This time it’s Pat Toomey who points out the inconvenient facts:
During Huckabee’s tenure as governor, the average Arkansan’s tax burden increased 47 percent, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A dyed-in-blue tax hiker, Huckabee supported raising sales taxes, gas taxes, grocery taxes, even nursing home bed taxes. He virulently opposed a congressional moratorium on taxing Internet access, and sat on the sidelines while his Democratic legislature pushed the largest tax hike in Arkansas history into law. What’s more, on his watch, and frequently at his behest, state spending increased by 50 percent, more than double the rate of inflation, and the number of state government workers rose by 20 percent. Yes, as a presidential candidate, Huckabee has signed on as a supporter of the Fair Tax and pledged against raising taxes, but when a candidate’s long and clear record flies in the face of his election-year symbolism, you can chalk it up to politics every time.
In frontrunners Rudy Giuliani, Fred Thompson, and Mitt Romney, the GOP is well on its way to nominating a candidate for president with a strong fiscal record. Each of them would provide a great opportunity for the GOP to reestablish its vitally important brand as the party of pro-growth tax policy and smaller and more affordable government. But no Republican presidential candidate can effectively claim that mantle with Mike Huckabee standing by his side.
1/12 Update: Former Huckabee research director Joe Carter asks for evidence that Mike Huckabee is liberal. I offer the information above as fodder for the conversation.