After the Wall Street Journal's John Fund took a few whacks at former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, I extended the governor an invitation to appear on the radio show. I think Huckabee has a prayer --and little else-- of being the GOP nominee, but when significant pundits have time to take a few shots at you, it is worth a closer look.
Huckabee fans have accused me of being anti-Mike for some time because of my view that the GOP race is a two man show between Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney My protests that I am just handicapping the race and not giving air time to the second tier GOPers have been unpersuasive to the Huckabee supporters, so I knew they'd be listening closely to my questions Wednesday to see if they contained an agenda.
I thus took Governor Huckabee's lead from the day, asking him about the rapist whose release he spoke in favor of and who, once released, went on to murder, about whom Huckabee had held a press conference yesterday. I followed with questions pivoting off his interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer the night before, and then gave him a chance to rebut some of the criticisms in the Fund column, and to discuss S-CHIP and the Bush veto.
The audience was, well, overwhelmingly underwhelmed --though some Huckabee loyalists phoned and e-mailed to accuse me of perfidy (read the interview transcript for yourself)-- the clincher for many listeners came with this exchange on smoking:
HH: And the last question is do you support a federal ban on smoking as has been alleged?
MH: No, I don’t. I support workplace clean air. But a federal ban on smoking would mean that you couldn’t smoke in your own home. I don’t care what people do in their home. But in a workplace, in our state, we passed a law which I’m very proud of, and that said that people have a right to have clean air at the workplace. I did not support a ban just in restaurants and bars because frankly, I think that the problem with that is that you’re punishing the customers. But what you have a right to do is to protect the workers in the same was you do from radon gas and a host of other carcinogens and toxic fumes, which is exactly what tobacco smoke is.