Chapter 12 of Ask Not What Your Country Can Do For You, Huckabee identifies a need for increased service in the spirit of JFK and praises Israel’s spirit of patriotism which he credits to their national service requiremnts. Unfortunately, beyond that, the policy points begin to breakdown. Huckabee doesn’t have a solid plan for national service. It appears to be one of those areas where he’s identified a problem and is still ruminating on it. He suggests ideas be “considered” or “debated” but not actually committed to.
He says we should “seriously debate” a mandatory year of service if sufficient volunteers can’ t be found, but he’s clear that the military itself should be all voluntary. Huckabee argues that any such service effort should be flexible to fit the talents, skills, and interest of the students, and also be flexible and to when the service would be performed (during Summer Breaks, after High School, after College.) Huckabee’s most pursuasive argument is that service opportunities could assis
He writes a paragraph on the National Service Academy, but doesn’t really offer much of a pursuasive punch given my initial skepticism. And given his own critique of Washington in Chapter 5, the fact that members of Congress from 32 states support the idea is not impressive.
The one idea Huckabee does advocate, that I wholeheartedly agree with is a Veteran’s Bill of Rights which is definitely needed. It guarantees quicker processing of claims and ensures our Veterans receive the benefits to which they are entitled.
The chapter is saved by Huckabee turning his thoughts and focus to his own campaign’s volunteers and the incredible effort they put on. There was a (Non-Evangelical couple) that saw Huckabee on the Daily Show and in the last part of 2007, they took a train out to New Hampshire to volunteer at Huckabee’s New Hampshire Headquarters and then when they finished that, they bought a car and drove from New Hampshire to Florida to work at the Florida Headquarters in Orlando.
There was his staff of Young Arkansasans who when faced with realities of hectic travel schedules which would require several days away from the campaign to get back to their homes, chose to give up Christmas with their families in order to keep the campaign going strong. They chose to do this in spite of Huckabee asking them to go back to Arkansas for Christmas. He was particularly insistent on wanting his daughter to do so.
Huckabee tells other stories of campaign volunteers as well as those who have shown bravery in service to their country in the nation’s military. It’s fun to read, but not quite convincing on the issue of national service.