Valley News Today [Shenandoah, Iowa]

Huckabee can unite GOP base

Over the next few months, newspapers all over the country will offer their arguments about which political candidates deserve your support and why.  With the war in Iraq still raging and domestic problems like health care and poverty now at the forefront of our collective conscience, America's next President will be faced with some of the most important decisions of our time.  We've had the fortune to meet several of this year's candidates and in some cases visit with them one-on-one about their dreams for our country.  After carefully reviewing each candidate, we offer the following endorsements:


In a year when most of the Republican nominees for President appear to already be on the road to self destruction, Mike Huckabee has emerged as the only candidate with the ability to unite the GOP and to offer a serious threat to the Democrats next November.

Perhaps it's because the 51-year-old former Arkansas governor appears to be the only authentic conservative on the ballot.

Huckabee is opposed to gay marriage - so much that he has said he would support, even fight for passage of a federal constitutional amendment to define marriage as a union between one man and one woman.

He believes Roe v. Wade should be overturned and that a constitutional amendment should be passed protecting the sanctity of life and making all abortions illegal. If elected, he has promised to do more than sit around and wait for a Supreme Court vacancy and will instead do everything within his power to promote a pro-life agenda - even to the point of using his Bully Pulpit to move this country from what he describes as a culture of death to a culture of life.

Huckabee is a strong supporter of the right to bear arms and is opposed to banning assault weapons. As governor, he introduced legislation to protect gun manufacturers from frivolous lawsuits. And he doesn't just walk the walk. He was the first Governor in the country to have a concealed handgun license.

He believes that securing America's borders must be a top priority and has described it as a "national emergency." Specifically, Huckabee has said he would like to "take our country back for those who belong here." No open borders, no amnesty, no sanctuary, no false Social Security numbers, no driver's licenses for illegals.

Huckabee realizes our nation's health care system is broken, but doesn't believe the answer lies in universal health care mandated by the federal government. Instead, he envisions a cooperative effort between businesses in the private sector, Congress, health care providers and others to lead a complete overhaul of the crippled system.

He insists the war in Iraq is an integral part of what he refers to as America's "generational, ideological" war on terror. He believes setting a timetable for withdrawal is a mistake and instead is focused on winning the war and establishing a regional summit to help the war-torn country's neighbors become militarily and financially committed to stabilizing Iraq.

A former Southern Baptist minister, Huckabee's faith is an important part of his life and unlike the other candidates, he has not tried to separate his faith from his personal and professional lives.

As a fiscal conservative, he pushed through the Arkansas Legislature's first major, broad-based tax cuts in state history - a $90 million tax relief package for Arkansas families. He led efforts to establish a Property Taxpayers' Bill of Rights and created a welfare reform program that reduced the welfare rolls in the state by almost 50 percent.

And last but not least, Mike Huckabee is optimistic about America's future - a trait that is not often found in most of the other gloom-and-doom Republican candidates.

Huckabee is out to show people that the American dream is still alive and by borrowing that particular page out of the Democratic playbook, we believe he'll continue to rise through the ranks and ultimately win the Republican nomination next summer.

But he needs your help.

In recent weeks, Huckabee has emerged as a real contender here in Iowa, but without a strong showing at the caucus, it's going to be an uphill climb.

Vote for Mike Huckabee on Jan. 3.

Copyright © 2007 Southwest Iowa News. All rights reserved.  Reprinted by permission of the publisher  (David Gustafson 12/07/07 e-mail).

The paper also issued an endorsement of Sen. Edwards.  Publisher David Gustafson provided the following observations:

     While I admit it's unusual for a newspaper to endorse more than one candidate, I felt it was important for us to name both a Democrat and Republican going into the Jan. 3 caucus - especially with this many candidates to consider.  We plan on issuing another endorsement next fall leading up to the General Election.

     The Valley News Today is one of the smallest daily newspapers in Iowa with readership of approx. 6,000 and is the oldest continously-operated business in Shenandoah dating back to 1882 as the Shenandoah Post.  Our readership base lies primarily in Page, Fremont, Mills and Montgomery counties.

     It's true that it is the first time in recent memory that the Valley News Today has published endorsements of any kind.  As I wrote in our endorsement of Sen. Edwards - with the war in Iraq still raging and domestic problems like health care and poverty now at the forefront of our collective conscience, America's next President will be faced with some of the most important decisions of our time.

     As a result, I felt like it was our responsibility to endorse the candidates we felt would offer the most hope to our readers - the rural residents of southwest Iowa.

     After meeting with Senators Edwards, Obama, Biden and McCain - as well as with Governors Richardson and Romney and researching the other candidates who have not made local appearances, we felt like the decision was clear.

     Our ad-hoc "editorial board" consists of myself and my managing editor, Alan Cross.  We both have spent the last several weeks informally talking to our readers and area business leaders to get their perspective, but ultimately, I made the final decision.