The Huckabee Disappointment


Like a lot of liberals, I find Mike Huckabee to be an intriguing figure. He seems, from his rhetoric, like an interesting politician; the kind of guy who would like to give the notion of "compassionate conservatism" a real try -- very traditionalist positions on "cultural" issues, combined with a dose of pragmatism on the economic front and some effort at showing a real concern for the least among us. A kind of right-populism, perhaps, but with less of the hard-edged anger and racial demagoguery that suggests. The trouble is that, as Ed Kilgore points out, Huckabee doesn't really bring the beef. He "likes to talk about economic inequality" but his only proposal in this area is "a highly regressive national sales tax."

Similarly, during the debate he got a question about unions and delivered a reply about how a revival of interest in unionism was a natural response to runaway inequality. But he didn't really say whether or not he thought that was a good thing and people should join unions. He noted that Arkansas is a right to work state, and appeared to endorse hard-right anti-union orthodoxy to the effect that it would be good to take such policies nationwide. Certainly he didn't come out in favor of pro-unionization measures like EFCA.