Huckabee Rips Bush Foreign Policy, Calls It "Arrogant"

It's been interesting to see Huckabee rise in the polls despite the utter contempt in which the corporatist Republican Party establishment holds him. Now he aims to alienate the very serious neocon wing of the party as well.

In an essay in Foreign Affairs Magazine Huckabee rails against Bush's foreign policy, saying, in its most striking passage:

The Bush administration's arrogant bunker mentality has been counterproductive at home and abroad.

In the extensive piece he calls for modesty when dealing with international affairs, diplomacy when dealing with our enemies and frames energy independence as a national security concern. Nope not very serious at all.

The heat from the right is already coming.

Rightwingnuthouse calls the essay an "embarrassment" and Race42008 uses terms like "dangerous" and "naive" to describe Huckabee. Predictably Fox News got to the real issue behind the right-wing's pushback against this sort of rhetoric: that the attack on Bush sounds like "John Kerry said it during the 2004 campaign" and that it gives "comfort to their political enemies."

Romney repeated this line of argument in his rapid response to the essay today:

"I can't believe he'd say that. I'm afraid he's running from the wrong party," Romney said to a gathering of about 100 supporters in a restaurant here. "I had to look again -- did this come from Barack Obama or from Hillary Clinton? Did it come from John Edwards? No, it was Governor Huckabee."

Romney even went so far as to defend Bush directly.

"I'm the last person to say that this administration is subject to an arrogant, bunker mentality that is counterproductive here and abroad," he said. "The truth of the matter is this president has kept us safe these past six years and that has not been easy to do."

There is great discontent among the Republican Party towards Bush but being a foreign policy hawk isn't why; if anything they're pissed off he hasn't been tougher abroad. So I really don't see what this gets Huckabee except some new rounds of ammunition to be used against him by his rivals. But one thing he's doing here is setting himself up, credibly, as the change candidate of the Republican field. Imagine if he does win the nomination, what a rebuke to the Bush years and to the "serious" and "responsible" conventional wisdom of the Republican establishment this would be.

This is turning out to be a fairly monumental and very entertaining fight for the soul of the Republican Party. Romney is trying to position himself as the defender of the party's more traditional principles, which is appropriate I suppose since neither the party nor Romney seems to really stand for anything at all. Huckabee standing for something, anything, is clearly quite attractive to Republican voters right about now.

Tags: 2008 Presidential election, Mike Huckabee, Republican primary (all tags)

Comments

10 Comments

Re: Huckabee Rips Bush Foreign Policy

I could never vote for someone who supports the war in Iraq, a Constitutional amendment for gay marriage, and a national sales tax, but, I do believe Mike Huckabee really is the "compassionate conservative" Bush could only claim to be. From Bush, it was words, but with Huckabee, we see actions as Governor and policy proposals to back it up. This "arrogant" quote shows me yet again that as far right as he might be, he's still someone with his feet on the ground who would probably be willing to work with his opponents.

I hope the nominate him, for two reasons: one, we'll kick his butt, and two, if we somehow manage to blow yet another election, living under Huckabee would be much better than having a President Giuliani or Romney.

One could say the same about McCain, I suppose.

by Nathan Empsall 2007-12-15 09:48AM | 0 recs
I worry a lot about Huckabee

I was knocking on doors today, and one woman (who is still undecided between Edwards, Clinton and Obama) volunteered that Huckabee is the only Republican she likes. She saw him on some tv show and thought, I really like this guy.

I worry about his ability to attract independents, especially since we cannot hang the Bush policy agenda around his neck. He does not come across as scary.

by desmoinesdem 2007-12-15 10:46AM | 0 recs
I think Huckabee just commited suicide

that's too far to go for Gop primary voters who will show up, the entire right press from Fox to Rush is going to crush him among Repubs. Romney was giving a gift, he asked voters if was Clinton, Edwards or Obama who had made these comments. when he revealed it was Huckabee he said Mike's running in the wrong party, ouch!

by nevadadem 2007-12-15 09:53AM | 0 recs
Calls It "Arrogant"

I think he's trying to siphon off some Ron Paul supporters who might want to vote for someone who stands a chance.

by Vox Populi 2007-12-15 10:16AM | 0 recs
disagree he is now like Robertson or Buchanaon

unacceptable to over half his party, who ever is his alternative will get the backing off Rush/fox/and the entire GOP military elite.

by nevadadem 2007-12-15 10:28AM | 0 recs
Re: Huckabee Rips Bush

You really should check out the panic that is breaking out on the conservative blogs about Huckabee. Fairly prominent conservative republican bloggers are saying that they would vote for a Democrat over Huckabee.

by blueflorida 2007-12-15 10:59AM | 0 recs
Re: Huckabee Rips Bush Foreign Policy,

I really hope Huckabee wins the repub nomination. No, that doesn't mean I will vote for him even if Hillary gets nominated.

No person is perfect and he has exhibited some cowardice in trying to shift the blame of his plea to release the Arkansas rapist to Bill Clinton as I mentioned in one of my recent diaries. But it does take guts for a guy who is a social conservative to take on Bush in such harsh terms.

Yeah, he is wrong on evolution and pro choice, but i am pleased to see him challenge Bush and risk the severe backlash he is bound to get.

by Pravin 2007-12-15 11:20AM | 0 recs
Re: Huckabee Rips Bush Foreign Policy

I sure hope this causes every other Republican candidate to launch a full-throated defense of Bush, just like Romney did.  Awesome!

by Steve M 2007-12-15 01:17PM | 0 recs
I haven't commented in a while, but...

Does anyone recall Huckabee's statment that evengelicals owe Bill Clinton an apology?

BTW, I just thought I'd mention that I called Huckabee's number long before many others:

http://www.mydd.com/story/2007/4/4/12327 /99689

"I could see him actually rubbing Republicans faces in their own shit just because it is his nature."  Ah, man it's great to be right.

by jcjcjc 2007-12-15 07:57PM | 0 recs
Re: Huckabee Rips Bush Foreign Policy

This looks like a good move by the Huckster.  Mitt and Rudy, the tap dancing bullshit artists, have already reeled in the Repug establishment and neocon goons.The Huckster has no shot with those crowds. In the general election, the Huckster self destructs as his fellow bigots balk at his Christian zealotry, intolerance,incompetence in the minor leagues, dishonesty, and contempt for science.

by bdungan 2007-12-15 08:01PM | 0 recs

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