Saturday, February 09, 2008

Huckabee to take Kansas?

I just returned from the Kansas caucus. I'm in the third district, by far the most liberal of the state's four. The geographically diminutive district encompasses two-and-a-half counties, biting in to the only two counties in the entire state that went for Kerry in '04. The third county, Johnson, is not only the state's most affluent, but is also one of the highest per capita income counties in the entire country (without even adjusting for the region's low cost of living). Consequently, it's full of what social conservatives might deride as "blue-blooded Rockefeller Republicans".

Despite this, at least at my location (one of six in the district), Huckabee supporters absolutely dominated, and the crowd's theme was a federal life amendment, to the virtual exclusion of anything else (they did throw a bit in about the FairTax towards the end). A small band of Paul supporters coalesced as well, but we were dwarfed by an order of magnitude by the Huckabee people.

So, with my imprudent Hillary prediction in trouble (the intrade 'market' now has favors Obama 60/40), and the worst possible Presidential matchup having apparently become the most likely to materialize, perhaps there's some redemption possible in predicting that Huckabee 'upsets' and takes the Sunflower token. It may be, however, that his state campaign simply chose to converge on the location that I happened to go to.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

If the primary was Huck vs. McCain at the very outset, with no Romney, Thompson, or Paul..........Huck would have beaten McCain.

McCain won because of all of the DIVISION of so many different people running. It allowed democrats and independents to vote in our OPEN primaries and give the guy 35% or so of the vote while so many others divided the rest of the vote.


We need to have RUN-OFFS between the top two vote getters in every state if the "winner" doesn't get 50% of the vote. My town has them all the time for council and mayoral posts, and the PRESIDENT is much more important than that. Lets end all the Rovian goddammned triangulation and cynicsm and have a real winner with a real reform. McCain would have never won if things were this way.


Post Scriptum: We need to have the GENERAL presidential elections done in the same manner, so no Perot can throw things to Clinton (twice) ever again.

Audacious Epigone said...

Anon,

No doubt the Romney and Huckabee split voters. If either of them had exited (especially Huckabee, who doesn't sell outside the bible belt of which KS is on the outskirts!) when Giuliani did, McCain probably wouldn't be the nominee.

I'm with you on run-offs in the nominating process, but, perhaps quixotically, I hold out hope for a potent third-party some day, so I'm not sure I agree with you regarding the general election.

Anonymous said...

Epigone,

My suggestion would be simply wonderful for a third party.

If (as an example) Ron Paul ran on a third party ticket vs. McCain and vs. Hillary, alot of people could vote their hope in the first balloting knowing they could vote against their fear in the next balloting. Paul could concievably actually WIN under these circumstances because he'd get a chance to be in a two-horse race.


Thats the beauty of it. It would end Perots and Naders thwarting the majority of the people. It would also break the virtual dynastic hold the two major parties have on elections as they do now. We need to end having a "ruling" class of politicians more than anything in my opinon. The fact that Ted Kennedy, sponsor of the first 65' Immigration bill, is still in office shows me that things simply dont work as presently construed.


We definitely need a third party, and I think my proposal would do more to help one than anything else.

Audacious Epigone said...

Anon,

Ah, makes sense. I should've thought that one through.

Ian said...

Increasingly, Mike Huckabee is what leadership looks like. He's an adroit public speaker, and he communicates his message in life-like, cogent terms, with compelling examples like the story he told (at the Ames Straw Poll) of what his then-11-yo daughter entered into the "Comments" section of a Visitors Book after visiting the Yad Vashem holocaust museum: “Why didn't somebody do something?

Huckabee is all about calling his listeners to "do something," to awaken them to their own empowerment, and summon them to action in order that "Main Street," and not "Wall Street," will prevail in guarding the values and beliefs upon which the Republic was founded. Huckabee puts his listeners at ease, and reassures them, articulating clear concepts in a natural, easy style (no doubt something well-cultivated as a pastor). One can easily imagine sitting comfortably with Mike over a cup of coffee at the Main Street Cafe.

Most importantly, perhaps, Huckabee is ONE with the FairTax grassroots movement. While many - who are invested in the current income tax system - seek to demagog the well-researched FairTax plan, its acceptance in the professional / academic community continues to grow. Renown economist Laurence Kotlikoff believes that failure to enact the FairTax - choosing instead to try to "flatten" what he deems to be a non-flattenable income tax system - will eventuate into an irrevocable economic meltdown because of the hidden aspects of the current system that make political accountability impossible.

Responses to FairTax questioning on “This Week with Geo. Stephanopoulos” drew a sharper contrast between Huckabee and all other presidential front-runners who have yet to embrace it. Huckabee understands that what's wrong with the income tax can't be fixed with "a tap of the hammer, nor a twist of the screwdriver." That his opponents cling to the destructive Tax Code, the IRS, preserving political power of granting tax favors at continued cost to - and misery of - American families, invigorates his campaign's raison d'etre.

Of the FairTax, Huckabee asserts that it's...

• SIMPLE, easy to understand
• EFFICIENT, inexpensive to comply with and doesn't cause less-than-optimal business decisions for tax minimization purposes
• FAIR, FLAT, and FAMILY FRIENDLY, loophole-free, and everyone pays their share
• LOW TAX RATE is achieved by broad base with no exclusions
• PREDICTABLE, doesn't change, so financial planning is possible
• UNINTRUSIVE, doesn't intrude into our personal affairs or limit our liberty
• VISIBLE, not hidden from the public in tax-inflated prices or otherwise
• PRODUCTIVE, rewards - rather than penalizes - work and productivity


A detailed benefits analysis of the plan (from The FairTax Book) explains Huckabee's ardent advocacy:

For INDIVIDUALS:
• No more tax on income - make as much as you wish
• FairTax is paid on retail goods and services when purchased new, not used

• You receive your full paycheck - no more deductions
• Every household receives a monthly amount, or "prebate"
• "Prebate" is "advance tax payback" for monthly consumption to poverty level
• FairTax ensures poverty protection, being less regressive than income tax
• Increased household income preserves real purchasing power against any higher prices

• Reduction of pre-FairTaxed retail prices (due to reduced costs; increased competition)
• 29.9% mark-up yields 23% FairTax portion of new price tags
• FairTax portion of new prices reveal true cost of gov't to consumers

• FairTax is captured on illicit forms of income, when spent
• Parasitic income tax filing industry eliminated
• No double taxation on goods and services
No more IRS or FILING OF INCOME TAX returns
• Savings is bolstered with reduction of interest rates


For BUSINESSES:
• Corporate income and payroll taxes revoked under FairTax
• Business compensated for collecting tax at "cash register"
• No more tax-related lawyers, lobbyists on company payrolls
No more embedded (hidden) income/payroll taxes in prices
• Reduced costs. Competition - not tax policy - drives prices
• Off-shore "tax haven" headquarters can now return to U.S
No more "favors" from politicians at expense of taxpayers
• Resources go to R&D and study of competition - not taxes
• Global "free (and equitable) trade" becomes possible for currently-disadvanted U.S. exports
• U.S. exports increase their share of foreign markets


For the COUNTRY:
• 7% - 13% economic growth projected in the first year of the FairTax
Jobs return to the U.S.
• Foreign corporations "set up shop" in the U.S.
• Tax system trends are corrected to "enlarge the pie"
• Larger economic "pie," means thinner tax rate "slices"
• Initial 23% portion of price is pressured downward as "pie" increases
No more "closed door" tax deals by politicians and business
• FairTax sets new global standard. Other countries will follow


Passionately supporting FairTax, Huckabee understands that, if elected President, Congress will have to present the bill for his signature. His call to action goes beyond his candidacy: Main Street will have to demand that their legislators deliver the bill.

(Permission is granted to reproduce, in whole or part. - Ian)

Audacious Epigone said...

Ian,

You know I'm with you all the way regarding a national consumption tax. You might include a few other selling points:

- Ends the inherent cost advantage illegal workers bring to domestic employers. If Joe and Juan are competing for a job, but Joe's a registered citizen with home address, voter registration, and kids in school, while Juan is an illegal immigrant, the employer must pay Joe $10 to give Joe the same real benefit as he can give to Juan by only paying him $7 under the table. The prebate for citizens not only neutralizes this unfair advantage, it gives the citizen a head start. Joe can go into wage negotiations knowing he has ~$300 on the way at the end of the month. If Juan is here illegally, of course, he must still pay federal taxes via the purchases he makes.

- Good for the environment. Used stuff becomes cheaper relative to our current situation. That lessens the market for cheap consumables, providing a 'high end' push in the manufacturing market. Durability is green.

Justin Halter said...

McCain is in a great deal of trouble. The Party-first Republican talking heads are desperately trying to avoid mentioning the unavoidable: Huckabee whips McCain by every measure of electability, and now he's got McCain one-on-one. Huckabee is more conservative, more authentic, and more charming than McCain, and everybody knows it.

The smackdown he laid on McCain over the weekend, with the hurricane of momentum square in his face, is telling.

Contrary to every Repub talking head, McCain doesn't have the nomination yet. All he has is a big lead, gained when he could avoid a one-on-one versus a conservative, especially one as personally charismatic as Huckabee.

Their Party overlords are eager to disenfranchise them before they screw up the master plan, but about half the country still gets a chance to vote on the matter.

Audacious Epigone said...

Justin,

If McCain loses the three remaining winner-take-all contests (Vermont, Virginia, and DC) and all of Romney's and Paul's delegates are pledged (and go) to Huckabee, McCain needs to win ~57% of the other state delegates. It is still possible.

That McCain, the supposed nominee, only took 42% in LA, 26% in WA, and 24% in KS, running against two guys who were nationally unknown a year ago, shows how deep the dissatisfaction among Republicans is.