Mike Huckabee may have been a regular Joe back in 2008 when he boasted about staying in cheap hotels and running for president on a shoestring. But those days are long gone. Now, Huckabee seems firmly ensconced in the lifestyle of the one percent with what Politico calls a “private plane habit” and other luxuries. It’s a habit that not only belies his “aw shucks” image but also puts a strain on the coffers of those politicians and political causes that seek his help.
From a fascinating Politico article today:
As he continues to toy publicly with the possibility of a second presidential campaign in 2016, Huckabee has cut a costly path through the nation’s political battlegrounds, incurring significant costs to Republican candidates and groups in at least nine states, among them the Iowa Republican Party and Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin’s infamous 2012 campaign. It’s a penchant for aerial luxury that could present a jarring contrast to Huckabee’s homespun shtick should he decide to be a candidate in the future.
While wealthy and famous politicians often fly in style, Huckabee’s political travel is lavish by any standard. He appears to rely on private flights far more frequently than his potential rivals in the 2016 field. And if fans are often happy to cover the cost, Huckabee’s insistence on chartered planes tends to set him apart from a field of competitors scrambling to amass chits from early-state power brokers.
…Huckabee’s aides describe his reliance on chartered air travel as a consequence of his intense personal schedule. He travels frequently between New York City, where he records his Fox News show, and the Florida Panhandle, where he has built a 10,900-square-foot beachfront home valued in county records at $3.2 million. According to spokesman Sylvester Smith, Huckabee saves money by purchasing “hours on a plane each year at rates that are far less expensive” than typical private air travel.
Whatever Huckabee’s efforts to save money, the Politico article suggests his travel expenses negatively impact the very causes he’s supposedly trying to help:
Long-shot North Carolina Senate candidate Mark Harris, a pastor whose campaign paid $14,611 to (Huckabee's) Blue Diamond travel on March 18, reported having just $72,000 in the bank a month later in the last weeks of his unsuccessful bid for the GOP nomination. The single largest check to Blue Diamond Travel in 2012 was cut on Oct. 19 for $20,310 — and came from the hapless Akin campaign, which just two days earlier reported having only $544,000 in the bank for the homestretch of a difficult race.
Of course, these appearances that Huckabee makes at others' expense just so happen to raise his profile and credibility for a possible 2016 presidential run. It's a neat fringe benefit for Huckabee, eh?
So it looks like Huckabee has joined “private jet” Sean Hannity in the ranks of phony Fox “common men.” They know how to talk the talk but forget walking the walk. They’ve got private planes for that.
Check out Politico’s nifty video mashup of Huckabee crowing about his thriftiness on the campaign trail, below. I highly recommend the rest of the article, too.
[I just HAD to get that signature Jim Nabors quote in]
Yep, they’ll be here to complain shortly.
Any time, now.
Hm . . .
That’s what I thought.