As more Republican politicians announce their presidential aspirations and seek to curry favor with the party’s right wing, the Right continues to question their credentials. This week, The Weekly Standard carries more accusations that former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney at one time took a moderate position on abortion and gay rights. (Romney is still working on his right-wing bona fides: He’s hired long-time religious-right attorney James Bopp.) And when former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee announced on Sunday that he was forming an exploratory committee, anti-tax group Club for Growth was ready on Monday with a report questioning Huckabee’s commitment to “limited-government, pro-growth, free-enterprise policies.”
Huckabee is no stranger to the Religious Right. He’s a prominent advocate of teaching creationism in public schools, and along with fellow candidates Romney, Sam Brownback, and Newt Gingrich, Huckabee spoke at the Family Research Council’s “Values Voter Summit” last September, exhorting the crowd to be more positive but failing to set much of an example, saying of same-sex marriage, “Until Moses comes down from Brokeback Mountain with two stone tablets saying we’ve changed the rules, let’s keep it like it is!”
The Club for Growth, an anti-government political action group dominated by Wall Street investors and executives, was the top-spending independent PAC in 2006, but spent most of its money attacking Republicans from the Right, attempting to purge the GOP of supposedly “liberal” politicians. While its efforts made it a number of enemies among other Republicans, the group’s willingness to spend millions to topple incumbents in vicious primary battles may have succeeded in establishing the Club as a feared and influential player on the Right. The group’s eager attack on Huckabee – who, the Club acknowledges, signed on to many of its pet projects, such as cutting the Arkansas’s capital gains tax – is likely to dog the former governor up through the primary, and it may cause some right-wing activists, already inundated with candidates competing for their favor, to look elsewhere.