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.
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!
Duncan Hunter announced today that he was going to endorse Mike Huckabee for President of the United States. The endorsement comes at a critical time for the Huckabee campaign as they tighten the purse strings and batten down the hatches for the rapidly approaching Super Tuesday primaries.
The endorsement has/will undoubtedly cause a stir among the conservative talking heads who have been quick to criticize Huckabee on everything from his tax record to his supposed lack of foreign policy experience. Hunter was one of the most conservative candidates in the field when he was running. Two of the things that he touted while campaigning were his tough stance on illegal immigration and his foreign policy credentials from his experiences on House Armed Services Committee. His decision to endorse Huckabee will allow the governor to shore up his platform in those two areas that have often been perceived as two of his weaknesses.
Huckabee has had a relatively quiet week as the focus has shifted from him to Rudy, Romney, and McCain and the race in Florida. The endorsement from Hunter and the debate tomorrow night give Huckabee the opportunity to turn the negative momentum of the last couple of weeks into positive momentum that can carry him into Super Tuesday.
After the disappointing finish in South Carolina, many felt that Huckabee was finished. Indeed, the polls after the SC primary showed him losing votes. There was a sense of dismay among many supporters. However, as soon as this endorsement was announced, the mood immediately changed. It appears that Huckabee supporters are once again ready to do battle to carry their candidate to victory.
Following is the announcement of the endorsement from CNN:
January 23, 2008
WASHINGTON (CNN) — California Rep. Duncan Hunter, a former presidential candidate, announced Wednesday he is endorsing Mike Huckabee’s White House bid.
“I got to know Governor Huckabee well on the campaign trail,” Huckabee said in a statement. “Of the remaining candidates I feel that he is strongly committed to strengthening national defense, constructing the border fence and meeting the challenge of China’s emergence as a military superpower that is taking large portions of America’s industrial base.
“Along with these issues of national security, border enforcement and protecting the U.S. industrial base, I see another quality of Mike Huckabee’s candidacy that compels my endorsement,” he added. “Mike Huckabee is a man of outstanding character and integrity. I saw that character over the last year of campaigning and was greatly impressed. The other Republican candidates have many strengths and I wish them all well.”
By George Neumayr
Against an immutable standard of conservatism, Mike Huckabee is hardly impeccable. I find some of what he says silly and unpersuasive (for example, his support for Global Warming theory). But the explosion of snide remarks directed at him from many in the conservative movement strikes me as churlish and baldly hypocritical. How is it that the bar of conservative entry for a presidential nominee lowers for the Romneys and McCains, then rises for the Huckabees?
Okay, he is a heterodox Republican on some issues. So what? Who isn’t amongst the leading contenders in this primary race? A few years back I recall these anti-Huckabee purists lecturing California conservatives on the need to support Arnold Schwarzenegger over Tom McClintock. Now that McCain has won in New Hampshire, we will soon see this very flexible definition of GOP conservatism resurface and be told that electability trumps all.
Much of the contempt for Huckabee is confusing, alternating between descriptions of him as a socialist pansy and social reactionary. Which is it? Is he too liberal for the GOP or too conservative?
I suspect that the essential problem for some in the conservative movement (as it was for establishment conservatives pitted against Pat Buchanan in his race with Bob Dole in 1996) isn’t that Huckabee takes this or that heterodox position on issues of economics/trade/foreign policy; it is that he’s a transparent Christian conservative. That they just can’t abide, even as some of these pundits tell conservatives to ignore religion with respect to Mormonism.
Romney attended Planned Parenthood events, used to support state financing of abortion and elements of the homosexual agenda; McCain has derided in the past the Religious Right and taken any number of fashionable liberal stances. But all of this can be quickly excused. Woe to the Christian Republican, however, who talks about the culture war, or — brace yourself — rejects Darwinism.
Whatever one thinks of that highly technical debate, that the Wall Street Journal and GOP consultants like Mike Murphy set up adherence to Darwinism as a litmus test for an “acceptable” Republican nominee exposes the degree to which political correctness has crept into the conservative movement. I don’t blame rank-and-file conservatives for increasingly ignoring the snobbish sniffings of the George Wills.
Who cares what they think? How conservative are they? What new liberal social innovation won’t they soft-pedal? A “conservatism” that involves a lot of pretentious throat-clearing and maybe the recitation of a classical tag or two before coming to some PC conclusion (that feminism is a net-gain for society, that Darwin had it right, that gay civil unions aren’t such a big deal, take your pick) isn’t worth much.
Run for the hills, Huckabee talked about Christ during Christmas! Well, good for him. One of the reasons for our flailing in the global war against the jihadists is that we have become de-Christianized cowards. Does America need not one but two wholly secularized parties?
HUCKABEE IS A Christian socialist, some say. Really? If he is a Christian socialist, he is surely the first one to call for the abolition of the Internal Revenue Service. Again, it is not at all clear why rank-and-file conservatives are supposed to nod vigorously whenever a McCain or Romney supporter calls Huckabee an “economic liberal.” At least he talks about eliminating income taxes and capital gains taxes. Do they?
Romney’s support for semi-socialized health care in Massachusetts (which is almost indistinguishable from Obama’s scheme for the entire nation) is scarier to me than anything Huckabee uncorked in Arkansas. And then there is John McCain’s opposition to Bush’s tax cuts. Does that make him an unacceptable economic liberal?
But Huckabee doesn’t talk about Wall Street enough, some warn. Good; Wall Street already sups at the government trough. If he cuts off corporate welfare, I would be happy. It is about time somebody talks about getting the ravenous, regulatory Leviathan state off the backs of small businessmen, gun owners, and homeschooling families, rather than waste time on Wall Street talking to fat cats who vote for the Dems anyways.
But won’t Huckabee shatter the conservative coalition? That would be a little more persuasive if those saying this hadn’t shattered it themselves. The relative success of Ron Paul and Huckabee is not a cause of the coalition’s collapse but a reflection of it. An excessively Wilsonian foreign policy has divided defense conservatives; years of big spending has divided economic conservatives; and a tepid, stalling social conservatism has alienated moral ones.
Perhaps Huckabee can’t rebuild this coalition. But he isn’t likely to weaken it any more than have his critics, and he may even bring some long-disenchanted middle Americans into it.
George Neumayr is editor of Catholic World Report and press critic for California Political Review.
Note from Laura: This guy doesn’t even agree with Huckabee, and it’s perhaps the most fair and honest analysis of his campaign that I’ve seen. If this doesn’t energize you again, I don’t know what will!
I was at the party in downtown Des Moines last night, as the predictions were announced and speeches were given and hugs and high-fives, and cheers and huge smiles were ever-present. Gov. Huckabee’s speech was electrifying. It made ever single phone call I made this week here in Iowa completely worth it.
I’ll try to write a summary blog of my experiences later, but I wanted to share with you all part of a column written late last night by Michael Medved that I think needs serious attention by our so-called party leaders (those with the nice titles — not the party leaders, the voters, as was shown tonight):
NOW THIS IS ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT: Key revelations from the Entrance Poll of some 1600 respondents reported by CNN re-enforce the idea that cheerfulness and optimism were crucial to Huckabee’s success.
The Huck-meister built his impressive victory margin almost entirely among younger voters –the group most likely to respond to a positive appeal, and least likely to respond by mean-spirited fights about who can be tougher or angrier regarding illegal immigrants.
Among voters (many of them first-timers, obviously) between the ages of 17 and 29, Huckabee crushed Romney by an almost two-to-one margin (40% to 22%). In this youthful group, the Mad Doctor (Ron Paul) virtually tied Romney with 21%). In the next youngest age group (30 to 44), Huckabee won by a similarly devastating margin (39% to 23%) Only among the oldest (and, presumably grouchiest) segment of the electorate did Romney even come close to matching Huckabee: of those above the age of 65 (a full 27% of caucus goers), the two candidates almost tied (30% for Huck, 28% for Mitt).
One other group that delivered big time for Huckabee involved voters with limited income. Those who reported household incomes below $50,000 backed the former Arkansas governor by 36% to 20%. Those who eanred more than $50 K split almost evenly: 32% to 28%. In other words, Huckabee won a statewide landslide because he held a 16 point advantage from voters who earned below the national average.
Finally, there’s the gender issue: a huge factor in Iowa. I’ve been talking for weeks about Huckabee’s special appeal to women – as a neighborly, unassuming, soft-spoken and reliable sort of guy. According to the entrance polls, Iowa gals agree that they Like Mike – and how! Male voters split almost down the middle 29% for Huck, 26% for Mitt. The ladies, in the other hand, very decisively preferred the rumpled, balding, former fatty from Hope, Arkansas, to the blow-dried, athletic, dazzlingly handsome multi-millionaire from Boston. The Huckabee margin among female voters: a breathtaking 40% to 24%. Watch out, Janet Huckabee: it looks like your husband of 33 years somehow discovered Love Potion Number Nine (I’m sure he could play that song on his bass guitar).
Now, take a moment to add up the impact of these numbers.
Huckabee earned his victory by piling up big margins among women, the poor, and the young.
And where, demographically, have Republicans faced horrible problems in the recent past (particulary 2006)? We’ve lost by giving our opponents huge margins among…. women, the poor, and the young.
The obvious conclusion is that party leaders need to give special respect and attention to a Republican with special appeal to three key groups that normally reject the GOP — taking a second look at Huckabee for his ability to win women, the poor and the young.
Very very interesting.
It’s the big day. I was driving around town, running a few errands this morning, and I was listening to talk radio. It was interesting to hear some of the hosts say that Iowa is not really that important and is not representative of the rest of the country.
I honestly don’t know if the talking heads are right or wrong, but it seems that part of the reason they are dismissing Iowa is because of Mike Huckabee’s position in the polls. Huckabee has very few allies in the conservative media and they would like nothing better than to see Huckabee lose or to diminish the importance of a victory.
All of the polls suggest that Iowa is too close to call. Huckabee fell some in the polls these last two weeks because of a broadside of attack ads that Romney sent his direction. However, the latest polls this week show that Huckabee has been able to bob and weave around Romney’s punches and has regained a slight lead.
Granted, I’m not putting much stock in the polls. It is all about who can turn out the vote. Romney has superior organization, but Huckabee has supporters who appear to be a lot more motivated. One thing is for sure, it will probably be close and it will be interesting to see how Huckabee and Romney handle their final position after the votes are tallied.
These next few weeks will make or break most of the candidates. Huckabee needs to make strong showings, increase his support base, and increase his fundraising so that he can take the campaign national. Iowa will play a large role in giving him the momentum necessary to do those things.