We throw around the populist label quite a bit about presidential candidate Mike Huckabee. In this week’s Times, Ernest Dumas examines the record. It gives populism a bad name. Dumas recites a list of actions that give the lie to the label, beginning with this one that should interest the blue collar workers in Michigan, where Huck is airing ads saying he’s on the side of the laid off, not those who did the laying off:
It is unconvincing because nothing in his political past showed any particular sympathy for labor. His office interfered with the state Workers Compensation Commission, his administration’s one point of contact with workers, to stack the commission against injured workers and their families and to oust hearing officers who tended to favor workers’ claims. One unfair dismissal engineered by Huckabee cost the state $125,000. A Huckabee appointee to the commission said the governor’s office ordered him to fire the hearing officer, and attorneys for Wal-Mart also pressured him because the woman had ruled against the company in a job-injury case.
Workers comp has become a sad joke in Arkansas. If not for Court of Appeals Judge Wendell Griffen, you couldn’t get compensated for an injury that occurs during a restroom break at the plant. And, it’s worth noting, one of the Workers Comp commissioners of the Huckabee era was the husband of his chief of staff, Brenda Turner.
If it makes Huckabee backers feel any better, my column says he’s the best Republican candidate and quotes the former Republican Rep. Jerry King’s theory of why Huckabee should win the nomination and contend for the White House.
SPEAKING OF THE HUCKSTER: Columnist/cartoonist Ted Rall doesn’t think much of his candidacy. In a column headlined “Idiots (heart) Huckabee/The media’s dangerous tolerance of anti-intellectualism,” he begins:
Mike Huckabee isn’t qualified for public office. He may not be smart enough to hold a job. Yet he could become our next president.
AND ALSO: Here’s an interesting analysis from a conservative news website of thinking that South Carolina might not be so ripe for Huckabee’s message as supposed. His foreign affairs essay won’t sit well with the military; blue-collar worker appeals don’t work so well with an electorate mostly opposed to tax increases, which appear on Huckabee’s record; other candidates have ins with religious figures, too.