Here is a letter that I would like to put out there as we all weigh our options and try to choose the candidate we will support. I did not write this letter but I found it very interesting and wanted to pass it on. Feel free to copy it and send it on. I also encourage you to research anything you read that you are unsure of or want to know more about.
A Plea from
at ‘s Record as Governor
As a conservative, evangelical, politically-active father of four in
I believe it is imperative for like-minded voters to become more
familiar with the that just completed 10 years as our
governor. I realize it’s sometimes hard to know what to believe during a
campaign, so I’ve tried to include links to published stories, with most
coming from years past when the events noted were taking place.
For those who don’t know much about me, I attend a very conservative
evangelical church in that includes some other
politically active members (past/present elected officials, lobbyists,
candidates, etc), and our family currently homeschools our young
children. Since 1996, I have been heavily involved in numerous Republican
campaigns in at all levels (even managing a few). I have also
served as vice chairman of the Republican committee in ‘ largest
county. Yet I don’t know of a single person in these circles who is
supporting Huckabee for President – although I do know many that are
definitely not supporting him. Of course, this is anecdotal evidence, but
consider that Huckabee just finished serving 10 years as our governor
(and I am sure there are many Republicans in who are supporting
him – I just don’t know them). The truth is, most conservatives in
had written him off long before his Presidential bid.
That said, here are 7 key reasons I cannot in good conscience support
as the Republican nominee for President. This is based on
his record here and is not a personal attack – I cannot speak for his or
anybody’s motives. This list is not the result of intense research – it’s
based on what I know and have experienced first-hand as a
politically-active conservative Arkansan. It’s a list I could have given
you 6 months or even 2 years ago. And I am not attempting to echo or give
validity to any criticism he is now receiving nationally (and I don’t
think ALL of it is fair). This is the we know.
1) Governor Huckabee did lasting damage to the Republican Party and
conservative movement in .
It’s hard to go after Democrats with a conservative message when your
Republican Governor is out front releasing violent criminals, providing
state benefits to illegals, pushing tax increases, expanding government
spending and programs, and constantly walking an ethical tight-rope (more
on each of these items to follow). This tied our party’s hands – many
conservatives got frustrated, apathy set in, and some quit the fight. In
Huckabee insisted on having “his people” controlling the Republican Party
campaign organizations that are set up in each election cycle.
He also insisted that his guy remain as state party chairman when party
leaders planned to make a change. The mismanagement and ineptness that
followed was so great that the Republican Party plunged into debt and the
levied the the largest fine ever against a
state political party following an investigation of the 2000 and 2002
election cycles. Obviously, this set back the Republican Party of
When Huckabee started his first full term in 1998, had just
elected a Republican Governor, Lt. Governor, U.S. Senator, and 2
Republican Congressmen. Upon his leaving office in 2007, Republicans now
hold no statewide offices, have no Republicans in the U.S.Senate, and
only one Republican Congressman remains.
It was often said during Huckabee’s term that had 3 parties:
Republican Party, Democrat Party, and the Huckabee Party.
“He destroyed the conservative movement in , and left the
Republican Party in shambles.” – Phyllis Schlafly, president of the
national Eagle Forum
“His support for taxes split the Republican Party, and damaged our name
brand.” – Former Arkansas State Representative Randy Minton (R)
“I think if they knew [his record] it would totally de-energize them . .
. his policies are just wrong.” – Former Senator Jim
Holt’s (R) warning for conservatives around the country who think they
have found their candidate in .
2) Governor Huckabee’s non-stop clemencies continually hindered the work
of criminal prosecutors and miffed Republicans. The numbers are
staggering – over 1,000 clemencies and commutations of criminals as
governor. Most people now are familiar with his push to parole convicted
rapist Wayne Dumond, who went on to rape and murder a woman less
than a year after his release. But there are many more troubling facts
regarding Huckabee’s pattern of releasing violent criminals. While I
cannot speak for Huckabee’s motives, it seems clear that he used poor
judgment and was reckless with this executive power.
Huckabee released more criminals than the combined total of every border
state to (made up of , , ,
, and ) – even though the combined population of
these states is 16 times higher than ‘. He also issued more than
double the clemencies of his three predecessors combined.
In many cases, Huckabee’s actions set loose savage criminals convicted of
grisly murders over the passionate objections of prosecutors and victims’
families. This American Spectator story details some of these violent
cases and explains the resulting difficulties they presented prosecutors
working with other victims and their families.
Huckabee and his appointees ignored the laws on the books, including the
requirement to notify victims’ families and explain the reasons for those
clemencies. He said to fully explain his reasoning would cost millions of
dollars and “take money away from education and Medicaid and other
A 2004 investigative article by the found that
prisoners had a better chance of being granted clemency by Huckabee if
they had a mutual acquaintance, labored at the governor’s mansion under a
prisoner work program, or a minister intervened on their behalf.
Prosecutors say Huckabee was more inclined to release or reduce the
sentences of prisoners if he had direct contact with them or was lobbied
by those close to him.
He often refused to learn the facts of the cases (sometimes not even
reading the murderer’s own confession), made no attempt to get the
police/prosecutor’s case files, or even get input from the victims’
families before making his decision.
The clemency granted to one multiple DUI offender was likely tied to
large political contributions from the offender’s family, including a
soft money political organization run by Huckabee’s people.
Good summary article
“Last January, after Gov. Ronnie Musgrove, a Democrat, lost
his re-election bid, he issued 16 clemencies, and there was a huge
outcry. That’s how many Huckabee averages per month.” – Leader,
(August 11, 2004)
“He seems to believe that granting clemency to murderers, rapists, drunk
drivers and other convicted criminals is a part of the everyday affairs
of the governor’s office rather than something that he should approach
cautiously and selectively.” – Robert Herzfeld, Prosecuting
Attorney during Huckabee’s tenure
“I know some of the people that Huckabee let loose have reoffended. Some
of them we’ve caught and some of them we haven’t caught……I used to be
able to tell the families of victims, in all good faith and candor, that
it was a rare event when a governor commuted a sentence and let a
murderer back out, or a rapist back out or a child molester back out. But
I can’t do that anymore.” – Larry Jegley, longtime
“I felt like Huckabee had more compassion for the murderers than he ever
did for the victims.” – Elaine Colclasure, co-leader of the Central
Arkansas chapter of Parents of Murdered Children.
3) Governor Huckabee’s pattern was to ignore immigration laws, often in
the name of Christianity.
Huckabee opposed immigration enforcement as governor on a number of
fronts. Immigration enforcement groups call Huckabee’s record on
immigration “a disaster” and reference him as they guy who “scares the
heck” out of them.
In 2001, Huckabee’s human services liaison Robert Trevino pushed for
legislation to provide driver’s licenses for illegals. It was understood
by legislators that he acted with Huckabee’s blessing.
In 2001, Huckabee opposed a measure to require proof of citizenship to
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 colleges and universities as legal
citizens. The bill would have violated federal law and was not enacted by
In 2005, he opposed a bill that denied some state benefits to illegals
and required proof of citizenship to vote (patterned after ’s Prop
200 that has been successful in curtailing illegal immigration in that
state). 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.”
In 2005, Huckabee criticized federal agents for a recent crackdown on
illegals, saying that it wasn’t fair to the innocent family members of
those targeted in the operation. (No word on whether he also opposes
raids on other law-breakers who might also have innocent family members
affected by the fruits of their illegal activity.)
In 2005, Huckabee promoted an “open door” policy on immigration as he
addressed the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) national
convention in . LULAC is a left-leaning group that opposes
virtually all measures of immigration enforcement.
“He was an absolute disaster on immigration as governor. Every time there
was any enforcement in his state, he took the side of the illegal
aliens.” – Roy Beck, president of NumbersUSA, a group that played a major
role in rallying the phone calls that helped defeat this year’s Senate
“I would hope he could be trusted to secure the borders, but given his
track record in , I don’t see the conservative he has portrayed
himself to be in .” – Jake Files, a former Arkansas state
representative and current chairman of the Republican
4) Governor Huckabee was no friend to fiscal conservatives in
Huckabee’s record on taxes, government spending, and growing government
programs was miserable. Basically, when the economy got tough, Huckabee
expected families like mine to tighten our budgets in order to help state
government meet its spending whims.
In 2003, Huckabee called a special session of the legislature to push for
a tax increase to make up for spending shortfalls. This led to his
signing HB1039, an across the board income tax and tobacco tax increase.
Huckabee even refused to consider a Republican proposal to cut spending
and use general improvement funds (i.e., legislative pork) to make up for
the budget shortfall. Ironically, the same day Huckabee was practically
begging the Arkansas legislature to raise taxes (here’s the video),
was also in to push for his tax cut plan.
(Note: When asked about this video recently, Huckabee gave a misleading
response to , blaming his tax increase plea on a court order.
This prompted State Representative Johnny Key, the current Republican
Leader in the House, to send out a letter correcting the
accuracy of Huckabee’s statement.)
If that weren’t enough, Huckabee called a 2nd special legislative session
in 2003 to pass a nearly one-cent state sales tax increase. The measure
also expanded the sales tax to include previously exempted services (for
more information and context, see reason #6 below).
During Huckabee’s term, 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
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. Meanwhile, the state added
about 8,000 full-time workers to its payroll during that period, a 19%
increase (according to the Bureau of Legislative Research).
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 much worse off.” His grade was
lower than 15 of the 21 Democrat Governors. His overall grade as governor
was a D.
“The main reason for the drop was his insistence on raising taxes at
almost every turn throughout his final term.” – Cato Institute explaining
why Huckabee had dropped from a “D” to an “F” on their Fiscal Policy
“[Huckabee] says he’s pro-family. If you’re raising taxes on the families
of , causing wives to go out and get jobs to make ends meet,
that’s not pro-family.” – Former Arkansas State Representative Randy
“In the past, he blamed Democrats for raising taxes…We voted for them,
but he proposed them.” – Arkansas State Senator John Paul Capps, a
5) Huckabee left a long trail of ethics questions while Governor of
This is an area where I think Huckabee does receive some unfair
criticism. Some of the ethics charges against him were frivolous and
politically motivated. However, it has been concerning for some time just
how much the governor accepted in gifts and how he was seemingly always
pushing ethical limits.
During his tenure, Huckabee accepted 314 gifts valued overall at more
than $150,000, according to documents filed with the Arkansas’ Secretary
of State office.
The Huckabees set up wedding registries at local department stores as
Mike was leaving office – even though they had been married for 30 years.
State ethics laws prohibited Huckabee from receiving gifts of more than
$100……but there was an exception for wedding gifts.
Judicial Watch, a non-partisan group dedicted to fighting government
corruption, listed Huckabee among their Ten Most Wanted Corrupt
Politicians of 2007. Huckabee was one of only three Republican
politicians to make the list.
6) Huckabee’s education record shows him to be an advocate of the “status
The chapter of the National Education Association (NEA) has
endorsed and for the upcoming Primary
elections. This is the first time in memory that they have recommended a
Republican (in 2004 they endorsed ). They likely chose
Huckabee has consistently opposed virtually all proposals for education
reform, including school choice vouchers.
The former president of Eagle Forum of said Huckabee “continued
the education plan” as our governor.
When the Supreme Court ruled that ’ public school
funding was “inequitable,” Huckabee took the ruling as a mandate to raise
taxes in order to once again increase school funding…which he did. (To
his credit, however, he also used the opportunity to consolidate some of
the school districts in the state – although rural legislators severely
watered down the proposal.)
7) Huckabee has very little support for his Presidential bid here in
For the most part those in his party who know him best are not supporting
In October, a poll showed that, among all
Presidential candidates in both parties, only 8% of Arkansans said they
were supporting .
That same week, the reported that only
one-third of Republicans in the Arkansas Legislature said they were
supporting their former governor’s Presidential bid.
After this story, the Huckabee campaign published a list of supporters in
his home state. The Arkansas News Bureau then reported that as some of
the names on Huckabee’s endorsement list were used without
permission and had to be removed.
This is purely anecdotal, but despite my involvement in Republican
politics, I am unaware of any of my Republican friends who are supporting
Huckabee. I have seen maybe 3 Huckabee for President bumper stickers –
and I live in Republican west and work 2 miles from the state
capitol where Huckabee just completed over 10 years as Governor (my wife
says she saw her first sticker today…..guess he’s picking up steam
“…if Huckabee didn’t have things sewn up with Republicans back home,
what kind of message did that send?….The truth is that Huckabee hasn’t
had that much support from former and current Republican legislators.” –
David Sanders, conservative columnist for Arkansas News Bureau (November
I realize the Republican Presidential field does not leave true
conservatives with much to get excited about. However, it is unlikely I
will support Huckabee over any of the Republican frontrunners because of
his liberal record, his questionable judgment, and his reckless use of
power while Governor. Now is not the time for Republicans to compromise
on core conservative values. More importantly, we need a leader with a
history of using strong judgment as our nation continues to lead the
world in the War on Terror.
Two final questions:
1) Given the many vulnerabilities in his record, what is the likelihood
that Huckabee would win in a general election? Democrat National
Committee officials have already been quoted as saying that they see
Huckabee as “easy kill” and refer to him as “the glass jaw — and they’re
just waiting to break it.” The DNC has issued over 200 attack press
releases on Republican candidates – only 4 on Huckabee, the last one
coming 10 months ago.
2) Does his record as governor represent someone who should be given
greater power and responsibility? Is he Commander and Chief material?
Leader of the free world? National Review recently expressed concern, and
Huckabee raised eyebrows with recent comments critical of U.S. Foreign
policy and our role in the world – he was essentially repeating the
Democrat talking points!