Diary

Blogging the Right Thing: Welcome to Washington, DC: Roach Motel

Continuing to blog "Do the Right Thing"

Chapter 5 has one of the best titles in the book, “Welcome to Washington, DC: The Roach Motel.”

Hucikabee’s indictment of Washington and the federal government for overspending and fiscal responsibility is pretty stunning. He quotes New Dealer Henry Hopkins whose mantra was, “Tax and tax, spend and spend, elect and elect.”

He write:

Yes, what might be called the Hopkins plan worked—worked, at least, to enlarge the federal government. But as they say, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” Somebody has to pick up the check. And that somebody is the ordinary American taxpayer, who is easy to forget amid all the frenzied excitement of a New Frontier, or a Great Society, or a “Yes, we can.”

Huckabee defines his spending philosophy as follows, “I often said that we need to be able to look an elderly widowed lady in the eye and say, ‘Here’s how and why we just spent your money.’ If we can do that with a good conscience, it’s probably a good expenditure. If not, it needs rethinking.”

Huckabee goes after taxes and regulations with a vengeance, praising Reagan’s supply side economics as well as “regulatory creep.” Huckabee points out that environment regulations that cost big corporations around $700 per employee, could cost a small business more than $3,500 per employee. Huckabee suggests that in some cases, this is by design of big businesses that use Federal Regulation to shut down the competition. Huckabee attacks Washington, DC as a city full of “Eddie Haskels.”

Piggybacking on the ideas of Robert Fulgram in “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten,” Huckabee lays out four principles of good governance he learned growing up:

Huckabee’s first suggestion, “Principled Compromise” is good in theory, but in practice doesn’t always work out so well. Huckabee cites as an example of principled compromise, the 1983 Greenspan Commission which produced a Social Security Reform bill that’s passed the problem on to the next generation.

The idea needed a better example and it needed a better illustration. The key question left out is: At what point, do principles end and compromise begin?

Second, Huckabee says we should debate Whose ideas are better, not whose wallet is better. He promises more expansion in Chapter 6.

Third, he suggests that everybody in politics: the media, the candidates, the President, and the Congress need to work to regain the trust of the American people. Huckabee wrote that while he was out running, the press would always be there. One day, Huckabee realized that they weren’t there to get photos of him running, but of him slipping and falling, a picture Huckabee was sure to deny the press.

Finally, Huckabee cites a need to commit to City on the Hill principles as laid out by Winthrop and Reagan rather than the predatory and corrupt practices of Washington, DC.

In this chapter, Huckabee does discuss Mitt Romney twice, albeit briefly. Huckabee talks more about the Romney Campaign’s disrespect particularly Romney’s statement that he was the only Republican candidate still married to his first wife. Huckabee pointed to his own marriage and rather than apologizing, Romney said, “Well, of the major candidates.”

Nice dis on not only Huckabee, but also Ron Paul, Duncan Hunter, and Tom Tancredo. Huckabee

Of Romney, Huckabee writes:

He was usually accompanied by a phalanx of eager young aides who bullied their way through events as if they were carrying badges, guns, and the authority to move the “little people” out of Mitt’s way. It did not go unnoticed by other candidates or by the “little people” who spoke with open contempt of the treatment.

Huckabee states while most of the candidates had good camaraderie, there was “an almost universal discomfort with Romney and his staff.” Huckabee also says Romney tried to do “a leverage buyout of the Republican Presidential nomination.” But that’s actually the whole sentence he wrote about Romney, and then moved on to talk about Obama and Clinton. Huckabee’s main argument is that the strength of arguments, not the size of pocketbooks should decide elections.

Huckabee does talk about the “Christmas Ad.” There’s not a whole lot more to tell, except that Huckabee insists the “floating cross” was not intentional or planned. To paraphrase Freud, “Sometimes a bookshelf is just a bookshelf.” It was done on the same day several ads were shot and the ad itself was ad-libbed. Huckabee put $358,000 into running the ad. Huckabee says regarding the subliminal charges that everyone in the campaign thought, “We don’t have enough money to be that smart.”