Dispatches From Planet Huckabee

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In a "partial, summarized transcript" at the Huffington Post, America's life coach explains libertarianism to the masses:

Republicans need to be Republicans. The greatest threat to classic Republicanism is not liberalism; it's this new brand of libertarianism, which is social liberalism and economic conservatism, but it's a heartless, callous, soulless type of economic conservatism because it says "look, we want to cut taxes and eliminate government. If it means that elderly people don't get their Medicare drugs, so be it. If it means little kids go without education and healthcare, so be it." Well, that might be a quote pure economic conservative message, but it's not an American message. It doesn't fly. People aren't going to buy that, because that's not the way we are as a people. That's not historic Republicanism. Historic Republicanism does not hate government; it's just there to be as little of it as there can be."

And libertarians want there to be as little of it as there…can't be? Fascinating! If "Republicans need to be Republicans," and Mike Huckabee is one to be emulated, shall we define Republican as pro-national smoking ban, pro-total war on obesity, pro-creationism, pro-squirrel frying? Sounds good to me, and no less coherent than the current platform.

The soulless Justin Logan responds here. My take on Mike Huckabee in Politics magazine is here.

NEXT: Tyranny of the Majority

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  1. NEW libertarianism? Where has this guy been?

    On the other hand, maybe Huckabee should get credit for speaking the truth about Republicanism- it has nothing to do with small government or, I guess ,any principles at all.

  2. I sold my soul at a yard sale last weekend. I got .50 for it and bought a Snickers bar. Seemed like an even trade to me.

  3. To be fair, I don’t have any problem with the pro-squirrel frying part of his platform.

  4. I sold my soul at a yard sale last weekend.

    Should have tried ebay.

  5. Dear John McCain,

    Please, please, pleeeeeeeease pick Hackabee as your running mate.

    Sincerely,

    Taktix

  6. God, I fucking hate him.

  7. I sure wish this smug, bejesused azz-hat nanny’s 15 minuets were up.

  8. What an asshole. Since he specifically mentions Medicare DRUGS, and says that opposition to this is not “historic Republicanism”, that means that prior to the Bush Administration historic Republicanism didn’t exist.

    Actually, if in Huckabee’s mind “Republicanism” sprang into being in 2001, his column makes more sense. Libertarianism is indeed a significant threat to that kind of “Republicanism”.

  9. I have nothing against squirrel frying but I do the rest of his “platform”. If Huckabee is the new Republican standard I am more glad than ever to never contribute in any way either with my time, my dinero or my vote to their cause. If Huckabee is what it means to be a Republican I am more glad than ever that I deregistered as a Republican and registered as a Libertarian. Though even that move I am having second thoughts about now that Bob Barr hijacked the party. I may just go to being an independent.

  10. To be fair, I don’t have any problem with the pro-squirrel frying part of his platform.

    I would be too if he did not use a popcorn popper. I prefer a heavy iron skillet.

  11. Historic Republicanism does not hate government

    That is actually true. Teddy Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln, Eisenhower.. there are plenty of examples that show this. Hell, until Goldwater and, later, Reagan, they didn’t even remotely hate government.

    Doesn’t make it right, but it’s not a lie.

    And, yes, count me in the group that doesn’t want elderly people to get their “Medicare drugs”, which are, by definition, paid for by taxpayers. It doesn’t mean I’m against elderly people getting drugs.

    With fucking Republicans like this, who needs Democrats?

  12. If Huck is picked as McCain’s running mate, they’re going to have a hell of a time trying to get libertarians, and economic conservatives in general, to vote for them instead of Barr. Not only do you have Huck’s now-explicitly-articulated distaste for limited govt, but there’s also McCain’s oft-expressed belief that getting paid out of taxes is inherently more honorable than being paid by voluntary exchange in the private sector.

  13. Except maybe a few exceptions like Taft and Coolidge..

  14. This is an old song. I remember two (former?) beltway pols yapping during one of the Panetta Institute Lectures here at Cal State Monterey Bay a couple of years ago. I think the fellow speaking was Alan Simpson, but it might have been someone else. Anyway, he went out of his way to finger “libertarianism” as one of the biggest threats to our nation and way of life, saying things similar to what Mr. Huckabee is quoted as saying more recently.

    Don’t ever forget that the enemies of libertarianism will define that word if real libertarians don’t: both the fellow at the Panetta Institute lecture and Huckabee in the present day provide examples.

    This is one reason why I am a little worried by the Barr/Root ticket. I really would rather people think of these guys as the communicators and cheerleaders they sold themselves as being, but I think that it is more likely they will be seen by regular folks as being exemplars of “libertarianism,” which — by their publicly declared or evident deviations from classical liberalism or the long-held tenets of the Libertarian Party — could give the Simpsons or Huckabees of the world more ammo to shell us with. I guess we’ll see about that in the coming months.

  15. Huckabee has made libertarianish noises about guns and the IRS. If he shows up at the LP convention in 2012 asking for the presidential nomination you guys will be contorting yourself every which way to squeeze a little libertarianism out of him so he can grab votes from the GOP. Just like when Barr showed up at the last one.

  16. Marcvs,

    TR was hated immensely by the Republican party of the time — they forced him into the Vice Presidency precisely so he wouldn’t be able to wield any power. I’d counterexample with Benjamin Harrison, Calvin Coolidge, and Robert Taft as pre-Goldwater Republicans who favored limited govt.

  17. it’s a heartless, callous, soulless type of economic conservatism because
    those mean old skinflint libertarians don’t want to provide a blank check to politicians who want that money to pursue their own selfish interests.

  18. The Republican tent isn’t big enough to hold both me and this asshat.

  19. I have selfish interests of my own, goddammit!

  20. I agree Chris (which is why I later mentioned two of them :). I’m just saying that Republicans were never a libertarian party as a whole. No “big tent party” like the Democrats or the GOP ever could be.

  21. Jeesh! Now I really do have to get a top hat and pocket watch.

  22. Huckabee is result of the Grand Bargain the GOP made when it courted disaffected Southerners.

    They made their bed, . . .

  23. Huckabee’s brand of Republicanism was so big-hearted he compassionately pardoned killers and other criminals. Letting grandma get raped and murdered isn’t as evil as cutting back on her Medicare!

  24. Guy,

    What about a cane and monocle to complete the outfit?

  25. Guy Montag | May 29, 2008, 4:15pm | #
    Jeesh! Now I really do have to get a top hat and pocket watch.

    Damn, you are a newbie! I have both PLUS a handlebar mustache.

  26. Matt L,

    I may be an evil Capitalist libertarian something-something, but I do keep the clothing budget reasonable.

    Perhaps after the next set of dividends from the open pit mines come in I shall add those items.

    And spats, can’t forget those!

  27. When it comes to Mike Huckabee, there are no words for how much I want to kick him in the nuts.

  28. Kwix,

    I am mustache averse, but anything for the cause.

  29. Well, I see this as a healthy thing. It only confirms what many in that party think of libertarianism. Huckabee is probably going to be the 2012 republican nominee. Libertarians need to make a clean break with the republican party.

  30. I may be an evil Capitalist libertarian something-something Defense Contractor

    Ah, fixed.

  31. Come on guys, did you actually expect Gomer to say anything intelligent?

  32. Libertarians need to make a clean break with the republican party.

    As Matt Stone once said, “I hate conservatives, but I really fucking hate liberals”. The Democrats aren’t any better, we just happen to be directing the Two-Minute Hate at a Republican right now.

  33. “I may be an evil … Defense Contractor”

    No need to use the word evil. All defense contractors are evil, profiteering parasites by defintion.

  34. And spats, can’t forget those!

    Also: Large,overstuffed bags with the dollar symbol emblazoned on them.

  35. Republicans need to be Republicans as unprincipled as possible. The greatest threat to classic this new horseshit big-government Republicanism is not liberalism; it’s this new brand of libertarianism natural-rights stuff, which is social liberalism and economic conservatism a respect for individualism and a philosophy for happiness on earth.

    This guy is a large cock.

  36. By the Light of Burning Martyrs

    A History Channel series on Christian Government, inquisition by inquisition.

    The time is now.

  37. I remember when compassionate conservativism was about replacing Medicare and public schools with letting working people keep more of their own money, letting private charity do what it does best and giving poor kids the opportunity to get out of the trap of public schools.

    Now I see where the Republicans went wrong.

  38. Where’s Donderoooooooo?

    Huckabee just said that there essentially is no such thing as a “libertarian republican”, and that the few who fit that label are certainly not mainstream.

  39. Ew, Huffington Post. Now I have to go take a shower.

  40. Barr replying to Neil Cavuto about stealing votes from McCain:

    I cannot think of any reason why somebody who is predisposed to vote for John McCain, a big-government Republican, would choose instead to switch from John McCain to Bob Barr, a small-government Libertarian. It would make no sense.

    Bang on, especially in light of Huckabee’s lamentable horseshit.

  41. Marcvs,

    If it comes down to picking between social democrats and Christian socialists, libertarians should side with the social democrats.

  42. I once posted on these very pages that if that ignorant hillbilly whack-job preacher got the GOP nomination, I’d actively campaign for Hillary. Southern baptist preachers and me don’t get along. Not one fucking bit.

  43. Also: Large,overstuffed bags with the dollar symbol emblazoned on them.

    Wait! Those go with my hooked nose and yarmulke.

  44. I think at this point the more the Rs talk about libertarians the better. Good or bad people will hear it, and those with any brain cells left will check it out for themselves.

  45. Jew Banker, why does Mike Huckabee say you want my blood?

  46. In case anyone cares — and I’m surprised Joe didn’t beat me to making this point — Huck more or less hit on the reason that libertarianism will always be a hard sell to a majority of Americans. They see things the way he put it. These concerns will have to be addressed politically if libertarians ever intend to be a major force in the country.

  47. I don’t get the hate in these comments. He said, “If it means that elderly people don’t get their Medicare drugs, so be it. If it means little kids go without education and healthcare, so be it.”

    This is true right? He didn’t say old people can’t buy drugs. He said libertarians will let the poor ones go without, unless they can find some charity to give them the drugs. This is the view of many libertarians, right? And the Randian libertarians don’t even like charities, right? What am I missing?

    “Well, that might be a quote pure economic conservative message, but it’s not an American message.”

    Since the Libertarian Party have had no success electorally, this also seems descriptively true. Americans don’t vote for Libertarian candidates. The numbers don’t lie. Why the hate then?

  48. And the Randian libertarians don’t even like charities, right?

    Wrong.

  49. huh, lost the rest of my comment there:

    “Well, that might be a quote pure economic conservative message, but it’s not an American message.

    There’s the hate right there: the suggestion that I am not “American” by ascribing to these views.

    Since the Libertarian Party have had no success electorally, this also seems descriptively true. Americans don’t vote for Libertarian candidates. The numbers don’t lie. Why the hate then?

    I must have missed that day in civics when it was taught that “American Views = Defined by the Majority at any Given Moment”.

  50. “There’s the hate right there: the suggestion that I am not “American” by ascribing to these views.”

    Yes, yes, you can read his comment as saying you are unAmerican. You can also read it as saying, “Americans don’t care for X,” where X equals anything that has little to no popularity in America. Libertarianism has little to no popularity, as evidenced by the boundless growth of government and the continual failure of the Libertarian Party.

    “I must have missed that day in civics when it was taught that ‘American Views = Defined by the Majority at any Given Moment’.”

    Then I guess generalizations about American popular opinion must be unAmerican, since generalizations are likely to depend upon majority views.

  51. Ayn_Randian,

    Also, you didn’t disagree with this: “He didn’t say old people can’t buy drugs. He said libertarians will let the poor ones go without, unless they can find some charity to give them the drugs. This is the view of many libertarians, right?”

    You agree he’s right about this? You just disagree with my Randian comment, something he didn’t even mention?

  52. Libertarianism has little to no popularity, as evidenced by the boundless growth of government and the continual failure of the Libertarian Party.

    Why do you say “failure”? Because they haven’t elected…who or what, exactly?

    Yes, yes, you can read his comment as saying you are unAmerican.

    Well, knowing that asshole, that’s probably how he meant it. I suppose I could have read the “Aren’t Jesus and the Devil brothers, according to Mormons?” question as an innocent question or a vicious, unprovoked attack.

    Guess which one it was?

  53. Ayn_Randian,

    Also, you didn’t disagree with this: “He didn’t say old people can’t buy drugs. He said libertarians will let the poor ones go without, unless they can find some charity to give them the drugs. This is the view of many libertarians, right?”

    I’m not saying he’s right or wrong because it’s a statement loaded with false premises that I’ll have to systematically dismantle:

    1. Libertarians won’t “let” poor people go without drugs; we just won’t force others to fork over their money for someone else’s care. The only “letting” involved is letting people make their own choices. *This* libertarian would gladly donate quite a bit of his salary to the poor who have life-threatening or -degrading diseases. So, no, I guess I wouldn’t let poor people go without, but some might…

    And it’s a cheap shot to say that libertarians, and libertarians alone, “let” the poor go without…

  54. Slightly OT, but it looks like the Ron Paul campaign is, er, desperate for cash, according to this email I just got:

    May 29, 2008

    Christopher,

    End of Primary Season Blowout until June 3rd

    Participate in the Ron Paul Store Bomb! Send us your t-shirt size and we’ll send you a collection of Ron Paul campaign merchandise for only $25.00 (including shipping). The collection will consist of a t-shirt and other merchandise such as buttons, stickers, mouse pads, key chains, magnets, hats, wristbands and more!

    Place your orders before the last primaries on June 3rd at http://www.ronpaul2008store.com/servlet/StoreFront

    Ron Paul 2008 Store

    I’m curious as to where the money from this sale will go. Kind of sad that I have to be, but there’s disillusionment for you.

  55. “Why do you say “failure”? Because they haven’t elected…who or what, exactly?”

    Political parties usually define their goal as advancing their preferred polices. Sometimes, in practice, a party’s goal is just to maintain its power, but I doubt any party in a country with free elections would fess up to this goal.

    If a party’s goal is indeed to advance its policies, then there are, I think, only two ways to do it.

    First, you can get people elected to will enact your preferred policies.

    Second, you can popularize your policies and then have them co-opted by the more dominant parties.

    Either way, I don’t see how the Libertarian Party has advanced its policies.

    Now, if the Libertarian Party is really a social or debate club, then maybe it has been a success. Maybe being an official party makes it more enjoyable as a social or debate club. As a political party, however, I don’t see how it has been a success.

    “And it’s a cheap shot to say that libertarians, and libertarians alone, “let” the poor go without…”

    I don’t know whether you are talking about me or Huckabee. I don’t see where either one of us said libertarians *alone* take any view.

    To say my statement was loaded with false premises is a bit much. Your disagreement seems to be with what meaning to ascribe to the word “let.” Actually, I don’t even see how what I said is inconsistent with what you said. Your view is to shut the government program down and then the old people can depend on private charity (unless they can find work, of course). That’s pretty much what I said. At best, you might fairly accuse me of a poor choice of emphasis in the sentence, but why would we ever interpret someone’s comments on a blog charitably?

  56. Relax, guys. He’ll be outed as a gay adulterer soon enough. I mean, he’s both a baptist minister and a ‘family values’ Republican politician, so what are the chances?

  57. A_R,

    Don’t forget, we would all have a lot more money to help people with if the government was not taking so much of it away from us.

    Fiat or not.

  58. Your view is to shut the government program down

    I’d prefer to see it fade away than shut down.

    At best, you might fairly accuse me of a poor choice of emphasis in the sentence, but why would we ever interpret someone’s comments on a blog charitably?

    As I said, saying “libertarians will LET the old/poor/sick go without” is loading the statement with false premises. A more accurate (and charitable) reading would be “Libertarians would LET people choose for themselves”. The entire premise is that libertarians would just walk by beggars on the street…and maybe spit at them while we twirl our silk scarves.

  59. Ayn_Randian

    “The entire premise is that libertarians would just walk by beggars on the street…and maybe spit at them while we twirl our silk scarves.”

    No, this alleged premise is implicitly rejected by, “unless they can find some charity to give them the drugs.” The givers of the charity could be libertarians or communists or whatever. I never said libertarians in general could not be among the charitable. I did suggest Randian libertarians (a subset of libertarians) reject charity, so perhaps this part of what I said infected your reading of the sentence now under discussion.

    I will actually withdraw my statement (or was it a question?) about the Randians rejecting charity based on something I found through Google (a Playboy interview), but it was hardly nuts to suspect the Randians reject charity. My limited exposure to Rand’s work includes (1) watching Howard Roark reject charity in that movie of hers, (2) some college Randian offering contorted reasons for why it was okay to give away an Ayn Rand book (some hearsay involved with this one), and (3) something else I read somewhere. Little vague on this third source, but there is a third one. I’ll mark this matter down as something deserving further research. Maybe Rand was inconsistent on this point? Again, further research needed.

  60. “The entire premise is that libertarians would just walk by beggars on the street…and maybe spit at them while we twirl our silk scarves.”

    Maybe this was Huckabee’s premise, however. He did say libertarians are “heartless, callous, soulless.” But it wasn’t my premise. This part of his comment could explain (and probably justify) the very negative reaction in the comments above.

  61. Huckabee’s words were painful on so many levels. If McCain *does* choose Huckabee as his running mate, this will certainly not be forgotten.

  62. So the Huckster is criticizing Libertarians on matters pertaining to compassion. This is coming from the same preacher man who said AID patients should be quarantined?

  63. It cracks me up that Huck talks about “new” libertarianism and “classical” Republicanism. Homeboy needs to crack a political history book.

  64. Then I guess generalizations about American popular opinion must be unAmerican, since generalizations are likely to depend upon majority views.

    That’s not what his statement says. His statement implies that there is a range of acceptable views if one is an American, and libertarianism is not among them.

    “That’s not an American view,” seems to be saying that there is a set of American views, and this isn’t one of them [“an”]. He’s not making a generalization; he’s defining boundaries.

  65. I’ve said it before and I will say it again:

    Mike Huckabee is the antichrist. This is coming from someone who doesn’t even believe such a being exists.

  66. This “New brand of Libertarianism” was present in the Republican party (and its predecessors) while the Mike Huckabees of the world were still whipping slaves or, perhaps, reminiscing for the days they could burn witches.

  67. A sartorial reading for the frugal Guy Montag:

    “In her personal economy Hetty [Green] was as hot on the trail of a bargain shirtwaist as she was for a short-line railroad. Living in shabby rooming houses, she did her own cooking off a gas ring and lived for months on end off graham crackers which she purchased in barrel lots to save the grocer’s profit. A single black dress, threadbare from age and now turning a poisonous green, was her only wardrobe and her frayed umbrella, when she put it up, admitted the elements through rusty ribs from which fluttered the remnants of silk covering.

    She presented so scarecrow an appearance that once on encountering her sorting through the contents of a trash barrel on Fifth Avenue, Edward Hatch, one of the executive staff at Lord & Taylor, told her that if she’d come by he’d give her a fine black veil from stock.

    ‘Would you?’ she said, happy as a kid with firecrackers. ‘That would be real nice.’

    Soon afterward there was a disturbance among the merchandise counters devoted to female furnishings at Lord & Taylor and Hatch was informed by a courier that Hetty Green was raising unmitigated hell with the sales staff and claiming that she’d been promised a veil for free. The man of garments saw to it that his promise to Mrs. Green was kept, whereupon she asked if by any chance there was any damaged merchandise in the skirt line that she might have at abated prices? Hatch gave her several in last year’s mode for fifty cents each and always afterward Hetty told anybody who would listen that Lord & Taylor was a fine place to shop and her favorite outfitter.

    Since Hetty’s appearance was that of one of the three witches in the first scene of ‘Macbeth’ this was an endorsement to ponder over.

    In 1916, Hetty suffered a stroke after a knockdown argument with the housekeeper in the home of a friend over her extravagance. The cook, Hetty claimed, was bankrupting her employer by using whole milk where the skimmed would do, and in the ensuing exchange of insults, Hetty burst a blood vessel. Her last hours were spent attended by nurses hired by Ned Green to ease his mother’s passing, but only in street clothes. Trained nurses got as high as a dollar an hour in wartime and knowledge of such expense would, Colonel Green knew, have killed her out of hand.

    As it was, she left an estate of $100,000,000 which, as Stewart Holbrook points out, is more than the net liquid assets of J. P. Morgan and a resounding monument to what a diet of whole-wheat crackers can accomplish.”

    (Lucius Beebe, “The Big Spenders”, 1966, ch. 13, “Misfortune’s Darling”, pp. 313-314)

  68. “the Mike Huckabees of the world were still whipping slaves or, perhaps, reminiscing for the days they could burn witches.”
    Huckabee is an asshole, but I doubt he is the decendent of a slave-holder. Your typical “redneck” has indentured servants for ancestors….it’s too bad that so many of them defended a system that was the result of the interests of their “betters”.

  69. “That’s not an American view,” seems to be saying that there is a set of American views, and this isn’t one of them [“an”]. He’s not making a generalization; he’s defining boundaries.

    Yup. He seems to have said that there is a ‘set’ of ‘American Ideas’ (labeled A) and a subset of libertarian ideas labeled ‘c’. And the intersection of A and c is null. So i guess libertarian ideas fit in some set ‘Foreign Ideas’?

    *apologize to any mathematicians for what was probably a misuse of set theory.

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