Why would the home office of the libertarian critique of tax-and-spend liberalism think it worth the time and the effort to take a shot at a favorite of Christian conservatives in this manner?
Tobin may not remember, but the Club for Growth hated Huckabee and worked overtime to attack him during his last presidential campaign. Considering Huckabee’s subsequent denunciations of libertarianism, the feeling seemed to be mutual. It’s true that Huckabee’s fiscal record in Arkansas was poor, but the hostility to Huckabee from the Club for Growth and economic conservatives more generally was always strangely intense. Tobin interprets this as evidence of tension between libertarians and Christian conservatives over social issues, but that was not the only or biggest problem that Huckabee’s critics had with him. If there was one thing that sent Huckabee’s opponents into fits back in 2007 and 2008, it was his pseudo-populist economic rhetoric and occasional nods to the idea of “fair trade.”
As is usually the case with Republican candidates like this, he said quite a bit that sounded populist, but his policy agenda (to the extent that he had one) would have had almost completely the opposite effect of what he claimed to want. Nonetheless, the fear that Huckabee might actually mean some of the things he said about trade or corporations was what provoked such intense reactions against him, and it was also a major reason why he could never raise any money. The Club for Growth is just resuming the anti-Huckabee crusade that it was waging so fiercely in 2007-08, and which it will presumably continue if Huckabee should decide to run again.