- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 6, 2015

It took the Democratic National Committee only moments to scurry after Mike Huckabee, who announced Tuesday that he would run for president in 2016, advising his audience, “I don’t come from a family dynasty, but a working family. I grew up blue-collar, not blue blood.” The Democrats, however, were waiting for him, as is their pattern with Republican presidential hopefuls.

“Mike Huckabee’s decision to throw his hat into the GOP ring tells us all we need to know about who the Republican Party is and what they believe,” says Democratic National Committee press secretary Holly Shulman, who is critical of the candidate’s social conservatism and his vow to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

“It’s one thing to spout off nonsense on his TV show, but for Mike Huckabee to present his ideas as legitimate policies for a presidential campaign is insulting to the American people, though I can’t say I am particularly surprised. I mean, have you heard the rest of the Republican hopefuls?” she continues. “Mike Huckabee’s vision for America is out of touch, in many cases completely out of line and would take the country backwards.”

The presidential pastor, however, is on message and already bound for Iowa, staying in touch with the down home heartland and assuring voters that he is up to speed on economic and foreign policy issues. Mr. Huckabee meets with the employees of a fire hydrant and valve manufacturer in Oskaloosa on Wednesday, to be followed by a free rally in a historic barn in Urbandale. “Food from Jethro’s BBQ will be provided, with music by country recording artist Brandon Alan,” the campaign advises. Thursday finds Mr. Huckabee at double meet-and-greets at Charlie’s American Grill in Sioux City and the Pizza Ranch in Cedar Rapids.

Independent media maven Glenn Beck does not think Mr. Huckabee has much chance to win the presidency - and he has a theory about what behind it all, “in the smoke-filled rooms of the establishment GOP,” Mr. Beck says.

“I think he’s being put in as a spoiler. I think that’s the only thing. I really do. I think he’s there because he’ll pull religious votes away from Ted Cruz. And that’s the one that big government progressives are afraid of. The establishment is afraid of Ted Cruz and Rand Paul. They’re going to do everything they can to make sure those two are nowhere to be seen when it comes to Election Day. And so if you want to take care of Ted Cruz, you go after the religious base. And you split the religious base. And that’s what Mike Huckabee is doing,” Mr. Beck told his BlazeTV audience following the candidate’s announcement.

• Jennifer Harper can be reached at jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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