Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

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Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

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Friday, December 28, 2007

Huckabee "Hucks" Up Again

Another costly misstep in a campaign that can ill afford such stupidity. That is what this mistake should be filed under, and I use the word "mistake" lightly as it looks more like a lie than a mistake. Mike Huckabee claimed that Frank Gaffney, of the Center for Security Policy, was one of his foreign policy advisers. Mr. Gaffney responded to the assertion and slammed the door on Mike Huckabee:

HH: Now I’ve got to switch over. Since you’re one of the unofficial advisors to Mike Huckabee, I want to play for you a little Huckabee quote from, concerning Iran. Cut number five. He made this in a speech earlier this year.

MH: We haven’t had diplomatic relationships with Iran in almost thirty years, most of my entire adult life. And a lot of good it’s done. Putting this in human terms, all of us know that when we stop talking to a parent or a sibling, or even a friend, it’s impossible to resolve the difference to move that relationship forward. Well, the same is true for countries.

HH: What do you think, Frank Gaffney?

FG: Well, for the purposes of setting the record straight, Hugh, I want you and your audience to recall that the other guy he mentioned in this New York Times Sunday Magazine interview as advising him was Tom Friedman of the New York Times. And that sounds a lot more like Tom’s advice than my advice. I think that’s cockamamie, and in fact, I had an hour and a half, I think, conversation with Governor Huckabee a couple of months ago over breakfast, and this was one of the main points on which I tried to educate him, that this is not a sibling that you just aren’t having a good time with. This is a country run by megalomaniacs bent on an apocalyptic outcome, who believe that bringing about a world without America is their god-given obligation. And you know, just talking with them, you know, can’t we all get along, Rodney King style, is not a prescription for a serious foreign policy, I’m afraid.

In other words, Mike Huckabee clearly did not listen to what Mr. Gaffney had to say. The evidence is there in Mike Huckabee's speech to the CSIS. He does not seem to get the clue about Iran, and furthermore the closest that Mr. Gaffney has come to being an "advisor" to Mike Huckabee is a short meeting. That does not bode well for his boast that Mr. Gaffney is on his foreign policy team. Unfortunately for Mike Huckabee, it does not end there. He has made a further assertion that John Bolton is one of his foreign policy advisors. Ambassador Bolten responded accordingly and set the record straight:

While the missteps are his, a tough foreign policy critique has often been lobbed against governors, or past governors, running for president — Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, among them. But what Reagan, Clinton and Bush had — and what Huckabee seems to sorely lack in his bid for the Republican presidential nomination — was a roster of respected foreign policy advisers to reassure voters on national security issues.

On Friday morning, Huckabee listed former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton as someone with whom he either has “spoken or will continue to speak.”

At a Thursday evening news conference, Huckabee said, "I've corresponded with John Bolton, who's agreed to work with us on developing foreign policy.”

Bolton, however, has a different view. “I’d be happy to speak with Huckabee, but I haven’t spoken with him yet,” said Bolton, now a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank in Washington.

“I’m not an official or unofficial adviser to anyone,” said Bolton, who mentioned he’d had conversations with other Republican candidates but declined to name any names.

Oops. We would like to chalk this up as a simple mistake, like Mike Huckabee's inability to locate where Afghanistan is in relation to Pakistan (simple mistake; anyone could have made it) but this goes a bit deeper. He is claiming that certain people are on "his team" that are not officially or unofficially a part of any team. These are blatant lies; pandering to conservatives int he hope that they will overlook his social issues (the ones he has been hammered on for over two weeks) and he is trying to bolster his foreign policy credentials. CNN picked up this tidbit from a senior member of Mike Huckabee's team, and admitted that he had "no foreign policy credentials" and that when he speaks about Benazir Bhutto "he can't boast about knowing" her.

As far as Thomas and I are concerned, Mike Huckabee is now damaged goods, and anyone supporting him has far more to explain about him, his stances, and his positions on issues than they can truly defend. There is no defense for lying or even embellishing one's record. Mike Huckabee should do the honorable thing and bow out of this race before he takes any more beatings at the hands of conservative pundits.


ADDENDUM: This is just my two cents here, but this was bad for the Huckster. This is his most recent forced error in the last couple of weeks, and it couldn't have come at a worse time for him. Why do I call it a forced error? Because an unforced error is where a point is scored on a mistake by one player that was not the result of a shot by his opponent. In this case, those chasing the Huckster have made it a point of lauding their foreign policy ideas and credentials.

He knows he's in the lead, and he knows that he has to answer the challenge. Rather than refusing to answer these questions now by saying he'll reveal his ideas and advisers at a later date, and assuring voters that he can handle tough foreign policy decisions, he has embellished his stature.

-- The CSIS speech where he was roundly criticized for certain statements he made with regard to foreign nations that we are currently trying to deal with.

-- Announcing that he regularly speaks with Frank Gaffney.

-- Mistaking the precise location of Afghanistan.

-- "Apologizing" for the Bhutto assassination, and speaking about her as though he'd met her.

-- Announcing that John Bolton is a part of his foreign policy team.

This wasn't a planned thing for his campaign. He lacked what he needed and tried to cover it up by making exaggerated answers to questions he couldn't really comprehend. Why? Because he hasn't thought about them. Anyone who watches foreign policy, anyone who sits down and "wargames" scenarios across the globe, anyone who even thinks about "what if" situations involving us and other countries can say they've at least thought about foreign policy. The Huckster clearly hasn't thought much about these things. I think it goes back to his comments regarding Cuba, and has moved forward to this point.

He's naked; exposed to the nation for the poseur he is. this should be the final nail in his campaign. If it's not, and Iowans decide he's the right guy for them, we can only hope that his Iowa victory is a flash-in-the-pan, and other, more sensible heads will prevail.

Publius II


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