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Opinion: Mike Huckabee hints at a hidden agenda

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Unless you’re a conscientious blogger who dislikes time off on weekends, nobody in their right mind pores over all the blather from the networks’ Sunday morning television talk shows with their ‘exclusive’ interviews of people who were exclusive interviews on another channel just seven mornings ago.

But today a perceptive question by wily news veteran Bob Schieffer on CBS’ ‘Face the Nation’ caught our eyes, almost as much as Mike Huckabee’s answer. Huckabee’s been criticized by all kinds of conservative interest clubs for raising some taxes to rebuild Arkansas roads (while cutting others), for funding education and working with teachers’ unions, for paroling some prisoners (while executing 16 others). He may, in fact, be too moderate to win the GOP nod, despite being elected four times in a Democratic state.

So Schieffer wanted to know something about the longshot turned front-runner: Are you running to change the Republican Party as well as running for the nomination?

And here’s Huckabee’s reply in its entirety:

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I am a Republican. And I am out to change the Republican Party. It needs changing. It needs to be inclusive of all those people across America for whom this party should stand. And it’s not just the people on Wall Street. It’s the people on Main Street. And there are a lot of people in America that come up and shake my hand. They get out of cabs. They come from behind the skycap counter and they tell me that they appreciate the fact that I understand what it’s like to struggle. The Republicans are not just a group of people who sit at the top. They’re people who sit around their kitchen table and worry about how they’re going to pay their rent. I think sometimes there’s this perception that Republicans all belong to the same club. Well, the one club they belong to is loving this country and loving its future and wanting to do the best for their children. I think I represent those folks. I’m not angry at all the folks at Wall Street. In fact, I think my policies would do more for them, but it wouldn’t just be for them. It would also be for those guys that don’t necessarily have a stock portfolio. It would be also for the people who don’t have a lobbyist in Washington. When we do the kind of policies that I’d like to see happen in terms of taxes and regulation, a guy could sit down at his kitchen table, sketch out the idea for a small business, and know that the government isn’t his biggest opposition, that he actually might be able to live the American dream. And that’s what Republicans ought to be about, helping not just big business but small business as well.

Kinda makes you wonder, while we all tend to focus on the early states and each day’s noisy rhetorical fireworks about sanctuary cities and illegal lawn cutters and planting forum questions and hedge funds and arrogance and 527 funds and whether the corner of a bookshelf looks like a cross, kinda makes you wonder if maybe there’s a more fundamental struggle, a silent one, going on at least in the Republican Party over the shape of its political personality.

-- Andrew Malcolm


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