact thousands of Americans with dual Israel citizenship.
Huckabee’s plan, which includes building a fence along the border with Mexico and rejecting policies "that promote or tolerate amnesty," includes a call to "discourage dual citizenship."
He also wants "civil and/or criminal penalties on Americans who illegitimately use their dual status – eg, using a foreign passport, voting in elections in both a foreign country and the U.S."
Does that mean the thousands of American Jews who enjoy dual U.S.-Israeli citizenship? Huckabee campaign headquarters in Arkansas isn’t talking; spokespeople for the candidate did not respond to a reporter’s questions.
The National Jewish Democratic Council didn’t have any trouble responding.
On Monday the group wrote on its blog that "by staking out this position, Huckabee rejects the 1967 Supreme Court ruling in Afroyim v. Rusk which explicitly stated that a citizen of the US did not lose their citizenship by voting in an Israeli election. Congress ratified the Supreme Court ruling in 1978."
No wonder Democrats are turning their attention to the former Baptist minister; in a CNN poll released on Monday, Huckabee is now in a "virtual tie" with frontrunner Rudy Giuliani, garnering 22 percent of Republican voters nationally.
Some Democrats are worried; Huckabee’s startling rise in the polls, his clever and effective TV advertising and a personality that has been tagged by the media as affable could pose a significant obstacle to what analysts were predicting would be a great election year for the party.
But Jewish Democrats are convinced that Huckabee, with his controversial views on AIDS victims, his onetime call to "take this nation back for Christ" and his opinions on issues like evolution, would all but guarantee a record Jewish turnout for the Democratic nominee next November if he gets the GOP nod.