Pastor-Populist Mike Huckabee.
Lambro talks about Huckabee's charm and they way he dismisses critics, such as the Cato Institute and the Club For Growth, who have labeled him a tax-hiker.
Huckabee defends himself by saying that he responded to court demands for added educational funding and pushed for a gas tax raise because 80 percent of Arkansans want improved highways. But his willingness to consider tax increases reflects a populist impulse that could make or break his candidacy. He readily describes the sins of economic and political elites: "the greed of Wall Street, the corruption of K Street."
I will say, as an Arkansan, that Huckabee's tax record was, in my opinion, on the whole favorable. There was an education crisis, or so the state Supreme Court said, and money had to be raised to bring the state schools up to the vague level the court mandated. The highways have long been terrible and are now better. And building and improving roads is something government is actually supposed to do. And there were other things.
However, early in his administration, Huckabee led the charge to cut income tax rates, the first time that had been done in Arkansas in years. And Arkansas is still, comparatively speaking, a fairly low-tax state. And the roads are better, and my front-end alignment thanks you.
Lambro ends his column this way.
Pundits count three or four seats on the GOP presidential campaign plane, and say they're occupied by McCain, Giuliani, Romney and (maybe) Gingrich. Might there be one more?
Yes, I should think so.