First, Novak reveals his own position while attack evangelicals with the following statement: “The rise of evangelical Christians as the motive force that blasted the GOP out of minority status during the past generation always contained an inherent danger if these new Republican acolytes supported not merely a conventional conservative but one of their own.” OK. We now know that the author is not a social conservative, and it appears he is resentful of evangelicals having such a voice in the Republican party. For too long, to social conservatives have been pandered to, and thrown a bone every so often to appease us ... I for one am pleased to see "one of our own" doing well. For more on this subject, see this blog.
Second, Novak states his concern with Huckabee ... "The danger is a serious contender for the nomination who passes the litmus test of social conservatives on abortion, gay marriage and gun control but is far removed from the conservative-libertarian model of Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan." When Novak's refers to a true conservative, he means a hyphonated conservative-libertarian. Novak criticizes tax hikes in Arkansas. Susan Stilley writes:
"As a former resident of Arkansas during Governor Huckabee's tenure I know that he pushed through the Arkansas Legislature the first major, broad-based tax cuts in state history - a $90 million tax relief package for Arkansas families. He also doubled the standard deduction to $2,000 for single taxpayers and $4,000 for those who are married. Some taxes he eliminated entirely: the marriage penalty, bracket creep caused by inflation, income tax on poor families, and capital gains on home sales. To encourage investment, he cut capital gains for both individuals and businesses. To help people better themselves, he provided tax credits for employee training and education. In total, he cut taxes and fees nearly 100 times during his ten-and-a-half years as Governor, saving the people of Arkansas almost $380 million.Only two candidates signed a pledge not to raise taxes if elected President -- Huckabee is one of them. Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, and Fred Thompson have refused to promise the American people they will not raise taxes, but Huckabee has made that promise.
Further, when Huckabee left office in early 2007, Arkansas had nearly $850 million in state surplus, which he urged should go back to the people in the form of either a tax rebate or tax cut."
Third, Novak was misleading in statements about Huckabee's lack of support for President Bush's veto of the SCHIP expansion. Governor Huckabee said the SCHIP bill was a bad bill. He felt it should have never gotten the point where a veto was necessary. He says that communication with the American people and the Congress is important. Because of a lack of communication, many people think the Republicans are against health coverage for poor children, because the only thing they see is that the President vetoed the SCHIP bill.
In summary, there is no perfect candidate. I wish Huckabee's stance was a little different on some issues. However, when looking at the candidates, Huckabee is far and away the one who lines up closest to my personal views. More importantly, Huckabee's views on evolution, abortion, marriage, stewardship, compassion to the needy, etc., are more in line with Scriptural principles than other candidates.
Mr. Novak may be a respected conservative journalist, but I truly believe he is biased against the evangelical element in the Republican party and has not thoroughly researched all the facts that are available. I still like Mike!
UPDATE: Dick Morris has an article that is a must read on this issue.