Gov. Huckabee on Partisanship, the Budget and Competitiveness

By February 27, 2006General

Asked what improvements he thinks are needed on the national scale (outside of health care issues), Gov. Huckabee says simply that in Arkansas, they have to balance the budget, observing that he believes that this alone would “singlehandedly change” Washington if the budget had to be balanced.

On partisanship, he says, “If it’s polarized, it’s paralyzed”, noting that Governors of both parties must solve problems or they won’t last very long. At the end of the day, he says, the voters want to know if the potholes got fixed. “Political posturing”, he adds. “Is not a luxury we [Governors] can engage in.” Some 86% of elected officials in Arkansas are Democrats, so he has worked across the aisle to get things done, thinks we need more of that in Washington. Hard to argue with that. “We deliver by our record”, he says, “Not our rhetoric.”

According to the NAM Competitiveness Redbook, Arkansas is ranked 42d out of 50 for cost of doing business. This is a good thing. He said that 5 Fortune 500 companies are headquartered in Arkansas and that he’s tried to create a climate that will encourage business to settle and expand there, and for entrepreneurship to flourish.

On energy, he says we not only need to end our dependence on foreign oil, we need to end our dependence on oil, period. He favors research and development of new sources. However, in the meantime, we need nuclear, hydrogen, need to explore ANWR (he calls ANWR a political, not an energy issue) and the Outer Continental Shelf.

As for the future, he says the government needs to create the financial incentives for development of new sources. Government needs to create, as he calls it, “The ‘Google’ of the gas tank”, the next big idea for energy. He says that like the race to space, government needs to challenge the country and needs to invest in the research to get it done. “Capitalism drives great decisions”, he says.

On competitiveness, he closed simply by saying that the future is based on our ability to be creative and innovative (has he been reading the blog?!?), “not on our ability to ‘bang it out cheaper’.”

All in all, this was a great session with a smart and sincere and dedicated public servant. We don’t thin we’ve heard the last of Mike Huckabee. We get the impression he will be a figure on the national stage for some time to come.

And, by the way, bravo to him for reaching out to the blogosphere. This was a smart move on his part and shows that he ‘gets it” when it comes to new methods of communications. Not sure Washington’s ready for that….