Live from Council Bluffs, it’s Mike Huckabee

Nebraska attorney David Begley must be nearing the end of his series of reports on appearances of the presidential candidates in Iowa for us. Yesterday Dave attended the appearance of Governor Mike Huckabee in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Dave’s report is below.

Since the Creighton Bluejay basketball game was the next night, I drove to Council Bluffs to see Mike Huckabee with the thought that I would be entertained. Boy, was I wrong. Voting for President is a binary decision but from an academic point of view it is a crying shame he is at 1.7% in the combined national polls. The guy has plenty of substance and skill.

Power Line has noted Huckabee’s political skills. To see him on television and to see him at a long-form event in person is like the difference between Division I college baseball and major league baseball. It’s the same game, but the higher level of skill and talent are apparent in the professional game.

Huckabee reminded me of Robert Redford in The Natural. Mike has a natural affability, quick wit, and ability to turn a phrase that is a rare combination in a politician. He’s also a smart guy who is thoughtful and sincere.

There was one heckler in the audience regarding the Colorado Springs shootings and Huckabee sent the guy down on three strikes without swinging. It was a thing of beauty. The only candidate who I haven’t seen is Jeb Bush, but this was the single best performance of them all.

Huckabee’s opening comments and the first question from the audience asked: “Is our greatest threat ISIS or global warming?”

Huckabee’s answer touched on many of the same points Steve Hayward made in this Power Line post. It was almost like Huckabee had read Power Line and maybe he had. In essence, minor changes in temperature decades from now are inconsequential compared to radical Islam and the danger it presents to America right now.

The Governor worked in the fact that Obama was acting more like the Meteorologist in Chief rather than the Commander in Chief. He noted that beheading was worse than sunburn. Huckabee’s view was that Obama doesn’t understand the enemy and radical Islam is our greatest threat. He observed that the ISIS savages are worse than the Nazis as the Nazis at least tried to hide their savagery while ISIS is proud of its work and broadcasts it to the world. Huckabee said that radical Islam is an enemy like no other and we either eradicate it now or we will regret it. Powerful stuff.

His main pitch for votes is that he is an experienced governor who has made life and death decisions in the past. As the long-time Arkansas governor he had to deal with many death penalty cases. He said he read every single page in boxes of documents as his decision was not reversible. He later worked in the analogy that the Presidency is not an entry level job and one wouldn’t want a volunteer with no experience to fly a jet. His jet pilot analogy wasn’t perfect but it made his point.

Finally, sharing the stage with the Governor was Dr. Mark Christian of the Global Faith Institute. Christian was born a Muslim in Egypt and became an OB/GYN. He converted to Christianity and somehow ended up in Omaha. He said that quite recently the chief imam at the Grand Mosque in Mecca spent 24 minutes praying for ISIS and he is working on a translation. Sounds newsworthy to me.

Dr. Christian also settled for me a point of language that has bothered me for a long time. ISIL refers to the Islamic State in the Levant. The Levant does not recognize any borders among nations. ISIS, on the other hand, limits the terrorists to Syria and doesn’t admit their transnational ambitions.

My view is that when President Obama refers to the radical Islamic terrorists as ISIL he is conceding a point of rhetoric to the enemy, a sort of admission against interest which no decent lawyer would ever make in a court case. It is the height of foolishness to concede any point of the narrative to these people. It will always be ISIS for anyone who understands what we are up against and how to win. And we aren’t talking about a lawsuit here.