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Thursday, December 13, 2007
posted by Kyle Hampton | 11:20 AM | permalink
The Cato Institute's Michael Tanner sums up the Cato view on Huckabee's tenure as governor and his prospects as president. Some excerpts:

As governor of Arkansas, Huckabee dramatically increased state spending. During his two-term tenure, spending increased by more than 65 percent -- at three times the rate of inflation.

Huckabee financed his spending binge with higher taxes. Under his leadership, the average Arkansan’s tax burden increased 47 percent, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, including increases in the state’s gas, sales, income, and cigarette taxes. He raised taxes on everything from groceries to nursing home beds.

Calling himself "a different kind of Republican," Huckabee often appears to be channeling John Edwards or Lou Dobbs. He rails against high corporate profits and attacks free trade agreements. As governor, he raised the minimum wage and increased business regulation. He says it is "a biblical duty" to pass more regulation to fight global warming.

As much as I don't align perfectly with Cato, these are nuts and bolts issues. As I've said before, the key reasons that Republicans were booted from office last election were lack of fiscal discipline, a sense of incompetence (Iraq, Katrina, etc.), and corruption and scandal. Mike Huckabee does little to address these issues. Obviously spending and taxes are not his strong points. Huckabee is also not campaigning on competence. When he does, as last night in bragging about the Arkansas school system, he flops badly. Finally, Huckabee has not been scandal free. A Huckabee candidacy would likely mean more losses for Republicans because he represents a continuation of the past and not a break from it.

Mitt Romney, on the other hand, addresses the problem areas and build on past strengths. Mitt has a strong fiscal record, exudes competence and delivers, and is notably scandal-free. These things in addition to a commitment to the coalition of conservatives, makes Romney distinct among the primary choices.

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