Thursday, November 29, 2007

Huckabee’s Night

If you want to see why Mike Huckabee is a credible bet to win the Republican Presidential nomination and possibly become the next president of the United States, watch last night’s Republican debate.

As I watched it early on it became clear he was winning and he never lost ground the entire debate. He is a very smooth, very calming, very charismatic speaker. He probably has the best “style” of anyone running, Republican or Democrat. Plenty of the candidates are good speakers, such as Giuliani, Edwards and Obama, to name a few, but none of them seem as impressive as Huckabee was last night. I read the reactions of a couple of Republican websites this morning and the consensus was, even among those who disliked his positions, that Hucakbee won the debate.

I also thought Huckabee’s answers to the question were very good, at least from what I imagine a middle-road Conservative viewpoint. However, it appears that many hard-line Conservatives don’t like Huckabee because of 1) his record on taxes and 2) his position on immigration. For number two, this issue was raised in last night’s debate and I thought Huckabee’s position was very reasonable, as Governor of Arkansas Huckabee voted for a program that allowed college scholarships to the children of illegal aliens if they were outstanding students (must have an A average or something), had no criminal convictions, were free of drugs and alcohol and were in the process of becoming legal citizens. His rationale was that he did not want to punish children for their parents’ crimes and that he wanted to work on a program that would encourage the legalization of educated immigrants. However, and admittedly I don’t know if there’s further cause for this claim, a lot of Republicans believe that demonstrates Huckabee is “soft on immigration.” He also gets hammered because although he voted to cut taxes over 90 times as Governor of Arkansas, he voted to raise taxes 21 times. Thus, he is a not fiscally conservative enough.

Many Conservatives seem to view him as not conservative enough for them, primarily because of these two issues. However, even those who dislike Hucakbee seem more and more comfortable, and confident, with the idea of a Hucakbee/Mike Steele ticket. Mike Steele, for those who may not remember, is the African-American former Lieutenant-General of Maryland, who lost a 2006 bid for a Senate seat. I’m not quite sure why he’s Hucakbee’s dream running mate, but I’ve seen this permeation mentioned a few times, so there must be some reasoning behind it.

Granted, Hucakbee could be the Howard Dean of 2008 (and Howard Dean became the Howard Dean of 2004 with significant help from CNN), but he’s looking more and more impressive to me. If you don’t believe me, watch some of last night’s debate and see for yourself.

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