Mike Huckabee was born August 24, 1955 in the city of Hope, Arkansas. He began working in his early childhood, by reading the news and weather at a local radio station when he was 14. He attended Hope High School and went on to Ouachita Baptist University, where he completed a bachelor’s degree, where he obtained a Doctor of Laws degree in 1992. He had a heavy religious influence throughout his life, and at the age of 23 he started working as a staffer for James Robison, the televangelist. Of him, his boss was to say that he was shaped by moral absolutes, with no gray in between black and white.
Huckabee has himself stated that he believes it is impossible to separate religion from politics, so there’s no point in trying. He has also stated that he believes in Biblical inerrancy, believing in the literal interpretation of Scripture, which he holds to be absolute truth. Before he started a political career, he was pastor of Southern Baptist churches in Arkadelphia, Texarkana, and Pine Bluff, Arkansas.
In his first bid for the United States Senate, he lost to incumbent Dale Bumpers in 1992. However, in the next year, he managed to squeak into a seat as lieutenant governor following a hasty special election. In 1994, he was re-elected to a full term as lieutenant governor, where he served until 1996, when he became sworn in after yet another special election as Governor of Arkansas, replacing Jim Guy Tucker who was resigning due to a legal scandal. When Jim Guy Tucker stated that he might re-think his resignation almost at the zero hour when Huckabee was being sworn in, Huckabee retaliated with a threat to impeach Tucker if he didn’t stay down.
While in the office of Governor, he endured a stormy reign. He created a bill which used money from tobacco companies to combine with existing Medicare money to manage children’s health. He was brought up on charges by the Arkansas Ethics Commission for failing to report campaign payments and for using a fund set up for the maintenance of the Governor’s Mansion for his own personal use. He signed a 3-cent increase in tax on gasoline and a 4-cent increase on diesel into law, purportedly to devote the money to improving roads. He also implemented a school reform which he openly acknowledged was borrowed from the plans of then-Governor of Texas, George W. Bush.
However, his rule has not been without its colorful moments. Ignoring for the most part the issues concerning the governance of his state, he took issues with professional sports, stating, “In almost four years as governor, no issue has excited Arkansans as much as the question of where the University of Arkansas should play its home football games.” He also has a band, named “Capitol Offense”, which plays at political events and balls. He also signed the controversial Covenant Marriage Act into law, making marriage even more a matter of political and religious interests intertwined than it was originally.
When he was re-elected as Governor in 2002, he was seen as undermining the Democratic process for also having his wife, Janet, run for the office of Secretary of State. They campaigned for each other, shared contributions, and publicly endorsed each other. Mike Huckabee withstood the controversy to win a second term, while his wife Janet was not elected to her chosen office.
His second term was even more on the edge of controversy. The Arkansas Supreme Court took him to task for failing to address the issue of having an unconstitutional state school funding procedure, and ordered him to fix it. When he failed to do so, the legislature was forced to take matters into their own hands and re-consolidated the school districts. He also a signed into effect a new 3% income tax surcharge, and had to settle in a lawsuit in which he acted with the Arkansas Educational Television Network to unfairly remove a television program from the broadcast schedule.
In 2005, in perhaps his boldest move in defiance of public opinion, he refused to provide relief or support for the 70,000 refugees from Hurricane Katrina whom came to his state seeking aid, preferring instead to push the burden off onto State parks and local businesses instead. In spite of this move, he requested that the Federal Government declare the state of Arkansas a disaster area due to the influx of refugees seeking shelter, for which he was denied.
As of January 2007, he has announced his candidacy for United States President. He can be seen as a candidate that will appeal to the far religious right interested in swaying the country towards a more theocratic society. He bases much of his platform on religious fundamentalism.