Mike Huckabee isn’t running a substance-free campaign based on biography and applause lines. No, the former Arkansas governor has the distinction of advocating the most radical – and politically unsalable and substantively daft – proposal of any major presidential candidate.
It’s the so-called FairTax: It would eliminate the income and payroll taxes and replace them with a (supposedly) 23 percent national sales tax. Huckabee says, “When the FairTax becomes law, it will be like waving a magic wand releasing us from pain and unfairness.” Waving a magic wand is about right – since the FairTax is a bedtime story for IRS-hating conservatives.
Huckabee adopted the plan when he was unknown and languishing far back in the polls. It probably seemed a cheap way to inoculate him from his history as Arkansas governor: his tax hikes outweighed his tax cuts by half a billion dollars.
After the Iowa poll showed that Republican voters like him but found him much less “presidential” and “electable” than Romney, Huckabee sought to build his foreign policy credentials, meeting with a group of retired generals who are in Des Moines to urge the 2008 candidates to commit to opposing torture. After the meeting, Huckabee joined Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in declaring his opposition to the interrogation procedure known as “waterboarding,” and said he would support closing the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, a contrast with the other leading Republicans.
Here’s the video of the former Arkansas governor talking about Gitmo. Here’s the text:
MIKE HUCKABEE: I’ve been to Guantanamo, I was there, I guess it’s been about a year and a half ago. I think the problem with Guantanamo is not in that its facilities are inadequate. It’s the symbol that it represents. It’s clearly become a symbol to the rest of the world as a place that has become problematic for us as a nation. I was quite frankly impressed with the quality of the facilities and even the attention to care that was given to the detainees, but that aside, it doesn’t alter that Guantanamo to the rest of the world is a symbol that is not in our best interests to continue pursuing.
What does the governor think we should do with the detainees there?
UPDATE: Powerline’s Paul Mirengoff: Huckabee “even less qualified to be president than I suspect[ed].”