Behind former Gov. Mike Huckabee's warm smile, inclusive rhetoric, and gee-whiz populism lies an ethics record that would make a Clinton blush. His greedy, cheesy money grabs as governor in Arkansas were a preview of today's greedy, cheesy money grabs.
Say what you want about Bill and Hillary Clinton's ethical corner-cutting after they left Arkansas (or scroll my diatribes here), their conduct in the 1980s and early 1990s never approached Huckabee's depths. They didn't use the governor's office as a personal ATM. They didn't trade on the public's trust.
Gov. Bill Clinton registered historic ethics reform.
Gov. Mike Huckabee registered at Target.
Hucksterism. The perfect word for Huckabee's conduct—and a warning against his concept of leadership and management. While Huckabee can claim legitimate accomplishments in Arkansas (he raised taxes for schools, highways, and children's health; he welcomed into the state refugees from Hurricane Katrina and the children of immigrants), there is a side of this complicated man that political reporters often miss or ignore. Kinda like the Clintons.
On CNN, Huckabee finally told Tapper, "I didn't actually run that part of my company." Listen closely and you might hear an embattled, scandal-scarred President Huckabee defending himself: "I didn't actually run that part of the country."