Israel, a small country surrounded by enemies, has defied critics and engendered intense loyalty amongst its friends almost since its independence day in 1948. We had the privilege of journeying with Governor Huckabee on his recent sojourn to Israel. Visiting sacred sights and hearing from leading Israeli voices gave us new insight into both the state of Israel and the character and personality of the former governor and Fox News TV host.
We found Huckabee is as fine a man to travel with as he is to watch on TV. The warmth of character and demeanor he displays on screen is no act. Spending seven days observing him under stressful and sometimes grueling foreign travel, we observed a man who is unflappable.
On the day of his Fox show he displayed almost superman energy. First he hiked around the top of Herod the Great's 2000 year old mountain fortress Masada, speaking at the summit, and then he lunched on the shores of the Dead Sea, before riding in a bus caravan to Tiberius. Following this long, busy day of travel and speaking, he prepared and delivered a nearly flawless remote broadcast of his hour long show live at 2:30am in the morning. Just as busy the next day, you would never know he had been awake since the middle of the night.
Huckabee's interchanges with Israeli political leaders were warm and intensely informative and he is obviously admired and respected by the leaders we met. His knowledge of details about Israel and the history of Palestine are remarkable.
We have spent years of our lives observing politicians, seeing many attempt to treat those around them respect and equality, yet few reaching the ideal. Mike Huckabee achieved this feat with such natural grace it was truly a sight to behold. He chatted with equal energy and concern with the bus drivers and tour guides as he did with top government officials.
With Mike Huckabee, what you see is what you get. There are no hidden agendas and none of the arrogance that usually accompanies political success.
Our trip to the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Jerusalem showed Gov. Huckabee's earnest compassion and resolve to never see a similar mass murder occur. His emotional words after the visit made clear to those of us present why he believes Israel's security must be protected. The threat to Jews is more than most Americans understand. Moslem political leaders don't just want some real estate. Some seek to finish Hitler's final solution.
As an advocate for a robust American policy in the Middle East with Israel as our anchor ally, Gov. Huckabee is an advocate who will protect this important friend of America. Yes, Israel needs America, but America needs Israel.
The broader question, still unanswered is will this man of knowledge, character, steady demeanor and proven political success sacrifice his current role as TV host for the more important job of Commander and Chief?
Our trip answered for us the questions about qualifications and personality. The one question to which we lack an answer is, will he run? Our conclusion is that if he doesn't, America is losing the best candidate Republicans have to challenge Barack Obama in 2012.