Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AR)
Jobs for America's Graduates
Washington, DC
December 6, 2006

transcript of excerpt of remarks
...There are a lot of kids coming up in this country who would have dropped out of high school, who would have ended up in countless dead end jobs that would have led them probably to a lifetime of government dependence, who instead have been empowered not to get on the government dole as adults, but more importantly to prosper, to succeed, to live the American dream like all of us hope to do.  And it's because of the George Voinovichs of the world, who inspired other governors, and not just me but many others, to realize the value of this program in helping to close the achievement gap and give kids an opportunity.

I also, as the Senator spoke of his own personal pilgrimage, being the son of a first generation to this country, it occurred to me how many of us in this country, if we were stopped and asked, are living better than we ever could have imagined as kids growing up.

That's true of me, and my family has been here since the early 1800s, but they didn't come across with the blue bloods on the good boats; they were dumped off on the shores of South Georgia from the debtors' prisons of Great Britain.  I mean that's the family history as best we can trace it.  My father told me never to look too far up the family tree--you don't want to know what's up there.  [laughter].

But when I graduated high school I was the first male in my entire lineage dating all the way back to the early 1800s that had ever done that.  To go on to college and then to one day become the governor of my state is to me one of the greatest stories of being able to say this is why I love this country because kids like us, you, me, can live out our dreams...

Jobs for Americas Graduates takes those kids that a lot of folks have given up on and it says we're not going to give up on you.  We think that there's still opportunity and empowerment for you too.  And because of many of you in this room who give your heart and soul to these kids in the program, there are dreams being born every day, and there are lives being built, and there are futures being crafted, and there's a great country being built.

When I hear people talking about the greatest generation, I'm deeply respectful of those who have come before us and I agree that there have been some incredible generations of Americans who've made great sacrifices, who have enabled people like me to live a much better life [inaud.], but I refuse to believe America has seen the greatest generation.  I'd like to believe that America's greatest generation is that one yet to be born, but the one that's coming and the one that's coming because they're going to realize that opportunities still indeed do exist and Jobs for Americas Graduates is one of the reasons that we have every, every basis to remain optimistic about our future...

transcript of brief interview
after his remarks Huckabee spoke with a couple of reporters.  Looking ahead to January, he will be launching a book tour.  Now, however, he is working to ensure a smooth transition with Gov.-elect Beebe.

...working up until the time of the transition.  I mean the thing is the job is very much in play and so there are a lot of things that I'm having to do.  In fact this has been one of the busiest times in my ten years, in part because there are so many things that have to be closed out and finalized.  So it's not like you just say, oh the election's over, I think I'll kick back and go duck hunting.  I thought I might get to do that.  Wrong.

DEMOCRACY IN ACTION: What's your assessment of 2006, and how can the Republicans rebound from that?

We clearly have to realize that the American people fired the Republican Party from power.  That's the best way to look at it.  If you're given a job, people have an expectation of how that job is to be performed.  If you don't do it, you get fired, and they'll hire someone else.  That's what's happened.  In order for us to be re-employed to lead the Congress or any other positions across the country, we've got to remember what the boss wants and get the job done.  There was a failure on the part of the Republican Party to listen to the needs and interests of people out there in the real world trying to put food on the table, get to work on time, raise their kids in a safe neighborhood and make sure their kids' education is going to lead them to a job.  When we get back to that priority, making sure that government is competent, that it works, that it's listening to the people that it's supposed to serve, I'll think we'll regain the trust of the American people, but until then we won't.

DEMOCRACY IN ACTION: What are a couple of specific things that would accomplish that?

I think we have to start addressing some of the issues that, again, families are concerned about.  What happens if dad loses his job?  Will the school that their kids go to be effective?  There may have been three overriding national issues that affected this election.  Iraq, corruption, and the competence of the government as seen in issues like Katrina, but it all added up to a sense of their not paying attention to us; they're not listening and that really was, I think, the lesson learned.

DEMOCRACY IN ACTION: You mentioned your book that's coming out.  You've turned out a lot of books.  What is your process for writing a book.  Do you have a ghostwriter or do you do that all yourself?

No I really don't [have a ghostwriter].  In fact maybe there are going to be times I wish I did--I could blame somebody else--but I actually write every word of the book.  And it's therapy for me, but it's also that, you know I spent a lifetime communicating so it's not like it's totally out of the ordinary for me to put words together.  People say gosh how do you write a book?  I say how do you not write one?  You're flowing with ideas all the time.

My process is I start way out and I come up with a theme, an idea, a concept, then I develop on outline, and then over a period of time I start, once I have an outline, I know what the general chapters are going to be so as I encounter things that I know would fit into those chapters I put it in a file, so if I'm going to do 13 chapters, I have 13 file folders and I start adding stuff to it.  All the time I'm thinking about how that's going to flow and so on, and then I go and I put the final piece together.  Then, depending upon my publisher, I have an editing process.  I've been [inaud. ?hooked up] with Warner Books the last two books, so it goes through Nashville editors, then New York editors.  They've changed virtually nothing except they may say this chapter should maybe be placed earlier, they may want to say take out that reference--nobody understands it, it's too localized, but they've really never rewritten a book.

DEMOCRACY IN ACTION: Do I picture you at the keyboard typing?

Yeah; I can keyboard about as quick as I can talk; not quite but almost and I'm more efficient, and then I dictate some of the chapters, get 'em transcribed, and then I'll go back and do the edits.

DEMOCRACY IN ACTION: One other question--New York Marathon, which you finished but it was slower...

It was brutal.  I haven't run since New York because of it.  I'm still going through some physical therapy, like three days a week, and rehabbing it, but I ran on it hurt and not the smartest thing I've ever done.  It's not a permanent injury; it's just set me back a little bit.  But I wanted to finish and I'd trained real hard for it, and I didn't want to give it up and I'm glad I did [it], but it was a very painful day and a punishing day.  But it was also a very proud day because I had to reach deep inside to really just pull out the kind of inner strength and go the distance on it.  It was the hardest marathon by far, because I was not running at optimum condition, and I was in pain from the first step I took.  And so the whole thing was a real test of will, but it was also my proudest marathon, though the worst time for that reason.

Because the other three quite frankly had been sheer joy.  I mean the training is agony.  The day of the marathon is really a day of ecstasy and joy; it's the day of fulfillment, the day you work toward, you have a crowd cheering.  It's a lot different that out there on a lonely road in the dark at five in the morning, only thing you hear is a garbage truck that you try not to get run over by in the streets of Little Rock.

But this was an exciting day because New York is just an amazing place to run a marathon.  The crowds are phenomenal, and the inspiration of the other runners.  There were several times that I thought maybe I just need to quit.   This is stupid.  I don't have to do this.  I don't have to prove anything.  I've done three of 'em.  It's not like people say, well I can't do it.

But I remember that at about mile 20 I came up behind a guy and was passing him, and on the back of his shirt it said, "My wife has cancer.  I'm running for her.  Please don't let me stop."  And I thought, well I guess I'll go on a little bit further here.  I don't think I'm going to quit right now.  But every time I would just think that I can't do any more, I'm physically at the end of it, something else.  Some lady held up a sign that says "The pain is temporary; the pride is forever."  She wasn't holding that up for me.  But it really was that day.  So just that kind of thing happened over and again.

# # #

Copyright © 2006  Eric M. Appleman/Democracy in Action