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July 5, 2021

Pundits on the left still puzzle and argue over how Donald Trump could have been elected and why he has such strong support. They would know if they’d read my book, “God, Guns, Grits and Gravy,” which was published shortly before Trump even entered politics. It explained how the elites of politics, academia and the media had sealed themselves into such an airtight echo chamber, they had no idea what the mysterious natives of that vast “flyover country” that they looked down on, literally and figuratively, were thinking.

What they were thinking was that they were fed up to the gills with a two-tiered system that gave the politically-connected a pass for things that would land them under the jail. They were sick of being ignored and insulted for voicing legitimate complaints about how their lives were being adversely affected by government policies, disregard for the Constitution and selective enforcement of laws. They were tired of being called racists or xenophobes or immigrant-haters if they thought the welfare of suffering Americans, such as homeless veterans or people put out of work by illegal immigrant labor, should take priority over solving the problems of everyone else in the world.

And on a visceral level, they were tired of the grating combination of ignorance and arrogance (a trait we’ve recently seen turned up to 11 since Democrats have retaken power.) It’s that condescending attitude of elitists (politicians, Hollywood stars, news media figures, Silicon Valley tech/social media denizens) who are convinced they are the smartest people in the room – so smart, in fact, that their ideas are the only ones that should be allowed to be expressed -- even though the results of their ideas throughout history prove that they don’t have the slightest idea what they’re talking about. They think they know how to run the entire planet, but have fewer practical skills than the average apprentice plumber.

The poster boy for arrogant ignorance was New York Mayor Bill DeBlasio, whose brief, doomed presidential bid was exemplified by his clueless claim that all it takes to be a farmer is to throw some seeds in the dirt, add water, and “up comes the corn.” Down went DeBlasio, and for good reason. He proved he knew even less about being a farmer than he does about being a mayor.

During the Obama years, a lot of young leftist wonks with massive egos sailed triumphantly into Washington only to go slinking back to academia after seeing their precious theories shatter on the rocks of reality. Yet since then, they’ve learned nothing and become even more cocksure of themselves and the inevitability of their failed socialist ideas. Now, they’re back in Washington and watching those ideas fail even faster and more spectacularly. So what can all those Ivy League hothouse flowers learn about problem-solving from a lowly former Arkansas governor and business owner?

Well, the most important tip I could offer is this: Very big problems are usually not solved with very big solutions. A 2000-page bill or a massive ten-year “plan” like the Green New Deal only creates a whole new set of problems. If you want to turn a problem into a catastrophe, the recipe is simple: just add lots and lots of bureaucrats and taxpayer money.

When you have a big problem, Step #1 is to break it down into little problems. Then put someone in charge of each problem who actually knows how to solve it. It takes an experienced, executive decision-maker just to decide which decisions to make and which ones can be safely left to someone else. (This is something that doesn’t require political experience; anyone who’s ever run a successful business knows it instinctively.)

Next comes the hardest part: prioritizing. We’ve all seen executives who are constantly bustling and shouting. They look busy – some people are even impressed by their constant bustling -- but they never really get anything done. That’s because they’re trying to do everything at once, instead of focusing on issues in their order of importance.

I’ll let you in on another secret: the importance of an issue is not determined by how important the people closest to it think it is. You might have to disappoint or even anger people by telling them their pet issue isn’t your top priority. Sorry, that’s part of the job.

I once had a professor of religion who said one of the wisest things I ever heard about management: “Don’t use all your water to put out too small a fire.” If you use up all your resources and credibility overreacting to a small crisis, then what do you do when a big crisis comes along and your fire extinguisher is empty? (We’re seeing this a lot in the media these days, when every little controversy becomes a hair-on-fire CRISIS, and every piece of fake news becomes a “BOMBSHELL SCANDAL,” and then gets dropped the second the next one comes along. All this has accomplished is to erode their own credibility.)

Another essential skill is choosing the right employees. If you have important jobs to fill, find people who’ve mastered every aspect of their current job and are happy there, but ready to move up. Someone who wants a promotion because he’s not comfortable where he is won’t be any more comfortable higher up.

You also don’t need an idealistic dreamer who leaps in from academia to reinvent the wheel. Advanced degrees and high grades in school are admirable, but often, real world experience and common sense are far more valuable. When you need to put out a fire, you call a firefighter, not a Ph.D. in combustion theory. When you’re dealing with violent rioters, you need cops, not sociology majors (as shocking as that might seem to certain blue city politicians.) And as we learned from the FBI and the Mueller team, you don’t put people in charge who let partisan zeal prejudice the way they do their jobs or deal with the public.

That’s what you should learn on day one of “Leadership 101.” So how come so many of our leaders, and those jockeying to become our leaders, still haven’t learned it?

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Comments 1-25 of 29

  • Mrs Carol Mathisen

    07/09/2021 03:05 AM

    So, the best man to run our country is a man that is exceedingly successful at running not just one business but many. Hummm, wonder just who that could be !
    Ah, Trump it is!!

  • Liz Rome

    07/07/2021 04:17 PM

    Real world experience--I call it "street smarts" counts for very much more than theories learned in books. And no one is an expert in --everything. Too bad many liberal politicians haven't learned that. But the big question today is: who is really mking the decisions? I believe we have Obama's 3rd term--maybe not Obama himself. But a good portion of the people who "advised" (told him exactly what to do) him. All of us should want the answer-is an unelectd person/people making all the decisions?

  • Zella James

    07/06/2021 04:22 PM

    This comment is for a previous newsletter you sent where you and your wife took the Covid-19 vaccination, but also has to do with leadership. I'm so glad you left the decision to the readers, but would like your thoughts on the video I am including.

    I have a friend whose cousins took the vaccine: one got blood clots in the lungs and the other is having breathing difficulties. I am sad to say that my older son received the vaccine; I do a lot of praying.

    I know that President Trump takes credit for the fast vaccine being created, BUT what I need to know, was the vaccine changed after he received it? Check you and your wife for magnetism at the site and now, the light test.

    I love your commentary! My Uncle John who is now passed, love you, too. He lived in Arkansas; I was born in Arkansas. We believe in God, freedom, and the Constitution!!!

  • Marti Landman

    07/06/2021 08:15 AM

    Mr. Mike - I thank God every day for you! I propose that EVERY person desiring to enter the political arena at EVERY level take your Leadership 101 course. It should be an absolute mandate - certainly more effective than that which pasted masks to our faces! Thank you for using your God-given talents to help keep us sane during this frightening time in our nation’s history!

  • George Richman

    07/06/2021 12:01 AM

    Dear Mike, I have been enjoying your Newsletters for the last year or so. I think the Morning Newsletter that you published on July 5 is the best of the bunch. Your small essays contained no current news events; but rather presented information that would be of great value to every American; and especially to school children. Here's what I wrote about it in my introduction when I sent it to all of the friends on my mailing list: "Mike Huckabee's strong religious beliefs turn off many people. I'm not one of those people. While I don't share his faith, I recognize and respect the sociopolitical wisdom that grew from it. I share nearly every one of his political views. He and his staff took a couple of days off from the news for the Independence Day weekend. Mike used it to produce what I believe is one of his best ever Newsletters. It's basically a set of short essays that express his thoughts and beliefs about America, both past and present. I hope you'll take the time to read it, consider what he has to say, and pass it along to those you know who will do the same."

  • Jerry Kelley

    07/05/2021 09:25 PM

    Recently retiring after 42 years in a family business, I enjoyed your column on “Leadership 101”. If our family had operated our company like the current administration runs the country, we would have gone under many years ago. But, we hired the right people, watched our expenses and treated our customers as part of our family. We were successful and sold our company to another very successful family. All because of the leadership practices we as owners adhered to and passed down to our employees. Thank you for all you and your staff do in keeping us informed of the truth!

  • Darrell Moeck

    07/05/2021 05:36 PM

    Just saw a video from "the Academy of Ideas" (Why Public Schools and the Mainstream Media Dumb Us Down... 3/19/2019). Worth watching.

    Controlling the masses through mediocracy taught by PHDs/MS Education is the beginning
    of the public's acceptance of "collective oligarchy" (democratic socialism controlled by the Elite).

    Public schools must include courses of "Critical Thinking" (not CRT) for high school students if the USA is to survive democratic socialism. See both sides (or more) of each issue and make up your own mind of where you stand without someone telling you where you stand.

    I encourage Entrepreneurship for everyone regardless of age. Having your own business (even if you are also working for a salary) teaches leadership, creative thinking, critical thinking, conservative values, service, and support of "free" markets.

  • Eugene Reed

    07/05/2021 04:30 PM

    Mike -- I'd say your article, "Leadership 101" describes the reason so many of our very successful leaders throughout time have been former military. Having served 22 years myself, the military never stopped training military men and women to be better leaders. If only more former military folks would step up to civilian leadership positions!
    Regards from Missouri.

  • Bettye Shores

    07/05/2021 04:27 PM

    Dear Sir:

    I truly respect your point of view and agree with you the majority of the time. Biden is tearing this country apart with his constant ranting about white supremacy and racist Republicans. However sir, the Republicans in the House or Senate do not seem to be very vocal against Biden or Pelosi’s comments. We know we are neither white supremacists or racists, but who is defending except President Trump?

    I’m well aware the Democrats control both chambers, but all the more reason for everyone to hear from those we elected to defend us publicly. Surely, there is at least one TV station in each state that is conservative and willing to air their comments with truth. Furthermore, if not, there is always Newsmax, OAN, FOX (on occasion), mass mailings or email for the elected to let us know they stand behind us.

    I know I’m hearing nothing in Nashville, Tennessee. Is this not a duty of an elected official? Or, am I just expecting too much since it is what I would expect of myself as a politician?

    Hopeful I will see a response.


    Bettye Shores

  • Ginger Siltman

    07/05/2021 04:18 PM

    Your words carry so much meaning and couldn’t have been explained more simply. Thank you for your level, sane way of communicating with us. It becomes overwhelming watching the liberals act like they have all the answers.

  • Wanda Magdalen

    07/05/2021 03:34 PM

    Well said Governor! Your entire newsletter was great! Thank you!
    You tell it like it is and all of Congress should listen and learn from you!
    God Bless you and all your family and have a Blessed family week!??????????????????

  • Deborah Loken

    07/05/2021 03:27 PM

    What an excellent article and all too true!!! I’ve always preferred to work with people who know what they are doing or are in training. If the latter you soon enough know if they get it or not. Meritocracy is the way to go it gives all qualified people a fair shake and weeds out any potential bureaucratic ignorant tyrants. Thank you for your esteemed wisdom from your long experience coupled with your great sense of humour and lovely nature!

  • Jon Geissinger

    07/05/2021 02:51 PM

    In like with your perfect person comment; AMEN!
    Historically, I THINK empires only lasted 240 years, we have exceeded our shelf life if that stat is true.
    At no other time in history have we had such communications like we have today. I can video call a friend in Siberia if I wanted, on demand.
    My opinion is we must reach bottom before recovering. We are on a train wreck that nobody wants to see. Despair and depression are at all time highs. I think that all the warning signs are also present for the end of an empire as well.
    Until the moral majority get a good swift kick in the teeth, we cannot pull up from this death spiral. Action must be taken, but what action, I don't know. The old way of waiting until the next election cycle seems to point to oblivion! God is doing a thing here, but he does not share the goal with common believers.
    Your voice in the darkness is a welcome thing! Other than prayer, storing food and fuel, what does the common man do?
    I look forward to your counsel.

  • Melinda Smith

    07/05/2021 02:47 PM

    Once the Republicans take control again they should create a bill stating that there can be no bills enacted on the premise of being comprehensive. That word is a hope killer and deems all possible progress to the trash heap. Dream big but think small and chip away at the problem but if they dream small and think big they chip away at our future.

  • Chris Hoffman

    07/05/2021 02:25 PM

    Mr. Huckabee,
    Thank you. You are one of only a few politicians who understand my family and me. It’s like you are listening to our conversations at the coffee table.

  • Ann Gibbs

    07/05/2021 02:19 PM

    Mr. Huckabee, I really enjoy reading your newsletter every day. Your writing show you are a well-balanced, reasonable person who is able to cut through the noise I hear from most every other source. Your essay on Leadership today was such a good article that I sent it around to my family.
    Thank you for being such a sane person!

  • Jeannie Speakman

    07/05/2021 01:04 PM

    You must have tapped into my mind with your writings this week. I just said the leadership word to my roommate this week, asking rhetorically why can't we get a leader like Trump, but is not Trump. Someone who can speak, think, be conservative and cut his hair, and have a terrific sense of humor. That's you Huckabee!

  • Lou Ogden

    07/05/2021 01:00 PM

    Happy Independence Day weekend Governor. I love your twice daily newsletter and never miss one. Maybe I’m the one mistaken but I think your reference to DeBlasio saying all a farmer does is “through some seeds in the dirt” was actually a gaffe by Bloomberg. The point of your comment is the same and squarely right on!

  • Patricia Young

    07/05/2021 12:59 PM

    Thank you Mr. Huckabee for the intro you wrote today. I love our country. I'm thankful for you and people like you who have a voice for the many like me. I have one vote. I pray for those who have power to do right and listen to Jesus and follow His lead.

  • Sanford Winnerman

    07/05/2021 12:51 PM

    I think it was Bloomberg, not DeBlasio, who said about farming dig a hole, put some seeds in and add water and the crops come up.

  • Bert Lacativo

    07/05/2021 12:38 PM

    Mr. Huckabee:

    We need more business people in Washington and perhaps even some CPAs rather than the high compliment of lawyers.

  • Outwater Mary

    07/05/2021 11:49 AM

    I noticed that many Americans have become disillusioned and tired of the politics. How can we stay engaged and up beat. I look forward to your daily Bible verse and they do help.

  • Dan Burke

    07/05/2021 09:56 AM

    Some excellent advice in this column.

  • Tara Jeffery

    11/21/2020 03:28 AM

    I am personally in shock that we could not re-elect a President who secured our borders, lowered taxes, gave us energy independence, good judges, defeated Isis, took out terrorists and brought troops home, took on China and Nato...what do people want in a leader? Oh yes, kept us out of war with North Korea, lowered drug prices, worked diligently on a vaccine for the virus, protected monuments, healed the VA...broken hearted.

  • Marie Krause

    11/20/2020 07:51 PM

    Because most of the time, once a politician gets elected in, they listen to each other and block out WE THE PEOPLE.