COLUMBIA, SC -- Though the South Carolina primary is still some two years away, presidential wannabes are already trekking to the state by the truckload. As the presidential prospects flock here, we will look at each candidates’ campaign, message, and chances as they woo South Carolinians to support their respective bids.
Arkansas Republican Governor Mike Huckabee, the focus of this column, visited Spartanburg, South Carolina on February 20th and will visit another part of the state the first week of March.
Huckabee has some of the tools to be a star in South Carolina. He’s socially conservative; he helped pass a constitutional amendment defining marriage in Arkansas. He’s a former Baptist preacher and a staunch supporter of the 2nd Amendment. Huckabee walks the walk when it comes to spending. When the Little Rock Governor’s Mansion was under construction in 2000, Huckabee moved a double wide trailer onto the front lawn and lived there for over a year.
Huckabee’s road to a presidential bid is an interesting one. He’s a Republican governor in a largely Democratic state, yet he recieved a large portion of the black vote and has been able to work with the Democratic legislature to push through conservative policies.
Before Governor Huckabee spoke to the Spartanburg convention, he sat down with several news outlets, including Townhall.com. The following is a summary of his remarks.
Q: "How do you approach an event in South Carolina differently than Iowa or New Hampshire?"
Huckabee: "I try to be who I am. People sense authenticity, and they also sense phoniness."
Huckabee spoke at length of his principles—how the Arkansas establishment may disagree vehemently over certain positions or policies but ultimately respects him because he is clear on his stand. "I don’t change with the winds," he said. Furthermore, he added, and I summarize here, "political leadership is either thermostat or thermometer. Thermostats control the temperature and political climate. Thermometers merely reflect the climate. I want to be a thermostat and by standing my ground on issues. I can succeed…leaders have to risk offending and pushing in order to affect change."
Q: "With the federal government failing to control immigration, states like yours, with large illegal immigrant populations, mostly due to the agricultural industry, bear the brunt of the costs. What are your ideas to solve these problems?"