Novak Calls Huckabee a “False Conservative,” Fetishizes Partisanship

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Wow, Bob Novak really hates Mike Huckabee. His column today is titled “The False Conservative.” You wouldn’t think an ardently pro-life social conservative who supports gun rights and opposes gay marriage could be all that far off the mark, but according to Novak, “serious Republicans” know that Huckabee is a threat to the party’s core ideology. Says Novak:

Huckabee is campaigning as a conservative, but serious Republicans know that he is a high-tax, protectionist advocate of big government and a strong hand in the Oval Office directing the lives of Americans.

From what I can discern, Novak offers four things as substantiation:

“He increased the Arkansas tax burden 47 percent, boosting the levies on gasoline and cigarettes.”

This is true, Huckabee did raise taxes in Arkansas. But he was fiscally responsible, if not fiscally conservative, and left the state with a huge surplus. He may not have shared the GOP’s faith in supply side economics, but he produced good governance.

“…he criticized President Bush’s veto of a Democratic expansion of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program.”

Fair enough. He bucked the party line there, though there was massive support across political parties when everyday Americans were polled about SCHIP. It was only the party elite that wanted to deny kids their meds.

“Calling global warming a “moral issue” mandating “a biblical duty” to prevent climate change, he has endorsed a cap-and-trade system that is anathema to the free market.”

Again, Huckabee does diverge from party orthodoxy here, but there is growing concern about global warming amongst Christian evangelicals, a key part of the GOP base. John McCain also advocates serious moves on climate change.

“When he lost 100 pounds and decided to press his new lifestyle on the American people, he was hardly being a Goldwater-Reagan libertarian.”

That’s just comical. The fact that Huckabee wrote a book on how to lose weight doesn’t mean he’s a big government conservative.

This is just part of the Novak trend to slam any Republican who strays from the party line. He is an enforcer of orthodoxy, of conventional wisdom, of the status quo. And by attacking any Republican who reaches out to the center or the left, even if by reaching out he or she produces common sense solutions that are good for his or her constituents, Novak fosters a culture of partisanship.

And in doing so, Novak will discard or dismiss anyone who isn’t convenient. The Christian Right has served the Republicans well for years, but now that they are threatening to bring to power a candidate who is a touch soft, Novak sneers at them for not being “serious Republicans.” Novak is a hatchet man, through and through, and doesn’t deserve the megaphones he has.

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FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2020 demands.

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