Over at the National Journal, Josh Kraushaar makes the case against smartypants politically dismissing Mike Huckabee in a column tellingly called “Mike Huckabee’s Message is as Formidable as Jeb Bush’s Money”.
Kraushaar’s point: While other GOP candidates repeat well-rehearsed talking points about regulation, taxes, and energy, Huckabee is looking for ways to distinguish himself from the pack by a distinctively populist-sounding economic message. First, he is pointedly taking Social Security privatization and/or a reduction of benefits for retirees off the table. “If Congress wants to take away someone’s retirement, let them end their own Congressional pensions—not your Social Security,” as Huckabee said during his announcement speech. He has since defended this view elsewhere:
“I’m thinking, wait a minute, didn’t the government take that out of my check for all these years involuntarily?” Huckabee said. “But why would you punish the recipients who played by the rules that they were forced to play by?”
Secondly, as Kraushaar notes, “He slammed free trade agreements for reducing the cost of wages, saying he’d ‘like to think the U.S. government would stand up for the U.S. workers rather than let them take it in the backside.’”
Huckabee is politically smart to look for ways to distinguish himself in a crowded field, and he is also right that both the morally and politically correct response to our extended economic crisis hurting average workers is a populist economic message. The Democrats are increasingly driving working class whites into the GOP coalition, and it makes sense that someone would attempt to rise to lead this faction (Rick Santorum is also competing for this space). Continue Reading