Mike Huckabee Wants Florida to Reinvent the GOP
Part 2 of 3 Separate Reviews …See Next Week's Edition of the Clearwater Gazette for more on Mike Huckabee and his latest book, Do the Right Thing.
by Bill Lopez
Photo by Bill Lopez
PALM HARBOR - It takes a giant leap of faith for Mike Huckabee to see a revitalized and strong GOP after the party's general election defeat in November. Moreover, the former Arkansas Governor sees some dramatic adjustments in the culture and politics of America that will make the country strong again.
Some of his views are explained in His new book titled Do the Right Thing published by Sentinel/Penguin Books and released November 18th.
His faith motivates him to initiate change in the Republican Party and bring about a moral order that does not exist today. The idealistic America he sees is one where right and wrong replaces the political opposites of rightwing/leftwing thinking. As second runner up for US President, Huckabee resiliently moves ahead in a quest to instill a moral structure that should be at the core of the nation's government.
With his bid for president in the 2009 term missing the mark by a wide margin, even he does not know if he will ever seek that job again. He told me in our 40-minute telephone conversation that he has every intention of working to change the social and political structure in America. However, the prospect of being president is too far off and far too vague for launching any new candidacy.
In trying to reinvent the GOP he would probably be expected to play a part in its new form -- assuming some of his ideas become building blocks of future platforms. After the election, Huckabee took time to mount an 18-day book tour through 17 states covering over 13,000 miles with 56 stops to promote Do the Right Thing. Inside its 260 pages are many insights as to what such a platform would look like if written by Mike Huckabee.
While not campaigning, he is definitely out to persuade people and he apparently believes Florida is one of the best places to do that since he keeps coming back here. Last Sunday he returned once again. This time to Brandon, FL where he spent more than four hours at the Bell Shoals Baptist Church signing books, visiting, and preaching the early and late services.
Dr. George Thomason, the pastor at Bell Shoals said 3,450 attended the first service and nearly that many were present for the second service. He estimates that well over 1,000 books were sold and nearly all signed that morning as Huckabee preached. Anyone that can draw and hold that kind of crowd must have a compelling message especially when there is no campaigning involved or any election to be won.
Fittingly, on the 67th anniversary of Pearl Harbor, Huckabee spoke of military service noting that soldiering is never easy. He quoted Second Timothy Chapter 2, verses 3 and 4, and explained that soldering takes great sacrifice. When a battle takes lives it would be comforting to know, the cause was worth the fight.
Huckabee, in the role of a Sunday preacher, continued with the story of a fallen military officer buried at Arlington Cemetery whose grave marker reads, "Do the Right Thing," a compelling plea that was embraced by the Bell Shoals congregation.
What is right in the eyes of Mike Huckabee may not be considered right in the eyes of many Americans. Some views that are left of center conflict with Huckabee's core beliefs. Responding to my questions about the importance of separation between church and state, he was quick to point out that such separation--as most Americans understand it today--is ill founded.
He said that the founding fathers, particularly Thomas Jefferson, believed in a moral structure. That was the core of their original intent and should be the basis for government today. Many argue with some elements of that moral order but most would surely feel a moral structure is essential for effective government.
Huckabee says the early church in American was very closely aligned with government. The first European settlers wanted to escape religious persecution and in settling the new world, they carried with them the religious principals that have stood the test of time.
One of those principals includes the notion that one's spiritual belief need not be imposed on another. When it comes to life in the womb of an unwed mother, spiritual beliefs sometimes get confused with what is right, what is wrong, and what is religious. With a world population moving toward 9 billion, the sanctity of life stands out as a supremely important tenant of the Mike Huckabee philosophy.
He believes pro-life is the only proper stance when it comes to abortion. Freedom of choice, which is the law according to the Supreme Court, denies the state's authority on the issue and places the matter in the hands of mother and family.
Gov. Huckabee sees the issue as important but not at the forefront of political debate. Nevertheless pending legislation under the title "Freedom of Choice Act" would make the findings of Roe vs Wade federal law. The pros and cons of this will be argued for decades to come. But smart politicians like Ronald Reagan, who learned to side step the issue, will merely take a stance one way or another and drop issue. Reagan was pro-life but never did anything to impose his will on anyone while Mike Huckabee might be inclined to take a more assertive stance.
He would argue there are many in this country who would adopt unwanted children regardless of why they are unwanted. These children would be well cared for in any number of institutions worldwide that would raise and nurture them from birth to adulthood.
In his book, he reaches out to a wide audience but on his book tour, he restricts his stops to places where people accept and embrace him. His Christian base in the south-central states includes Florida where eight stops are scheduled. From shops like Inkwood Books in Hyde Park Village to churches filled with thousands of people, he is intent on continuing to campaign and he gets a positive response.
Dennis Krause, who attended the signing in Hyde Park Village, plays the guitar and supports Gov. Mike Huckabee even though the Governor is not running for anything. Kruse asked him to sign his guitar and Huckabee relished the idea since he is a guitar player himself. He frequently plays on his Fox TV show that airs on Saturday nights and he carries two of them along the book signing trail in his luxurious motor home.
If Huckabee is campaigning for more than book sales, perhaps that campaign is starting here in Tampa Bay. He is a powerful, reverent man that has conviction and is not afraid to voice his true feeling about any subject … political or not.
Next week, I will conclude the book review. Wait until you see how Mike Huckabee bashes Mitt Romney, Fred Thompson and a few others and what hope he offers up for a better America.
Photo by Bill Lopez
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