Mike Huckabee knows many things, and he shared a long list from behind the podium at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Friday.
Huckabee sounded more Baptist minister than politician, a reminder of why he is a perennial favorite of social conservatives and of where he would fit into the budding Republican presidential primary field.
“These are the things that I know,” he said. ”I know there is a God, and I know this nation would not exist had he not been the midwife of its birth. And I know that this nation exists by the providence of his hand, and if this nation forgets our God, then God will have every right to forget us. I hope that we repent before we ever have to receive his fiery judgment.”
He also assailed government overreach, the Internal Revenue Service, and President Obama’s foreign policy.
“I know that mothers and fathers raise better children than governments ever will,” he said to the crowd, eliciting whoops and cheers. “We don’t need you picking everything from their menu from where they go to school. There’s something wrong when the government kidnaps children from their own families.”
He called the IRS “a criminal enterprise” and a ”cancer in this country,” and called on Congress to enact a fair tax that would “eliminate the IRS once and for all.”
He took up the subject of the terrorist attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, too.
“I know it had not one thing to do with some ridiculous video,” he said, “and with all due respect to Hillary Clinton, it does make a difference.” On the unfolding crisis in Ukraine, he quipped, ”The only time that Vladimir Putin shivers is when he has his shirt off in a cold Russian winter.“
The former Arkansas governor and Fox News host knows how to serve up the sort of red meat that rallies the Republican base, and he was warmly received.
A poll taken in late January showed Huckabee, who mounted a presidential bid in 2008, leading the GOP’s 2016 primary field, running ahead of potential candidates like former Florida governor Jeb Bush, New Jersey governor Chris Christie, Kentucky senator Rand Paul, and Texas senator Ted Cruz. He has inked a deal with St. Martin’s Press to write a book assailing the Obama administration and setting out his own agenda, set to be titled “God, Guns, Grits, and Gravy.”