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URBANDALE - Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee advised Iowa Republicans on Wednesday not to send an inexperienced candidate to the White House in 2016 who has never previously held an elective office and expect good results at a time when the nation and the world need strong, steady leadership.
Huckabee did not name names, but clearly had political newcomers and GOP front-runners Donald Trump, Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina in mind when he questioned the logic of electing a president with 'zero experience and preparation” to run the most powerful nation on the planet.
'I don't understand why we think that's a good idea,” Huckabee told a breakfast meeting of about 80 Westside Conservative Club members.
'Your next president had better be able not only to win the battle to get there, but once there know how to govern,” he said. 'This is not a job at entry level. This is not a job where a person walks into it and says well I've never done anything like this before but I'm sure I can learn while I'm here. You're talking about the presidency and a person had better be prepared from day one to walk in and to lead and to govern.
'I will tell you this, if you think the country can withstand someone coming in and learning on the job, then the next time you get on an airplane, look up in the left seat of the cockpit and ask ‘has this person ever flown a plane before' and if they say ‘no, he's never been in a cockpit before but he's played a lot of video games and I think he can do it. Are you OK with that?” he asked.
'Folks, let's apply the same standard to electing a president that you would apply to hiring someone to run your business or, for that matter, to baby-sit your kids,” said Huckabee, a former governor who called that executive position a 'microcosm” of running the federal government.
Huckabee spent nearly an hour touting his fair tax proposal as both an economic engine and a solution to the nation's illegal immigration problem, blasting President Obama's foreign policy missteps and carving up Tuesday's Democratic presidential debate - especially Hillary Clinton.
'I really thought as they kept moving left on the stage that they would eventually fall off and only Jim Webb would be left standing there to make any sense whatsoever,” Huckabee said after watching the televised Democratic debate. He also said he is convinced that Vice President Joe Biden won't run in 2016, and if he did that Clinton would beat him.
He said the debate featured Hillary Clinton debating herself over stances she has held on both sides of issues and left him encouraged that there will be a stark contrast with clearly defined differences in the general election campaign between Democrats and Republicans.
'If you want your taxes to go up, if you want the government to be more involved in everything from health care to the ownership of self protection in the form of a firearm, then you're going to love the Democrats,” Huckabee said. 'And, if you believe that a sunburn from climate change is a greater threat to your future than is a beheading from ISIS, the Democrats - they're your team.”
As a Republican who won election in Arkansas, Huckabee said he has gone up against the 'Clinton political machine” many times' and does not underestimate Hillary Clinton, as some Republicans appear to be doing.
'You put on clothes every day. They put on Teflon every day,” Huckabee said of Bill and Hillary Clinton. 'We'd better be prepared for the battle of our lives, folks. I think a lot of Republicans are just salivating, thinking ‘oh, I hope it's Hillary.' Well, if it is, I think I'm the one person best prepared to challenge the Clinton political machine. But, I will tell you this, anybody who thinks that's a cake walk has never walked for that cake before.”
In promoting his fair tax proposal to tax consumption not income, Huckabee said his plan would bolster and bring back America's manufacturing might and would discourage illegal immigration by taking away the incentive for employers to hire undocumented workers at low wages and pay no payroll taxes.
Huckabee, who visited the U.S. border with Mexico last weekend, said his answer to border security would be 'a double fence, plus personnel, plus electronic monitoring” along the entire U.S. southern border to stem illegal entry into the United States.
The former Arkansas governor said that 75 years ago Americans built a 1,700-mile highway between British Columbia and Alaska in a year and he believes a double fence could be built to secure the southern border in roughly the same amount of time using modern construction techniques and equipment.