During yesterday’s debate, Mike Huckabee responded to an attack by Fred Thompson by touting his record in Arkansas as an alleged tax cutter. Unfortunately for honest debate, although Thompson attacked Huckabee on multiple fronts, Huckabee’s record on taxes was not among them.
Later in the debate, however, Chris Wallace asked Huckabee about that record:
Governor Huckabee, in your 10 years running Arkansas, you raised taxes. They were higher at the end of your 10 years than they were at the beginning by hundreds of millions of dollars, and you increased the size of government. Is that your idea of change, to be a big government Republican president?
Unfortunately for honest debate, this time Huckabee avoided any discussion of his Arkansas record with respect to taxes. Instead, he responded:
My idea of government is to get the job done and make sure that you balance your budget, that you respond to the needs of your people. I don’t think the federal government needs any more money. That’s why I have signed a pledge that I would not raise taxes as president.
You brought up something about what I raised. Let me tell you what I raised, Chris.
Huckabee then launched into a discussion of what he did with the tax money, which is what liberals do when they are asked about higher taxes.
Not that Huckabee shouldn’t brag about his accomplishments (assuming the truth of what he said). But was it unreasonable to expect him to admit or deny raising net taxes in response to Wallace’s question? Especially after he had previously bragged about being a tax cutter?
In the absence of a denial, voters should accept as a fact that taxes were at the higher at the end of Huckabee’s 10 years than they were at the beginning by hundreds of millions of dollars, and that he increased the size of government.
Meanwhile, when it comes to charm, evasion, and misdirection, this guy is starting to remind me of another shifty Arkansas governor, Bill Clinton.
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