My Questions for Huckabee

After his success at the Iowas caucuses I sent a series of questions to the campaign of Mike Huckabee. I had promised to post his answers on WatchBlog without editorial interferance. Having gotten no response (Perhaps the candidate is too busy writing jokes for late-night TV to bother with issues…) it seemed a good idea to post the questions anyway.

What follows is my e-mail (without the preamble explaining WatchBlog's modus operandi) exactly (except where noted) as I sent it to the Huckabee campaign press office. These are things one does not generally hear even from the big conservative voices. I have a particular concern for the protection of citizenship rights in America as the actual foundation of our national sovereignty. Consequently, it would be refreshing to hear any of the candidates address those questions that deal with citizenship and national sovereignty.-

With your success in the Iowa Caucuses it has become all the more important that Republican voters get to know you in ways that transcend the framing of issues we get from the predominantly liberal press. I believe it is fair to say you represent what is feared most by both liberals weary of the Bush presidency and the "centrist" power structure in the Republican Party- a faith-based candidate. I have also been hearing specific notes of concern struck in the conservative media about your handling of issues and your expressions of how you would contrast your policies with the policies of the current administration. With those things in mind I have some questions about what you envision a Huckabee presidency doing for America.

One theme one hears often from the conservative media is the importance of teaching in convincing the American people of both the value of conservative principles and why those principles are ultimately more humane and more liberating for the largest number of people. President Reagan is credited with being a great communicator of these principles even as President Bush is widely seen as a failure in such teaching.
What do you think these principles are?
What do you see as your role in teaching such principles to the people?
Do you have a vision for how you will have changed the political debate in America after your presidency has passed?

Immigration/ National Sovereignty
Immigration has been the most contentious issue in the Republican Party over the last three years. This is at least partly because a substantial portion of the party's support comes from commercial interests that frankly benefit from rights-compromised cheap labor. The rancor of the debate has not been helped by people who characterize any opposition to open borders or amnesty programs as either racism, xenophobia, or inhumanity. Many of us, however, see the protection of American citizenship rights as being the real foundation of our national sovereignty. To us open borders, "anchor babies", court required free medical care, motor-voter laws, and the refusal of states and the courts to enact such common-sense protections of voting rights as the requiring of photo I.D.s at elections undermine both the economic and political foundations of that protection of citizenship.
How does your understanding of citizenship affect your policy toward immigration reform?
Will you support enforcement of workplace restrictions on the hiring of illegals as we were promised in the reforms of 1986?
(question added for this post Will you support efforts to protect the voting rights of legal citizens by requiring photo I.D.s at polling places?)

Many of us are, to put it mildy, livid at the prosecutions of border agents such as Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean.
What will your policy be toward these men and others like them if they are still imprisoned when you take office?

There is much concern, especially among supporters of Ron Paul, that an effort is afoot to combine the U.S., Mexico, and Canada into a "North American Union" modelled after the European Union.
What is your attitude toward such an economic and political union and the potential it would have for compromising American sovereignty?

Faith and the Sciences
Professionally I am an artist. I am also a Christian (Methodist), and have served as a music director in Baptist churches in Texas. I noted with great satisfaction a good deal of attention to both the arts and to faith in your website but, as the son of a man who lifted himself from draftsman to professional geophysicist, I also took note of the fact there is not an issue page on the sciences and your anticipated policies toward the sciences.
In as much as there is tremendous concern in the scientific community that the current administration's policy on science is driven by a religious agenda some have termed as "Luddite", what will your policies be toward the sciences and, specifically, toward science education?
Do the sciences conflict with religious faith and, if so, how?

Foreign Relations
What is your vision of the "War on Terrorism"?

A diplomat I know recently returned from postings in the Middle East frustrated with Bush administration policies toward the various Muslim countries in the region. He felt there was an insensitivity to the considerable differences among the nations there and the opportunities presented by, for example, the relative secularity of Syrian society compared to what even Syrians see as the frighteningly theocratic government of Iran.
How can you be more sensitive to diplomatic opportunities in the Middle East?
Can you do a better job of making friends among Muslim nations than a more seemingly secular candidate?
What is your vision for democracy/freedom among the 1.4 billion people of the predominantly Muslim world?

Tax Policies
As a long-time supporter of the "Fair Tax" myself I personally find it refreshing that a major candidate for the presidency is actually standing up for an idea even Rush Limbaugh has brushed off as "not having a snowball's chance..." .
Given that the current tax structure is so imbedded in the nation's economy and governmental policy how do you plan to sell the public on the need to fight the hard slog they will have to commit to for such a radical change to come about?
How will you deal with the concern that such a (revision of the) tax structure would dry up currently tax-driven philanthropic giving?

Your website describes a committment to increase development of alternative energy sources. In Texas we embarked on the largest expansion of wind-powered electrical generation capacity in the U.S., but that expansion is severely limited by the fact that our generation equipment, windmills and the like, must be imported from France. We also want to increase ethanol production but lobbyists and the congress have steered development toward the use of corn, which greatly increases the cost of food both here and across the world.
How will you deal with these sorts of interlocking impediments to rational energy policies?

A recent news report noted that a key component of the drug we use to treat outbreaks of anthrax is produced only in China. The drug itself is manufactured in Denmark, though it can still be produced in America. This result of globalism would seem to put our national security in the hands of potential enemies.
How will you address security issues such as these?
How will you address the decline of industrial production in the U.S. generally?
Is Globalism good, bad, or a mixed bag?

Of particular interest in today's world is the ownership of media sources by fewer and fewer huge corporations. Because corporate ownership is, in a fashion, fungible the powers influencing our news sources are themselves becoming increasingly globalized. The founding Fathers recognized the dangers of foreign ownership of the news sources that inform our political choices.
Is this a concern to you?
What policies will you have for dealing with both this concentration of influence and the globalization of influences on the nervous system of American democracy?

Personal Bearing
There is a good deal of distrust for you in Republican circles because you are seen by some as being "slick" in a manner reminiscent of Bill Clinton. It appears to some that you are willing to massage positions to be as inoffensive as possible. You also have seemed to state positions, as you did in references to Bush administration policies in your recent article in "Foreign Relations", in such a way as to take advantage of the perceived general dissatisfaction with an issue like Iraq, while at the same time professing support for Bush policies.
Is this an impression left by a political fluidity, a practicum of politics, your learning curve, or media manipulation?

The Clintons were widely accused of leading by finding out where the people were going and jumping out in front (a philosophy I actually heard extolled to me once, straight-faced, in those words, by a Baptist preacher). President Bush, by contrast, seems to lead by setting out without regard to where the people are headed (and not particularly caring whether we follow or not).
What is your philosophy on leadership?

Worldwide, so many people seem to fear that America is becoming some kind of radical theocracy of our own.
How do you answer these fears of our "intolerance"?
Does America need to become more like Europe where social, political, and religious policy are concerned?
Is America a "Christian" nation?

Do you have any closing comments or issues you think I should have raised but didn't?

Thank you, Governor Huckabee, for your time and attention to these questions. (Or not...)

Posted by Lee Emmerich Jamison at January 11, 2008 9:06 AM
Comment #242855


Jeez, that was wordy, no wonder he didn’t respond. Not that those weren’t good questions. Kudos for trying.

Posted by: googlumpugus at January 12, 2008 6:21 AM
Comment #242858

Wordy? Hmmm, of course, all of us like to think our philosophies need some depth in exposition and, as one hears constantly from the mainstream media, we all think it important to put questions in a context. I just wanted to give Huckabee a chance to answer some really challenging questions that weren’t about “gotcha” stuff like murderer pardons that were really set in motion by his predecessors.

If you dig down deep the foundation of conservatism rests on the people’s committment to the sovereignty of the individual citizen. That is why capitalism is so important to us. We each get many, many votes as to what is important in the marketplaces for goods and services. By witholding those votes we can even demolish an entrenched commercial power like Montgomery Wards, Pan-Am, or Fed-Mart. By limiting our availability for certain tasks we can raise the value of even menial labor in the properly constituted economy, so long as we can prevent government and industry from conspiring to dilute the labor pool with illegal, semi-slave labor. That raises the “minimum wage” without the criminalizing artifice of legal mandates.

Our citizenship rights are beheld in much the same way among conservatives. The country is, quite literally, a corporation owned and operated by its voting citizens. There are many in power who don’t like the choices those legally empowered citzens want to make, so they seek to dilute our vote with illegal voters by avoiding proper identification procedures in the ballot box and by importing uneducated people who don’t understand the foundations of our representative government.

Yeah, It take a few words to deal with issues like those.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at January 12, 2008 10:00 AM
Comment #242867

You really expected honest answers from good old lying Huck?

Huckabee escalated his misleading claims this week in the debates about cutting Arkansas taxes, saying he cut taxes for the first time in the history of the state of Arkansas, which is blatantly untrue. Others put through tax cuts before he did. On net, the actual figures show Huckabee raised taxes, cutting many, but raising a few, even more than those he cut.

He also mislead voters when he said in the debate that highways in Arkansas had gone from the “worst road system in the country” to the “most improved” in the ratings of a trucking magazine. He failed to mention that despite the improvement they remained fourth from the bottom on the “worst” list.

Huckabee is still lying about the 23 cent national sales tax rate, which would not begin to cover current outlays or the unfunded mandates approaching in just a few years requiring dramatic increases to 30, 35, and over 40 cents per dollar federal sales tax to keep the national debt from rising. Nor is willing to tout how the wealthiest will be virtually tax free as a percentage of their income with his unFair Tax Plan. Nor does he offer anything in the way of explaining how he would sell Congress on the plan. A gratuitous omission.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 12, 2008 2:16 PM
Comment #242871

The notion that there is any substantial organized effort to get unauthorized people to vote is a myth.It is being perpetuated as a device to remove rightous conservative objections to a national ID system and they are falling for it out of rascism and the self justifying need to rationalize the fact that most voters simply do not agree with many of their proposed policy positions.

Posted by: BillS at January 12, 2008 5:57 PM
Comment #242889

BillS, you may be right, but I have a problem understanding why it is a liberal position in some cities (NY) to give illegals in this country a drivers license. Please, don’t insult our intelligence with the nonsense that Bloomberg, and endorsed by Hillary, was saying.

Posted by: Jim at January 13, 2008 1:53 PM
Comment #242891

A drivers license is exactly that. To get one ,one must pass a test to see if one has knowlege of basic traffic laws and can opperate a vehicle safely. Having a license is also necessary to obtain insurance. It is a matter of public safety to issue them.It is a recognition of reality. These people are here and many drive. In much of the country one has to drive to get to work. Denying a license will not stop people from driving,but only lead them to drive less responsibly.

Posted by: BillS at January 13, 2008 2:45 PM
Comment #242892

I should add that any trouble or confusion around this issue stems from other factors, taking a license to drive as some sort of legitimizing ID.They are in themselves ONLY a license to opperate a motor vehical.
For good or ill we are moving toward a national ID. I just renewed my passport. The new ones have all sorts of telemitry and anti-forgeing tecniques. There has been a push to require more Americans to obtain them. Requireing them for trips to Cananda, and Mexico has a huge number of people scrambling to get one. They are proof of citizenship.At some point, my guess is they will be required for everyone.This will be sold has some sort of anti-terrorist move,no doubt.

Posted by: BillS at January 13, 2008 3:42 PM
Comment #242895

What are birth certificates, drivers licenses and social security cards? Forms of I.D. in most places. Social security is a national I.D. number based on 1940’s tech. Just ask the IRS.
Aren’t Illegals illegal? Pull them over and deport them if they are driving and illegal.

Posted by: Kruser at January 13, 2008 8:48 PM
Comment #242914

Unrealistic,simplistic,thinking like that is the reason real immigration solutions are so difficult. Take large areas of California,where agriculture is the major economic activity. Estimates are that %80 of the agriculrual workers are “illegal”. Do you really believe the police in those ares should or would cripple the largest industry in the largest state?Maybe you,do, but it is not going to happen.Better these people should have to learn to drive,pass a test, and get insurance.Their status is another matter.It a public safety measure.

Posted by: BillS at January 14, 2008 12:03 PM
Comment #242918

Yeah Kruser!
Believing illegals would be responsible enough to take a driving test and pay insurance, even though they are not responsible enough to obey the law and become citizens, is much more realistic.

Posted by: kctim at January 14, 2008 12:31 PM
Comment #242919


As much as I hate to, I have to agree somewhat with Kruser.

A drivers licence is the most accepted form of identification in this country.
Issuing these licences is no guarantee that the applicant will then acquire insurance for the vehicle that probably isn’t registered in the owners name, or even registered in this country anyway.

A drivers licence endows the holder with legitimacy. It intimates that the holder is a citizen, and few in law enforcement, considering the way that most cities and states in this country handle the “illegal” immigration issue, are going to give most folks a second look.

Posted by: Rocky at January 14, 2008 12:36 PM
Comment #242920

BillS, it is possible in a phased in fashion, to elevate wages of Ca.’s ag workers to the point that Americans can make a decent living, and college students can work through college on those jobs, without wrecking the industry, and without illegal immigrants, or temporary legal ones, getting the jobs.

The question is, is that the goal of the American people? Unless the American people are, as a majority, unequivocal about that becoming the goal, the duopoly party system will have no mandate nor motive to end non-citizen immigration as a means of supplying labor for many of our regional economic activities.

Of course, naysayers will argue that domestic wine and vegetable and fruit prices will go way up. But, don’t listen to them. The facts are some fruit and vegetable prices will go up temporarily, those not now managed by automation. But, as labor pricing goes up, automation will be developed to reduce the need for human labor, and then the fruit and vegetable pricing will stabilize, then fall again as economies of scale are achieved and automation capitalization is paid off and depreciated.

All that is lacking is the political will. It is up to the voters to demand it, and withhold their incumbent votes until they get it. That power of the people has always been available to exercise. And it can and should be exercised on a very wide range of issues, from weekend voting at the state and federal level to the budget surpluses in the budget and trade.

No incumbent will get my vote until I see this country turn around and make significant progress in a positive direction toward peace, liberty, and prosperity for all our citizens.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 14, 2008 12:40 PM
Comment #242944

“even though they are not responsible enough to obey the law and become citizens” - Kctim

HA! You obviously have no idea how convoluted and bureaucratic the proccess is to gain citizenship. (Not to mention the costs for the application and processing fees. Crap like fingerprinting fees) The ‘legal’ path to citizenship is a selective process that grants the vast majority of citizenships to people with a college level education, the second largest chunk are to highschool educated with a refined skill set. (see chart on: )

you will see that there is a backlog of about 5 years for ‘Skilled workers, professionals, and other workers’ to recieve a green card, then include in this the mandatory 5 years of living here with a green card (see, and suddenly becomming a citizen leagaly seems a bit more difficult. After a minimum of 10 years of waiting (not to mention years wasted on filling out the wrong form or missing a deadline or a multitude of other easy mistakes often encountered to people speaking English as a second language) it feels like an eternal purgatory hoping that your request is not, for whatever the reason, denied. It makes crossing that Canadian border a little more tempting.

It also makes getting a drivers liscense and insurance look like a darn simple process. To me, the comparison is sensationalism ment to defend an ignorant stance on citizenship and saftey. Just think, if everyone did try to do it the ‘legal’ way, I believe the backlog would turn to 10-20 years of waiting just to know if your request was accepted or declined. No wonder so many make the swim across.

Posted by: kcdan at January 14, 2008 4:31 PM
Comment #242955

Ok, I’m thinking if everyone did try to do it the legal way, hmmmmmm? On one hand, we would have a large backlog of law-abiding people wishing to become citizens and on the other hand, we have what we have now, illegal criminals who have decided laws don’t apply to them. Hard choice there.

I don’t care how “convoluted and bureaucratic the proccess is to gain citizenship,” to be honest, I believe it should be harder.
But, I do know how convoluted and bureaucratic the proccess is to pay taxes, does the fact that it is hard mean that I can break US law and stop paying them? Nope.

If we are going to give these criminals permission to keep breaking our laws by giving them a drivers license, in the name of public safety, then we might as well just ignore the other criminals too. No need to arrest the rapists, just make sure you give him a condom in the name of public safety.

Posted by: kctim at January 14, 2008 5:29 PM
Comment #242969

Rocky & KCTM
According to New Mexico governor Richardson,when licenses were given there the rate of uninsured motorist declined as a result.

Generally,undocumented immigrants will act responsibly when given an opportunity.It is responibility that has driven many of them here to start with. They are trying to take care of their families.That is why a path toward citizenship,if not too onerous ,will work.

LOL The idea of most college students filling ag jobs is laughable. I must say that when growing up in Oregon,my cousins and I would spend much of our summers picking greenbeans and cherries. It taught us a great lesson. The lesson being that after that there is absolutly no worse job.

Posted by: BillS at January 14, 2008 8:04 PM
Comment #242983

BillS, odd. My time on a farm commune in Oregon taught me that ag work was far preferrable to my job on the farm, skinning the bark off spruce trees. The fibers were embedded in my sweaty skin for weeks at a time. It is usually a mistake to project one’s personal experiences upon the many in society.

People from city jobs fought each other for Ag jobs in the 1930’s. Context and motivation is everything. If one can’t get through college another way, Ag jobs can be viewed as lifesavers. But hey, Edwards is going to put a college education in every pot, so, maybe you are right, no college students would want Ag jobs.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 14, 2008 9:30 PM
Comment #242984

kctim said: “I don’t care how “convoluted and bureaucratic the proccess is to gain citizenship,” to be honest, I believe it should be harder.
But, I do know how convoluted and bureaucratic the proccess is to pay taxes, does the fact that it is hard mean that I can break US law and stop paying them? Nope.”

kctim, I truly mean not to sound patronizing here, but, that is one of the most brilliant analogies I have witnessed on WB in quite some time. In total agreement, I tip my hat to you…

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 14, 2008 9:33 PM
Comment #242986


“Q: Is there any security provision in the law, anything, that prevents illegals from using these driver’s licenses that you give them to get on airplanes, like many of the 9/11 terrorists did?

A: There are valid certificates of identification that they have to provide to the motor vehicles department of New Mexico. I believe it’s the right decision for my people. What we need is comprehensive immigration”

Please notice he didn’t answer the question.

Posted by: Rocky at January 14, 2008 9:43 PM
Comment #242998

Rocky, a lot of that going around amongst this lot of candidates.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 14, 2008 11:05 PM
Comment #243012

I agree that many illegal immigrants are just seeking a better life, but that does not excuse them knowingly breaking our laws in order to attain that goal. Giving them priviledges only encourages others to also break our laws.

And thank you David.

Posted by: kctim at January 15, 2008 10:09 AM
Comment #243016


In Texas we embarked on the largest expansion of wind-powered electrical generation capacity in the U.S., but that expansion is severely limited by the fact that our generation equipment, windmills and the like, must be imported from France

Really!? Care to share a link?

It sounds very weird to me as, within Europe, France is lagging on wind-power technologies and industries when compared to others european nations.

May I suggest you Germany or Netherlands as better wind-power stuffs providers?

Last but not least, can’t US develop it’s own win-power industry!? After all, US landscape is way wider than France, no doubt windmills opportunities are far higher than in France, so relying on foreign suppliers sounds like a crazy idea, in particular with the dollar-euro current rate!

You can’t be french-bashing here, right?

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at January 15, 2008 10:27 AM
Comment #243017

kctim said: “I agree that many illegal immigrants are just seeking a better life”

Quite right. Which is another way of saying they break the law for personal gain, as a thief, con-artist or rapist does. Violating the laws of the people for personal gain is the road to social demise and chaos and destruction of the concept of rule of law, not men.

We can have, at the same time, empathy for the plight of those impoverished or abused by their societies and governments, without having to destroy our own by becoming the flop house of the world. There has always been a generous and charitable and compassionate role for LEGAL immigration into the U.S., and no one I know or have heard on this subject in the recent past is suggesting that role for LEGAL immigration change.

LEGAL immigration allows America to assimilate immigrants while preserving its cultural, historical, linguistic, legal, and political path toward its ideals, of peace, prosperity, and liberty for all. Illegal immigration threatens America’s ability and control over striving for those ideals set out in our Declaration of Independence.

You are absolutely correct, kctim, they are seeking a better way of life for them, not for the United States and its citizens, who MUST maintain the rule of law and legal processes to keep our nation from descending into chaos and ruin. Our strength lies in the rule of law, our destruction lies in the abandonment of that rule of law for emotional or personal preferences to disobey it.

This issue reminds me of 9/11. New York tower was bombed in the 1990’s, and had every sign necessary to warn the U.S. to defend itself and borders against those who perpetrated that bombing. But, America chose to ignore the warning exploding in their face. And 9/11 followed.

The illegal immigration issue and our failure to abide by the remedies installed in law in the 1980’s should have served as a warning that there would be climactic consequences if we did NOT get a grip and control on this problem. But, the cheap labor Republican advocates and the power starved Democrats chose their personal and party benefit over the rule of law in ignoring the laws passed in the 1980’s, just as illegal immigrants ignore our laws today.

Unresolved, America will suffer another attack, or public health epidemic, or cultural backlash against Hispanics with inhuman consequences, if we choose to allow this flagrant disregard for law to continue.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 15, 2008 10:57 AM
Comment #243185

Huckabee seems to want fundamentalism. It could never happen, even if Huckabilly really wanted to do it. I don’t think he does, he just wants the votes from those who do. He’s not stupid enough to want it or to try to do it as POTUS, he’s just stupid enough to say it.

Huckleberry is too conservative on religion and too liberal on criminals and the economy and immigration.

Huckabye? Huckabee wants to have adulterers, homosexuals and rape victims stoned to death. He also wants to make alcohol and music videos illegal, and make women 2nd class citizens and to take all girls out of school.

Oops, my bad, that’s another ‘religion’.

Hey, anybody but the PIAPS!

if you’re MAD
punish your country
VOTE for Hillary

Posted by: USpace at January 17, 2008 6:35 PM
Comment #243254

So, Lee, should I assume that you were simply french-bashing?

What a disappointment…

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at January 18, 2008 8:32 AM
Comment #243335

Get the facts before falling for Huckabee’s deceptive televangelism. Keep in mind that I’m a born again evangelical Christian. Using our Lord’s name for petty political purposes is a new low. I’m not voting for Pastor of the United States, I’m voting for the President.

Posted by: Duane-o at January 19, 2008 10:51 AM
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