Huckabee’s Free Market Populism

Mike Huckabee just finished speaking here at CPAC, and what was pretty clear is that he’s trying to win over skeptical economic conservatives by reframing his populism in free market terms. He blasted the stimulus bill and the bailout, and emphasized that taxpayers shouldn’t be bailing out banking executives who messed up. He claimed he was “prophetic” during the campaign for warning about the dangers of the “Wall Street to Washington axis of power.”

It wouldn’t be a Huckabee speech, of course, without some bizzare metaphors and anecdotes. At one point, he told of a boy who brings teacher a leaking box that she assumes is an adult beverage from his father’s liquor store, but it’s actually a puppy. That was Huckabee’s way of saying that “things are not always the way they seem” when it comes to the plight of Republicans.

He also spoke about how you can’t just store a boat in the warehouse, you need to take it into the water and take risks. We have to learn to be “water conservatives, not warehouse conservatives,” he said.