No Laughing Matter : A serious look at Gov. Mike Huckabee's record and policy beyond the one-liners.
- Gov. Mike Huckabee: "And the ultimate thing is, I may not be the expert that some people are on foreign policy, but I did stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night." (WABC Radio's "Imus In The Morning," 12/4/07)
- National Review : "The Holiday Inn Express Candidate." "In sum, conservatives should have worries about the depth and soundness of Mike Huckabee’s foreign-policy views. And staying at a Holiday Inn Express is not going to be enough to allay them." (Editorial, "The Holiday Inn Express Candidate," National Review , 12/10/07)
Former White House Adviser Pete Wehner
MSNBC's "Morning Joe"
December 19, 200
Former White House Adviser Pete Wehner Discusses Huckabee's Attacks On Bush Foreign Policy:
MSNBC's JOE SCARBOROUGH: "Welcome back. We got Jim Cramer to stay because he's mad. He's mad for life brother and he's number one with a bullet. Let's bring in right now Pete Wehner. He's former deputy assistant to the President, senior fellow right now at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. Pete, thanks so much for being with us."
PETE WEHNER: "Nice to be with you. Thanks for inviting me, Joe."
SCARBOROUGH: "You have written and we're a little shocked and stunned and deeply saddened because the guy that loves Jesus, generally loves Jesus, Mike Huckabee was on our show earlier. We're friends with Mike. He likes Hendrix. I mean, he's got all the bases covered. But you have gone after him in a National Review article and you say that his Foreign Affairs article where he attacked President Bush for being arrogant and having a bunker mentality was misguided, and you said it was stunningly silly and deeply revealing. In what way?"
WEHNER: "Well, it was revealing because the criticisms that he made were with the kind that Jimmy Carter and Al Gore would make, not that usually conservative Republicans would make. He said that the President was at war with the world, which is not true. He spoke about the 'arrogant bunker mentality.' He said that the President really should deal with Iran like you deal with miscommunications between parents and friends. And that's actually not how you deal with Iran. It's not that he criticized the President. I've criticized our policy on Iraq. But the grounds of the criticism, I thought were wrong and, as I said, silly and I think for a Republican running in a Republican primary you don't want to sound like Jimmy Carter or Al Gore or the Daily Kos."
SCARBOROUGH: "Do you think, though, that a lot of Republicans are concerned with let's say what Paul Bremer did with the de-Baath-ification plan or what Donald Rumsfeld did by not giving the generals all the troops they wanted. I mean, Republicans, I know you've heard from other Republicans. There are similar concerns about missteps after we got into Baghdad."
WEHNER: "I acknowledge those and I accept them, actually. I've got some of the same complaints. Clearly the post-war situation wasn't handled well. We didn't have enough troops. We didn't have the right counter insurgency strategy. We have it now with David Petraeus. That wasn't the grounds of my criticism for the Foreign Affairs article. As I said, it was the nature of his criticisms as they related to this 'arrogant bunker mentality' that we really weren't, that we were having a problem in communications with dictators in the world. Well, sometimes it's actually the nature of the regimes that cause the problems. Its not that you're not being nice enough to them. He was making the argument that if you dominate the world you're going to illicit opposition. We're not dominating the world. We're actually trying to liberate some countries. And sometimes that elicits opposition."
CNBC's JIM CRAMER: "Peter, this is Jim Cramer, it seems like that Huckabee is also implying that we are a stingy nation that doesn't do a lot around the world. Isn't it true that we're the most, by far, the most generous nation in the world towards both friend and foe?"
WEHNER: "Yeah. That was another criticism that bothered me. Implicit in his argument is that it wasn't a generous nation. If we were generous we'd be well-loved. The reality is that we are generous. We give a huge amount in foreign aid. The President's global AIDS initiative which increased the amount of money to combat global AIDS by five times over the Clinton Administration is one of the great, generous, humane foreign policy achievements ever. And the reality is that we liberated more than 50 million people from two of the most despotic and cruel regimes in modern history and that was an act of generosity. It's come at a lot of cost to us in terms of human lives and in terms of money. It's cost more in lives and money than it should have. But the reality is that the impulse was generous and I think when all is said and done we'll look back on in history as having done the right thing and the generous thing."
MSNBC's MIKA BRZEZINSKI: "Peter, pertaining to the Foreign Affairs article written by Governor Huckabee and the words that he used, isn't it also true that we're dealing with an administration that led us into war on faulty intelligence and an administration that brought up the possibility of World War III which appears to be on intelligence that is still sort of hard to decipher at this point. I mean, isn't there something to be said for the 'arrogant bunker mentality' and why can't Republican candidates say that? Is there some rule against it?"
WEHNER: "No, there's no rule against it. He said it. But there's no rule against criticizing him for saying it. In terms of the faulty intelligence, I don't dispute that. Of course we went in with faulty intelligence and it was a huge, huge failure. The rest of the world had faulty intelligence. Countries that even opposed our actions in Iraq had faulty intelligence. They believed Saddam had weapons of mass destruction. I would say, that it would be nice if, once in a while, people pointed out that there was a burden of proof on Saddam Hussein to meet the obligations that he had agreed to. He didn't. He intentionally kept the inspectors out, and based on his history we drew conclusions. They were the wrong ones. Again, I don't dispute the idea that the Bush Administration can be criticized or even if it should be criticized. In eight years, you're going to make mistakes. This administration has made some; we've made some big ones. My objection was the nature of the criticisms. I just think Governor Huckabee who is a very smooth and talented fellow – you saw that in your interview with him. He's the best debater in the field. He's a terrific speaker. But, I think on foreign policy, his views are wrong, and he's pretty inexperienced and it's showing."
SCARBOROUGH: "Alright, Pete, thank you so much for renewing this. Pete Wehner. He's with The Ethics and Public Policy Center. You can read Pete's critique on the National Review Online and you can also see Governor Huckabee's article in Foreign Affairs."