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DECEMber 2007

Mike Huckabee, GOP Dark Horse

by Alex Miller-Mignone

“There are a lot of people running for president.  Many of them will come to you.  I come from you.”

—Mike Huckabee, at the Values Voter Presidential Debate, 17 September 2007, Fort Lauderdale, FL

Mike HuckabeeWith just a month until the first primary season votes are cast, the GOP field is in flux, with no clear, consistent frontrunner in the polling from the earliest states. While it still seems probable that the most likely nominee will emerge from the subset of Romney, Giuliani and McCain, an upset in one of these early contests could propel a relative unknown into a position of prominence.

Such a one may be Mike Huckabee, a former Southern Baptist minister and three-term governor of Arkansas, who has shown strong support among evangelicals, an important GOP primary constituency. Flying under the radar with very little money, the folksy, likeable Huckabee came in second in the August Iowa straw poll, behind Mitt Romney, who had spent something on the order of $800 per vote.  Even more impressively, Huckabee won the October 20 Value Voters Conference straw poll in Washington DC, at 51.5% coming in a whopping 40 points ahead of next contender Romney at 10.4% (according to the polling of conference attendees, numbering 2000; in the online straw poll, with roughly 5500 votes cast, Romney just edged out Huckabee by 27.67%-27.15%).  In mid-November, Huckabee remained in second place in Iowa in the Real Clear Politics average of local polls, though he is a more distant fifth place nationally, still under 10%.

At 52, Huckabee is a gregarious, down-to-earth politician, with an imposing physical appearance, despite his rapid loss of 110 pounds in 2003.  Born in Hope, Arkansas (like Bill Clinton), Huckabee is the son of Dorsey and Mae Huckabee, and was senior class president of Hope High School. Huckabee married his high school sweetheart, Janet McCain, in 1974; the couple have three children. He graduated magna cum laude in just two and a half years from Ouachita Baptist University in 1975, afterwards attending Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth, becoming an ordained minister in 1977.

Before pastoring a church, Huckabee worked for televangelist James Robison, and then went on to minister to Baptist congregations in Arkadelphia, Texarkana and Pine Bluff.  He was president of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention from 1989-91.

Despite a total lack of political experience, Huckabee set his sights high early on; his first race was against incumbent US Senator Dale Bumpers (D-AK) in 1992.  He lost, but garnered 40% of the vote, a surprisingly high percentage for a newcomer. That same year Arkansas’ sitting governor, Bill Clinton, won the presidency and moved to Washington, and the next summer Huckabee narrowly won a special election for the post of Lieutenant Governor vacated by Jim Guy Tucker when he replaced Clinton. He won re-election to a full term in 1994, and in early 1996 had secured the Republican nomination for US Senate, when fate intervened.

That July, Tucker resigned as governor after a felony conviction in a Whitewater-related case, promoting Lieutenant Governor Huckabee to the top state office.  When Tucker attempted to reverse his resignation, Huckabee addressed the state and indicated that if Tucker did so, impeachment proceedings would be brought against the disgraced former governor. Tucker backed down and Huckabee was sworn in.

Re-elected that fall (Arkansas had two-year terms for governor until 1998), Huckabee also became the first four-year governor in 1998, again winning re-election in 2002.  His ARKids First initiative to provide health care coverage for children of low income families dropped that state’s uninsured child percentage to 9%, lower than the national average of 12%, at a time when the issue of uninsured children was just beginning to register on the national radar.  In 1999 a Huckabee-endorsed bond measure was passed in referendum, allowing the state to borrow funds for highway improvement, ending a 100-year-old popular prejudice against such measures created by a state bond scandal in the late 1800s. The governor also passed legislation to direct one eighth of 1% of the state sales tax into development and conservation of Arkansas’ state parks and natural resources.

In 2000, Huckabee took a considerable amount of flak when he moved his family into a mobile home on the grounds of the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion while the building was being renovated, a practical decision which saved the citizens millions in staff relocation costs.  Huckabee mounted a PR offensive on late-night talk shows which boosted his national profile, joking with Jay Leno that his new home was “not a trailer; it’s a triple wide!”  Rather triple wide himself, Huckabee garnered additional national attention in 2003 by losing 110 pounds in a matter of months, becoming a healthy lifestyle advocate in the process.

Huckabee also advocates traditional values, believes in Biblical inerrancy, and discounts evolution. In 2001 he signed the “Covenant Marriage Act,” a marital contract option which mandates counseling for couples before separation, limits divorce grounds, and restricts lawsuits against spouses. He underwent a second commitment ceremony for Covenant Marriage with his wife, Janet, when the couple participated in a mass wedding on Valentine’s Day 2005 to promote the new Act.

Huckabee is opposed to abortion, same sex marriage or civil unions, and gun control. He supports the teaching of creationism in public schools, the death penalty, the Iraq War and the Guantanamo Bay detention center. He also supports the Fair Tax, a proposal to eliminate the IRS and all federal taxes and substitute a national sales tax in their place. He is supportive of the rights of illegal immigrants, both as a matter of Christian ethics and practical politics.  Huckabee is quoted as stating, “I just don't think it's realistic to say this weekend we're going to round up 12 to 20 million young people and their children and we're going to put them across the border and they're never going to come back.”

Huckabee was chair of the Southern Governor’s Association from 1999-2000, and in 2005 was listed as one of the union’s top five governors by Time magazine.  He was praised for his deft management of an influx of 70,000 evacuees who threatened to overwhelm Arkansas’ social services after the devastation of hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005.  Welfare recipients declined by almost half during his tenure as governor, and Arkansas’ economy grew by 4.4% in his last year, slightly higher than the national average.

On 28 January 2007, the retired governor (who was ineligible to run again due to term limits legislation enacted when the state adopted four-year terms) announced his intention of running for the presidency.  His campaign raised only half a million dollars in the first quarter of 2007, a sum dwarfed by GOP frontrunner Rudy Giuliani’s $15 million, and positively minuscule compared to Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton’s $26 million.  Growing popularity with grass roots evangelicals has not translated into cash, although Huckabee came in second in a South Carolina straw poll in April 2007, falling just 111 votes shy of Mitt Romney. His GOP debate performances have been well received, but his national polling numbers remain in middle single digits. Straw polls in Iowa and among evangelical voters have shown him first or a strong second, but it will take an upset win in one of the early contests for him to break out nationally. More likely is the offer of a position as Vice President on the GOP ticket, shoring up Republican prospects with evangelical and “values voters” in the event of a Giuliani or Romney candidacy.

Born 24 August 1955, Mike Huckabee’s chart extends entirely between the South Node at 23 Gemini, conjoined a Pulsar, and the North Node at 23 Sagittarius, conjoined another Pulsar and the Galactic Center. All planets fit within this hemisphere, and the zodiacal start point of the South Node indicates his emphasis on the past and traditional values. This is where Huckabee’s comfort zone is, and also where he is most expressive and opinionated, as denoted by the Pulsar contact, which gives him a mouthpiece to have his views heard. His main variance from conservative talking points comes in the area of immigration, which may be a reflection of that forward-thinking North Node conjoined the internationalist Galactic Center in foreign/ethnic issues-oriented Sagittarius.

The Sun at 0 Virgo is conjoined yet another Pulsar—Huckabee has a lot to say, and he’s rarely short of a plan or device for carrying out his ideas. Sun/Pulsar folks have a knack for expressing themselves, and an ability to marshal their facts and present their case in cogent, easily understood terms. Often they display a well developed capacity to manipulate the media, or use it for their own ends.  The Virgo venue for that Sun also contributes to the down-to-earth, no-nonsense style with which Huckabee brings others around to his point of view.  When running for Lieutenant Governor in 1993, consultant Dick Morris (of Bill Clinton fame) chose to emphasize this folksy, everyman appeal, the antithesis of the elite country club image which had run most GOP campaigns in Arkansas into the ground. 

Mike HuckabeeThe Sun also squares a Black Hole at 3 Sagittarius. Black Hole Suns are notorious for their ability to shift shape, and this pairing is the source of his dramatic, swift weight loss in his late forties. The Virgo Sun has used the fulcrum of that Black Hole’s transformative energies to leverage Huckabee into a healthy lifestyle advocate, and an early proponent of health insurance for the economically disadvantaged. The record-breaking, status quo-disrupting quality of Black Hole Suns can also be seen in Huckabee’s election as only the second Republican Lieutenant Governor of Arkansas since Reconstruction.

Mercury at 17 Virgo is exactly squared the Black Hole at 17 Sagittarius. Detail-oriented and practical, this Mercury revels in devising simple yet elegant solutions to problems, and is rarely uninspired. Persuasive and compelling, the effect this Black Hole Mercury has can be seen in Huckabee’s successful campaign on the bond measure, overturning more than a century of suspicion of such ventures on the part of Arkansans. Huckabee’s advocacy of the Flat Tax is another case in point—streamlined, uncomplicated and easy to comprehend, the proposed change is dramatic and sweeping (Black Hole), simple to calculate (Virgo), and has a strong logical appeal (Sagittarius), at least on paper. Advocacy is always a theme with Black Hole Mercury, which tends to advance its causes by fair means or foul. Generally, Huckabee appears to be a straight shooter who prefers the fair means route, but the potential for deception or subterfuge is always present when Mercury and Black Hole energies collide.

Venus and Mars conjoin at 28 Leo, opposed the Black Hole at 27 Aquarius, squared both the Quasar at 27 Scorpio and the Maser at 27 Taurus to create a Galactic Grand Cross.  Venus and Mars conjunct show a seamless fusion of the sometimes opposed urges of sex and romance/intimacy, and may be represented by Huckabee’s marriage with his high school sweetheart, an iconic image of traditionalist Americana. The thirty-plus year longevity of the union may be traced to the Quasar contact, which promotes pervasive, lasting accomplishment and stability. The Maser effects may be seen in Huckabee’s staunch support of traditional marriage, which is certainly viewed as controversial by a significant segment of the population at large. Pluto’s conjunction from 26 Leo is indicative of Huckabee’s push to reform the institution with “Covenant Marriage,” a much more restricted, tightly controlled (Pluto) version of union. It also resists progressive innovations, such as same sex marriage or civil unions.

Jupiter at 15 Leo is exactly squared Saturn at 15 Scorpio, the latter conjunct a Pulsar. There is a basic tension here between progression and regression, optimism and cynicism, expansion and restriction. With the Pulsar conjoined Saturn, Huckabee appears an advocate of tradition and the status quo, but there is also a more enlightened, outgoing side to him, as seen in the Leo Jupiter. Philosophically, he is an optimist, but he places his trust in convention, convinced that what has worked in time-honored tradition is still the best course to pursue.  This pair also squares and opposes the Black Hole at 16 Taurus. Saturn opposed a Black Hole tends to lurch in an almost chaotic fashion from job to job, and it may be significant in this regard to reflect that Huckabee’s elevation to both Lieutenant Governor and Governor status had its genesis in unexpected vacancies. Bill Clinton’s successful presidential bid caused Jim Guy Tucker to abandon the post of Lieutenant Governor, which Huckabee then won, and then Tucker’s own resignation promoted Huckabee to the governor’s mansion. Will lightning strike thrice, in an unexpected withdrawal of Huckabee’s currently more favored GOP nomination contenders?

Uranus at 29 Cancer and Neptune at 26 Libra both conjoin Black Holes, and lie in square to each other. Although a traditionalist, Huckabee can be surprisingly enlightened, as in his stance on illegal immigration, fundamentally based on fairness (Uranus), and he has a strong streak of empathy, a need to perform charitable works and be his brother’s keeper, as evinced by his work with providing health coverage for uninsured children. Neptune may evoke a certain sentimentality in this issue, and his concern for uninsured children may not extend to adults, whom most conservatives write off as able to care for themselves. Black Hole Uranus has a tendency to cut to the chase and endorse the most radical solution, such as Huckabee’s support for the revolution in accounting which the Flat Tax would create. Black Hole Neptune may have issues with codependent or addictive behaviors, which may have influenced his early weight gain.

As Pluto moves into Capricorn next year, it will trine Huckabee’s Sun, perhaps bringing an increase in power or the scope of his reach. Jupiter’s passage of the North Node in November may have helped Huckabee realize another facet of his destiny, as pundits and odds makers began to take his candidacy more seriously. The Solar Eclipse of 6 February 2008 at 17 Aquarius falls just one day after Tsunami Tuesday voters have cast their ballots, and is opposed Huckabee’s natal Jupiter at 15 Leo, perhaps boosting his national standing.  Coupled with a Lunar Eclipse on the 20th at 1 Virgo conjunct the natal 0 Virgo Sun, Huckabee has the potential to emerge as a surprisingly palatable alternative to the current frontrunners.

Alex Miller-Mignone, photoAlex Miller-Mignone is a professional writer and astrologer, author of The Black Hole Book and The Urban Wicca, former editor of "The Galactic Calendar," and past president of The Philadelphia Astrological Society.

His pioneering work with Black Holes in astrological interpretation began in 1991, when his progressed Sun unwittingly fell into one. Alex can be reached for comment or services at