One day several years ago, the senior vice president of a major healthcare system in a Southern state walked into his marketing and public relations department carrying a handful of wall signs.
The organization’s operational and personnel manual contained thousands upon thousands of words and was thicker than a National Football League playbook.
The executive, himself, a man of few words, had decided to write a CliffsNotes version of the manual and now he wanted those words prominently displayed in every office in the department as a reminder that there is more to running a department than reading rulebooks.
“The rule of common sense is practiced here,” the signs read.
Although he is definitely a common sense proponent, it’s fairly certain that Mike Huckabee doesn’t have one of those signs hanging in his office at Fox News where he hosts his television show, “Huckabee on Fox,” every Saturday and Sunday evening — nor in his office in Florida where each morning he broadcasts “The Huckabee Report” and hosts his three-hour radio program, “The Mike Huckabee Show” each afternoon on Cumulus Media Networks. He doesn’t have to.
Because it doesn’t take a sign to know that Huckabee, a former Southern Baptist pastor, former governor of Arkansas and Republican presidential hopeful, espouses common sense.
Call him the “Common Sense Crusader” if you like, because crusading the conservative cause [which many Americans believe is a synonym for common sense] is exactly what Huckabee’s been doing since he became vice president of the student body at Hope, Ark., High School in 1971.
“You can’t spend money you don’t have and you can’t borrow money you can’t afford to pay back,” he says of the Obama administration’s penchant to spend, spend, spend and borrow, borrow, borrow.
“We spend [healthcare dollars] on treatments rather than prevention and cures because there is no money in cures and there is no money per se to be made in prevention, but there’s a lot of money to be made in treatment,” he intones about America’s healthcare system, which consumes 17 percent of the nation’s gross national product.
“[There once] was a universal understanding that there is a God and that He’s part of who we are as a nation, part of who our founders believed was involved in us from our inception. We’ve abandoned that and moved to this notion that we are truly on our own, that we make up our own rules,” he says in concern for the national culture, which he believes is leaning far too far to the left.
God has given Huckabee a pulpit for his common sense beliefs for many years, first as pastor of two churches in Arkansas where he established 24-hour television stations, then as governor of Arkansas [he’s the third-longest tenured chief executive in the state], as a GOP presidential candidate in 2008 and now as a nationally-respected broadcaster.
It was his frustration with the American way of life that moved him from the pulpit to politics.
“A lot of it had to do with being a father and watching what was going on in my children’s world — school and culture — and coming increasingly to the conclusion that a lot of people who had values like mine didn’t want to get involved in the political atmosphere, which I certainly can understand,” he said during an exclusive interview with Truckload Authority.
“But the result was we’d essentially ceded our nation over to people who had a world view that was totally different than not only what I felt was my world, but the world view that was more traditional in the country. And I kind of talked myself into it by realizing there comes a point where I can complain about what’s wrong — which is the equivalent of sitting up in the cheap seats and screaming at the umpire — or I can get down on the field and join the game, and that’s what it came down to for me.”
It’s a move he never regretted because his common sense beliefs are tied directly to a personal belief that one should be satisfied with whatever they are doing at the precise moment they are doing it.
“Everything I’ve done has been a very satisfying experience and at the time I did it, it was absolutely the most satisfying,” he emphasized. “So I really couldn’t say I am more satisfied now because I loved being governor, I loved being a pastor, I loved working in advertising and communications, which is what I did before I went into the pastorate. So in every endeavor I felt like this is where I am supposed to be right now and I loved being there right then. People have asked me whether it’s ‘do I miss the pastorate or do I miss the governor’s office,’ and I tell them if you mean do I look back fondly, yes. Do I long for it and wish I was back there, no. I feel like I’ve read that chapter and it’s time to turn the page to the next one.”
That next one is using his broadcasting pulpit to try and help bring that left-leaning nation back to the right.
His message generally centers around three topics about which he believes every American should be concerned with addressing right now — the economy, the culture and healthcare.
And, he has some very profound thoughts about trucking as well.
As for the first lesson, point blank, Huckabee says the administration’s economic strategy is seriously flawed.
“To me that’s simple. You can’t spend money you don’t have and you can’t borrow money you can’t afford to pay back. That’s the rule every individual has to live by, it’s the rule of every business; it is not the rule of federal government,” he said. “Their attitude is we spend money and borrowing has no consequence, and that’s simply not the case. The long-term result is that it leaves a debt that future generations won’t pay, but the short-term result is that it really makes it impossible for particularly the entrepreneurs in America to survive because what happens is when the government takes more and more of what those businesses earn, it’s as if the government is saying ‘you worked for your money, but we don’t value what you do. We value what we do; therefore what we do is more important than what you did, so we are going to take that money you’ve earned because what you do with it is not very valuable. What we do with it is more valuable.’”
But Americans don’t need to believe they should get off scot-free, as the old saying goes, so now it’s time for another common sense lesson.
“I do think people need to stop thinking of taxation as evil because a certain level of it is important,” Huckabee said. “What they need to see is that when the government takes something from us we have to assume they at that moment believe that what they are going to spend it on is more valuable, more important, more critical than what we would have spent it on.”
But sadly, he added, he thinks there are very few Americans that would say “you know I think the government is going to be far more responsible than I would have been.”
Huckabee made his most renowned — and widely criticized by the left — statement about the nation’s culture following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings last year.
He made headlines in the U.S. and abroad for stating on Fox News: “We ask why there is violence in our schools, but we have systematically removed God from our schools,” and further asked: “Should we be so surprised that schools would become a place of carnage?”
The criticism, if anything, strengthened his resolve about the national culture.
The country has abandoned a long-held belief that God is part of who we are as a nation, Huckabee said, and that He was involved from the very inception of the United States.
“First of all, it’s been harmful to us sociologically. But I think it’s been untrue to our [nation’s] foundation. And what I would say is when people don’t believe there is a God, they are responsible. So then they end up living as they did in the time of the [Biblical] judges when everyone did what was right in his own eyes,” Huckabee said. “And so today, we don’t have any moral standards that are fixed and solid. We can redefine marriage, we can redefine life and we can redefine personal responsibility to each other. What’s happened is we do have a god today, but [our] god has become government and government has become the ultimate provider.”
Huckabee said an overwhelming majority of the country is center right, but that if the government and the media had their way, that would change.
Like Washington, the media is totally out of touch with mainstream America, Huckabee says.
“I tell people even at Fox [considered the most conservative news media] there’s a mindset that’s not necessarily liberal, it’s just that it’s New York,” Huckabee said with a hint of chuckle in his voice. “There’s a New York attitude that’s just disconnected from the people who live in Arkansas or Kansas or Montana or places outside the big city. I have these discussions all the time and I tell the people at Fox: ‘You guys need to get out more because the audience that watches you every night is not the audience that you run into on the subways, Sixth Avenue or 48th Street. The people that you are talking to are people who go to church on Sunday, they shop at Walmart, they drive pick-up trucks, they probably have a deer head in their den; they have a different world. They own guns. You don’t get it.’ I tell people I live in the land of God, guns, gravy and grits and it’s not at all the world of New York or Los Angeles where these are closed systems that are really, really out of touch with so much of America.”
A prime example of “so much of America” occurred in August 2012 when Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy ignited a national debate by publicly expressing his opposition to same-sex marriage and his support of the Biblical definition of marriage between a man and a woman.
Gay right groups quickly called for a national boycott of Chick-fil-A.
Huckabee immediately organized a national “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day” event and had Cathy appear on his television program.
Huge crowds turned out on the appointed day, in some cases blocks long.
The Biblical definition of marriage is directly linked to the Biblical definition of a family, which brings us to common sense lesson No. 2:
America’s cultural shift goes back to the sense that the base unit of government shouldn’t be viewed as the federal institution of government, rather it ought to be viewed as the family, Huckabee believes.
“The family is the first unit of government that any individual encounters; it’s the unit of government that is most fundamental, basic and necessary,” Huckabee said. “If it works right, then we need less and less of the structures that are above that. When it fails, we end up with more and more structures that are above that because when a family functions right and a child learns the difference between right and wrong, it diminishes the need for authorities, whether they are policemen, counselors, every kind of rehab-type therapist. The more that individuals and families break down, the more government is needed.”
If there is going to be a game changer in the political landscape of the country and perhaps hence a cultural shift back to the right, healthcare — or more specifically Obamacare — will be a catalyst.
“It will have a dramatic effect on the races of 2014 and not in a good way for the Democrats,” Huckabee said.
But he was quick to add a warning to his own Republican Party.
“One thing that would save the Democrats from a disastrous 2014 is if the Republicans spare the Democrats from having to face the consequences of Obamacare by instead forcing them into a government shutdown that would take attention totally away from the fact that millions of Americans are moving now from fulltime to part-time employment. That because of Obamacare, more millions of Americans will lose their insurance rather than gain it and that because of Obamacare, more millions of Americans will see a dramatic increase [in healthcare costs] than a decrease.”
Common sense lesson three quickly became evident.
“There will be anecdotal points at which some people will actually see a decrease in cost but those will be overwhelmed by the number of people who will have more than they can pay and it stands to reason that if you add 30 million people to a system, or potentially you do, you have fewer doctors in which to operate it. The people you add are the sickest and the poorest — the ones who will need the most subsidies and the greatest amount of healthcare — it’s actuarially impossible for that to cost less money. That is completely beyond the realm of reality.”
Huckabee agrees with a statement by Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., one of the architects of healthcare reform, who once said that Obamacare was a Trojan horse for socialized medicine.
“Ultimately, the only way a program like this can work is with a single payer and the single payer is going to be the government. At the time the law was being written, I really didn’t want to believe that was the intent, but whether that was their strategic intent or simply the law of unintended consequences, there aren’t many insurance companies that are going to be able to live under the rules of Obamacare and create a policy that’s affordable for the people who are going to have to buy it.”
As for trucking, Huckabee quickly points to the role the industry plays in the country’s success, regardless of political leaning, cultural shifts and a spend, spend, spend, borrow, borrow, borrow mentality.
“Virtually everything Americans have in their homes from their groceries to their office supplies to their clothing wouldn’t be there if it were not for the truckers. Truckers move most of the materials from point A to point B and the economy collapses without that kind of commerce,” Huckabee said. “The second thing is that most people have no idea the level of training and safety consideration that truckers first of all out of responsibility but frankly sheer necessity, have to employ. A big trucking company can ill afford for one of its drivers to do something that costs that company millions in liability, which is exactly what can happen if somebody is reckless or careless.
“So it is in the trucking company’s best interest to have very high standards of quality for hiring people, maintaining those standards, making sure drivers are well trained and well rested. All of the factors that go into a safe and efficient delivery system are critical. People underestimate that. They don’t think about that. But if they ever stopped and backed up and looked at it, they’d understand the truckers are probably the most responsible drivers on the road and the safest ones and they are also carrying the things that we couldn’t do without.
“The main thing they need to understand is when they say ‘those doggone truckers,’ they need to say ‘thank God for those truckers.’”
Now that’s real common sense.
The Trucker staff can be reached to comment on this article at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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