January 28, 2008

Eyes on the Primaries: Former Governor Mike Huckabee

Print More

Mike Huckabee’s campaign success will be put to the test tomorrow with the results of the Florida primary, considered to be the nation’s most crucial contest yet. The former governor of Arkansas’ campaign has curtailed in recent weeks due to a dwindling campaign budget and a series of contest losses to his contenders.
According to his website, Huckabee’s campaign budget currently stands at $2.8 million, which falls significantly short of his $10 million goal intended to be reached by next week’s Super Tuesday. In comparison, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R-N.Y.) and Gov. Mitt Romney (R-Mass.), Huckabee’s Republican competitors, have raised $47.3 million and $62.8 million, respectively.
Despite his apparent financial disadvantage, Huckabee’s campaign started the year off strong. Huckabee’s victory in the Iowa caucus on Jan. 3 surprised many Americans, with Republican hopeful, Romney, trailing behind by a nine percent margin.
Mark Coombs ’08 is a supporter of Huckabee.
“[Huckabee] has been able to do so much with so little, [which] just proves how powerful his appeal actually is. He managed to morph from a little-known also-ran into the winner of the Iowa caucus while getting outspent 20 to one. He didn’t buy his victory; he earned it,” said Coombs, who is also a Sun columnist.
Huckabee’s appeal in Iowa was heavily dependent on his evangelical Christian supporters. In a television advertisement shown in Iowa before the caucus, Huckabee, a former pastor, stated, “faith doesn’t just influence me, it really defines me.”
According to The New York Times, a poll of Republicans entering the Iowa caucus revealed that more than eight out of 10 Huckabee supporters were evangelical Christians.
“Huckabee is a very faith driven man,” said Mcintosh Forrence ’09. “It appears that it helps to drive him and, in tough time, helps him get through.”
Coombs, however, said that Huckabee is a “different kind of religious conservative than we’ve seen in years past.” According to Coombs, Huckabee, “combines old-time religion with his own authentic brand of compassionate conservatism.”
While Huckabee makes it clear that his religion influences his political views, Coombs stated that Huckabee does not impose his religion on some of the more contentious issues.
“Huckabee could point to the obvious, particularly his opposition to abortion or his opposition to gay marriage,” Coombs said. “Instead, he talks about the environment and his support for taking better care of the planet. That’s big.”
On the divisive issue of abortion, Huckabee has taken a conservative stance. He has advocated overturning Roe v. Wade and has supported the Supreme Court decision to uphold a ban on partial-birth abortions.
“I’m pro-life because I believe life begins at conception and I believe that we should do everything possible to protect that life because it is the centerpiece of what makes us unique as an American people,” Huckabee said in a Republican debate in May.
The presidential hopeful has also stated that he does not believe in evolution, yet does not oppose teaching Darwin’s theory in public schools.
“If you want to believe that you and your family came from apes, I’ll accept that. I believe there was a creative process,” Huckabee said in May, following a Republican debate.
Huckabee is an advocate for energy independence, claiming that the first thing he will do if elected president will be presenting Congress with a complex plan to achieve energy independence by the end of his second term.
“Achieving energy independence is vital to achieving success both in the war on terror and in globalization. Energy independence will help guarantee both our safety and our prosperity,” Huckabee said on his website.
According to Carlos Rymer ’08, president of the Sustainability Hub, Huckabee’s plan has a valid objective, but has the potential to create other problems in regard to sustainable energy.
One problem, explained Rymer, is his plan’s support of the use of clean coal.
“The reality is that there is no clean coal. Coal is made up of carbon, which releases carbon dioxide when burned,” Rymer said.
Rymer said that alternative power should instead be coming from “wind and solar technologies, which are growing extremely fast and with more government support can meet all of our demands.”
In response to the ongoing war on terror, Huckabee opposes the formulation of timetable for troop withdrawal.
“We need to understand that this is, in fact, World War III…this is one we cannot afford to lose,” Huckabee said at a speech in New Hampshire on Feb. 9.
“I feel that Iraq was started by us and needs to end by us. We cannot just invade a country and leave it in ruins. Huckabee realizes that what we have done and wants to stay until the end. He wants to finish the job right,” Forrence said.
Coombs supports Huckabee’s position on Iraq.
“Huckabee understands that we have to stay in Iraq for as long as it takes to ensure that the country can stand on its own two feet; anything less would not only reflect poorly on the United States and her people, but it would threaten the stability of the entire region,” he said.
Since his initial success in Iowa, Huckabee’s campaign has been losing momentum, trailing behind the success his competitors. Additionally, due to a lack of funding, Huckabee has not advertised in Florida, a significant stomping ground on the road to the election.
The future of Huckabee’s campaign is also reliant on the results of next week’s Super Tuesday contests in over 20 states, including critical states such as New York and California.
Want to read about the other candidates? Click on the candidates name: Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), former Gov. Mike Huckabee, former Gov. Mitt Romney, former Sen. John Edwards , Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) or Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y).