Mike Huckabee Is A Faith-Based Enigma That Needs Campaign Cash

His thoughts on Wall Street toe the line of populist conservative, but can Wall Street banks back a guy with such an evangelical agenda?
Author:
Publish date:
Updated on

Believe it or not, it took until today for Mike Huckabee to make his 2016 presidential run an official thing.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee announced his intention to seek the Republican presidential nomination Tuesday, hoping to rekindle the grass-roots support that propelled him to a first-place finish in the 2008 Iowa caucuses.

Most of us remember Huckabee from 2008 as the disarmingly folksy and funny southern Governor with a goofy smile and some extremely right wing, conservative Christian views. He's a pro-life, anti-gay marriage evangelical who has criticized the 2008 bailouts and actually raised taxes in Arkansas while he was governor.

Whuck? indeed.

Huckabee is the closest thing that exists these days to a genuine populist conservative. In contrast to Rand Paul, he takes the idea of "protecting Average Joe " to the economic realm by doing stuff like arguing for the protection of social security in its present form. Even if he's now a very wealthy man from hosting his own Fox News show for the past few years.

Politico has a nice little snapshot of what Huckabee sounds like these days.

More than anyone else in the 2016 field, including Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, the former Southern Baptist minister decries the influence of “corporatists” and “globalists” over the GOP. Still, hints of his fabulous new life bleed into his rhetoric. He raised eyebrows during a speech in New Hampshire two weeks ago, for instance, when he recalled a recent conversation with a Russian limo driver.
“A couple of weeks ago I was in Los Angeles, and I was going to be on The Bill Maher Show,” he told hundreds of activists at the climax of a half-hour speech. “The driver comes and picks me up at the hotel and is taking me to the studio.”
In short, the driver fled the Soviet Union in 1988 with his infant daughter and they’re now living the American Dream: the dad owns the car service company, and his daughter became a nurse. “I said, ‘Dmitri, you make more sense and talk better than 90 percent of the people we’ve elected to Congress,’” Huckabee told the crowd. “He said, ‘Well I don’t think I’ll ever have that platform.’ I told him, ‘Dmitri, you may not. Maybe you don’t want it. But I hope I can tell your story!’

These weird outliers make Huckabee intriguing in the Republican field. But they also makes him susceptible to attack from his fellow evangelicals, and there are a few of those this time around.

By entering the race, Mr. Huckabee, 59, has put himself on a collision course with other current and potential presidential hopefuls who are making appeals to Christian conservatives, among them Mr. Cruz, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and former Pennsylvania Sen.Rick Santorum, who leaned heavily on Mr. Huckabee’s network for his own surprise win in Iowa in 2012. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, the son of a pastor, is also likely to compete for the evangelical vote.

But unlike many evangelicals, Huckabee needs very little nudging to push him to the to the right. He's already there.

Being that far to the right though might very well cost him from raising money from Wall Street banks. For instance, would Bank of America risk writing a check to a guy that so vociferously opposes gay marriage? That would maybe alienate employees and customers of the bank that see gay marriage as a civil right.

Well, it didn't seem to stop BofA from donating to Huckabee during the 2008 cycle, when it was a top Huckabee donor and wrote him an $11,o75 check.

But will Goldman or Citi follow suit if Huckabee begins to poll up in the primary?

“I will be funded and fueled not by the billionaires but by working people across America who will find out that $15- and $25-a-month contributions can take us from Hope to higher ground,” Huckabee said.
“Now rest assured, if you want to give a million dollars, please do it, but I know most of you can't. I'm just going to ask you to give something in the name of your children and grandchildren. I walked away from my own income to do this, so I'm not asking you for some sacrifice I'm not willing to make. I don't have a global foundation or a taxpayer-funded paycheck to live off of. I don't come from a family dynasty but a working family.”

Not if he "asks" like that, they won't.

Mike Huckabee Launches Republican Bid for President [WSJ]

The populist 1 percenter [Politico]

Mike Huckabee to Seek Republican Presidential Nomination [Bloomberg]

Related