Guest blogged by Jon Ponder, Pensito Review.
Recent polls show that Mike Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas and Baptist preacher, is rising in popularity in Iowa, where he is cutting into Mitt Romney's lead. (Romney has 28 percent, Huckabee has 24 percent in the ABC news survey; Romney is at 27 percent and Huckabee's at 18 percent in the local KCCI-TV poll.) He's also moving up in in Florida, where he's running second to Rudolph Giuliani, 26 percent to 17 percent --- leaving good ol' boy actor Fred Thompson in fifth place with 9 percent.
With Thompson's campaign fading, Huckabee becomes the last best hope for the GOP's Christian nationalist base. Unlike Thompson, Huckabee is authentically one of them. He believes in the inerrancy of the Bible and says he does not believe in evolution. He wants to amend the Constitution to outlaw abortion, and he is the only candidate who has smeared a gay person in the debates, so far.
But Mike Huckabee comes with some serious baggage, and with his rise in the polls comes new scrutiny of his record as governor Arkansas, both in the media and by his opponents, who are quickly finding his record in Little Rock to be what opposition researchers might call a "target-rich environment."
The scandals associated with the Huckabee administration in Arkansas include:
- A rapist released at Huckabee's behest who went on to murder his next victim
- Accusations that Huckabee and his family misappropriated tax-payer funds for personal use
- The charge that at the end of his term, Huckabee ordered the destruction of government computers worth over $300,000, apparently to obstruct possible future investigations
- While he was governor, the state of Arkansas raised taxes by hundreds of millions of dollars