Huckabee Concedes, Gracefully

March 4, 2008

This was a tough day for me. I knew when I woke up this morning that Huckabee’s chances were slim, but I held out hope for a miracle. Unfortunately, the miracle did not happen. Mike Huckabee, former governor of Arkansas, conceded the race to John McCain a few moments ago.

I listened to his concession speech and I was again struck with the humility the man has. Mike Huckabee understood that it was not the support of the Republican establishment, gobs of money, and the backing of the talking heads that got him to March 4, 2008. His speech was basically a long thank you to his supporters and family. The speech was the most graceful and heartfelt concession speech I have ever heard and he deserves credit for the way he conducted himself.

I must confess that as I watched the speech I could not help but feel some anger at the Republican establishment. They decided that John McCain would be the nominee and then pushed him upon the American people as the only choice. McCain is guilty of accepting that support and refusing to acknowledge that Americans did have a choice in his refusal to debate Huckabee. Sure, it might have been a smart political move for McCain not to debate, but it was not the right choice. The Republican establishment decided long ago that Huckabee would never be the nominee and they succeeded in shutting him out.

Personally, I am very grateful for Mike Huckabee. I had never before contributed to a political campaign. I had never before attended political rallies. Mike Huckabee motivated me to be more involved in this election than I ever have before. He was pro-life and pro-family. He supported my 2nd Amendment rights. He had an immigration plan that made sense. He supported strengthening and building up the military. He supported a complete overhaul of the tax system through the FairTax. He had the freshest ideas and the best approach to the Presidency of any of the candidates.

Today the American people decided that John McCain was the best man for the job. I strongly disagree.

Where does this leave me? I will probably mope around for a few days. I guarantee I will be a lot more apathetic about this election because of John McCain’s liberal tendencies. It leaves me right back where I was after the election in ’06: wishing for a third party that was not so steeped in the political system that it actually cared about doing what is best for the people of America and not just doing what is best for the Republican establishment.

The moping will now commence.


Romney Endorses McCain

February 14, 2008

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.

Mitt Romney Drops out of Race!

February 7, 2008

MA Governor Mitt Romney has dropped out of the race for President of the United States.

This news is a major shake-up in the Republican race as Romney was heavily favored by many big name conservatives as the best hope of the party to overcome the more liberal McCain.

Huckabee now emerges as the only real conservative in the race. The question now on the mind of people all across the country is who Mitt Romney will endorse. Will Mitt Romney throw his support behind McCain in hopes of getting a seat at his table? Will Mitt Romney throw his support behind Huckabee who lines up more closely with his conservative stance?

Huckabee now has a chance to reach out to Romney supporters and do his best to galvanize the conservative base. If Huckabee can do that, he has a good chance in the coming primary/caucus states to carry them because of the strong backing of conservatives. All of this is dependent on Huckabee broadening his appeal from Evangelical Christians to the broader Republican party.

Things are getting interesting.

Hold on because this is going to be a wild ride.

The Wrong Diagnosis

February 1, 2008

When he first threw his hat in the ring a year ago, they declared the campaign stillborn. The pundits ignored him because they knew he’d drop out before summer.

Summer came and went, and he was still campaigning hard, gaining support, and earning endorsements. But his campaign was still “dead on arrival” and wouldn’t amount to anything.

Then he started spiking in the polls and “out of nowhere,” won Iowa by a hefty margin. They all said “The Huckaboom is just temporary.”

Now he’s polling at first or second in most major states, he has a healthy number of delegates, and several major competitors have dropped from the race. He’s still in, and they are claiming he’s out.

The media is declaring our candidate’s campaign dead without checking for a pulse. His political obituary is, yet again, all over the news and talk radio. Don’t buy it.

It’s a lot tougher to knock out an Arkansan than that. He’s still alive and kicking. Don’t let the media determine your vote. Demand a second opinion!

Demand Huckabee ’08!

Huckabee: This is Not a Two Man GOP Race

February 1, 2008
From CBS News’ Joy Lin:
SAN DIEGO — Conservative, conservative, conservative. That was the word Mike Huckabee used again and again with reporters to emphasize his credibility as a contender for the Republican nomination. The usually light-hearted Arkansan spoke in a deliberate tone, a manner that barely masked his frustration about how the race was being framed.“There has been somewhat of – almost a national media spin that this race is a two man race,” said Huckabee. “And if so, I’d like to say that John McCain and I will definitely duke it out until the very last vote. Last night, the CNN debate was very frustrating for me. There seemed to be an unequal level of time that was allocated – and if people look at the delegate count…one has to have 1,191 delegates in order to be the nominee. So far, no one has even broken a hundred; there’s only 8% of the delegates have yet been tabulated, and we’re all fairly close to each other in the amount of delegates that any of the three of us have.”

Huckabee accused the “Romney people” of circulating the notion that a vote for Huckabee would contribute to a McCain win.

“I want to be make it very clear: a vote for me is a vote for me. A vote for Romney is a vote for Romney. A vote for McCain is a vote for McCain. Anybody who suggests otherwise is trying to put a spin on it.”

Continuing, Huckabee questioned Romney’s quest to claim the conservative mantle: “If people are looking for a true conservative, somebody who hasn’t had a recent change of opinion to become one, I would be the logical choice -in fact the only choice they have.”

Although he would have “loved” to have Arnold Schwarzenegger’s endorsement, Huckabee seemed to undermine it by challenging the California governor’s conservative credentials, and implicitly, McCain’s.

“I would never have expected the governor of California to endorse me and, frankly, I’m probably a lot more conservative on a lot more issues than he would have been comfortable with – whether it’s the second amendment, or pro-life issue, or marriage amendment issue or any number of things.”

Huckabee later said that receiving former Republican candidate Duncan Hunter’s endorsement last week probably meant more in the conservative hotbed of San Diego than Schwarzenegger’s endorsement of McCain.

He added that he has no intention of quitting the race even though he hasn’t won a state since Iowa.

“I am not a quitter,” said Huckabee. “I did not get to where I am in life by quitting. Sometimes you can’t win the game but the only way you can surely lose it is by walking off the field before the clock ends,” said Huckabee

“I was in it when nobody thought I could be, I stayed in it when nobody thought I could. I continue to march on even when the de-facto-absolutely-guaranteed-frontrunner-going-to-win-the-nomination-going-to-be-the-next-president-kind-of-guys were so out in front of me that people didn’t take me seriously.”

“But today, Rudy Giuliani is not in the race, Fred Thompson is not in the race … A bunch of folks have fallen to the wayside, and I’m still here. So, I plan to still be here.”

Meantime, Huckabee said he had raised an additional $3.5 million in January after starting the year with just over $650,000 on hand. He emphasized how much the campaign had done with so little money. Huckabee also skewered Romney for spending “tens of millions of dollars to have the same market share as me.”

“Under anybody’s business model, that’s not a very efficient or effective operation,” he said. “If you have an MBA from Harvard, and you believe in trying to figure out the best way to build market share and you spend an enormous amount of money and you have a competitor spends a very small amount of money, but he’s able to reach the same market share, it may say that that person has a more sellable product than you do. So maybe it would be appropriate to go out of business and merge your business with the one that has the more efficient model.”

Standing Athwart Huckabee, Yelling Stop

January 23, 2008

By George Neumayr
Published 1/9/2008

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!

The Bully Pulpit

January 15, 2008

Why is Mike Huckabee’s candidacy, hopeful nomination, and future November victory so important?

Some might say it’s his fresh ideas on policy issues, especially on the many domestic issues facing America: getting rid of the IRS, focusing on protecting all of life — from the unborn to those on their deathbeds, weapons of mass instruction (arts and music in the schools), energy independence in 10 years.

Some might say it’s his vertical politics.

Some might say it’s his humor.

Some might say it’s his populist, down-to-earth nature.

But while those are all great reasons for why Mike Huckabee should be the next President, I’m not sure anyone has truly grasped why he is such an important candidate: THE BULLY PULPIT.

You see, we’ve endured eight years of a White House that has lacked a communicator-in-chief, except for maybe 10 days in a September that seems paradoxically so close, yet so far away. Yes, the President is supposed to be the commander in chief, but he’s also supposed to be the communicator in chief, using his position at the White House, to communicate to the people why his policies are vital. And he can’t do it, with only Republican support or a Republican Congress.

He has to do it with the country behind him.

To those who laugh at the thought of an energy-independent America in 10 years, who laughed in 1961 at President Kennedy when he declared we’d put a man on the moon by the end of the decade? So why do we laugh today when our technology capability and knowledge base is 100,000 times that of the 1960s?

To those who laugh at the thought of getting rid of the biggest bureaucracy and wiping a dreaded date off of our calendars, what other plan do you have? No matter your political persuasion, there is common agreeance that the IRS is in bad need of an overhaul — or to look at the Huckabee campaign proposals, to just skip the overhaul and get rid of it. Crazy, right?

Think about it. If you’ve heard Mike Huckabee talk, he’s the kind of gifted communicator this country has been craving for. Not only can he charm an audience (not unlike another candidate in a different party), but he actually has fresh ideas for fixing our nation’s many domestic problems.

How does he do that? The bully pulpit power. He goes to the American people, and in some cases, Congress, and communicates to them why his ideas and policy proposals are so important. He convinces the American people through his office, why these policies need to move forward, and he pushes them to the forefront of the debate. It takes a gifted communicator to do that, and Mike Huckabee is just what this country needs.

And before anyone wonders why I didn’t address the foreign policy concerns/questions about Gov. Huckabee, I’ll finish with this thought: do we really expect a candidate to be able to have all the necessary experience upfront? Isn’t that why campaigns and then officeholders have policy advisers? What’s more important at the end of the day? Character, communication skills, decision-making abilities, especially in crisis situations (see Gov. Huckabee’s first day of office and his efforts after Hurriance Katrina), getting things done in government? Or brilliant knowledge, without the capacity to communicate it?

Finally, I’ll say this. Yes, there are foreign policy issues facing the United States, but to use Gov. Huckabee’s word, “frankly”, the domestic issues enormously outweigh the foreign policy concerns, and I want someone in office who has gotten things done in a fresh way, not afraid to look at the whole table of possible solutions, not afraid to not adhere to the PARTY mantra (heaven-forbid), willing to work with those of other political persuasions, yet still holding onto his own core convictions, while getting problems solved, and leaving his state (and hopefully this country), better than when he came into office.