Make no mistake about it; Mike Huckabee is hardly a true conservative. Back when he was running for President, he leaned heavily on his anti-gun control stance to try and paint himself as a constitutionalist. That, coupled with his inarguable appeal among Evangelicals put him at the forefront of the 2008 GOP pack. At least, it did, until people realized the reality was something quite different.
Strip away the 2nd Amendment rhetoric and you were left with a man whose gubernatorial record was pro-tax and pro-big government. He claimed to view climate change as a “moral issue,” saying it was America’s “biblical duty” to combat global warming, and hurt himself again when he attacked the pro-free market “Club for Growth” as the “some of the most despicable [people] in politics today. It’s why I love to call them the Club for Greed.”
In short, he was a McCain Republican.
So, what should we make of his support for Rand Paul’s uncompromising filibuster?
Saturday night on his Fox News talk show, he expressed deep admiration for Rand Paul, embraced the Senator’s epic talk-a-thon, and thanked him profusely for defending the Constitution. It was a stunning shift for a man who once said “The far left and the far right curse the ground on which I walk. That is a great place to be. I am where far more of the country is.”
Has Huckabee had some kind of Libertarian “moment of clarity?” Has he suddenly embraced the strict-constructionist ideology that eluded him in 2008?
Probably not. If anything, he’s watched Rand Paul’s star rise and is realizing that he’s been wrong about “where the country is.”
As mainstream Democrats drift further and further toward socialism, it’s become clear that the future of the Republican Party will belong to more Libertarian-leaning elements. Typically, that’s been anathema to people like Mike Huckabee. Granted, he is - at least for now - not a real political player. However, people like him have a choice to make if they want to maintain any semblance of relevance: stand with the middle-of-the-road deal makers or get on board with the Constitutionalists.
John McCain and Lindsey Graham are now the poster children for choosing poorly. It’s hard to overstate the damage that they’ve done to their careers and legacies. Trying to have it both ways simply isn’t going to work anymore.
If Mike Huckabee serves as a barometer for people who share his centrist political mentality, it would appear they may be getting that message.
People who see Rand Paul’s filibuster simply as an issue of drones are missing the point. It was about constitutionality, limiting power, and individual rights. If it’s managed to drag the Huckabees of the world away from the middle - to the side of our founding document - it’s already having a major impact on the broader political debate.
Robert Laurie’s column is distributed by HermanCain.com, which can be found at HermanCain.comCommenting Policy
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