Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your county was the resonating theme at the Tuesday evening Lincoln Day Dinner.
Former Arkansas Governor and presidential nominee Mike Huckabee delighted the hundreds of his gathered Republican “neighbors” with his humorous and poignant keynote address, and a good time was had by all.
“We are thrilled to death to be in Walton County … to be a part of the Walton County family,” he said, warming up the crowd of 30- to 80-somethings who attended the Walton County Republican Executive Committee (WREC)event.
Huckabee gave credit to WREC for putting on such a nice political dinner, which he said was topped off with tasty food.
“I am not used to going to a political dinner where the food was actually worth eating,” he said, laughing, pleased with the steak and chicken entrée, complemented by mashed potatoes, asparagus, and a house salad.
Huckabee peppered his speech with anecdotes about his three children, his wife, Janet, and his life and travels, all of which tied in to his main point — that U.S. citizens have everything they need to rejuvenate our great country.
With the upcoming presidential election, there was plenty of right-wing rhetoric, but the Blue Mountain Beach politico’s speech focused on the spirit of U.S. citizens.
“This is about the heart and soul of the American nation,” he said to the packed-to-capacity ballroom at Sandestin’s Le Ciel hotel.
It wouldn’t be a pre-election political dinner without some mention of those running for the highest office in the land.
Naturally, Huckabee endorsed the Republican candidate, calling Mitt Romney a “true alternative.”
But his focus was more on limiting the involvement of government in the lives of U.S. citizens.
He added that the American dream is alive and well and reminded listeners that even large companies such as Apple and Walmart “started with one man with an idea and a dream, with the innovation and hard work to make it happen.”
Huckabee spoke of regaining our independence from big government and limiting so-called entitlements.
That was not to say, however, that there are some people in this country who need and should be given legitimate help, he clarified. There is a moral imperative to help one’s neighbor, but Huckabee said the government was not set-up to be a “brother’s keeper.”
“The government is not my neighbor: You’re my neighbor,” he told the crowd. “People in the community give to the community.”
Calling the U.S. government “the referee of the game, but not a participant,” he said, “There are some stripe shirts in leadership positions more incompetent than NFL replacement referees,” tying it in with a two-ref-split call that sealed the Green Bay Packers’ loss to the Seattle Seahawks.
Huckabee closed by mentioning something said by the opening speaker BlaiseIngoglia, Florida Republican party leader and creator of Government Gone Wild.
“This is not the most important election of voters’ lifetimes,” said Ingoglia of the Nov. 6, 2012, election. Rather, “this will be the most important election in the history of our nation.”
Huckabee agreed that there is a lot on the line, but it has less to do with who takes office than about what they do.
“Elections are not just about somebody winning and losing,” said Huckabee. “It’s about losing the greatest nation on earth.”
Drawing on that theme, Huckabee recalled the words of his then-11-year-old daughter as she years ago wrote a comment in the visitors book of the Yad Vashem Holocaust research center and museum.
“She wrote down something I will never in my life forget,” he said, recalling her childlike scrawl: ‘Why didn’t somebody do something?’
Huckabee closed with a hope, “We’re the somebodies.”
Hear him for yourself
Sad you missed the event? Locals will have another chance to hear Gov. Mike Huckabee speak at a Team Florida Victory Event. The Mitt Romney rally will be held Saturday at the Destin Assembly of God Church, 726 Legion Drive. The doors will open at 7:30 p.m. and the event will begin at 8.
To RSVP for the event, click here.