Huck Starts Sawing Off Social Security Plank

In the past I’ve often criticized Mike Huckabee for claiming a “populism” that seemed content-free, and not at all in any conflict with your typical plutocratic conservative economic gospel. But I dunno about now. Last month he blasted “globalism” and past trade agreements with China and also signaled opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement that most congressional Republicans are lining up to support in a rare accommodation of Barack Obama. And now, on the very day that Jeb Bush seems to have climbed off onto the same limb–or perhaps it’s a plank over shark-infested waters–as Chris Christie on entitlement reform, ol’ Huck is preparing to saw it off (per a report from the Weekly Standard’s John McCormick):

As he gears up for another presidential campaign, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee is making a big break with the Republican party on the issue of entitlement reform. Meeting with reporters at a hotel in Washington, D.C. this morning, Huckabee strongly criticized New Jersey governor Chris Christie’s proposal to reform Social Security and said he would not sign Paul Ryan’s Medicare reform into law if he were president.

“I don’t know why Republicans want to insult Americans by pretending they don’t understand what their Social Security program and Medicare program is,” Huckabee said in response to a question about Christie’s proposal to gradually raise the retirement age and implement a means test.

Huckabee said his response to such proposals is “not just no, it’s you-know-what no.”

McCormick is quick to quote Huckabee as having said positive things about Paul Ryan’s Medicare voucher proposal in 2012. But I suspect what matters more about this isn’t any affection it gains Huck but the harsh light it casts on Christie and Bush and anybody else that goes back down the entitlement reform highway to political hell.

Huckabee said Republican proposals to reform entitlements are “disastrous, not only politically but I think they be disastrous in terms of further breaking the trust between the government and its people.”

This probably will not improve Huck’s relationship with the “Club for Greed,” will it? But it will give him something to say on the campaign trail when he or his audience gets tired of whining about being persecuted along with that poor Duck Dynasty man.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.