2016 Caucus

May 26th, 2015

Huckabee Sheds the Nice Guy Persona in Johnston

Huckabee CrossroadsOne of the knocks against former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee when he ran for president in 2008 was that he was too soft when it came to issues like crime, immigration, and foreign policy. His critics back then would often say things like, “we don’t need a preacher in the White House,” or they lamented about how the country didn’t need another “compassionate conservative” like President George W. Bush.

Last Tuesday, Huckabee made a stop at Crossroads Shooting Sports, a brand new indoor shooting and training facility in Johnston. There, Huckabee showed his prowess with a few firearms, more specifically a Sig Sauer P238, a Glock 43, and Smith & Wesson’s version of an AR-15, the M&P15.

It wasn’t Huckabee’s ability to hit the target on the gun range that got my attention on Tuesday afternoon. It was how tough the former Baptist minister was when he answered questions about firearms, foreign policy, and Hillary Clinton.

Defunding of the Military

I think our military spending ought to be back where it was in the 1980’s, four to six percent of GDP. We are way below that. We have the lowest military preparedness since 1939, before the Second World War.

Think about that for a second, we are living in a world as dangerous as we have ever lived in. Where the threats are global, not localized. Where the threats are more imminent and obvious than we saw them to be even in the late 30’s, and yet our military preparedness and readiness is less than it was just before World War II.

That ought to be a wakeup call. The Chinese are building three submarines for every one of ours. Most of the nations that have the potential to be serious threats to us are upsizing their military. We are downsizing, and the combination of a downsized military plus sequestration is devastating to our readiness. I’m not a war monger, let me be very clear – I think the best way to avoid war is to have the most robust military in the history of mankind and the kind of military nobody ever wants to wake up and find on the other end of the fight.

I learned this on the playground as a kid, all of you did. If there is a bully in your school, who does he pick on? He picks on who he thinks he can whip his butt. He never picks on a kid who he thinks can whip his butt. And the day that he picks on the wrong kid, and that kid beats his butt, he never does it again.

[For] the U.S. Military, our strategy should be pretty simple. We will beat the butt of anyone who takes us on. We will do it quickly. We will do it efficiently. We will do it so effectively and so overwhelmingly that the next bully will think twice before taking a shot. I really believe that’s how America stays strong and stays safe. We can’t be safe if we are not strong. We cannot be strong if we emasculate the military, and that’s what we have done in the past few years.

Second Amendment

Our founders understood that our last line of liberty against tyranny is the ability of [people] to protect themselves and defend their families. I’m not saying that every American should be armed, but I can’t imagine living in a home where I was completely helpless and would have to wait until the police could get there to take care of me.

I’ve often said, as a person who is prepared to defend my home and family, I would still call 9-1-1, but I wouldn’t be calling them if some guy breaks into my house at two o’clock in the morning and threatens my family or me. I’m not calling 9-1-1 to helplessly wait until they get there. I’ll be calling 9-1-1 to tell them where to come to pick up the carcass of the person who tried to break into my home at two o’clock in the morning and hurt my family or me.

I think that is a fundamental American right. It’s something to me that is as precious as property ownership – the right that we have, under the Constitution, to defend and protect ourselves, and frankly, to protect our property and our Constitution.

If you had the opportunity to ask Hillary Clinton a question, what would it be?

I’d ask here why she didn’t answer the call of Chris Stevens, four times, when he was begging for help in Benghazi. When an American is laying on the ground and in danger, and Americans are being shot at, being threatened with death, it is the absolute duty of America to come to their aid. We don’t leave people on a battlefield. We left four Americans for dead. God help us for that.

I told a group this morning, that one of the people I’ve gotten to know over the past years is Charles Woods. He’s the father of Tyrone Woods, one of the four who were killed in Benghazi that night. I was so moved by his story and his perspective as a father because Tyrone was about the same age as two of my sons. I asked him what I could do for him. He handed me a picture of Tyrone and said, ‘Just don’t forget my son.’

So I have Tyrone’s picture on the wall just aside of my desk that I see every time I’m at my desk. It’s a reminder to me to never forget the sacrifices those four Americans made and to never forget that nobody answered the phone when they called. That’s something every American serviceman and servicewoman should know, that if they get in trouble, and they’re where we sent them to be, and they’re under fire, we are going to move Heaven and Earth to try and come get them out of harms way. The fact that nobody launched a rescue effort that night is something I would love to ask her [about].

ISIS and the Middle East

One of the things that has happened is that there is a building coalition in the Middle East that’s a remarkable coalition. Israel now has a greater level of partnership with Egypt, Jordan, the Saudis, and Kuwait than they do with the United States when it comes to fighting ISIS. Who would have ever believed that Israel’s partnership with these long standing opponents would be stronger than their trust and relationship with the United States?

My first trip to Israel was in 1973 when I was 17 years old. I’ve gone back dozens and dozens of times since. I was there three times last year and met the Prime Minister on each of those visits. Was there in February and spoke with him again. I’ve never seen the Israelis so anxious about the relationship they have with the United States, and for good cause.

It’s very sad. I’ve been to Egypt, I’ve been to Jordon, I’ve been to Saudi, and I’ve been to Kuwait, you can add the Emirates in there as well.   The nations of the gulf states have never been more concerned that America is no longer that reliable ally that would stand with them against the threats that they face.

We’re negotiating with Iran, which makes no sense because they are a state sponsor of Hamas and Hezbollah. They have helped fuel much of the terrorism around the world, and why we would ever believe that we can trust them is beyond me. ISIS, specifically, could have been pushed back had we done what we promised, that is arm the Kurds early in this situation. The Kurds were begging, not for boots on the ground, they never have asked us to fight for them. All they asked of us was to send them arms, and we said we would. But, we did a stupid thing. We sent it through the Iraqi government. The Iraqi government never got it to the Kurds, so the Kurds were getting slaughtered up there because we didn’t fulfill our commitment to help them with arms.

A lot of it is the common sense kind of things. Arm the people who are our friends. Disarm the people who are our enemies. Make friends with those who have a common enemy, and be true and loyal to our allies. That’s the beginning.

Is it Too Easy to Get a Permit to Carry in Iowa?

You know, I’ll leave that to the states. Let me tell you, I’m less worried about having someone less trained as they could be, because ultimately a citizen who is going to arm themselves will want to avail themselves of significant training to become proficient with a firearm. That just makes sense for their own sake. A good guy armed is still better than good guy unarmed.

I would always hope that the personal responsibility on the part of the citizen is to say. “I’m going to go down to someplace like Crossroads to know what kind of weapon fits me best, what kind of firearm that I can utilize the best, and I’m going to get trained on it.” How to take it apart, how to shoot it, how to properly store it. That’s an individuals responsibility, and I wouldn’t try to get in the way of what the state thinks is the right way to go about that.

Do you think the government should have a say in why types of arms a law-abiding person can use?

No, because there is nothing in the Constitution that gives the authority to do that. We should have whatever we choose to have because it’s a citizen’s right. The government shouldn’t tell me what the limitations of my self-protection are.

If someone is going to break into my house, I want to at least be as well armed as they are, if not batter armed than they are. My plan is to always have a better arsenal to defend myself than they are going to have to try and attack me. I’ve been asked on many occasions what firearms do you have. The answer to that is, it’s none of your business. It’s for me to know and you to find out.

I’ll put it this way, I have more than one gun safe, and I’ll say that I need them both. Phil Gramm once famously said, I think it was in Iowa come to think of it, they asked him one time how many guns did he have and he said, “I have all the guns I need, but not all the guns I want.” I want to make it very clear when sometimes people say, “Are you a gun nut?” I say no, I’m not a gun nut. I’m a liberty nut. I believe in freedom, and I believe that I have the fundamental Constitutional right to be able to own and, if necessary, use firearms. I don’t use them to threaten people, and I’d never use one callously.

I learned this when I was five. I knew where firearms were, that I could get to because my family didn’t have the money to afford a nice gun safe. So I knew where they were, up on the shelf in the bedroom closet. They were there. They were loaded. I could have gotten a chair or stepladder to get to them. I never touched those guns without my father’s permission for one simple reason. I thought I knew what those firearms could do to me, but I also knew what my father would do to me.

Photo by Dave Davidson – Prezography.com

About the Author

Craig Robinson
Craig Robinson is the founder and editor-in-chief of TheIowaRepublican.com, a political news and commentary site he launched in March of 2009. Robinson’s political analysis is respected across party lines, which has allowed him to build a good rapport with journalist across the country. Robinson has also been featured on Iowa Public Television’s Iowa Press, ABC’s This Week, and other local television and radio programs. Campaign’s & Elections Magazine recognized Robinson as one of the top influencers of the 2012 Iowa Caucuses. A 2013 Politico article sited Robinson and TheIowaRepublican.com as the “premier example” of Republican operatives across the country starting up their own political news sites. His website has been repeatedly praised as the best political blog in Iowa by the Washington Post, and in January of 2015, Politico included him on the list of local reporters that matter in the early presidential states. Robinson got his first taste of Iowa politics in 1999 while serving as Steve Forbes’ southeast Iowa field coordinator where he was responsible for organizing 27 Iowa counties. In 2007, Robinson served as the Political Director of the Republican Party of Iowa where he was responsible for organizing the 2007 Iowa Straw Poll and the 2008 First-in-the-Nation Iowa Caucuses. Following the caucuses, he created his own political news and commentary site, TheIowaRepublcian.com. Robinson is also the President of Global Intermediate, a national mail and political communications firm with offices in West Des Moines, Iowa, and Washington, D.C. Robinson utilizes his fundraising and communications background to service Global’s growing client roster with digital and print marketing. Robinson is a native of Goose Lake, Iowa, and a 1999 graduate of St. Ambrose University in Davenport, where he earned degrees in history and political science. Robinson lives in Ankeny, Iowa, with his wife, Amanda, and son, Luke. He is an active member of the Lutheran Church of Hope.

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