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Mike Huckabee defends compassionate conservatism against Club for Growth and Glenn Beck

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Mike Riggs
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      Mike Riggs

      Mike Riggs is a staff writer at The Daily Caller. He has written and reported for Reason magazine and reason.com, GQ, the Awl, Decibel, Culture 11, the Philadelphia Bulletin, and the Washington City Paper, where he served as an arts and entertainment editor.

Scrapping with Glenn Beck and the Club for Growth back to back isn’t the smartest way to bolster one’s conservative credentials during primary season, but that’s exactly what Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee did this week.

The FOX News host went after the anti-spending group Club for Growth on his Tuesday radio show. Huckabee said he was defending potential GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump, who earned the Club’s ire for supporting universal health care in the late 90s, and more recently, for bashing free trade. But moments into his radio segment, it was clear that Huckabee was out to settle a score.

“According to that group, I’m also a tax-loving socialist. During the 2008 election they cherry-picked some factoids out of context from the deals I had to make from a ninety percent Democratic Arkansas legislature,” Huckabee said on his show. “Under their criteria the things that Ronald Reagan had to do as governor and as president probably would have made him a tax-loving socialist unfit for the White House as well.”

The segment was evidence that Huckabee is still sore over an attack ad that Club for Growth ran against him right before the Ames straw poll in August 2007. “There once was a governor from Hope, Arkansas, who raised taxes like there was no tomorrow,” reads the ad copy. “Higher sales taxes, gas taxes, grocery taxes, even higher taxes on nursing home beds. Raised spending by 50 percent too. Who is that liberal tax and spend Arkansas Governor? Bill Clinton? No. It’s Mike Huckabee.”

Later in the week, Huckabee found himself on the receiving end of a Glenn Beck tirade, in which the soon-to-be-former FOX News host called Huckabee a socialist for endorsing First Lady Michelle Obama’s anti-obesity campaign. This time, Huck hit back on his PAC site.

“This week Glenn Beck has taken to his radio show to attack me as a Progressive, which he has said is the same as a ‘cancer; and a ‘Nazi.’ What did I do that apparently caused him to link me to a fatal disease and a form of government that murdered millions of innocent Jews?” reads Huckabee’s statement.

“I had the audacity—not of hope—but the audacity to give respect to the efforts of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign to address childhood obesity. I’m no fan of her husband’s policies for sure, but I have appreciated her efforts that Beck misrepresented–either out of ignorance or out of a deliberate attempt to distort them to create yet another ‘boogey man’ hiding in the closet that he and only he can see.”

The statement also hits Beck for conspiracy-mongering, but (as one commenter points out) doesn’t directly rebut the claim that Huckabee is a progressive.

That’s likely because Huckabee’s idea of conservatism–the compassionate kind–shares some similarities with progressivism. Namely, an interest in improving society and culture through social engineering and more effective, but not necessarily smaller, government.

It’s not the first time Huckabee has been called a progressive. In 2007, National Review’s Jonah Goldberg called Huckabee a “right-wing progressive,” adding, “What he wants government to do certainly differs in important respects from what Hillary Clinton wants, but the limits he would place on governmental do-goodery are primarily tactical or practical, not philosophical or constitutional.”

  • pas

    Besides the stupidity of the uninformed I truly BLAME the Huck for what American are suffering through.

    If he an McCain hadn’t collaborated against Romney during the primaries the outcome might had been different. Huckabee is a mean jealous man, and I don’t see why people think he’s that great. Just listen to him he says what he thinks people want to hear.

    As far as Beck, I just don’t like being lectured to even though he has some valid points.

  • aposematic

    If Republicans nominate this Progressive Republican Huckabee to run against Obama, I will not vote in the general. I am sick and tired of voting for Democrats posing as Republicans just because they are not radical enough to win as a Democrat. The problem with our present Political System is we only get a choice between Radical Politicians and want to be Radical Politicians. This results in the only choice we really have is whether or not to vote or hold our nose and vote. There is only one way to right this sinking ship, nominate true Conservative candidates or continue the status quot and continue to sink. The water isn’t just seeping in any longer, patchwork attempts to repair the leaks will no longer slow the inevitable sinking; the drip, drip, drip of Progressive ideology is now a gushing torrent; continued patches and constant bailing will no longer slow the sinking. The next election will decide if the ship sinks or manages to limp back to the dock. The choice should be clear; its live or die for the American Republic, its really that simple.

  • LordHowardHurts

    Please don’t shoot the messenger, but the elections of 2012, are over. A friend of mind sent me the transcript to a recent Rush Limbaugh radio broadcast. In this transcript, Rush, gave the poll numbers of the dissatisfaction, by American citizens, of the job Obama is presently doing. Rush pointed out that the numbers show that Republicans can easily defeat Obama in the coming elections. That the Republicans have not even chosen a candidate, and the numbers project an Obama defeat. Sorry to bring you the bad news, Rush, but the election is over. The Republicans have no leader. The truth of the matter is that a “Socialist Bible Thumper” (Huckabee), a “Candy Ass” (Romney), or a “Screechy Voiced” Woman (Palin) pose no “threat” to the guy with the “Golden Voice”, who has the ability of Svengali and Houdini combined.

    Limbaugh, and others of his ilk, that profess to know how to “fight the socialist Democrats,” without engaging in more than a “war of words,” are so lost, and out of touch with reality. They don’t understand that to win this last battle for the Republic, one must “fight fire with fire”. There will be no “special points” given to those who lose the election, but “talked the right talk”. And I assure you that this is the last battle for the Republic. This Republic has been in decline for over 70 years. This is not something that has happened because of Obama. Obama is just the “puppet” the socialist have put in charge to “bring the lambs to the slaughter”. 2012 was going to be the last battle, but it is already lost. I had tried to get the Republicans to look to a military leader as our next President because only a military leader understands, and can take the necessary actions needed to save this Republic. We are engaged in a war, not a war of words, but an actual war with the socialists. They will fight on regardless of who wins the election of 2012. We need a leader who understands this, and the danger that these socialist exhibit. A leader who understands that in a war, sometimes the rules and freedoms are temporally suspended. Someone, who understands the Constitution, and understands that the Supreme Court is our main problem, and that this unelected group of “thugs” needs to be immediately disbanded. The only Patriots, still standing, and able to defend our Constitution, are the military. When this group of Patriots are finally lead by the “weak sisters” that Obama has been placing in charge, this Republic is just a footnote in history. I had “pushed” to have Paul E. Vallely named the Republican candidate for President, but have not seen, or heard, one mention of his name by the media. The “window” of opportunity is nearly closed. I guess I will not be writing anymore about Paul E. Vallely. Maybe it is time for this great experiment in freedom to end. Isn’t this how all the great cavitations ended? When the barbarians came with swords, they were met with words. Eloquent words, and more, and more, words. But in the end, words could not deflect cold steel. Good bye, Republic.
    Lord Howard Hurts freedomfiles.blogspot.com

    • junkmaninohio

      Are you running for President ?????????

  • LordHowardHurts

    Our great country is currently A Nation Of Sheep. Sissy boys, wearing earrings and tattoos, pretending that they “know all of life’s realities” because they received a self serving degree from some college like Harvard. And I am not just speaking about democrats. I am speaking about the leaders of the republican party. Now, granted, Karl Rove doesn’t fit this pattern, but he is, sure enough, a “sissy boy”. Then we have the Presidential “wantabees”, Huckabee and Romney. And please don’t misunderstand me, as “regular” citizens, I am sure that they are fine, but as leaders of this Republic, in these times of world unrest, I look at them, and see a misguided, socialist, Bible Thumper (Huckabee), and a Candy Ass (Romney). Yes, Candy Ass. Do you remember back in high school when Candy Ass was the “in word”? Well, Romney fits the definition to a Tee. It is his hair and his “bad boy”, “puffed” macho man persona. Remember in the last Presidential elections, when he said that he was pro guns, and a hunter? Then the truth came out. He didn’t know the difference between the stock and the barrel of a rifle. No, this is one election where we can’t afford to elect another “pretty boy”, groveling, PC, empty suit. And we don’t need someone who, according to Harvard, or the press, has the biggest brain in the world. Done that, and it just didn’t “pan out” as advertised. And anyway, if we wanted a President with the largest brain in the world, we would elect Flipper. No, this election is critical to the American Experiment. We need a leader grounded in the Christian religion, the religion of our founders. Huckabee might be a nice person, but he has no actual knowledge of the Bible. I dare say that he has not read this entire book, from cover to cover. He, like other Bible Thumpers, picks cute phrases from the text, and disregards the other 75% of this most inspired book. I have read the Bible from cover to cover, and I don’t think that it would be something that the average American would want displayed on TV before the “adult viewing time” starts. Life is not always “Pretty”.

    One can debate the idea of a Creator forever, but in the end, one has to come to the logical conclusion that life on earth is just too complex to have been an accident. And if the Bible is the guide to all human existence, then we need to know more than the Disney interpretations given us by our esteemed, so called, religious leaders. We need to know and understand Free Will. Free Will is what places us above all other life forms on earth. We also need to know all the actions of the “Founders” of the Christian religion. And to do so, we need someone, as our leader, who will restore sanity and responsibility to our “shattered” lives. We don’t need a Candy Ass or a Bible Thumper. We need a person who understands life’s realities, and our Constitution, and will lead from a “point” of strength rather than weakness. And this is my reason for proposing that the Republican Party chose Paul E. Vallely, a retired US Army Major General, as canidate for President in 2012. Don’t know him? Do your own homework.
    Lord Howard Hurts freedomfiles.blogspot.com

  • Callie369

    The Huckster was THE SPOILER that give us Juan McShamnesty and hence Dumbama. Further, the Huckster never saw a tax he didn’t want to (and DID) raise. Don’t let him kid you about illegals. He was for amnesty until the debates!!!! No, I will NOT waste my vote on this RINO. I’ll vote for Trump first!

  • jdw

    It was the Huckster who ended Romney’s campaign and gave us McCain in the WV caucus. I don’t know if Romney would have beaten Obambi, but he would have had a better showing than McCain.

  • bobbie22

    Huckabee, misinterpreted what Glenn Beck said.  I listen to Beck everyday and heard what he said, and it was nothing that derogatory towards him.   Huckabee jumped to conclusions before asking.   Now that Huckabee has put cannon fodder in the water for the news media, I will no longer support Huckabee,

  • Anneke9

    If Huckabee is the Republican nominee, I’ll be voting for a third party candidate.

  • shepmoors

    Huckabee loves the “celebrity” he enjoys and will not run for President. He is too difficult to watch because he has that kind of pandering, suck-up attitude and comes across to me as kind of phony. We need genuine, honest candidates who are not afraid to say what they mean and mean what they say. Read the transcripts of everything Beck said about Huckabee and you will find that Huck is a little thinskinned and cherrypicked the criticisms so that he can be all self righteous. Please Paul Ryan, RUN!!!!