Mike Huckabee Won't Rule Out Raising Taxes

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Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee today announced he will file papers to create a presidential exploratory committee, declaring he is “an authentic conservative who has a proven record of results.” However, even before Huckabee kicks off his presidential bid, he’s already facing criticism for his record on taxes.

Minutes after announcing his plans on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Huckabee addressed conservatives at the National Review Institute summit in Washington, D.C. He spoke to reporters and bloggers following his speech.

Read on . . .

I asked Huckabee about his record on taxes. As the Club for Growth has noted (here and here), Huckabee has raised taxes during his tenure as governor. The libertarian Cato Institute gave him an “F” for his “insistence on raising taxes at almost every turn throughout his final term.”

“Will you, right here and now,” I asked, “pledge not to raise taxes if you’re elected President?”

Huckabee declined to take my pledge -- and by extension signaled that he won’t sign Americans for Tax Reform’s Taxpayer Protection Pledge. (Grover Norquist publicly ridiculed Huckabee on ATR’s Christmas card in 2006.)

In defending his record, Huckabee noted that 90% of the Arkansas budget is made up of spending on “prisons, Medicare and court-ordered education spending.”

He said the 3-cent gas tax he signed wasn’t his fault because voters approved it. Besides, he said, Arkansas had one of the worst road systems in the country, suggesting the tax hike was warranted.

Huckabee gave Russert a similar answer earlier in the day on “Meet the Press” when pressed on the issue of taxes.

RUSSERT: Because of the war in Iraq, because of deficits, health care and infrastructure, would you keep raising federal taxes on the table?

HUCKABEE: I don't think taxes is really where we need to go. It's not that our taxes are too low, it's our spending is too high. Arthur Godfrey said I'm proud to spend taxes but it's about getting spending under control.

RUSSERT: Read my lips, no new taxes?

HUCKABEE: I think you have to be careful. I wouldn't propose any new taxes or support any. But if we are in a situation where we are in a different level of war where there is no other option, it is a dangerous position to make pledges outside the most important pledge you make, and that is to uphold the constitution and protect the people of the united states.

The Club for Growth will release a report on Monday detailing Huckabee’s record on fiscal issues. Huckabee knows the criticism is coming. The question is whether he responds to it by pledging not to raise taxes (as candidates Sam Brownback and Mitt Romney already have) or keeps playing defense.

Huckabee is philosophically unacceptable. He believes government is the answer to problems. At least Bush still cut taxes. This guy has no problem with big government and high taxes.

speak in Spartanburg, SC last year, and found him to be a great speaker and strong on the war and values, but he is just too liberal as you say. He is much more of a big guv con that Dubya. He is up there with Bill Clinton on nanny state laws that restrict private property rights.

"One man with courage makes a majority." - Andrew Jackson
The HinzSight Report
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Cutting taxes while increasing spending is not praiseworthy.

Fortunately, the current Administration has not seen fit to cut taxes.

The reduction in tax rates have given the Fed the largest ever tax revenues.

The only people who can't see that increasing tax rates lead to lower tax collections are either believers that a one dimensional tax revenue model really works, partisan beyond reason or stupid beyond belief. Most generally they are the latter.
If "pro" is the opposite of "con", what is the opposite of "progress"...

Senior Writer

That lowering tax rates increases taxes? Can you cite any study to support that?

"The only people who can't see that increasing tax rates lead to lower tax collections are either believers that a one dimensional tax revenue model really works, partisan beyond reason or stupid beyond belief. Most generally they are the latter."

That's spectacular. Which is Greg Mankiw, for example?


You want one, shucks I'll give you two. And I'll also point out that you left a word off your question. You said: That lowering tax rates increases taxes?

The appropriate question is That lowering tax rates increases [tax] REVENUES?

You would look to the '80's when Ronald Reagan reduced marginal tax rates and tax revenues exploded. You would look to the current Administration, when Oh Gee, the same thing happened.
If "pro" is the opposite of "con", what is the opposite of "progress"...

Senior Writer

but given his affiliation, I would guess he falls in the "both" category. A PhD does not mean that someone can deal effectively with the real world.
If "pro" is the opposite of "con", what is the opposite of "progress"...

Senior Writer

I've had second thoughts. Really stupid. See here.
If "pro" is the opposite of "con", what is the opposite of "progress"...

Senior Writer

Huckabee? A big government, tax-hiker who, as an added "plus" likes to meddle in peoples personal lives to boot? Republicans should really rethink this one.

"The politicians don't just want your money. They want your soul. They want you to be worn down by taxes until you are dependent and helpless. When you subsidize poverty and failure, you get more of both." -Ja

The "Read my lips no new taxes" philosophy seems like nonsense to me. If you believe that tax hikes are always bad and tax-cuts are always good then it seems that you are in favor of no taxes and therefore no government.
People often argue that less taxes mean more government revenue. I believe that this is sometimes true, but obviously there's a point where it is not true because if the government has zero taxes that means that the government has zero revenue. If you think tax hikes are always bad then this leads to the fact that tax-cuts are always good. Let's say you have a republican congress that does away with taxes. According to the " No new Taxes" logic it would be wrong to raise taxes again, therefore according to this brand of logic taxes are always bad.
I find Huckabee's reasoning quite appealing. He seems to realize that policy is much more complicated than following a set of sound-bites. There are many factors that affect the revenue the Government recieves from taxes and the revenue the Government needs. We could end up in a war much bigger than what we are in now where tax - hikes were neccesary. If all being president involved, was following talking points, I think one could easilly be president with a High - School education. I find it refreshing that there is a candidate out there who realizes his duty as president would be to defend the constitution, and not to defend simplistic conservative talking points.

If the government spends 20% of the GDP right now and one believes the government only needs to spend 5-10%, why is it bad to be against any tax hikes. One does not need to be an anarchist to oppose all tax hikes at this point in time. If the federal government ever sized down to 5 or 6 departments and shrunk to 10% of the economy, then more people would be okay with certain tax hikes. But right now there are many people who see vast swathes of wasteful spending (pork), bad programs that feed bureaucrats but don't do much for the country, and inefficiencies. These people want those problems addressed to save money rather than just taking more from workers.

Social Security Choice - Club For Growth

Cut the Fed in half and you've got millions of former employees looking for private sector jobs. Given that the only people who are employable are military veterans, it would be ugly. Or a thing of retributive beauty depending on your perspective...
If "pro" is the opposite of "con", what is the opposite of "progress"...

Senior Writer

I agree. Reagan actually had to raise taxes three times after his initial tax cut when he was President, so it is sometimes necessary. The idea that lower taxes bring in more revenue isn't always true. Tax cuts often times end up paying for themselves, but they don't usually completely pay for themselves. That's why spending cuts are necessary to go along with tax cuts. It's fiscally irresponsible to cut taxes and then actually raise spending the way Bush has. The fiscally responsible thing to do would be to cut taxes and cut spending at the same time.
With that being said, I think that Huckabee is just another big spending, big government Republican. He would be even worse than Bush in that regard. We need a Barry Goldwater type Republican who will reduce the size of government.

Keep in mind that he had a Democratic House for 8 years and a Dem Senate for 4.
If "pro" is the opposite of "con", what is the opposite of "progress"...

Senior Writer

Huckabee is part of the new strain of southern-style conservatism that will destroy the GOP.

It has all the big spending, big-government populist ideology of earlier Southern Democrats, mixed with holier than thou preaching and wearing one's religion on their sleeve.

Everything they do is justisfied because they are pro-life.

Even as a conservative Christian, I am really turned off by this new type of Republican politician.

"Back in the thirties we were told we must collectivize the nation because the people were so poor. Now we are told we must collectivize the nation because the people are so rich. "

William F. Buckley, Jr.

This is rapidly approaching the status of "Known Fact". The reality is somewhat different.

Abortion does suck up a lot of oxygen from our political system and candidates that are deemed sufficiently “prolife” get forgiven for an awful lot on other issues. Moreover Huckabee would not be the first politician who tried to use the bible or “values” as cover for a big government agenda.

It’s also hard to reconcile a smaller federal government that is limited by federalism with the fact that so many politicians are from States that receive far more in federal funds than they pay in federal taxes. There was an often cited survey claiming that Blue States were in effect largely subsidizing Red States with their federal tax dollars.

It’s perfectly legitimate to ask ourselves whether someone who made their political bones in that kind of political environment where pork-barreling is a way of life is really going to be able to muster the kind of political will to break the habit if we elect them as President.

Let's get one thing straight, the only reason you are conscious right now is because Jack Bauer does not feel like carrying you.

It’s also hard to reconcile a smaller federal government that is limited by federalism with the fact that so many politicians are from States that receive far more in federal funds than they pay in federal taxes.

The facts are that it is the politicians from States that receive far more in federal funds than they pay in federal taxes who try to cut the size of government, and the politicians from States that pay far more in federal taxes than they pay in federal funds who try to increase the size of government. You could look it up.

Liberal states => high cost of living states => high wage states => high tax states due to progressive taxation. The situation which you describe is due entirely to liberal politicians and liberal voters. The people attempting to reverse it, oddly enough, are the conservatives in states which benefit from the liberals folly.

The facts are that it is the politicians from States that receive far more in federal funds than they pay in federal taxes who try to cut the size of government,

Like who exactly?

Let's get one thing straight, the only reason you are conscious right now is because Jack Bauer does not feel like carrying you.

I am open to the idea of being against all tax - cuts at a certain point in time. And yes, it makes sense to say that new taxes are bad up until a certain point.
The problem I have is that this is not the arguement I have been seeing. The arguement I have been seeing is that tax hikes are always bad, and I hardly ever see any well researched arguements of how much spending we should have and therefore aproximately how much taxes we should have.
I would like to see a flat tax. Because I don't like the fact that if I make a little more money but not enough more I may actually end up losing money becuase of being booted up into a higher tax bracket.( though is not likely at this point in my life) However, I am not convinced a flat - tax is practical. I also do not think that the government can make an immediate downsize, this is process which takes time and we need to let new infrastructure take the place of old government infrastructure. During this time I think it is quite possible that the Government would be in a situation where it needed to raise taxes. From what Huckabee has said it seems that he is generally in favor of cutting taxes, but he realizes that we don't live in a sound-byte world where is everything is very simple.

Considering that most republicans votes come the south and the Mid-west which I believe is culturally simmilar I do not see how Southern style conservatism would be a disaster for the GOP.
Here in Nebraska the one thing that all our national office-holers and our governor hold in common is being pro-life. It seems to me that Social Conservatism is the big factor here. I think the disaster would be running Rudy Guiliani which if his positions on the issues get out many folks are not going to see any reason to vote Republican.

It is wrong to label Huckabee as the representative of "Southern Conservatism". If the Repubs turn against the south, well, it is over. However, it seems the best Republicans do come from the West. And many southerners agree with their philosophy of small government, lower taxes, and individual liberty.

There is some truth to the idea of a Southern statist history. Certainly slavery was statist to say the least. And more recently, many Southern states have curbs on individual liberty, such as the Second Amendment, because it was part of Jim Crow. Basically what they did is officially ban carrying guns in many places. And example is the much more stringent gun carry laws in states like North Carolina and South Carolina than in the West. Virginia is an execption to this. The Jim Crow angle was that you make it hard to get a permit to carry, and only the "good ol' boys" could get one.

I am pro south, but I agree that the most pure form of conservatism comes from the West. Again, many southerners agree with this.

I agree that the most pure form of conservatism comes from the West

I'm writing up a blog on this topic and I'm curious to find out ahead of time what prompts people to say this kind of thing.

Here is a quote from the Wikipedia article on "Republicans":

"Since 1980, the GOP has contained what George Will calls "unresolved tensions between, two flavors of conservatism -- Western and Southern." The Western brand, says Will, "is largely libertarian, holding that pruning big government will allow civil society -- and virtues nourished by it and by the responsibilities of freedom -- to flourish." The Southern variety, however, reflects a religiosity based in evangelical and fundamentalist churches that is less concerned with economics and more with moralistic issues, such as opposition to abortion and homosexual marriage. Noting the waning influence of libertarian philosophy on contemporary Republican ideology, Will describes the current Republican Party as "increasingly defined by the ascendancy of the religious right."[3]"

The link to the article is here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Republican_Party_(United_States)

It seems you want me to "prove" that Westerners are more for small government than Southerners. It is probably impossible for me to prove such a thing to you. All I can say is this is common lingo within Republican circles. As some say, "where there is smoke, there is fire".

The fact of the matter is when politicos speak in terms of "Western Conservatism" and "Southern Conservatism" they are discussing the more libertarian strain represented by Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan vs. the strain represented by GW Bush, Bill Frist, and James Dobson.

I simply can not give you a laundry list of Western Republican leaders with a more libertarian conservative mindset. I do not have that information. I will say this though, travel around Wyoming, Nevada, and New Mexico and talk to the people, you will see it. They are the most anti Federal government and pro individual liberty people you will meet in America.

Look, I am already anticipating the rebuttals. "What about libs from California that moved east"? "What about immigrants from Mexico"? yes, I know about these things. But we are talking REPUBLICANS here, not Democrats.

What this boils down to is simple logic. A big government "Southern" conservative can lose the West. But a small government "Western Conservative" will still win in the South. We want to win in 2008 right? One last thing, I don't care where the candidate comes from, I was for Allen when he was still in the race.

But that's an attempt at argument by authority. And using Wikipedia as an authority, no less!

If Westerners are in fact more "libertarian" i.e. more in favor of small government than other Americans, then that fact should be capable of being demonstated with data.

Here's an example of what I'm talking about. Cato puts out a report card on the nations governors, judging them on how libertarian they are.

The eight Mountain West states come off looking rather bad here. Of the states that were given an A or B, only Utah made the grade from the West, while Missouri, Texas, South Carolina, and Tennessee made it from the South.

The governors of Arizona, Nevada, and Montana all scored an F.

Governor Brian Schweitzer of Montana was cited by Sager as an example of the new breed of libertarian Democrat, which should give you some idea of where Sager is coming from.

the Pew Poll shows more Westerners indentify themselves as libertarian than Southerners. I can not help it if if bothers you, I can not help it if you want to believe the South is more libertarian/small government than the West. You obviously did not read what I posted and/or choose not to respond to my points. For that reason, I see no point in continuing this conversation. If you want to be in denial that there is a split philosophically in the conservative movement, then fine with me. If you like the results of the last election, then fine with me.

You keep challenging people saying you do not believe the West is more libertarian. But to what end is this? How is this a winning strategy? I think the Republican party has a serious problem because the fusion of social conservatives and libertarian conservatives is fraying over big government. You can deny it all you want but results matter. I have already linked to you MANY articles on this issue, and you choose to say "no it is not true". That is fine, I will choose not to respond to your comments in the future. But again, and for the last time, I ask, how is denial a winning strategy? And, you really think ANYONE of the Republican hopefulls could even hold Ronald Reagan's jock?

I've asked you for a link several times. So far you have offered nothing to back up the idea that the West favors small government except your own opinion and "everyone thinks this is so".

I've pointed out actual data that the West is not libertarian and you just ignore it, so announcing that you are going to start ignoring it is not anything new. Ignore away. I'll contine to point out that you are wrong when I see you say it.

pew poll


check page 16

I really only post this for others, I know about types like you, nothing I post will change your mind. But keep thinking you are swaying others, they might just be laughing behind your back.

clears up the argument. The south is more fiscally conservative, as evidenced by state gov data, and westerners are more libertarian. I certainly agree with that dichotomy, although I think many hard core libertarians misjudge the extent of the gulf. Most social cons simply ant the law restored to what it was before engle v vitale and roe v wade.

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but I might ad there are some "southern" evangelical conservatives that don't mind taxing "sins" like cigarettes and beer. Also, some support bans on gambling and other "vices". And there is even a strain that is for alien amnesty. Ironically, this action is more large L Libertarian than the Western idea, but certainly is not in keeping with the small l, libertarian/conservatism of Reagan.

For instance, the South has historically underfunded (relative to the rest of the country) public education, and higher education. Second, sparsely populated Western states can be expensive to run. (A 4 lane between Pocatello and Boise will not carry as much traffic as a 4 lane between Columbia and Charleston, SC but it will cost more.)

Southerners do love pork, and most aren't afraid to admit it. Most Southern representatives of both parties believe that they must bring back pork in order to get re-elected.

Western politics are influenced by an ambivalent relationship with the federal government, given how important federal lands are to the western economy.

The south is more fiscally conservative, as evidenced by state gov data, and westerners are more libertarian.

I think the South is more fiscally conservative, but I define being libertarian as being fiscally conservative. Others, like Sager and our friend here, have a different definition.

If people in the West are more libertarian, you would not know it based on the people they elect to Congress.

our friend certainly does not define libertarianism as fiscal conservatism, you do have that right. of course i am for fiscal conservatism particularly if that means reducing the size of government.

I think the Republican party has a serious problem because the fusion of social conservatives and libertarian conservatives is fraying over big government.

Because Ryan Sager told you this, you believe it and repeat it. But it is just not so. The people pushing the GOP in the direction of bigger government are not southern social conservatives, they are the north-eastern liberal conservatives, allied with the big-business Chamber-of-Commerce types.

There are far more people in the GOP than just libertarians and social conservatives, and some of those other people have zero tolerence for small government ideas, whether from the West or from the South.

brought up Sager? I believe it was you not me. I know when MY party is losing its roots and getting too comfortable in power. That happened during the years prior to the last election.

Again, you are in denial. And you keep saying the South is more libertarian minded thant the West. Who here has backed you up? What facts have you shown to support YOUR stand? You keep asking us to prove our position but you seem to have no need to back up your comments.

As far as I can see this is just you and me discussing the matter. The only person I asked for a link from was you.

who brought up Sager?

It's a carry over from our previous discussion.

What facts have you shown to support YOUR stand?

According to Cato, the Southern governors are a much more libertarian group than the Western ones. That is one fact. I have more but I'll save it for whan I blog on the topic.

As I say, this is an unproductive fight between libertarians and social conservatives. The people pushing the party towards bigger government are not from either of these two groups. (At least if "bigger government" means a bigger budget and more Fed employees.)

I can stand on my own. but you have said over and over the West is less libertarian than the South. I could compile a huge "us" against that claim but you can not do so in kind.

I simply do not agree it is northern "liberal conservatives" that have grown the government. It is people like Bush and Frist. It is not about geography with me, the West and South terms are just political ideology terms. All I know is we need a smaller government. We do not need No Child Left Behind, steel tariffs, medicare prescription drugs, and online gambling bans. See, you can grow government many ways, every new law, piled on the previous thousands of laws, grows the Federal government.

It's all about data.

How can you know what the world is like without data? How can you tell which way it is moving?

Facts and figures and numbers are the lifeblood of science and business. If you want to analyze the GOP, or the country, you need to look at the numbers. Who is doing what, and for whom.

The facts and figures say that the GOP Congressmen from the South are just as fiscally conservative as those from the West. If you want to understand why the government does the things it does you'll need to look beyond those two groups, which between than make up a minority in Congress.

The people pushing the Feds to take over health care, for example, are businessmen and CoC types who want to get that burden removed from themselves and "equalize" the business environment between here and abroad. And their opionions have more clout than that of the small government types, whether libertarian or conservative.

Mike Huckabee could be (I've only researched him a little so far) a good example of the smoke & mirrors of the fiscal versus social conservative debate. I happen to be both.

As a 'fiscal conservative,' I find a Republican that just has to "keep the door open" to taxes pretty troubling which leads me to question the pro-life stance. I'm with Jacob Coulter in that he absolutely does not get my support just because he is pro-life.

As I mentioned, I haven't done research on hi except for a couple hours months ago at which time I basically marked him off of my mental list, but I don't quite remember why. These kind of 'big government' issues might be part of the reason I did so at the time.

How is it that your mind was able to go through all the possibilities that the country may go through and decide that for each possibility there would be no justification for a tax increase. No tax increase makes a good sound byte, but I still have not seen it connected to good policy logic. It seems to be emotional.
Also I do not think that the Social Conservative vs Fiscal Conservative is all smoke and mirrors. You may be both, but not everone is. As an example some of the Democrats won by being socially conservative but otherwise somewhat liberal.

There is no justification for tax increases at this time at the federal or state levels of government. Government is too large to begin with and the best way to bring balance budgets is to cut federal spending in the domestic realm.

Furthermore, I believe their is a southern disposition towards big government conservatism. Remember a lot of southern conservatives are former or can be directly traced to FDR New Deal Southern Democrats. From living in the east, west, and midwest, a lot of people from these regions agree with this sentiment. If we are going to pick a region where fiscal conservatism is strong, look at the Mountain West. In this region, even a good portion of the Democrats are fiscally conservative (pro-tax cuts, balanced budgets, pro-free trade).

I hope you have some statistics to back up that claim.

Plus, its really liberalism (it gets called conservative because most southerners are conservative on most issues) and so-called big guv con (many of Huckabee and others government proposals are pure liberal nanny state. Dubya's brand is to infuse govt programs with conservative values and have the program die a slow death.) Let me explain, and also concede that you are correct to identify this strain of conservatism, but many here blow it out of proportion. Here's why.

First, there is a good reason for southerners to have favored big government in the past. Our great depression started in 1865 and we didn't get a new deal till the rest of the country did. FDR literally ended reconstruction and brought the south into the modern world thanks to his acquaintences with us in Warm Springs, GA.

We needed federal help longer and in greater quantity for years. All of the south was democratic till starting in the late 60s and 70s.

Now, southern republicans generally mirror Reagan conservatism. But, many, not near a majority though, of the Reagan democrats and evangelicals that Reagan brought into the party so that we could actually win elections and majorities did bring some big govt dependency with them after being dems for so long.

So really, what we are calling big gov southern conservatism is really liberalism born of the civil war thru the 60s.

No one should get the impression that most southern republicans are for big government. They are not, and haven't been since I have been aware of such things in the 70s.

"One man with courage makes a majority." - Andrew Jackson
The HinzSight Report
Race 4 2008

in the past for saying that about Southern Republicans, GC, so it is good to have an ally. The South has a long history of statism that goes back even before 1865 and many of the CSA's policies and programs would today be branded as socialistic, e.g., the salt and nitre programs, widows and orphans stipends, veterans' pensions (after The War).

Southerners are "country conservatives;" they still largely live in high-context cultures so that consent of the governed stuff has personal meaning. They don't like to be told what to do by anyone, especially the "big men" in the government, and it is very important to them to be held in good regard by their neighbors, so they aren't much on imposing their will on those neighbors.

That said, a century of poverty and peonage has given Southerners no aversion at all to use government to get those things that government can give for the perceived common (and sometimes not-so-common) good. Whether is was the state owned railroads of the antebellum era or the speculatively built industrial parks and buildings and the concomitant tax breaks of the fifties, sixties, and even today to attract industry, it is a part of the res publica to use the government for what they believe to be their interest. They are conservatives, but they're not either "l" or "L" libertarians.

In Vino Veritas

I'd like to see some indication that this is in fact true. I've crunched a lot of numbers looking into this charge, and all indications are that the South is more true to the ideal of small government than the West, or any other part of the country. The libertarian West is a myth, at least to the extent that "libertarian" has a relationship to government expenditures.

appears fiscally "conservative," it is largely because until relatively recent times, it didn't have enough money to be anything else. Don't look at the dollars, look at the programs. The natural social conservatism has kept The South from spending money on lots of activist social programs and the like.

In Vino Veritas

The Pew Polls on this exact issue show that Western Conservatives are the most libertarian/small government. It is true, that the South is very close to the West on this.

I'm curious to see these polls, if they are available somewhere.

The numbers are more reliable than polls, since they show what people actually do rather than what they tell a pollster they think.

Some of the numbers in question are the actual spending patterns of the different states. Also, the Cato rankings of the different governors. The Western states come off looking pretty bad on the spending front.

republicans that have served in congress. The big gov repubs were always the Rockefeller repubs from the north.

"One man with courage makes a majority." - Andrew Jackson
The HinzSight Report
Race 4 2008

well, I am pro south, I said that and will keep saying it, I am a Southerner by grace of God. But There is an strain of big government conservatives from the South. It seems both Brownback and Huckabee are big government conservatives. Certainly George Bush is a big government conservative. I can't remember if it was Brownback or Huckabee (they seem the same to me), but one of them raised taxes on cigarettes and beer. Come on now! That is not just big government, but moralism in the worst way.

and that their are a good many, but not enough to have a class of conservatives called Big Gov Southern cons. I would also suggest that the standards for judging should be different for states vs the fed gov.

That said, Huckabee seems to be a liberal nanny stater.

I tuned out BB when he went wobbly on the war.

Mike Gamecock DeVine @ The Charlotte Observer
The Minority Report
"One man with courage makes a majority." - Andrew Jackson
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statement that "our natural social conservatism" (sometimes my Alaskan southern brother takes an almost organic/faulknerian view of his people-he's been gone a while-smile Ac-but he is smarter than me) prevents us from lots of social spending..
Well, Ac just defined fiscal conservatism!

My point is that southerners in the past and some to this day had no compunction with getting all they could from the FEDERAL government due to reconstruction isolation after the civil war and the resulting poverty. The North raped us for 70 years.

The facts on state government fiscal conservatism is the best in the nation, and has been for 30 years at least. SC was the #1 bond rated state for most of my life for example.

"One man with courage makes a majority." - Andrew Jackson
The HinzSight Report
Race 4 2008

consent of the governed thing, GC. Southern society, even in large measure Southern urban society, is very high context; much depends on who you know. It is much more difficult to impose your will on people you know than on an abstract population.

Westerners, leaving aside the Coastal strip, live in relative isolation and, as someone above said, have large, expensive to operate states. The East Coast, The South, and the Old Nortwest have towns every twelve miles or so, the distance you could travel and return on horseback in a day, and roads, services, etc. are predicated on that fact. Once you cross the Mississippi, that changes dramatically to twenty, fifty, or a hundred miles and much more to the nearest large city - take I - 90 accross Dakota, Montana, Idaho, and Washington sometime. Even I - 5 is a pretty empty drive south of Seattle until you get within a hundred miles or so of SF. I'll assure you that driving from Seattle to Sacramento in winter is a lot different from driving from Atlanta to New Orleans in winter, though the distance is similar. By the time you get to Alaska, distance isn't even measured in miles but rather in time; time in an airplane. It is two hours from Seattle to Juneau, an hour and a half from Juneau to Anchorage, an hour from Anchorage to Fairbanks, and another hour and a half from Fairbanks to Barrow. The only reason anyone here would know how far in miles someplace might be is from watching their Alaska Airlines mileage account.

Georgia is the largest state east of the Mississipi at a little over 50K square miles. Every state west of the Mississippi is over 50K square miles. As the result of large land areas and relatively small populations, they all tend to have highly centralized governments that provide all sorts of government services that might be provided, if at all, at a much lower level of government in the older, smaller states.

In any event, it is an apples and oranges comparison. The geography and organizational structure of The West is wholly different from The South; likewise the sociology. Southerners live relatively close together, so they care what the people around them do. Westerners, largely, live far apart and couldn't care less what you do as long as it doesn't effect them or cost them any money.

In Vino Veritas

I confirmed it by looking in the mirror!

"One man with courage makes a majority." - Andrew Jackson
The HinzSight Report
Race 4 2008

Do you have any idea of when you would consider that there is justification, othewise your idea is just a popular talking point. I am not saying you do not have a well reasoned view on how much the government should shrink, and how much taxes should be cut.
Another thing to think about is what if we are in a life threatening war and the Democrats are in control of Congress and will not five the funds to fight the war unless the president signs a tax hike. Would you have the president put us at risk by not raising taxes. We live in a republic and sometimes comprimises must be made. If I have an issue which I think is uncomprimisable that issue would be life. For many of you it seems to be taxes. I think what "southern conservatives" or whatever you want to call us have trouble understanding is why it is more important that everybody get tax relief than that we stop that massacare of children in this country. I am not so much in favor of tax increases, but it is an issue which I am willing to compromise on. I do not think it is good to tear down candidates because they do not conform to sound byte politics. We need to have someone realize that we do not get a 100% on everything. To me one of the issues I am more willing to compromise on is taxes.

if the Dept of Education, HUD, Commerce Dept, Dept of Agriculture, and NEA are all shut down, all federal block grants are zero and Social Security and Medicare are fully privatized.

Then we can talk.
If "pro" is the opposite of "con", what is the opposite of "progress"...

Senior Writer

short term, for closing costs :) throw in the ATF too.

The Democrats are still in power and they will not allow the funding of the war on terrorism without tax - hikes. I am not saying their positions would be right but what could the president do about it. I can think of three options, he can not raise taxes and allow us to go without the money we need for defending ourselves, he could set up a dictatorship, and declare that the we would get the money for defense that we needed, or he could simply compromise on taxes. Which options do you prefer or can you think of another option.

there is a famous trick politicians play. They ask the voters would they pay for a new tax if it did xy and z? Usually the bait is something "for the children", like school lunches etc. First of all, the taxes always go into the general fund and are squandered with all the rest. Someone asked questioned earlier the reason for lowering taxes. Heck, it is simple, the reason is government is so wasteful! We waste so much money on pork and inneficiency that it will be a long long time before any tax cut would actually hurt the government. The gov needs help, it needs to be much more efficient, they waste our money and don't need any more.

I certainly don't want the GOP to write off the South, I foresee the South being the backbone of the Republican Party for some time. This new style of "Southern-Conservatism", however, writes off the rest of the country and will impede the GOP from creating a governing coalition in Congress.

The rest of the country is extremely uncomfortable with politicians sounding like tele-evangelists, even people of faith. Throw in the fact that many Republicans have abandoned "small-government" values, and you have a potential disaster for the GOP.

When I hear friends criticize the GOP, it's never about their policies of cutting government spending, or taxes, or ending welfare, or reforming other entitlements, it's about Republicans having the image of being intolerant Bible-thumpers. People vote for the Democrats, even though many detest big-government liberalism, because they don't want to be preached to.

There are many Republican governors in the Northeast that win elections because of their sound fiscal policies. The northeast once voted reliably Republican because of their belief in a thrifty government.

Small government conservatism can sell across the U.S., even in "Deep-Blue" states.

Southern-conservatism will not sell anywhere outside the South.

P.S. I'm criticizing "Southern-Conservatism" as a southerner who shares a lot of the same Christian values.

"Back in the thirties we were told we must collectivize the nation because the people were so poor. Now we are told we must collectivize the nation because the people are so rich. "

William F. Buckley, Jr.

More or less this is how Romney and Giuliani got elected in their respective circumstances.

The best example to prove your point is look at the 1984 and 2004 elections. Reagan ran on security and economics. He was a social conservative, but it was not a focus of the campaign. He won in a huge landslide.

Bush in 2004 ran on security and values. Bush barely won.

Both of them faced liberals with similar policies.

The difference is that Bush tried to play the social conservative card while Reagan played the economic card. The Republican economic card always wins and I do not understand why we have abandoned it in favor of this social conservative/moralistic card which does not produce the same results.

what do we do about correcting the false image?

Mike Gamecock DeVine @ The Charlotte Observer
The Minority Report
"One man with courage makes a majority." - Andrew Jackson
The HinzSight Report - Race 4 2008

Have you made the time to watch the west Calif. Rep D. Hunter on ABC TW?

You’re a persistent cuss, pilgrim.
John Wayne to Jimmy Stewart in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

lost me today when he said he was against free trade. I try to give people the benefit of the doubt and hear them out, but that really bothered me. I am not speaking as a libertarian conservative or a social con, but as a Republican, we believe in free trade and American exceptionalism, I really did not get that. BTW, I am refering to his remarks on Meet the Depressed.

will there ever be totally free trade between nations. Bush has even imposed tariffs thru the WTO at times. We must have that in our arsenal. Hunter is not for scrapping NAFTA or the WTO. He is talking about targeted action in specific cases. That goes on now and since 1776. Hunter is not an isolationist.

Mike Gamecock DeVine @ The Charlotte Observer
The Minority Report
"One man with courage makes a majority." - Andrew Jackson
The HinzSight Report - Race 4 2008

trade issue was a bit over the top for me, but I do think we have to keep the pressure on China, for example.

"One man with courage makes a majority." - Andrew Jackson
The HinzSight Report
Race 4 2008

I am for free trade, but part of free trade is that both sides need to agree to terms of how it should work. We have made a lot of good free trade deals over the last few decades and need to push for more. I think we need to push for a deal between the US/Canada and the EU for starters.

In regards to nations like China, we have to be cautious to see if they will play by the rules.

"One man with courage makes a majority." - Andrew Jackson
The HinzSight Report
Race 4 2008

Duncan reminded George that Mount Rushmore only has 2 Republicans on it, Abe Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt. Both Abe and Teddy were both very cautious presidents when it came to making trade deals with other countries.

You’re a persistent cuss, pilgrim.
John Wayne to Jimmy Stewart in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

threat is a good thing all by itself.

"One man with courage makes a majority." - Andrew Jackson
The HinzSight Report
Race 4 2008

I just wonder what your priorities are. We probably can't get 100%. So if the Democrats force a choice between taxes and the GWOT, which would you choose. I am not saying this is a legitimate choice, however it is a possible one

We cannot defend the country in the future if it is financial basketcase. We need a fiscally responsible government (low taxes and balanced budgets) along with strong values and a strong defense.

but strong values come from strong freedom. If you think you can legislate morality, then you really have no clue what the word morality means. -- Doc Holliday

I concur.

The problem I generally have with the social conservative movement of late is their turn from supporting limited government to end leftist social engineering to supporting big government to achieve their objectives.

If the social conservatives are going to win their struggle, they need to quit focusing on doing it through the government and win over the hearts and minds of the society in a philosophical debate. Socically liberal leaders are not the problem per se, but they are a symptom of the social conservatives not winning in the battle of ideas.

imposed law that circumvented policy debates via judicial fiat and which have repressed free religious speech rights, so that can equally compete in the arena of ideas. One more justice will finish that job.

"One man with courage makes a majority." - Andrew Jackson
The HinzSight Report
Race 4 2008

answers it. (see Old Hickory's quote below, although I would hope Dubya isn't alone!)

First, I think the dems would be stupid to cement in people's mind the two main things that DEFINE the dem party, and has since 1972, ie, that they are weak on defense and love to raise taxes. Moreover, they would be seen as literally holding the troops hostage to a tax hike.

Having said that, the dems are stupid, so here is what we do.

Bush should use the strategy that Clinton used when he faced off with Newt over the govt shutdown.

The GOP should make videos and run commercials interviewing the families of the troops who would lose their homes if the funds were cut off.

Now, given my quote below, you shouldn't be surprised that i would favor a veto, and a "deal" with Malaki to pay for the troops with his oil, or declare a national emergency, martial law, whatever, and print money.

I hope the dems do it. In fact every time a dem opens his mouth on the war

we win votes.

They will be seen for the sissies they are in 08. The public took a chance of the sissies in 06 given that Adult daddy was still prez.

"One man with courage makes a majority." - Andrew Jackson
The HinzSight Report
Race 4 2008

From the following you seem to be saying that you would consider the president being forced to sign tax-hikes a national emergency:"Now, given my quote below, you shouldn't be surprised that i would favor a veto, and a "deal" with Malaki to pay for the troops with his oil, or declare a national emergency, martial law, whatever, and print money."
You seem to think that the issue of keeping tax-hikes away is a big enough issue to start a dictatorship. I don't even recall martial law being allowed for within the constitution, certainly it isn't just for the sake of cutting taxes.
Starting a precendent of declaring national emergencies would embolden a Democratic president to do the same thing to curb your freedom. When has having all power centered in one person led to more freedom? You seem to be willing to throw away the constitution and freedom for the sake of taxes. In the end this may even defeat your purpose of tax relief. I will give more value to the constitution than what I will tax-relief.

If Congress were to hold the President, the troops and American victory in a war they voted for hostage to tax cuts, it is they that would be violating their oath and betraying their own country.

Imagine the mentality that says, well, if you will raise taxes, we will let you try and win the war, but if not, then we demand that America lose the war.

I favor America, the nation, its people and this land vs our enemies abroad. That is the choice.

Democracy would not be betrayed. They could impeach him.

Ultimately, WE THE PEOPLE would decide, on the merits, and the merits would restrain a democrat president as well, if they ever elected one again, which I doubt.

The HinzSight Report
Race 4 2008
The Minority Report

You seem to think that the ones who are hurting the pary are the So-cons. This comes from those you are surrounded by. I get the opposite impression. My guess would be that you live in a blue state. I live in Nebraska so my perspective is different. The question is, do we want to give up redstates so we can gain blue states. We won 3 Elections with the Blue states.
Just a guess on where you live I may be totally off base

idiot like Chuck Hagel gets elected to anything?
If "pro" is the opposite of "con", what is the opposite of "progress"...

Senior Writer

The war in Iraq was an issue during the 2002 election, this was the point where pretty much everybody was in favor of it. So to be fair to the Nebraskan voters, I don't think Hagel said that once he was elected he would be become a reckless anti-war dove. I think it was case of the voters not being able to fortell the future.

Red State is a threaded comment site. When you are responding to a specific post, click on the "Reply To This" in the blue line at the bottom of the post. Makes it easier for the old guys to follow stuff. :>)
If "pro" is the opposite of "con", what is the opposite of "progress"...

Senior Writer

This whole thing about social conservatives giving the GOP a bad image as a bunch of Bible-thumping zealots seeking to impose their values is exhibit-A in proof of a leftwing media bias. The side that is truly trying to impose its values is the Left, via a bunch of elitist, activist judges. If not for an arrogant, usurping, renegade judiciary, there would be no national Culture War as we now know it. It is the Left that deserves blame for making the hot-button, contentious social issues so prominent in national politics.

The great crime that social conservatives have apparently committed is that they have dared to fight back. They have led the fight to return sanity to the courts, and to return to the people the issues that judges have hijacked from them. For this, they are demonized by the Left and their media acolytes.

It may be so that in the course of this entirely justifiable counterattack that social conservatives have made mistakes, that they've gone too far in some cases and given their enemies plent of ammunition to use against them. I'm sure you can find quotes by Pat Robertson and a few Congressmen to back this up. But all talk of Christian conservatives seeking to impose a theocracy should be rejected immediately for the complete nonsense that it is. If the media were being fair, then the truth about who is seeking to 'impose' values would be clear for all. Take gay marriage for example; here you have one side -- the Left -- whose goal is to have the issue decided by a literal handful of judges (on ridiculous, nonexistent Constitutional claims), while the other side -- Christian conservatives -- seeks to have the matter decided by direct popular votes, or by elected legislators. In doing this, they are merely leading the charge, as the margins by which the people reject gay marriage almost every time are so large because they are encompass many more voters than the evil Religious Right can possibly muster. I mean, 57% in Oregon. 59% in Wisconsin. 61% in California! And since part of this discussion has been about the Southern social conservatism versus Western libertarain conservatism, keep this in mind -- most Western states have also overwhelmingly rejected gay marriage via direct votes. Blue-trending Colorado even rejected Domestic Partnerships. Only Arizona bucked the trend, but that was due to the dishonest (though clever) tactics of the Left whereby they lied about what the state amendment would do to straight couples.

So as far as libertarians go; first of all they need to stop accepting the false characterizations of social conservatives that the Left has put forth. Then there can be a real discussion about the charge of Christian conservatives becoming too cozy with big government activism. But libertarians -- even if they are personally liberal on social issues -- need to at least reject the idea that the Constitution in any way enshrines their liberal social values, as that Nick Gillespie guy from "Reason" smugly maintains. Libertarians need to join the call for a restrained, Originalist-oriented judiciary that will leave most issues to the democratic process for resolution...just as the Founders intended. My major problem with libertarians is that I don't really get the feeling that they have a problem with a living-Constitution, activist judiciary so long as its creating bogus new rights to abortion and gay marriage, but suddenly they do care when the High Court is gutting private property rights as with the Kelo decision. If anything, libertarians should have realized from that decision that the same awful judges who decided the Kelo case are the same ones who are prone to outrages like Roe. A bad judge is generally bad on most matters.

one of my main missions between now is to bridge the contrived divide between social cons and libertarians, hence, my Social Conservatives are Libertarians Defending Free Speech Rights and Liberty which echoes much of what you say, esp that it is the free religious speech rights taken away by courts imposing a ban.

Moreover, the also mostly contrived southern big guv cons vs western true cons is as irrelevant as race. We can judge individual candidates by their positions.

What I am about to say is not meant to suggest, at all, that the individuals advancing the current argument (which, while irrelevant to sizing up candidates, is interesting, and not without merit historically and on the margins) fit the mode of the most disappointing discovery I have made since my debut at redstate 2 years ago, and that is,

the existence of so many anti-southern bigots in the republican party, and, quite frankly, in America. Call me naive. Or better, call me superior. I did experience some of this when I tried cases in Minnesota, California and Massachusetts in the late 80s and early 90s, but I won them over and the juries!

Maybe the shock is due to my raising, the mature way Greenville-Spartanburg, and SC in general made great racial progress in the 70s and 80s, the experience we have in dealing with bigotry, our history of voting for non-southerners from FDR to JFK, and simply the sheer ignorance of judging individuals based on group stereotypes, but shocked I have been. i have had some really long debates here with people that are much like the racists I knew in the 70s that didn't even know they were racists. Some of the worst are, in fact, former southerners that moved away when they were very young.

Oh well, I had to get it off my chest. Pray that the growing superiority complex I am developing will be abated!

more later

"One man with courage makes a majority." - Andrew Jackson
The HinzSight Report
Race 4 2008

...the South is one of the few remaining politically correct targets for attack and ridicule.

or culture for "Redneck" in a Jeff Foxworthy joke and see how long it takes the PC Nazis to kick your door in!

In Vino Veritas

since I am a self described libertarian conservative Republican. The self described part is the "libertarian", which is simply a defense of the conservatism put forth by Goldwater, Gingrich, and Reagan.

You made a lot of good points in your post. However, I would like to let you know that the "libertarians" and Libertarians are very different. What I call my personal libertarian conservative philosophy is NOT socially liberal. I just believe it is Conservative to not look to government for answers to social issues. We all agree government does a poor job on the economy, so why would they do a good job on social issues?

I can speak for no one else. But I AGREE with you about leftist judicial arrogance and overreach. I do not want a "living Constitution" in any way, I am a strict Constructionist and have a lot more respect for the Founders than for the modern successors.

My problem with big government is more in the area of personal freedoms and true Federalism. I do not want gambling, smoking, fat eating, and gun ownership infringed upon. I do not want more bureaucracy, I want less.

No Child Left Behind, the online gambling ban, steel tarriffs, The Department of Homeland security, the ATF, the medical prescription drug law, the minimum wage law, all kinds of FDA regulations, and the vast waste of government have NOTHING to do with gay marriage or abortion.

As far as gay marriage and abortion go, leave it to the states to decide. In fact, if you look at the last ten years, i think the right has tried to amend the the Constitution moreso than even the left. Some on the right want a "living Constitution" too. Then again, government does not really follow the Constitution that much anyway.

As to your last sentence, I'm reminded of a quote (though I can't remember who first said it) that goes "the Constitution poses no threat to our current form of government." Its both funny and true, sadly so for the latter.

I agree with most of what you've said here. I would be very happy if the contentious social issues were truly returned to the states (i.e. the people and/or legislature of each) for resolution. Though I truly think it is bad for the nation to embrace socially liberal policies, if the people make that decision voluntarily (w/o judicial coercion), then so be it. I just wish the Left were as respectful of the people and the proper role of the courts.

Having said that, I also wouldn't mind seeing a federal Amendment passed with regards to marriage. I realize its a bit of a contradiction to what I just said, but for an Amendment to become law, it would have to go through a tremendous democratic gauntlet, with much of it coming from the states. Still, the federalist sentiments in me can outweigh the social conservative who fears the long-term effects of embracing gay marriage. Why shouldn't very liberal states adopt gay marriage if that's what the people want? I actually am sympathetic to the desire to not have such states have their historic rights taken away by a super-majority of other states. But as it is now, with the combination of judicial activism and supremacy, it is the majority of states that are in danger of having a defacto Amendment imposed on them by as few as five judges. This all is one reason why I think it might be a good idea to push for Orrin Hatch's alternative Amendment that simply and explicity empowers the states to handle the issue. To that, I am also sympathetic to the conservative criticism that such an Amendment -- in singling out a specific issue for protection from the courts -- would perversely be taken as giving credence to the idea that all matters are fair game for the Courts unless there is an Amendment saying otherwise, and would thus set a dangerous precedent. But the problem with that line of argument is obvious -- the Courts already act that way, so its not like they need an invitation to exceed their proper bounds.

Still, I would like to reiterate that I am generally in agreement with you on most of the other issues you cite, like No Child Left Behind for example. There are many more issues to consider than abortion and gay marriage. I admit to focusing too much on those at the expense of others, but again, the question of judicial meddling makes it hard to ignore them.

On much you say here. My main goal was to show that not everyone that uses the term "libertarian" when describing their philosophy is "socially liberal". I agree with you that there are many issues and concerns that this society has to deal with. Personally, I think marriage can only be between a man and a woman by definition. To call something else "marriage" is basically a lie. Then again, some type of civil union for tax purposes is fine by me until the tax code stops trying to engineer society.

I am not liberal, I am conservative, Christian, and Southern. But I do believe in the preeminence of liberty above all other things. I do think our society is often vapid and decadent. A good way to change this is with better education, particularly the history of the US and Western Civilization. Of course in the end, it is up to families and individuals, not the government.

I and many Republicans like me, do not want a larger government, but a smaller one. This includes the growing Executive Branch, Legislative Branch AND Judicial Branch. Laws upon laws are enacted only to score points with an often uninformed electorate. Every time something is jinned up by the MSM, the answer is more laws. The reality is free men have known the real laws, the ones that actually mean something for a couple thousand years. You can look to the Bible and see most laws are already there. Do not injure another and you are pretty much covered.

I do not think people who want to enforce their beliefs and life choices on others are acting in the American way. I think a free man should be allowed to pursue his own choices, as long as they do not directly hurt others, he should be left to his own devices.

Someone once said that the left wants the goverment out of our social lives and in charge of our economic lives. And some on the right want the government out of our economic lives and in charge of our social lives. I want neither. I want government to have the lowest impact possible on our lives, I want the individual to express himself to his fullest without the coercion of 5 judges or of 300 million dictators.

What it comes down to in the end is whether you believe in the government or the individual. I think social cons and libertarian cons, from the south, west, or Madagascar, all want the same thing. We want to live in a good country, one with good people pursuing happiness. But the final question is how to do it. To me, the Federal government is the last choice, the weakest and the poorest.

Having said that, I stand by the Constitution and think it should be followed to a tee. I think any further encroachment should be entered into only when there is no other option and there is a very good reason to do it.

Huckabee is also terrible on immigration, and suffers from such a severe case of White Guilt that he is unable to think clearly about the issue. A man who believes in appeasing illegal immigrants and accepting mass immigration today as a sort of karmic balancing act to make up for the past bad treatment of black Americans should be running as a Democrat, because that is a thorougly leftist mindset. He said;

“We respect those who want to provide a better life for their children and grandchildren. For decades, we treated our state's African-American population poorly. The Hispanic influx gives us a second chance to prove what kind of people we really are.”

This is an even stronger reason to oppose him.

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