Saturday, August 11, 2007

Mike Huckabee's "Vertical Governing"

Mike Huckabee would rather you didn't question his conservative credentials. Instead, he asks that you consider his actual accomplishments:

I was judged on whether or not the roads got better or worse, whether the schools got better or worse, whether jobs improved or declined, whether wages got better or worse, whether we took better care of our natural resources or didn't, whether taxes went up or down, whether the cost of government got better or worse. It's what I like to call 'vertical governing.' Because, quite frankly, the average American isn't that concerned about whether you are left or right, liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican. . . . [P]eople want ... vertical leadership, which they expect to lead up and not down.

Huckabee's a witty and likable guy (counterargument here), and his theory of governance sounds refreshing and homespun. But when the theory becomes practice, it privileges ends over means, and results in some decidedly un-conservative policies—for details, click "his conservative credentials" above, or watch the below ad, from the Club for Growth:

When will Republicans stop trying to reinvent the wheel—whether via George W. Bush's "compassionate conservatism," Sam Brownback's "bleeding-heart conservatism," or Mike Huckabee "vertical governing"—and come home to the maxim that what worked for Reagan will work today? The core principle that government is not the solution, government is problem, need not be sanded down, tinkered with, improved upon or repackaged. Conservatism, as it is, is both successful and timeless.

Happily, this philosophy is still alive in some quarters of Congress; as I wrote of those who in 2005 scored a perfect 100% rating from the American Conservative Union:

“As many increasingly question what conservatism means today—especially in the face of an exploding and encroaching federal government—these rock-solid conservatives held fast to ACU’s core values of fiscal discipline and limited government,” said Keene. “Unmoved by shifting poll numbers and the Potomac temptations to make headlines and put power over principle, these men and women deserve our respect, our admiration, and our votes.”