In addition to taking jabs at his rivals this morning, Mike Huckabee explained some of his policy views.
He said that his criteria for taxes are that they should be: flatter, fairer, finite and family friendly. Typically, when people talk about a flat tax, they do so in the context of discussing tax simplification. I asked Huckabee how he could reconcile making the tax code simple with a desire to make it more family friendly, which often involves tax credits. (Personally, I believe in the principle of tax neutrality, i.e., that the tax code should be used exclusively for raising revenue, not for social engineering experiments). But Huckabee disagreed that there was an inherent contradiction between making the tax code family friendly and making it flatter, and pointed to ending the marriage penalty as an example of a policy that accomplishes both.
When discussing gun control in the wake of Virginia Tech, he invoked the Bible, as he did on several other occasions. He said when Cain killed Abel, God didn’t call for “club control.” God understood the issue “was evil in the heart of Cain, not evil in the substance of the club,” Huckabee said.
On foreign policy, in a break from the Bush Administration, he called for talks with Iran and Syria. Huckabee said that talking isn’t the same as negotiating, and if we were to at least talk to Iran, even if it didn’t lead anywhere, it would give the U.S. more credibility with the international community if we eventually had to take military action against Iran. He also said we should have more discussions with Russia. And, tugging at the heart strings of your humble correspondent, he quoted from the Godfather Part II: “Keep your friends close, keep your enemies closer.”