If I were Obama, I would flash my winning smile and gently inform Mr. Kennedy that he is no longer allowed to sing at campaign events. I think Teddy needs to try out for American Idol. Simon’s looks and comments would be priceless.
Last night, my wife and I had the privilege of attending a Huckabee rally in Plano, TX. We got there about an hour early and there was already a long line of people waiting to get in. They decided to open the doors early because so many people were lining up in the halls of the community college that students and faculty could barely get by for their classes.
We all crammed into a rather small room and stood for a full hour while we waited for the rally to start. I overheard someone say that they were going to simulcast the rally in an adjoining room because of the huge crowd that had shown up. They ended up pulling up two walls, effectively quadrupling the size of the room so that everyone could get in on the rally. Even with the extra space, people were still standing shoulder to shoulder for the entire rally.
The estimates for the size of the group range from less than 1000 to over 2000. I would argue that it was closer to the larger number. For a candidate who supposedly doesn’t have a chance, he drew a large and enthusiastic crowd.
I wish everyone could have a chance to hear Mike Huckabee speak in person. Hearing him speak renewed my conviction that he should be the next President of the United States.
This is disappointing but not surprising. I had held out hope that Romney would endorse Huckabee. Huckabee’s platform aligns more closely to Romney than Romney’s does to McCain. I had hoped that it would not be “politics as usual.” A Romney endorsement would have really helped Huckabee going into the next few primaries, but while this hurts, it is not over yet.
The news and the talking heads continue to push for Huckabee to get out of the race because they say it is impossible for him to overtake McCain. Huckabee realizes this, but overtaking McCain in delegates is not his goal. He wants to stay in the race until the convention by preventing McCain from getting the majority of delegates. If Huckabee is successful in doing this, he will force a brokered convention where all the delegates will be released after the first round of voting to support another candidate should they so choose. Huckabee is hoping that a knock-out speech at the convention will pull enough votes away from McCain that he will ultimately win the nomination.
It is a long-shot but, it is not impossible. The next few races are absolutely critical for Huckabee. He HAS to win Texas, ideally by 51% so that he can secure all of the delegates. A win in Texas would be huge and give him the momentum to finish out the race and make it to the convention.
So, while the Romney endorsement hurts, Huckabee supporters should not give up hope. This is the homestretch where the supporters and the candidates see what they are really made of. Lets prove the media and the elites wrong one more time.
A candidate has won primary elections in twelve states, and only gotten 50% of the vote in three of them, and the majority of voters in his home state which knows him best chose someone else to be their candidate. And we are told at this hour that the Republicans party must unite behind him, even though he has not yet won the requisite number of delegates. We are told we must unite and start the general election campaign, when the Democratic campaign should last at least until May.
John McCain has got to be the overwhelming favorite at this point, but it is not over. There are other choices and I’m ready to make an endorsement with some reservations.
I have issues with Governor Mike Huckabee and the way his campaign has run and his record, particularly on immigration. Those who’ve read my columns and blogs know that. Yet, I should note that Huckabee has mended his ways on immigration and has convinced Jim Gilchrist and Duncan Hunter of his sincerity, while McCain has convinced no one.
Mike Huckabee is more reliably pro-life, and yes federal funding of embryonic stem cell research is a pro-life issue (for those who insist on claiming John McCain is 100% pro-life.)
Huckabee is also for the Fair Tax, which would eliminate the IRS and give us control of our own money.
Huckabee is not without faults. His campaign has often come off as using class warfare rhetoric. But behind that rhetoric is a great truth: Republicans must appeal to people at all income levels because conservative ideas are powerful. They help the poor, the rich, and the middle class if consistently practiced. The Republican Party needs to be the party of the everyman because freedom is ultimately good for everyone.
Mike Huckabee is as true of an outsider as there is in this campaign, which brings me to one of my key reason for endorsing him. The Establishment of the Republican Party has gotten us where we are today. They gave us the Rudy McRomney trilemma and now they’re pushing consolidation behind John McCain. The establishment are State Party bosses, puppet pundits, and their money men.
This establishment, for whom nothing but the next election matters, is the enemy of true conservatism. The establishment will pander, promise, but in the end will do what it takes to win. They are short-sighted and as long as this bunch rules our party, they will be shortchanged.
There is hope, and it comes from Camp Huckabee. The hope is not so much Huck himself, but rather his dedicated volunteers, many of whom are homeschooled kids in their first campaigns. I would even venture to guess that many of his core supporters are to the right of Huck on many key issues. And these young supporters are the key to our nation’s future.
John McCain may win the day, but his day will pass. The future lies in Huckabee’s grassroots Army, and until Delegate 1191 is won, I’ll remain in that Army.
Huckabee supporters: these are the undecided voters we have to reach. This proves it can be done. Let’s give Mac a run for his money!
Note: I posted this column because I feel it gives an interesting analysis to what’s going on with the pundits vs. the electorate. They can’t define us this time around. The sleeping bulldog has woken up and is barking like crazing — in many different breeds. (This is a reference from a college political science class, where my professor referred to the voting public as sleeping dogs that stay asleep until they wake up — and when they wake up, they are usually barking.) Well this time, the barking dogs are mad, loud, and indefinable — which is something this country has needed for a long time. We’re not paying attention to the media, for once. Score 1 for the VOTERS!!
By David Shribman
Thu Feb 7, 6:09 PM ET
EDITORS: This is an update of the column sent to you yesterday, Feb. 6. The changes take into account the suspension of the Romney campaign.
We have a Republican front-runner who is weak in the states the Republicans need to carry in the general election. We have a Democratic insurgent who wins states no Democrat can hope to carry in November. We have a Republican leader who is strong in states that have been resiliently Democratic for a generation. We have a Democratic establishment figure who has struggled with capturing the minority votes that have been the bedrock of the Democratic base for a half century.
We have a mess. We have signs of the emergence of an entirely new kind of American politics. We have the most important election since 1980. We have the most fascinating election since 1960.
We also have a Roosevelt figure (the second member of a titanic American political family, with the potential of re-wiring American politics), a Kennedy figure (an eloquent, intoxicating symbol of a new generation) and a Reagan figure (a Republican who is making party stalwarts fear he is taking them on a dangerous new course).
We have Democrats who are raising hopes that they may be able to cut into Republican voting blocs. We have Republicans who are flirting with voting for a breakthrough black or female Democratic candidate.
We have a Democratic contender who is widely regarded as a liberal feminist and a Democratic candidate who is widely regarded as a soothing moderate, and yet the moderate has been voting more reliably liberal in the Senate than has the liberal. We have a Republican challenger who represents the modern GOP base of religious conservatives and Southern whites, but who still seems peripheral in his own party.
We have a Democratic Party that seems hopelessly divided on whom to nominate but resolutely united on the issues. We have a Republican Party that has nearly settled on its nominee but is deeply unsettled internally.
We have two candidates with ties to Arkansas, two with ties to Illinois — and the first occasion ever for Hawaii to regard itself plausibly as the potential mother of a president. We have two Democrats from the far extremes of the baby boom with vastly different approaches to the political arts.
It doesn’t get more confusing than this. It doesn’t get more illogical than this. It doesn’t get better than this.
Start with the Republican contest, where Sen. John McCain of Arizona has moved into a commanding lead now that former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts has suspended his campaign. Mr. McCain has more of the profile of the leader of the Party of Lincoln than of the Party of Reagan — even though McCain had strong emotional ties with Reagan and, as a recently released Vietnam POW, was one of the guests of honor at the 1974 city-upon-a-hill speech that some conservatives regard as one of the most sacred texts of Reaganism.
But the emergence of McCain is causing amazing agony in the Republican Party, where he is regarded as too cozy with the reformers, too contemptuous of the Republican base and too hot-headed in his own Senate caucus. It has not gone unnoticed in Republican circles that many Democrats, including the last nominee, Sen. John F. Kerry of Massachusetts, thought that the Arizona Republican would have made a splendid Democratic vice presidential nominee in 2004. Ask a Boston Red Sox fan how he felt when he first thought of Roger Clemens in a Yankee uniform.
Now Republicans on all sides of its wondrous schisms are calling on McCain to heal the party. He is being urged to call the talk-radio hosts, to reach out to religious conservatives, to keep his focus on the 1776 Declaration of Independence instead of drafting personal declarations of independence on issues from the environment to campaign finance to immigration. He may be constitutionally unable to do so.
The Democratic side of this story is a different tale entirely. Samuel Johnson, the best political journalist ever to write in English, once described a second marriage as the triumph of hope over experience — precisely the formulation Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois is trying to work in the primaries and caucuses this winter.
Both he and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York have framed their nomination struggle as a battle of hope (the Obama calling card) against experience (the Clinton calling card). Tuesday’s primary in Georgia, which Obama won decisively, underlined the division on the hope/experience front. In exit interviews, these voters, by a margin of nearly 6-to-1, identified Mr. Obama as the candidate who could bring about change. But the same voters identified Mrs. Clinton by nearly 9-to-1 as the candidate who had the right experience to be president.
What the Republicans seem to want is a candidate with the personal heroism of Mr. McCain, the business acumen of the now-departed Mr. Romney and the spirituality and folksiness of Mike Huckabee. The Democrats want someone who offers the hope of Mr. Obama and the experience of Mrs. Clinton — though Obama’s brand of hope still seems symbolic and Clinton’s record of experience still seems thin.
We don’t know what happens next, but we know what each leading contender must do next. McCain must build support in the South, an important part of the GOP calculus. Obama, accomplished in winning places like North Dakota, Delaware, Alaska, Utah, must claim an important Democratic state outside his home of Illinois; Ohio seems like a good place to start. Mrs. Clinton must stanch the flow of interest and momentum to Mr. Obama; only by doing so can she continue her argument, the foundation of her campaign strategy, that the momentum is going her way, still.
It’s a mess. It’s confusing. It’s fabulous. For years editors held imaginary (and, sometimes, real) debates with readers, telling them that things that were dull were really things that were important. This is important, and there’s nothing dull about it.
Mike Huckabee has landed one of conservative politicians most coveted endorsements. This endorsement will undoubtedly help him pull in even more social conservatives as Dobson is one of the nations strongest pro-family voices. Huckabee must now try to get the brands of conservatism behind him. If Huckabee can get the conservative base behind him, he may have a shot at knocking McCain out of the top spot, a long shot, but a shot nonetheless.
James Dobson, one of the nation’s most prominent evangelical Christian leaders, is about to endorse former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, The Associated Press has learned.
Dobson, founder of Colorado Springs, Colo.-based Focus on the Family, talked to the GOP presidential hopeful Thursday and later was to release a statement explaining his choice, said Gary Schneeberger, a spokesman for Dobson.
Huckabee had long sought Dobson’s endorsement, believing he is the best fit to advance Dobson’s conservative, moral worldview.
Until now, Dobson had never endorsed a GOP presidential hopeful during the primary campaign. But he ruled out front-runner John McCain in a blistering commentary on Super Tuesday, and on Thursday the fight for the GOP nomination narrowed to a two-man race between McCain and Huckabee, who is far behind in the delegate count but pledged to fight on. Mitt Romney, a third hopeful trying to claim the conservative label, dropped out of the race Thursday.
Dobson released a statement Tuesday that criticized McCain for his support of embryonic stem cell research, his opposition to a federal anti-gay marriage amendment and for his temper and use of foul language.
He said if McCain were the nominee, he would not cast a ballot for president for the first time in his life.
Dobson had left open the possibility that he would vote for either Romney or Huckabee, but endorsed neither.
Throughout the unsettled GOP race, Dobson picked his spots to signal that some candidates simply didn’t meet his standards. Dobson wrote on a conservative news Web site that he wouldn’t support former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani should he win the Republican nomination. Dobson called Giuliani an “unapologetic supporter of abortion on demand” and criticized him for signing a bill in 1997 creating domestic-partnership benefits in New York City.
At one point, Dobson said he’d consider voting for a minor-party candidate if faced with Giuliani as the nominee.
Later, Dobson ruled out former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson for his stands on issues. Dobson also said Thompson “has no passion, no zeal, and no apparent ‘want to.'”
Dobson emphasizes that when he endorses candidates, he is doing so as a private citizen and not as a representative of Focus on the Family, a tax-exempt organization.