Mike Huckabee is something of an odd political animal: a Republican politician who insists the he is both a fiscal and social conservative but can’t get support from either the fiscal or social conservatives in the party.
He made this point when he spoke last week at CPAC, saying that the two issues were fundamentally intertwined. For his effort, he was rewarded with a measly seven percent of the vote in the conference’s straw poll, well behind winner Mitt Romney whom he absolutely loathes and views as the incarnation of everything wrong with the Republican Party.
In his recent book, Huckabee referred to himself as “politically homeless” and didn’t hesitate to lash out at the both wings of the GOP base, calling the fiscal conservatives a bunch of East Coast blue-blood snobs and the leaders of the Religious Right a bunch of sell-outs … something that will undoubtedly not help his efforts to win them over if he decides to make another run at the White House.
But just because nobody in the Republican Party is moved his insistence that he alone represents everything the GOP claims to stand for doesn’t mean he is going to stop saying it … or criticizing those in the party who refuse to buy it:
Q: Despite you being a reasonably successful two-term governor, the Republican Party bosses didn’t seem to like you or seem to appreciate your entrance onto the stage for the primaries. Why?
A: Part of it was that I had the audacity to suggest that there was a Washington-to-Wall Street axis of power that was ruining the party. Now, what I was excoriated for proves out to be that I was prophetic.
Q: In a line or two, what kind of a Republican are you?
A: I would describe myself as a “total conservative, a conscientious one.” And that I believe that one doesn’t separate the fiscal and social issues because they are tied together. The theme of my book was that if families and a culture start breaking down, it is going to lead to a larger government and far more expensive government.
Q: Were you at all punished by conservative Republicans for being too soft on social issues, in the sense that you were too willing to use government to address social issues?
A: I never wanted government to be the first line of defense. In fact, I think really what I got punished for was not having enough money to defend myself against the attacks of the people who had enough money to frame me in a way that was totally inaccurate. Once people started doing their own research and homework, I don’t think they ever came to those conclusions.
When asked if he plans to run again, Huckabee responds that he just doesn’t know but vows that, if he does, he’s not going to change a thing:
I wouldn’t change any positions because those are convictions. That’s one of the problems I have with people who take a poll to find out what they believe this week. I think one of the reasons that I got as far as I did was because people knew that what I was saying was consistent with what I had always said and what I had always done.
Considering that that worked out so well last time, we can only hope that he follows through on the pledge.