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Saturday, January 26, 2008
"Nothing doth more hurt in a state than that
cunning men pass for wise." - Sir Francis Bacon

Dirty Politics

Mike Huckabee has been accused of running the dirtiest campaign of all the candidates this year. Which is interesting, considering that the governor claims to run only a positive, uplifting campaign; one that even Jesus would approve of. Well, let's look at the facts. His head campaign adviser said that "The negatives feel good. It's like being a boxer when you're young. To me, hitting somebody, knocking somebody down, is a great feeling. Firing out a negative ad just feels amazing." The adviser also said that he wants to kick Romney's teeth in. Gee, nice guy you got running your campaign, Huck.

Huckabee also pulled one of the scummiest political tricks I've ever seen, and then had the gall to claim innocent naiveté. Personally, I don't mind negative ads if they're true and not just political spin, but the stunt he pulled four weeks ago in Iowa goes beyond the limits by attempting to have his cake and eat it too. Does he think voters are that gullible? I guess Iowa voters were, but then again, they are from Iowa.

Poor Immigration Record
Governor Huckabee’s pattern was to ignore immigration laws, often in the name of Christianity... In 2001, Huckabee... pushed for legislation to provide driver’s licenses for illegals...

In 2001, Huckabee opposed a measure to require proof of citizenship to vote.

In 2005, Huckabee supported a bill that offered illegal immigrants in-state tuition rates and made them eligible for the same merit-based scholarships to Arkansas state colleges and universities as legal citizens. The bill would have violated federal law and was not enacted by the legislature.

In 2005, he opposed a bill that denied some state benefits to illegals and required proof of citizenship to vote... In this story, Huckabee called the measure “un-American... inflammatory... race-baiting and demagoguery.” He added that the bill “inflames those who are racist and bigots and makes them think there’s a real problem. But there’s not.” He then singled out State Senator Jim Holt, also an openly professing Christian, saying, “I drink a different kind of Jesus juice.”
So, in Huck's world, it is racist to believe in the rule of law, to support the LEGAL immigration of those people who want to have a better life, and oppose using taxpayer money to send illegal immigrants to college. And the whole "Jesus juice" comment leaves a bitter taste in my mouth; it's not something I think a Christian should say, belittling a fellow believer (and pastor) in public.

Pro-Big Government
"No one can read our Constitution without concluding that the people who wrote it wanted their government severely limited; the words 'no' and 'not' employed in restraint of government power occur 24 times in the first seven articles of the Constitution and 22 more times in the Bill of Rights." - Rev. Edmund A. Opitz
"Liberty has never come from the government. Liberty has always come from the subjects of government. The history of liberty is the history of resistance. The history of liberty is a history of the limitation of governmental power, not the increase of it." - Woodrow Wilson
I suppose some of you do not see any inherent harm in bigger, more powerful government nor see how, as Christians, we are called to fight for liberty of our fellow man. Yet many civilizations have crumbled throughout history because of the idea that a bigger government is always better and always benevolent to its denizens. In the Old Testament, this view helped cause the eventual collapse of the nation of Israel. The Israelites desired to have a king to protect them (instead of relying on God's sufficient protection); when in the end, it was the king who oppressed them and caused their downfall. Later, it happened with the Greeks and the Romans. Sir Edward Gibbon described the demise of freedom in ancient Greece quite eloquently,
In the end more than they wanted freedom, they wanted security. When the Athenians finally wanted not to give to society but for society to give to them, when the freedom they wished for was freedom from responsibility, then Athens ceased to be free.
So back to our subject... Governor Huckabee has consistently shown a willingness, nay, a desire to increase the size of government and to use it as a sort of "nanny" for the citizens.
During Huckabee’s term, Arkansas showed a net tax increase of $505 million, and the average Arkansan’s tax burden grew from $1,969 to $2,902. Governor Huckabee raised more taxes in 10 years in office than Bill Clinton did in his 12 years.

During Huckabee’s 10 years as governor, state spending more than doubled (from $6.6 billion to $16.1 billion), higher education and public schools got big increases, as did social services...

The conservative Cato Institute gave Huckabee an “F” for his final term as governor on its Fiscal Policy Report Card, saying, “Huckabee’s leadership has left taxpayers in Arkansas much worse off.” His grade was lower than 15 of the 21 Democrat Governors. His overall grade as governor was a D.

“[Huckabee] says he’s pro-family. If you’re raising taxes on the families of Arkansas, causing wives to go out and get jobs to make ends meet, that’s not pro-family.” - Former Republican Arkansas State Representative Randy Minton.
Another pet of Huck's was his intention to promote a national ban on smoking. Now, federal rights versus state rights aside, that sounds all nice and good. After all, what non-smoker doesn't enjoy a night out without getting a whiff of cigarette smoke? I certainly find the smell disgusting. But it is an extremely slippery slope, one fraught with loss of liberty for the sake of the majority's tyranny. For example, some California cities are now banning smoking inside people's homes. First the government decided it would keep citizens from smoking in public government-owned areas, then it decided it could force private businesses (i.e. restaurants and bars) to ban smoking on their premises, next the nanny state took it upon itself to ban it in cars with children present, and now finally (or maybe not so final, as some cities are already moving to ban it from streets) they ban the populace from smoking within their own homes.

Since when is it the government's right to criminalize vices? The only person harmed by smoking is the person doing it. The secondhand smoke-mongers would have you believe that the science proves that secondhand smoke is extremely dangerous and toxic. But this is not so; the studies showing health risks that supposedly "prove" this were conducted on people who were breathing the stuff all day, every day. An hour spent in a smoky bar on occasion isn't going to hurt you. Furthermore, why should the government be telling PRIVATE businesses how to run their business? I'm certain that most rural Minnesota bars have at least 70% of their patrons who are smokers, and those who go into that environment know what they're getting themselves into. As for how a Christian should view this issue... I never saw any indication that Jesus was for using the law to force someone to stop a bad habit or sinful act, but rather the person's own conscience and God's working in his or her heart. Free will is given us by our Creator, and we should do whatever we can to not take it away from others.

Okay, enough with that rabbit trail. In Huckabee's defense, he has recently seen the light on this issue, at least to some extent, and backed off of his support for a federal ban. However, methinks this is more due to political pressure than a thought-out understanding of the principles behind the matter, giving us one more example of how easily swayed the governor is.

Proponent of government-controlled education
The New Hampshire chapter of the National Education Association (NEA) has
endorsed Hillary Clinton and Mike Huckabee for the upcoming Primary elections. This is the first time in memory that they have recommended a Republican (in 2004 they endorsed Howard Dean). They likely chose Huckabee because... [he] has consistently opposed virtually all proposals for education reform, including school choice vouchers.
In his defense, he was also endorsed by the national homeschool group, the HSLDA. But if he were to get an endorsement from Planned Parenthood, would we really forget that fact if MCCL also endorsed him? No, of course not. We would most likely say that Planned Parenthood is seeing something of which MCCL isn't aware. After all, most abortion lobby groups are extremely shrewd and will not associate with anyone who shows any interest in saving lives. Plus, the HSLDA is primarily concerned with homeschooling rights, and not so much into reform within the public school realm. So, while Huckabee has shown mixed support of homeschooling, he has shown almost no support for reforming the monstrosity that is the public school system.

Preaches Populism

I suppose some may wonder what's wrong with populism? To some extent, nothing. But the root of populism is envy and covetousness, something we as Christians are to abhor. And the fruit of populism this century are best known by their other names: Soviet Socialism and National Socialism (Nazism). Appealing to the common man's base jealousy has wrought a lot of evil in this world, but rarely good. It stems from the idea that everyone has the RIGHT to be prosperous and that it isn't FAIR if someone does better than another. This is entirely false. Bill Gates' success didn't mean a bunch of people got poorer, but rather that many became wealthier. As Seán Lemass, the Irish Prime Minister in the early 20th century once said, "A rising tide lifts all boats." Our Declaration of Independence doesn't say that our inalienable rights include the right to not be poor, but instead the right to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." It would behoove us as Americans to remember those words.

Support from all the wrong people

Lastly, I will touch on the surprising lack of support for Huckabee from many Christian leaders while secular liberals are singing his praises. Focus Action, a political advocacy group put together by Dr. Dobson, gave a less-than-glowing analysis of Huckabee. Many prominent Christian conservatives are backing other candidates, while editorial writers for the New York Times (you know, that bastion of pro-Christian rhetoric) have been praising Huckabee, even AFTER he called homosexuality an "abomination." Frank Rich has repeatedly heaped his blessing on Huckabee, perhaps because he knows Huck will be an easy target come the general election. Frank Rich, for those who don't know him, oozes hatred of Christ and His followers in almost every one of his columns. So why the sudden love of Huckabee?

Meanwhile, and perhaps the most telling, the Huck can't even get his own state to back him. In a University of Arkansas poll a couple months ago, among all Presidential candidates in both parties, only 8% of Arkansans said they were supporting Mike Huckabee. Only a third of the Republican Arkansas legislators are supporting him.

Well, that's all folks. Sorry it was so long, but what can I say? My third and last installment will be regarding my alternative to the Huck and some of my reasoning for that choice.


Anonymous said...

Nice work. I like how you go into depth about why small government. There are many of us conservatives that seem to have lost sight of this or don't realize how important it really is. This is probably going to be thee issue of our times until we give up and start adopting a Chavez like government. I'm guessing a lot of us won't know what hit us until that day comes.

Anonymous said...

If not Huckabee, who do you think most Christian Leaders will put their support in?

Anonymous said...

I agree with your first comment completely. A Chavez-like government is a long way off, but closer than people realize.

As for who most Christian leaders will (or are) put their support behind, I will address that this week.

sarah said...

I agree with the whole post but I think this sentence was unnecessary "I guess Iowa voters were, but then again, they are from Iowa" Plenty of voters from many states voting for other poeple are gullible.

Also - into the wild has a TON of frontal nudity - which was embarrasing because i watched it with a male friend.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, some Minnesota humor there regarding Iowa. :)

Anonymous said...
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Darius' book montage

The Cross Centered Life: Keeping the Gospel The Main Thing
Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God
Overcoming Sin and Temptation
According to Plan: The Unfolding Revelation of God in the Bible
Disciplines of a Godly Man
Money, Greed, and God: Why Capitalism Is the Solution and Not the Problem
When Helping Hurts: Alleviating Poverty Without Hurting the Poor. . .and Ourselves
The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith
Respectable Sins
The Kite Runner
Life Laid Bare: The Survivors in Rwanda Speak
Machete Season: The Killers in Rwanda Speak
A Generous Orthodoxy: Why I am a missional, evangelical, post/protestant, liberal/conservative, mystical/poetic, biblical, charismatic/contemplative, fundamentalist/calvinist, ... anabaptist/anglican, metho
Show Them No Mercy
The Lord of the Rings
Life at the Bottom: The Worldview That Makes the Underclass
The Truth War: Fighting for Certainty in an Age of Deception
Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist's Guide to Global Warming
The Chronicles of Narnia
Les Misérables

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