Mike Huckabee at the Altoona Pizza Ranch.

mike-huckabee-altoona-iowa(Altoona, IA) Former Arkansas Governor and 2008 Iowa Caucus winner Mike Huckabee found himself in a familiar setting after the Iowa Agricultural Summit on Saturday – Pizza Ranch.  In 2008 Huckabee was known for holding campaign stops at Pizza Ranch resturants all over the state of Iowa.  Huckabee hosted a meet and greet with Iowans at the chain’s Altoona location (which didn’t exist when he last ran) who crowded into the restaurant’s meeting room.

With a standing room only capacity with over 50 people in attendance Huckabee discussed the threat of a nuclear Iran, wage stagnation, ISIS and Islamic terrorism in his remarks.  He said that he was “weeks away” from making his decision about running for President.

With a likely crowded 2016 Republican field including several former or current governors, Huckabee offered during the Q&A session a part of his resume that sets him apart.  He has beaten former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s apparatus while running for Lt. Governor and Governor in Arkansas.

Do you know anybody in America who has run against the Clinton Machine and defeated it, not once, but repeatedly?  I know somebody who has done that – you are looking at him.  Every election I ever ran in Arkansas I didn’t run just against an opponent, I ran against the entire political apparatus.  I’m going to tell you something it is a fearsome apparatus to behold.

I never had an election which Bill and Hillary did not come to the state and campaign for my opponent.  Every time, nobody has faced them as often as I have in the elective process.  And I’ll tell you something – you better be buckled up and ready to go for some very interesting moments.  They play to win, but then again so did I.

He also pointed out he did so when at the time Arkansas was a Democrat-dominated state.

And I won in a state that was the bluest state in America.  That is part of the story that most people don’t know because they just assume Arkansas is like a lot of the other southern states.  Arkansas was not just the bluest southern state, but the bluest state in the country when it comes to the state legislature.  When I was sworn in as governor 89 out of 100 of the House members were Democrats, 31 out of 35 Senators were Democrats.  It was more lopsided that Massachusetts, Maine, Vermont, California or Oregon.  There was no other state that was even close to being as lopsided.

I did not go into the most congenial atmosphere.  I envy these governors who can talk about their Republican majorities in the House or the Senate, even if it is just a bare majority.  I envy those who had enough to fill up a table at the Waffle House much less who could get a quorum.  But I never got less than 90% of my legislative package passed.  When people ask ‘how did you do that in the face of that kind of environment?’ Because I learned how to govern, I learned how to build relationships, and get things done.  By the way, by the time I ran for re-election in 2002 I got 49% of the African-American vote and over 40% of the Hispanic vote.  If you can find any Republican in America black or white who got those kind of numbers be sure and let me know and I will no longer say that I think I have a milestone there.

Watch Huckabee’s entire remarks and Q&A session here or below:

Huckabee afterwards talked briefly with Caffeinated Thoughts and followed up on his comments about wage stagnation and he would do about the problem as President.

One of the best ways to do it is to bring stabilization to the dollar.  When a dollar represents a real dollar that is a realistic way to gage wage growth, but when it is fluxuating and a dollar is worth a dollar this week and eighty cents next week and fifty cents next week and a dollar and a quarter next week there is no way that a person who is working for a wage can keep up.  Part of the answer is still going back to the fair tax, but there is another issue that I believe is important.  We don’t need to let Democrats suck us into discussion of the minimum wage as if the best thing we can do for working people is to get them to the minimum of something.

I’ve asked people when they have said “I am for the minimum wage” – “Are you really?  That is the best you got?  What is the minimum wage you want to propose? Oh, ten dollars, can you live off of ten dollars an hour?”

And nobody says they can do it.  So I say, “If that isn’t going to let you live, let’s talk about a maximum wage, what would it take to get you to the wage you would like to earn?  What do you think would be a good wage for you?”

And if they say, “I’d like to earn thirty dollars, forty dollars an hour.”  All right let’s take a look at the jobs that pay thirty and forty dollars-an-hour.  A nurse, truck driver, a welder – some of those pay sixty, seventy dollars an hour.  HVAC technician, that’s the kind of money they make.

Rather than say let’s let the government arbitrarily put you in a ten dollars an hour job that may mean you lose that job because your employer may not be able to pay for it.  Let’s get you to the place where you are earning thirty, forty, fifty dollars an hour.  Get the training, that’s what we need to be focused on.

He also addressed monetary policy, specifically problems the Fed has created.

Well for one thing, most of what the Fed does is not necessarily helpful because it is creating an artificial economy that only helps the people who are vested in the stock market by holding down interest rates which means the people who are living off savings are being decimated – a lot of elderly people.  People who have the freedom and the liberty and resources to invest in the stock market they are doing great.  I don’t blame them, I am not even thinking we ought to rob from what they’ve done or raise their taxes.  They are just living under the best economy they’ve been able to find.

You can watch Huckabee’s comments to Caffeinated Thoughts here or below.

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