There are a few weird things going on with Huckabee this week.
The Push-Polling Episode in New Hampshire
John McCain complained that Huckabee supporters in New Hampshire are practicing the sleazy technique of "push polling". Push polling is a campaign technique in which the potential voter receives a phone call that sounds like a political survey, but after a bit the questions turn into attacks on a rival candidate (in this case, McCain). Push polling has happened, and received criticism, on previous occasions involving other candidates. mcCain invited Huckabee to make an effort to contact the responsible group, called "Common sense issues", and require them to stop it. Huckabee denied involvement. Yeah, deny responsibility- so that you do not have to retract a dirty trick?
Getting rid of income tax
Yes, this is one of Huckabees big promises for his presidency. never mind that eliminating the IRS and replace income tax with some kind of consumption tax is actually an enormously complex project- probably far more complex than the crazy quilt of exemptions and incentives that we have now. And then once you have it, all the lobbyists will line up to beg for new exemptions for their constituents. And if any of them succeed, we will never see black ink again for the federal budget in our lifetime. But it appeals to know nothings who think wrongly that they will pay less if income tax bites the dust. It is ignorant and embarrassing.
Bush has an "arrogant bunker mentality"
- according to a recent statement from Huckabee. Well, on the face of it, a true statement. who could argue? But when you are a Republican candidate for President, what is to be gained from such a statement? Does the statement signify that Huckabee would do anything differently from the Bush approach? That is less clear. And it is also less clear if Republican voters would tolerate it if he did. Mitt Romney immediately jumped in and criticized the criticism, saying that Huckabee is "running from the wrong party". Yet Romney also carefully stated that he has noted missteps in Bush's conduct of the Iraq War, and would not follow the policies of the current administration in his own presidency.
So what do you think of Huckabee. Is he a breath of fresh air? Where does he come down in the spectrum of Republican positions- conservative or moderate? Is he a bold innovator, or just a somewhat nutty incompetent?