O! Ronaldus Maximus! Your erstwhile companions doth exalt thy record above Cirrus and Cumulus, making thee to be a saint upon thine own merits. They hang both Obamius and Huccabaeus upon the same gallows, the one for claiming you as a liberal, the other for denying the same. Chedloxius Act III
Winnie the Pooh found himself stranded high up in the air, holding a helium filled balloon and being attacked by an annoying swarm of bees. Afraid to let go of the balloon and tumble to earth, he called upon his friend to shoot the air out of the balloon, allowing for a slow descent:
“Christopher Robin, you must shoot the balloon with your gun. Have you got your gun?”
“Of course I have,” you said. “But if I do that, it will spoil the balloon,” you said.
“But if you don’t,” said Pooh, “I shall have to let go, and that would spoil me.”
When you put it like this, you saw how it was, and you aimed very carefully at the balloon, and fired.
“Ow!” said Pooh.
“Did I miss?” you asked.
“You didn’t exactly miss,” said Pooh, “but you missed the balloon.”
“Winnie the Pooh”, A. A. Milne
Mike Huckabee had hoped that those who have been inclined to call him a RINO would use the same standard they use with Ronald Reagan. Reagan raised taxes every year as governor of California, and signed the largest state income tax increase in history. No California Governor since the 1960s has matched the total number of pardons Reagan granted. As president, Reagan signed a bill granting amnesty to illegal immigrants. He appointed Sandra Day O’Connor to the Supreme Court against the advice and counsel of Jesse Helms who warned us she would not defend the unborn. Many readers may be too young to remember Reagan piling up stacks and stacks of paper in front of the American people which represented Democratic spending binges. He waved his “veto pen” like a sword. We forget that he didn’t use it on spending bills.
None of this is to suggest Reagan was a nanny-stater, liberal, RINO, or progressive. The Christopher Robins’ on our own side missed the balloons and chose to shoot Huckabee instead. Instead of coming to his defense and saying he is not a RINO, and calling for civility, they take on a “how dare you” compare yourself to Reagan attitude. Or they say Huckabee was implying that Reagan was a RINO. That is exactly what he was NOT doing. He was trying to reduce the claims there are RINOs among us, not add to that number.
In the spring of 2008 there was a GOP debate at the Reagan library. The moderator asked the four remaining candidates to give reasons why Reagan would support them. McCain, Romney, and Ron Paul all gave their reasons Reagan would support them. Here was Governor Huckabee’s response:
I think it would be incredibly presumptuous and even arrogant for me to try to suggest what Ronald Reagan would do, that he would endorse any of us against the others.
Let me just say this, I’m not going to pretend he would endorse me. I wish he would. I would love that, but I endorse him, and I’m going to tell you why. It wasn’t just his specific policies, but Ronald Reagan was something more than just a policy wonk. He was a man who loved this country, and he inspired this country to believe in itself again.
What made Ronald Reagan a great president was not just the intricacies of his policies, though they were good policies. It was that he loved America and saw it as a good nation and a great nation because of the greatness of its people.
And if we can recapture that, that’s when we recapture the Reagan spirit. It’s that spirit that has a can-do attitude about America’s futures and that makes us love our country whether we’re Democrats or Republicans. And that’s what I believe Ronald Reagan did — he brought this country back together and made us believe in ourselves.
And whether he believes in us, I hope we still believe in those things which made him a great leader and a great American.
Republicans may disagree on whether Reagan and Huckabee can be favorably compared, but it is Huckabee’s opponents breaking Reagan’s 11th Commandment, not Huckabee.