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Iran And The Huckaee Campaign

Monday, December 17, 2007  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

The focus on Mike Huckabee’s foreign policy beliefs is going to sharpen even more given Iran’s announcement today:

TEHRAN: Iran confirmed on Monday that it had received the first fuel shipment for its nuclear power plant at Bushehr, but also indicated for the first time that it was building a second nuclear power plant.

The revelation came in comments by Iran’s Atomic Organization, Gholamreza Aghazadeh, made to state-run television and reported by the semi-official Fars news agency. He was dismissing speculation that the arrival of the fuel would allow Iran to halt its uranium enrichment program, in Natanz.

“We are building a 360-megawatt indigenous power plant in Darkhovein,” he said, referring to a southern city north of Bushehr.

In the Foreign Affairs article excerpted below and in a speech from September, Mike Huckabee clearly came down on the side of the Iran debate that holds America as partly responsible for the rogue behavior of the mullahs.  His Carteresque critique of the Administration’s firmness towards the terrorist-supporting/terrorist-exporting Tehran regime is easily the most troubling aspect of the very troubling Huckabee agenda.  Figuring out the nature of the enemies we face is job #1 of the president, and the former Arkansas governor clearly does not understand the Iranian theocracy.

In other campaign news, the endorsement of Huck by Jim Gilchrist has led to a hard-hitting anti-Huck letter from a long list of anti-illegal immigration activists.  It begins:

In reaction to Jim Gilchrist’s (Co-Founder of Minutemen) lone endorsement of pro-amnesty Presidential Candidate Mike Huckabee:

We, the undersigned, state that our organizations stand against racism and Amnesty for illegal aliens. Instead, we stand for the enforcement of our existing immigration laws, the securing of America’s borders, and attrition enforcement.

We have dedicated our efforts to fighting illegal immigration and we are compelled to warn the American public about the immigration stance and record of Presidential Candidate Mike Huckabee.

We denounce Jim Gilchrist’s solo endorsement of a pro-amnesty and Open Borders candidate for President. Mr. Gilchrist does NOT speak for us!

 UPDATE: The Romney campaign has circulated a compendium of reactions to Huckabee’s Foreign Affairs article:



What They’re Saying About Gov. Huckabee & Foreign Affairs

The No Laughing Matter!: A serious look at Gov. Mike Huckabee’s record and policy beyond the one-liners. As in:

– Gov. Mike Huckabee: “And the ultimate thing is, I may not be the expert that some people are on foreign policy, but I did stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night.” (“Imus In The Morning,” 12/4/07)

National Review: “The Holiday Inn Express Candidate.” “In sum, conservatives should have worries about the depth and soundness of Mike Huckabee’s foreign-policy views. And staying at a Holiday Inn Express is not going to be enough to allay them.” (Editorial, “The Holiday Inn Express Candidate, National Review, 12/10/07)[# More #]

Gov. Romney Has Called On Gov. Huckabee To Apologize For Attacking President Bush:

Gov. Romney Called On Gov. Huckabee To Apologize For Accusing President Bush Of Having An “Arrogant Bunker Mentality.” NBC’s TIM RUSSERT: “Mike Huckabee said that the George Bush presidency’s foreign policy is arrogant and a bunker mentality.” GOV. MITT ROMNEY: “That’s an insult to the President and Mike Huckabee should apologize to the President. … But it’s very different to point out the mistakes that have been made-and the President’s pointed out the mistakes as well-and then to say that the Bush Administration, our President, is ‘arrogant’ with a ‘bunker mentality,’ that’s a completely different statement for which Mike Huckabee owes the President an apology.” (NBC’s “Meet The Press,” 12/16/07)

Gov. Romney Was Surprised At The views Espoused In Gov. Huckabee’s Foreign Affairs Essay:

Gov. Romney: Huckabee’s Foreign Policy “More Fitting Of A Person Running For The Democratic Party.” GOV. ROMNEY: “To accuse the president of an arrogant, bunker mentality is in my view more fitting of a person running for the Democratic Party than from our own. It sounds like something Barack Obama or John Edwards would say, not what you hear from someone running for President as a Republican. And I think it was a very serious error.” (Shushannah Walshe, “Romney Goes After Huck On ‘Foreign Affairs,'” Fox News’ Embed Producers Blog,, Posted 12/15/07)

Gov. Romney Is Not Alone In His Criticism Of Gov. Huckabee’s Views:

The Politico‘s Mike Allen: Huckabee Hurt By “Laughing Off A Serious Assignment About Foreign Policy.” “Gov. Huckabee has hurt himself with recent and potential converts by trashing the President and laughing off a serious assignment about foreign policy — if the bubble bursts, it started here.” (Mike Allen, “Playbook,” Politico,, 12/16/07)

Former White House Spokesman Ari Fleischer Called Huckabee’s Comments “Unwarranted And Unwise.” “On Sunday, former White House spokesman Ari Fleischer, who is remaining neutral in the GOP primary race, called Huckabee’s Foreign Affairs comments ‘unwarranted and unwise.’ ‘There is much to like about Mike Huckabee. But he will serve Republican primary voters, and our nation, better if he focused his criticisms on the Democrats who will run against our eventual nominee and not on the President who has kept us safe,’ said Fleischer.” (Rebecca Sinderbrand and Sam Feist, “Huckabee: ‘I Don’t Have Anything To Apologize For’,” CNN’s Political Ticker blog,, Posted 12/16/07)

Townhall’s Hugh Hewitt: “Mike Huckabee: Howard Dean In Slow Motion.” (Hugh Hewitt, “VDH On The Huck,” Townhall Blog,, Posted 12/16/07)

The Washington Examiner‘s Bill Sammon Said Huckabee’s Essay Was “Counterproductive” And “Ripped Out Of The Democratic Playbook.” FOX NEWS’ BRIGITTE QUINN: “Do you score points, Bill, with the Republican faithful by going after the President like that?” BILL SAMMON: “No, I think you talk about counterproductive. I think this is going to be counterproductive to Huckabee’s chances in the primaries. I mean, it makes him sound like a democrat, which is not a good thing if you’re trying to appeal to voters in a Republican primary.” (Fox News’ “Live,” 12/15/07;

– Sammon: SAMMON: “For Huckabee to just launch a full frontal assault, shows that he might not have the sort of deft touch that you need on foreign policy. Remember, conservatives are already a little bit worried about Huckabee on taxes, on spending and maybe on ethics and what Huckabee doesn’t need at this time is to have them worry about him on foreign policy as well.” (Fox News’ “Live,” 12/15/07;

– Sammon: SAMMON: “I went back and looked at some quotes that the Democrats said and it really looks like a page ripped out of the Democratic play book. So what he’s doing at the very least is giving political aid and comfort to the opposition party, namely the Democrats, because you know the Democrats are going to jump on this and say, ‘see, we told you Bush’s policy was all wrong and even the leading front running presidential candidate says so.’ So I think he overreached a little bit on this one.” (Fox News’ “Live,” 12/15/07;

Fox News’ Brigitte Quinn Said She Thought She Was Reading John Kerry’s 2004 Talking Points: QUINN: “I mean he really goes after the President also on Tora Bora saying we played Brer Fox to his Brer Rabbit talking about Osama Bin Laden. You know we threw Osama into the perfect briar patch, accusing the President of letting him get away. And I have got say Bill, not to criticize Huckabee, but when I read this I thought I was reading the words of John Kerry from the last campaign.” (Fox News’ “Live,” 12/15/07;

American Spectator‘s Philip Klein Calls Huckabee’s Foreign Policy “Clueless.” “By using the word ‘clueless,’ I refer not only to Michael D. Huckabee’s understanding of international relations as outlined in his Foreign Affairs essay, but the 1995 Alicia Silverstone teen movie, which seems a surprisingly relevant comparison, given Huckabee’s opening paragraph:” (Philip Klein, “Huckabee’s ‘Clueless’ Foreign Policy,” American Spectator Blog,, Posted 12/15/07)

– Klein: “More than anything, Huckabee’s essay is startling in its incoherence, and it has something within it to scare off any faction of the conservative movement. To those who remain supportive of President Bush and believe he has helped keep us safe since Sept. 11, Huckabee writes that ‘the Bush administration’s arrogant bunker mentality has been counterproductive at home and abroad.'” (Philip Klein, “Huckabee’s ‘Clueless’ Foreign Policy,” American Spectator Blog,, Posted 12/15/07)

– Klein: “He goes on to echo liberal talking points in criticizing Bush for his handling of Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, and Al Qaeda. For those conservatives who believe that Iran does not deserve to be awarded with diplomatic ties to the U.S. given its ‘a world without America’ and ‘wipe Israel off the map’ rhetoric – not to mention funding of terrorist activities directed at Americans in Iraq – Huckabee thinks we should talk with the Islamist government, because ‘When one stops talking to a parent or a friend, differences cannot be resolved and relationships cannot move forward. The same is true for countries.'” (Philip Klein, “Huckabee’s ‘Clueless’ Foreign Policy,” American Spectator Blog,, Posted 12/15/07)

– Klein: “I’m sure there are some non-interventionist conservatives who may agree with Huckabee’s criticisms of the Bush administration for being overly macho, and needlessly confrontational with Iran. Yet what they have to look forward to in a Huckabee administration would be continued U.S. presence in Iraq, possible air strikes on Pakistan, a larger military, and a foreign aid program that would make Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society look like a trivial domestic initiative.” (Philip Klein, “Huckabee’s ‘Clueless’ Foreign Policy,” American Spectator Blog,, Posted 12/15/07)

– Klein: “While Huckabee accuses President Bush of being arrogant, he doesn’t seem to have any problem playing teacher to ignorant Americans…” (Philip Klein, “Huckabee’s ‘Clueless’ Foreign Policy,” American Spectator Blog,, Posted 12/15/07)

– Klein: “As I wrote earlier this week, can we really afford to trust somebody with zero foreign policy experience who has a record of helping to release the most violent of criminals back into society, to stare down our enemies?” (Philip Klein, “Huckabee’s ‘Clueless’ Foreign Policy,” American Spectator Blog,, Posted 12/15/07)

Captain’s Quarters’ Ed Morrissey Said Huckabee Sounds More Like Barack Obama Than A Republican: “However, the essence of his overview seems to emphasize his departure from George Bush while maintaining most of his policies. He talks about engaging Iran with more diplomatic options, but then says he supports Bush’s sanctions against Iran as a path to denuclearization. Huckabee doesn’t credit Bush with the efforts made over the last four years to allow for any number of diplomatic options, including WTO membership and normalized relations through the EU-3 negotiations. It reads more like a Barack Obama speech than a policy statement from a Republican, at least in that sense.” (Ed Morrissey, “Playground Diplomacy?” Captain’s Quarters Blog,, Posted 12/15/07)

Powerline’s Paul Mirengoff Compares Huckabee’s Foreign Policy Stance To Jimmy Carter’s. “Mike Huckabee has written an article about foreign policy for the magazine Foreign Affairs. Much of the piece is what one would expect from a presidential candidate’s foreign policy ruminations-a little bit of this, a little bit of that, not too hot, not too cold. But the opening two paragraphs reveal once again how Carteresque Huckabee’s foreign policy instincts are.” (Paul Mirengoff, “More Mush From The Huck,” Powerline Blog,, Posted 12/15/07)

– Mirengoff: “Note how Huckabee again anthropomorphizes foreign policy. Previously, enemies like Iran have starred in the Huckabee foreign policy narrative as a misguided family member to whom we have petulantly refused to speak. Now the U.S. is portrayed as an immodest high school student who may be to blame for his own unpopularity. Put aside Huckabee’s flirtation with ‘blame American first’ thinking; the superficiality with which he approaches world affairs is stunning.” (Paul Mirengoff, “More Mush From The Huck,” Powerline Blog,, Posted 12/15/07)

– Mirengoff: “Huckabee’s analogy of the U.S. to the arrogant school boy is not just sophomoric, it’s affirmatively inapt. Huckabee provides no evidence that the Bush administration has an ‘arrogant bunker mentality,’ and his invocation of this phrase suggests that his foreign policy views have been formed more by watching CNN in airports, than by watching the Bush administration in action.” (Paul Mirengoff, “More Mush From The Huck,” Powerline Blog,, Posted 12/15/07) 

– Mirengoff: “But debating the merits of foreign policy doesn’t seem to be Huckabee’s thing. He prefers homey analogies, often snatched (or so it seems) from Democratic talking points. The world is too dangerous a place for such soft thinking.” (Paul Mirengoff, “More Mush From The Huck,” Powerline Blog,, Posted 12/15/07)

Red State‘s Jeff Emanuel Said Huckabee Seems Clueless About Foreign Policy Matters. “If you can read this and not feel majorly concerned about this man controlling America’s wartime foreign policy, then (a) you’re probably in the wrong party to be supporting him anyway, or (b) chances are you’re as clueless on these matters as Huck is (and therefore similarly unfit to be President). Seriously, this isn’t a personal attack — it’s an observation just how scarily ignorant this candidate appears to be.” (Jeff Emanuel, “Speaking Of Huck And Foreign Affairs,” Red State,, Posted 12/15/07)

Red State‘s Dan McLaughlin: “…I’m Still Looking For Something In That Article That Wouldn’t Have Been Said By John Kerry.” (Dan McLaughlin, “Speaking Of Huck And Foreign Affairs,” Red State,, Posted 12/15/07)

The New York Times‘ Michael Cooper Said Huckabee Is “The Most Outspoken Critic Of The Bush Administration’s Foreign Policy Of Any Republican Candidate Except Ron Paul…” “In an article written for Foreign Affairs and posted on the publication’s Web site, Mr. Huckabee became the most outspoken critic of the administration’s foreign policy of any Republican candidate except Ron Paul, who is running on an antiwar platform.” (Michael Cooper, “Huckabee Chides Bush Over His Foreign Policy,” The New York Times, 12/16/07)

National Review‘s Byron York Called Parts Of Huckabee’s Plan “Dreadful.” “Today’s Huckabee headlines concern an article, ‘America’s Priorities in the War on Terror,’ that Huckabee has written in Foreign Affairs. Only guys named Mike Huckabee don’t write such articles, so in this case the author is ‘Michael D. Huckabee.’ (The ‘D’ stands for Dale.) The article begins with this rather dreadful paragraph: ‘The United States, as the world’s only superpower, is less vulnerable to military defeat. But it is more vulnerable to the animosity of other countries. Much like a top high school student, if it is modest about its abilities and achievements, if it is generous in helping others, it is loved. But if it attempts to dominate others, it is despised.’ Less vulnerable than what? More vulnerable than what? Would anyone deny that in many, many ways the U.S. government is extraordinarily generous in world affairs?” (Byron York, “Micahel D. Huckabee On Foreign Affairs,” National Review‘s The Corner,, Posted 12/15/07)

National Review‘s Victor Davis Hanson Found Huckabee’s Essay “Strange.” “I don’t know much about Mike Huckabee, but found his aw-shucks Foreign Affairs essay strange to say the least (e.g., cf. ‘The Bush administration’s arrogant bunker mentality has been counterproductive at home and abroad.’)” (Victor Davis Hanson, “Straw-In-The-Mouth Foreign Policy?” National Review‘s The Corner,, Posted 12/15/07)

 – Hanson: “But what he offers inter alia is the rehashed plan of invading the nuclear, nominal ally Pakistan (‘I prefer to cut to the chase by going after al Qaeda’s safe havens in Pakistan.’) while reaching out to Iran, the de facto non-nuclear enemy, by offering normal diplomatic relations – of course, only after strengthening sanctions and declaring the Revolutionary Guards terrorists. He laments losing the good will once shown by Iran in its 2001 shared goal of defeating the Taliban-almost like lamenting the needless estrangement of the Soviet Union in 1946 after we once had been so close in working to defeat Hitler.” (Victor Davis Hanson, “Straw-In-The-Mouth Foreign Policy?” National Review‘s The Corner,, Posted 12/15/07)

– Hanson: “Don’t know what to make of the Brer Rabbit and Brer Fox evocations and the general prose style of the piece (e.g., ‘We played Brer Fox to his Brer Rabbit. We threw him into the perfect briar patch’) – other than these references and other similar metaphors and similes sound like some beltway policy wonk in DC playing at Will Rogers, or throwing in here and there perceived Arkansas-isms as proof of down-home authenticity.” (Victor Davis Hanson, “Straw-In-The-Mouth Foreign Policy?” National Review‘s The Corner,, Posted 12/15/07)

Race 4 2008’s Tommy Oliver Points Out That Huckabee Uses Childish Play On Words To Describe A Very Important Policy. “Brer Rabbit…Brer Fox…Coca Cola…Kentucky Fried Chicken…Sun-tzu…names I never thought to hear in an outlined proposal for America’s foreign policy. Well, I was wrong. Welcome to Operation Uncle Remus, err… the Huckabee plan to win the War on Terror.” (Tommy Oliver, “Mike Huckabee’s Plan To Win The War On Terror: Operation Uncle Remus,” Race 4 2008 Blog,, Posted 12/15/07)

– Oliver: “If Huckabee were to win the White House, the Republican Party would not be the only thing in serious trouble, but the country would as well. Huckabee criticizes the Bush Administration for what he refers to as their ‘bunker mentality,’ but his lack of understanding the threats to the national security of the United States could cause even more setbacks.” (Tommy Oliver, “Mike Huckabee’s Plan To Win The War On Terror: Operation Uncle Remus,” Race 4 2008 Blog,, Posted 12/15/07)

– Oliver: “It’s just not realistic, and the fact that he’s in contention for the presidency makes it dangerous. Does Huckabee seriously believe that Iran will be content in their current position? Does Huckabee believe that the United States can negotiate with Ahmadinejad? Isn’t the Iranian government the same one that swears to ‘wipe Israel off the map’ and to continue to argue the Holocaust-as-myth propaganda? Is the United States’ relationship with Iran really akin to that of a relationship of siblings, friends, or parental guidance? Huckabee’s solutions lie in communication and leading by example, where in his world, if we behave like gentlemen, then the rest of the world will love us…” (Tommy Oliver, “Mike Huckabee’s Plan To Win The War On Terror: Operation Uncle Remus,” Race 4 2008 Blog,, Posted 12/15/07)

Oliver: “Huckabee’s foreign policy ideas seem to have been lifted straight from an imaginary Joe Biden cabinet. He was apparently serious when he said that he believed his ‘theology degree’ uniquely qualifies him to understand the enemies mindset. It reads like the script from Field of Dreams- ‘If you build it, they will come.’ Huckabee thinks that if we are a kinder, gentler nation, then they will love us…” (Tommy Oliver, “Mike Huckabee’s Plan To Win The War On Terror: Operation Uncle Remus,” Race 4 2008 Blog,, Posted 12/15/07)

Oliver: “This is an extremely nave viewpoint. Do many Americans not understand that jihadists want to harm us? Does Huckabee really believe that he can convince those on the far left who haven’t already figured this out? While Huckabee criticizes Bush’s communication, he seems to buy into the idea that the world is run by ‘good guys and bad guys,’ which is exactly the Bush mindset. The world is a much more complicated place than that.” (Tommy Oliver, ” Mike Huckabee’s Plan to Win the War On Terror: Operation Uncle Remus,” Race 4 2008 Blog,, Posted 12/15/07)

Oliver: “Becoming more energy independent will help ensure a relationship with Saudi Arabia like the United States’ relationship with Sweden? This would be funny were it not so dangerous.” (Tommy Oliver, ” Mike Huckabee’s Plan to Win the War On Terror: Operation Uncle Remus,” Race 4 2008 Blog,, Posted 12/15/07)

Daniel Drezner Said That Huckabee’s Foreign Policy Proposals Are A Strange Mix Of Contradictory Ideas. “The essay is a great symbol of Huckabee’s campaign — there are feints in interesting directions, but in the end it’s just a grab-bag of contradictory ideas. In a New York Times Magazine profile, Huckabee mentions columnist Thomas Friedman and new sovereigntist Frank Gaffney as his foreign policy influences. Those in the know might believe this to be impossible, but Huckabee’s Foreign Affairs essay really is an attempt to mix these two together in some kind of unholy alchemy.” (Daniel W. Drezner, “Every Time I Think I’m Out, Foreign Affairs Pulls Me Back In,”, Posted 12/14/07)

– Drezner: “Really, you just have to stand back and marvel at the contradiction of sentiments contained in that paragraph. It’s endemic to the entire essay — for someone who claims he wants to get rid of the bunker mentality, Huckabee offers no concrete ideas for how to do that, and a lot of policies (rejecting the Law of the Sea Treaty, using force in Pakistan, boosting defense spending by 50%) that will ensure anti-Americanism for years to come. Then there’s the writing — dear Lord, the writing. Huckabee’s essay reads like it was written by people who couldn’t hack it in Rudy Giuliani’s crack speechwriting team.” (Daniel W. Drezner, “Every Time I Think I’m Out, Foreign Affairs Pulls Me Back In,”, Posted 12/14/07)

– Drezner: “Ok, so what, exactly, is Huckabee offering to do here? Open an embassy in Tehran? Only do so if Iran freezes its nuclear program? Hug Iran a lot? Beats me.” (Daniel W. Drezner, “Every Time I Think I’m Out, Foreign Affairs Pulls Me Back In,”, Posted 12/14/07)

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