Huckabee opens campaign with strong stances on marriage, abortion
by Jamie Dean
Posted 5/05/15, 01:25 pm
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee joined the growing slate of GOP presidential candidates, announcing his run for the White House at an Arkansas event Tuesday.
Huckabee, 59, brought his brand of populist politics to a video that introduced him to a crowd of supporters in his hometown of Hope, Ark.
“Everyday in politics was a fight, and sometimes it was an intense one,” Huckabee said of his time as governor. “But any drunken redneck can walk into a bar and start a fight. A leader only starts a fight that he’s prepared to finish.”
For Huckabee, this is round two in his fight for the GOP nomination. The Republican lost his 2008 bid, but managed to gain far more traction than many expected with his campaign’s shoestring budget.
This time around, Huckabee is less an underdog and more a well-known entity among Republicans, as well as viewers of Fox News, where he hosted a popular talk show before launching his presidential bid.
In recent days, Huckabee has defied a hostile climate for social conservatives to defend religious liberty laws and oppose gay marriage. Last week at the National Hispanic Leadership Conference, Huckabee told the crowd he respects the Supreme Court, but added the Court “cannot overrule God.”
“When it comes to prayer, when it comes to life, and when it comes to the sanctity of marriage, the court cannot change was God has created,” Huckabee said.
The evangelical Christian pursued similar socially conservative themes in his announcement on Tuesday, decrying the “slaughter of 55 million babies in the name of choice,” and highlighting the need to defend religious liberty against a “war on Christianity.”
His stance on such issues led The New Republic to recently brand Huckabee “The Last Culture Warrior.”
But in his battle for the presidency, Huckabee will have to expand his fight beyond the bounds of social issues.
During his last presidential run, some conservatives criticized the former governor for raising taxes during his Arkansas tenure. The group Club for Growth, a longtime Huckabee foe, recently launched a $100,000 ad-buy in Iowa and South Carolina to criticize the candidate for tax increases.
Huckabee seemed to anticipate the jab in his announcement speech, pointing to 94 tax cuts during his time as governor and saying wages for working families increased under his watch.
He also called for a balanced budget, but he will likely have to work hard to make a case for fiscally conservative credentials in a wide-open race for the nomination.
Huckabee will also have to develop a more detailed plan for the issue of immigration. During his speech, he talked about the need for border security and denounced the notion of amnesty, but he didn’t discuss how to handle millions of immigrants already in the country illegally.
Instead, he quickly mentioned something many conservatives would likely agree on: That we should thank God we live in a country where “people are trying to break into it instead of trying to break out of it.”