I have defended Mike Huckabee from charges that he’s not a conservative. As with nearly all of the Republican candidates, there are some important conservative positions to which Huckabee has not closely adhered; nonetheless if the choices are (a) liberal, (b) moderate, and (c) conservative, then the correct answer in my view is (c). A more precise answer would be (cc) for compassionate conservative.
My main objection to Huckabee — the reason why he’s my fifth choice out of five — is that I lack confidence in his ability to fight terrorism. It’s not just that he lacks experience in this realm, though that’s certainly the case. The real problem is that he’s too moralistic (which is not the same thing as moral). My first clue came when he said during an early debate that we need to remain in Iraq because “we broke it.” Not because we need to defeat al Qaeda; not because we need to limit Iranian influence or avoid a devastating defeat at the hands of terrorists; but because we injured this formerly peaceful state. Huckabee’s exaltation of moralism (in this case dubious) over policy calculation was difficult to miss.
Now we learn (but are surprised) that Huckabee opposes waterboarding and would close the Guantanamo Bay detention center. Huckabee reached this conclusion after meeting with a group of retired generals (the usual suspects, I assume) who are lobbying candidates to oppose Bush administration interrogation and detention policies.
I suspect that Huckabee required little lobbying. Waterboarding and long-term detention aren’t very “Christian”; they merely keep terrorists out of action and, in special circumstances enable us to find out where we’re going to be attacked next and/or where we can find those who are planning the next attacks. But if Huckabee actually did reach his position based on the views of a handful of generals, and without consulting the people actually charged with protecting this country from terrorists, then he’s even less qualified to be president than I suspect.
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“Arise and take our stand for freedom as in the olden time.” Winston Churchill
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