(CNN) – If the Republican Party wants to get back on track, former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee says GOP leaders must first restore voters' confidence in the government.
"People will forgive you for being a little left or a little right, but they won't forgive you for not taking them up instead of down," he told CNN in between appearances on his 56-city tour to promote his new book, "Do the Right Thing: Inside the Movement That's Bringing Common Sense Back to America."
Huckabee said Republicans have lost their reputation as people who believe in curtailing spending and attempting to balance the budget and have a new label: the "budget busters," who spend more than they can pay back while priding themselves on not raising taxes.
Watch a post-campaign Huckabee on the road
"But it's not that they do it by curbing spending, they just kick the can down the road and put the burden on our grandchildren," he said, adding that he considers it "morally wrong" to indebt future generations.
Following big losses in the 2008 elections, the former Arkansas governor is urging Republican leaders to get back to the party's core values and "govern well" if they hope to win back the trust of voters.
Those in office, he said, "have to show that they are competent to lead," whether at the governors' level or city council. That way, Republicans can point to those people as examples to justify why they should be given a chance in the future.
Related: I'm not settling scores, says Huckabee
"If we don't live up to our own principles, then we can hardly criticize the other party for not living up to our principles either," he said.
Huckabee needs to really examine what problems the Republican party has. The coaltion that Reagan put together is so fragmented from George W(oman) Bush that it would take a long time to recover and rebuild. I just don't think that Huckabee can pull it back together.
Here's a Republican weighing in on Huckabee's future:
I'm not ever going to vote for you, and I'm not ever going to buy any of your books. Ever. So please return to whatever carnival side show you came out of and go back to selling miracle snake oil.
True, True, True. I still plan on punishing the republicans for at least 2 elections.
so clean it up republicans..... and I'll consider you in 2016.
A republican talking sense....amazing!!!!
Observer from Canada
Hopefully Ol' Huck and Carbiou Barbie will not be in the GOP's future!
There is no GOP Future!
Wow! Huckabee has hit it on the nail.
Sara Palin and Mike Huckabee 2012. Sara Palin is so much smarter then Obama it is amazing you mice voted for him. I can't wait until Obama gets impeached.
Huckabee's not being straight either.
True, spending should be curbed. But taxes should also be raised. The reason – that's how the shortfall would be closed. I haven't met anyone, not even the most die-hard libertarian, who really supports the degree of spending reduction (from programs like defense and Social Security) that would be necessary to completely close the shortfall.
So . . . reduce spending somewhat, and increase taxes somewhat. There's no tooth fairy here. Both forms of deficit correction are needed – spending reductions AND tax increases.
I saw the Huckster giving an interview on TV the other day, he was articulate and even a bit charismatic.
If it weren't for the whole fundamentalist Christian thing, I'd fear him less than Romney, Palin, Gingrich, etc.
Huckabee is talking about bringing common sense back to government? Oh please!
Bob November 24th, 2008 3:06 pm ET
Sara Palin and Mike Huckabee 2012. Sara Palin is so much smarter then Obama it is amazing you mice voted for him. I can't wait until Obama gets
THERE IS NOT FUTURE FOR THE REPUBLICANS! SO PLEASE EXCEPT OBAMA AS YOUR PRESIDENT AND MOVE ON! Sara Palin is a gife that keep giving to the Dems.
People will not forgive anyone in the government for being stupid. Bottom line. This country is not made up of white , old males.
That's called overplaying your hand. You may not agree with Obama but to say Palin is smarter just shows how little you are paying attention.
You're all missing the point. Both spending cuts and tax increases are needed.
Bob you have got to be kidding me. Please take the blinders off.
One picture is worth a thousand words: and the picture of the GOP is Bush. The GOP had six years of total control of Congress and the White House and two years with enough votes to obstruct any and all progress.
Sorry, you had your chance and you blew it. As for those conservatives linking Palin and Reagan ... in his declining years, Reagan still knew more than Palin will ever learn ...
True patriotic Americans will dump all the partisan politics for a few years and work together to get this country back on track – and not just for the rich.
As for Bob .... its going to be a long, long 8 years to tote that chip on your shoulder, my friend. Stop whining and start working on something positive...
Not to be a pessimist, but the word TOAST comes to mind when I think of the GOP. They have only themselves to blame though. Their utter inablity to update their thinking is what has caused this. The party of the might Ronald Regan is dead, dead, dead, just like him. If this party wants to survive, they need to stop thinking of the voting public as pawns in a game. They showed their utter lack of common sense by picking Sarah Palin. She was a cynical, absolutely incorrect pick for this time and place. Good luck Mr. Huckabee. Ironically, you were the only one I thought had anything on the ball on the GOP side.
Bob --- November 24th, 2008 3:06 pm ET
Sara Palin and Mike Huckabee 2012. Sara Palin is so much smarter then Obama..............
Bob........it's never a good idea to smoke crack while you're posting. People will believe that you're as stupid as the post you made while under the influence.......
One principle which is dilineated in the U.S. Constitution is the separation between church and state. If you run for public office, you should follow it
Well Mike, you are NO Libertarian, and you are still stuck in the same position of the GOP has been for the last 30 years. Lower taxes increase spending and run large debts.
You stand against adult marriage and are Pro life, no if ands or buts. You stand in the way of freedom for the minority, and will only stand where you think you can get the most votes. Just like the democrates!
We need smaller Government less spending, and a return to the U.S Constitution to protect the rights of the minorty from oppression of the majority.
They are all coming out of the woodwork now...blaming each other for their overwhelming failure, was Huckabee not part of the failure...is he not a Republican??
If they were all so gung ho to win, they sure picked a great leader in McCain and his sideshow Sarah....all talked a big story at the convention and how wonderful they were and how they were going to win.
They underestimated how smart Obama and his team were from day one....they had a plan, an excellent one at that, now there is leadership for you and not any personal attacks on McCain or Palin to get them to the White House.
The Republican party needs shaking up and start living in the real world...negative thoughts and negative deeds need to go, get some fresh ideas that match up to this century and become more inclusive.
I think Mike Huckabee is an idiot of course they have to get the trust of the voters’ back that’s obvious since the beating they had on election day. But, I think the only way Republicans can win elections again in moderate states is not being a radical right-wing nut job, but some- what more in the middle. Because of the growing population that believes in abortion, evolution, and stem-cell research (which all things I believe in) republicans will never win another national election because there values aren’t the values of Americans any more.
Sara Palin is so much smarter then Obama it is amazing you mice voted for him.
I can barely respond to this I'm laughing so hard.
The problem I have with Huckabee is he talks in slogans. Palin and Huckabee both try to be folksy-golly-gee believable but are short on credibility. I just don't buy his schtick.