Steven Greenhut
Orange County Register
May 30, 2008

Former Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee always set my teeth on edge, from his hokey folksy manner to his love of big government to his shameless use of his religion for political gain. But now I understand exactly why I found the Huckster to be so offensive (and it’s hard to stand out on that score given the overall quality of presidential candidates this year). Here, hat tip to, is a quotation from Huckleberry on Huffington Post regarding libertarianism:

“The greatest threat to classic Republicanism is not liberalism; it’s this new brand of libertarianism, which is social liberalism and economic conservatism, but it’s a heartless, callous, soulless type of economic conservatism because it says ‘look, we want to cut taxes and eliminate government. If it means that elderly people don’t get their Medicare drugs, so be it. If it means little kids go without education and healthcare, so be it.’ Well, that might be a quote pure economic conservative message, but it’s not an American message.”

So libertarians are unAmerican? Actually, the Huckster completely misstates what libertarianism is about. We don’t advocate kids going without education, but a free system — which will lead to kids getting a far better education than the one they get in the government schools Huckabee loves. We believe in freedom, not government coercion.

Huckabee makes clear what modern Republicanism is all about: paying for government, which explains his support for massive tax increases. The Huckster does make a good point when he explains:

“My experience in Arkansas was, a lot of the so-called conservatives said ‘Let’s cut the budget.’ But they wanted to add prison sentences, they wanted to eliminate parole, they wanted to have harsher sentences for various crimes. And I said ‘OK, that’s fine, but that’s going to be expensive. So which do you want?’ You can’t have both, or you do what the federal government has done, and this is where I think Republicans have been especially irresponsible. Their approach has been [to] just kick the can down the road and let your grandkids pay for it.”

Yes, Republicans such as George W. Bush and Arnold Schwarzenegger keep spending, but increase the debt rather than raise taxes. That’s a good point, but Huckleberry agrees with Democrats: increase spending AND increase taxes. It’s honest, any way, but the libertarian alternative — finding market solutions, reducing government, increasing individual responsibility — is far more fair and sustainable.

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