Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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December 16, 2010

HUCKABEE FIBS ABOUT HAVING BEEN REASONABLE.... It's not clear exactly who he was referring to, but former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee issued a statement yesterday, defending himself against a "recent Internet post." Apparently, someone noted that the Fox News personality, during his presidential campaign, supported a cap-and-trade policy.

"To put it simply, that's just not true," Huckabee wrote yesterday.

The problem, of course, is that it is true. Dave Weigel flagged remarks Huckabee made at the Clean Air Cool Planet conference in Manchester, New Hampshire, just a few months before its presidential primary:

"I also support cap and trade of carbon emissions. And I was disappointed that the Senate rejected a carbon counting system to measure the sources of emissions, because that would have been the first and the most important step toward implementing true cap and trade."

Part of the problem here is Huckabee's misstatement of fact. Perhaps he forgot, but three years ago, he supported this policy. Now he denies ever having supporting this policy. Huckabee's new line clearly isn't true.

But what I find even more interesting is the larger significance of the party's shift. It wasn't too long ago -- within the last decade -- that there was a basic spectrum of policy positions Republicans accepted on a range of national issues. Not every candidate agreed across the board with every position, but the GOP's general approach was fairly easy to identify.

On health care, for example, the Republican mainstream envisioned a system involving an individual mandate. On arms control, the Republican mainstream embraced policies along the lines of the original START treaty.

And on energy policy, the Republican mainstream loved cap and trade. Indeed, just two years ago, the ticket of John McCain and Sarah Palin vowed to establish "a cap-and-trade system that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions" and pursue "alternatives to carbon-based fuels."

The point, of course, isn't just that the Republican mainstream has shifted sharply to the right, it's that the mainstream has fallen off a right-wing cliff with surprising speed. Positions that were widely accepted by Republicans just a few years ago are now considered communist plots to destroy the American way of life.

The result is a politician like Huckabee pretending not to have taken positions we already know he took. Expect to see a lot of similar instances like these pop up as the 2012 race gets closer.

Steve Benen 10:30 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (23)

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Comments

Go to the link for his blog, and leave a comment. Copy and paste his quote and point out that he's lying. I did. I think he should be flooded with messages.

Posted by: SaintZak on December 16, 2010 at 10:35 AM | PERMALINK

Karl Rove no longer runs the GOP. Winston Smith does.

Posted by: Tim H on December 16, 2010 at 10:35 AM | PERMALINK

...and when Huckabee was recently on Real time with Bill Maher, Michael Moore had the good sense to call him a liar.

Posted by: SaintZak on December 16, 2010 at 10:38 AM | PERMALINK

Here's the RepubliConfederate Parties most recent 'mission statement:'
We are for anything the Democrats are against, and we are against anything the Democrats are for.

Point. Period. End of conversation.

Posted by: c u n d gulag on December 16, 2010 at 10:42 AM | PERMALINK

Mike Huckabee has always been at war with Eastasia.

Posted by: Grumpy on December 16, 2010 at 10:46 AM | PERMALINK

It is not a contradiction for a republican to declare that what he has previously said is no longer what he previously said!

Everyone knows that Mike Huckabee is an honorable man. Just because he said he supported cap & trade does not mean that he supported cap & trade.

Everyone knows that Chuck Grassley is an honorable man. Although he supported mandates for health care last year during the debate and is now party to a lawsuit to declare mandates unconstitutional does not change that he is an honorable man.

For those who find this confusing, you have to understand that honorable men can be against something after having publicly being for it. As republicans, the honorable thing to do is to declare that you are against something that you are on record supporting; as soon as Obama agrees with you.

Posted by: RepublicanPointOfView on December 16, 2010 at 10:47 AM | PERMALINK

But what I find even more interesting is the larger significance of the party's shift

No, I think it's more interesting that Huckabee is lying. Don't gloss over that.

Posted by: Ronnie Pudding on December 16, 2010 at 10:48 AM | PERMALINK

The EITC was a Republican idea to create a two-tier minimum wage, one for part-time, entry level and young people and one for full time adult workers. Any Republican defenders of the EITC left?

Posted by: Th on December 16, 2010 at 10:51 AM | PERMALINK

I enjoy the irony of your larger point. Tea party voters claim to insist on politicians who speak honestly and frankly without regard to public opinion polls; yet virtually every Republican is afraid to say anything that isn't lockstep with the accepted Tea party line - even if they held different positions in the past.

I have to believe that this behavior will backfire in 2012 but I was surprised it was so well rewarded this year.

Posted by: tomb on December 16, 2010 at 10:51 AM | PERMALINK

The Repug Creed: I believe that up is down, evil is good, black is white, shame is rightousness, truth is false, etc. But if Obama agrees then the opposite is true. No wonder they appear INSANE.

Posted by: Chris on December 16, 2010 at 10:54 AM | PERMALINK

Just another "I was for it before I was against it."

To learn WHY positions flip-flop, one need only Follow the Money. . .

Posted by: DAY on December 16, 2010 at 11:14 AM | PERMALINK

It's a pathetic new Amereicha where politicians (in particular, the Rebaglican ones) feel the need to lie to say they *weren't reasonable* after all, instead of the old-school practice of lying that you were reasonable.

Posted by: neil b on December 16, 2010 at 11:19 AM | PERMALINK

He's a politician who uses his interpretation of religion to justify his personal goals... it's not like anyone actually *expects* him to be truthful.

Posted by: Rochester on December 16, 2010 at 11:20 AM | PERMALINK

Huckabee is about as Christian as Bristol is for abstinence

Posted by: Kill Bill on December 16, 2010 at 11:20 AM | PERMALINK

Huckabee celebrates Sol Invictus and believes in Krampus.

Posted by: Kill Bill on December 16, 2010 at 11:25 AM | PERMALINK

Republicans say and do whatever the corporate oligarchs who own them tell them to say and do at any given time.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on December 16, 2010 at 11:25 AM | PERMALINK

Obama's fundamental misunderstanding about Republicans was that he believed belief the partisanship was an ideological consistancy and honesty to the GOP platform that he could work with.

I don't think he ever considered the fact that Republicans would literally walk away from their own ideas to prevent Obama from being a transformational President.

Posted by: Archon on December 16, 2010 at 11:41 AM | PERMALINK
Apparently, someone noted that the Fox News personality, during his presidential campaign, supported a cap-and-trade policy.

"To put it simply, that's just not true," Huckabee wrote yesterday.

The problem, of course, is that it is true.

We don't know that.

We know, of course, that he said that he supported a cap and trade policy, so we know that one of the statements was false, but we don't know which one is false.

Posted by: cmdicely on December 16, 2010 at 11:58 AM | PERMALINK

You really should admire those of us who are republicans. Cap & trade is a long time republican idea. It actually is a very good idea, because it will create another commodity market that our hedge fund managers can manipulate to generate a lot of wealth for us (of course, at a capital gains tax rate).

You really should admire those of us who are republicans. Eventually, we will get cap & trade passed and we will be able to tell our base that we were against it.

You really should admire those of us who are republicans. We were able to get our long time goal of health care insurance mandates passed and, at the same time, convince our base that this super-bonus for our medical insurance contributors is something we hate.

What a great country. We win, in spite of the liberal media owned by the noted progressives GE, Disney, Rupert Murdoch, and Sumner Redstone!

Posted by: RepublicanPointOfView on December 16, 2010 at 12:07 PM | PERMALINK

I am reminded by these Republicans changing their policy views of the way the American Communist Party changed their party lines to meet the current views of the Soviets.

Posted by: Jim Quince on December 16, 2010 at 12:41 PM | PERMALINK

Idiocracy is near.

Posted by: Ned on December 16, 2010 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

The 2010 election gains by the Republicans were, mostly, due to the economy and related subjects (Wall Street, I'm looking at YOU!). No Teabagger has apparently ever told a lie, as all of them were more than willing to take everything Republican candidates told them as the truth.
By 2012 however, those Republicans will have a legislative record that won't be so easily ignored; especially by opponents, most of whom will be even further right-wing 'baggers.
Now all we have to do is get to 2012...

Posted by: Doug on December 16, 2010 at 7:52 PM | PERMALINK

I find it particularly obnoxious for Huckabee to effectively call his critics liars, i.e. "To put it simply, that's just not true," when he is the one that is lying.

Posted by: tanstaafl on December 17, 2010 at 3:39 AM | PERMALINK
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