Thursday, December 11, 2008

This is Why We Like Mike

The following article has a few quotes of Mike Huckabee towards the end of the article that are important in showing why I like Mike Huckabee for president in 2012. He stands strong against more and more bailouts of failing companies and stands for doing the right thing when it comes to government spending.

Will Republicans find rallying point in bailout debate?
By Chuck Raasch, GNS Political Writer

The recent declaration that the economy has been in recession for a year was not news to Americans who have lost jobs, income, health insurance or retirement security.
Democrats are in power partly because they felt people's pain before the Bush administration and the Republican candidates for president did. If Republicans do not figure out why they missed so many economic distress signals for so long, they have little hope of returning to power for at least a generation.

But now a GOP rallying point has presented itself. It is in response to what appears to be an unprecedented, massive rush to government bailouts of private industry. The public has deep reservations about such commitments. A CNN poll taken just before the executives of the Big Three automakers pleaded for tens of billions in government loans said 61 percent of Americans were against any such bailout.

This reality not only invites Republicans to return to the small-government philosophy they have abandoned, but it also could force them to speak to a middle class that GOP candidates had trouble hearing during the 2008 election. Too often, Republican candidates responded to kitchen-table concerns with textbook-dull homilies on free enterprise.

Looking back on the presidential election, there was one especially predictive moment for the Republicans.

Both the Dow Jones and the S&P hit record highs Oct. 9, 2007. Coincidentally, Republican presidential candidates debated that night in Dearborn, Mich., the epicenter of the auto industry. Despite the bulls on Wall Street, MSNBC anchor and moderator Maria Bartiromo pointed out that two thirds of Americans had just told pollsters they believed the country was in recession. The National Bureau of Economic Research says the recession began two months later.

But some of the Republicans on stage in Dearborn that night appeared to have no clue as to what Bartiromo was talking about. Those who did were unable or unwilling to keep driving an economics message home for the next 13 months.

In the debate, former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson, fairly fresh to the campaign trail, said, "There is no reason to believe that we're headed for a recession." Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney said Michigan was undergoing a "one-state recession" while "the rest of the country is growing and seeing low levels of unemployment." Ex-New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani primarily paid homage to the free market as a "wonderful thing."

Some Republicans did hit the right note. Ron Paul declared "this country is in the middle of a recession for a lot of people ... Wall Street doesn't know about it. Washington, D.C., doesn't know about it. But it's because of the monetary system and the excessive spending.''

But the GOP hierarchy and the mainstream media treated Paul as a gadfly.

The eventual nominee, John McCain, acknowledged that economic worries were bigger than Michigan and said that at "every town hall meeting that I have," people were worried about keeping health care coverage.

But he spent a lot of the next 13 months defending his decision to back the surge in Iraq, and he did not have a consistent economic message. Democrats - first John Edwards, then Hillary Rodham Clinton and then the eventual winner, Barack Obama - focused like a laser on the economy.

When McCain suspended his campaign in September and eventually sided with the massive bailout of banks and industry - a commitment that could heap trillions in new debt on succeeding generations - he lost an opportunity to connect with average Americans who still wonder if it is the right course.

In the Dearborn debate, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who three months later won the Iowa caucuses, turned out to be the most prescient.

"I want to make sure people understand that for many people on this stage the economy is doing terrifically well, but for a lot of Americans it's not doing so well," Huckabee said. "The people who handle the bags and make the beds at our hotels and serve the food, many of them are having to work two jobs. And that's barely paying the rent."

But Huckabee did not have the money to sustain a long campaign, and his economic message often was overwhelmed by a false assumption that he was the candidate of the religious right.

No comments: