In an interview with CBN’s David Brody, Gov. Mike Huckabee states that he has already spoken with advisors regarding a 2016 presidential run:
The government of the United States is not going to be shut down this week. Or next week. Even if the continuing budget resolution is not passed by both the U.S. house and senate, and signed by the president, the government will not be shut down.
A government “shut-down” has become a term of political myth, partisan melodrama, and rhetorical comedy.
First, the vital functions of the government are not ever shut down. Second, the current impasse is an incessant replay of a wearying political soap opera in which one party attempts to score points in public opinion against the other party. (Usually these points are won by the party occupying the White House because of any president’s media advantage. This also heavily favors Democrats since the Old Media overwhelmingly favors the liberal party.) Third, most of those who endure any consequences are government employees, most of whom vote for Democrats. Presidents can also easily grandstand by closing down low-cost items such as White House tours (which are made to seem much more important than they are).
The last “shut-down” confrontation produced the celebrated “sequesters” which were advertised in advance by the Obama administration as imminent disasters. In fact, the sequesters have turned out to be rather effective, if uneven, as a limit on public spending and only a minor inconvenience. Sequestering is not a viable permanent solution, but as a short-term strategy, it has turned out rather well.
Obamacare is in deep trouble. The administration has already postponed major parts of the legislation, and might have to postpone more. The various components of the labyrinthine so-called healthcare reform are mostly not ready to be implemented. The Democratic legislation itself is extraordinarily unpopular, and in 2010 led to an electoral disaster in that year’s midterm elections. It threatens to result in the same in 2014. Various states have already begun to set up Obamacare exchanges, and some are claiming they will work, but the numbers so far do not add up.
Senator Ted Cruz conducted a 21-hour pseudo-filibuster against funding Obamacare, but it was not meant to be anything more than a publicity monologue for the Texas senator, aimed at the conservative political base. Immediately after concluding his effort, Mr. Cruz voted along with the entire senate (100-0) to begin debate on the continuing resolution — a debate that inevitably led to its passage.
The U.S. house has voted one more time to defund Obamacare, with Republicans again fulfilling their promise to vote against the unpopular legislation. However, without control of the U.S. senate and the White House, any action of theirs is merely symbolic, and cannot accomplish anything except public relations.
Some of the most thoughtful conservatives who strongly oppose Obamacare have suggested that Republicans in Congress should, in effect, get out of the way, and let the long-winded, contradictory and unsustainable legislation begin to take effect. As totally the political property of the Democratic Party, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Barack Obama, these conservatives say, let them take the inevitable backlash for its construction and enactment.Former Republican Governor Mike Huckabee, now a conservative TV commentator/host, has made this case particularly well.
Like so many political issues today, realities are clouded by emotional and intimidating rhetoric. “Governmentshut-down” is one of the most blatant examples of this.
The public should ignore these petty games, and demand that both parties work out settlements that will actually improve healthcare delivery, boost the economy by helping entrepreneurship, lower unemployment and stimulate positively the public markets.
Copyright (c) 2013 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.
We remain only in the first year of the second term of Barack Obama’s presidency, and the media specularazzi are already churning in predictions and conclusions. It seems, in recent cycles, it always to go this way with breathless prognostications, meaningless polls, and reports of instant political “nosedives”of frontrunners and other presidential hopefuls.
On the Democratic side, the race has been declared “over” by virtually all the specularazzi, i.e., that Hillary Clinton already has the nomination in her handbag, and thus no more need be said. The fact that the identical conclusion was reached by consensus in 2006, and did not come to pass, seems to be of no import to the specularazzi. Of course, Mrs. Clinton has “total” name recognition, and it has been declared that it’s “her turn”by her old supporters. She will, of course, be nearly 70 years old in 2016, her record as secretary of state now judged to be “controversial” and uneven at best. She is a poor public speaker, and has no distinction as an administrator. Nevertheless, she is “inevitable.” Fast-forwarding is so much fun, is it not?
By the way, I wonder if Andrew Cuomo, Mark Warner, Evan Bayh, Cory Booker, Heidi Heitkamp, Joe Manchin, Ron Wyden and other talented younger Democrats are so willing to throw in the towel this far in advance. Perhaps. Perhaps not.
On the Republican side, there is more debate. Early favorite Senator Marco Rubio has gambled big-time on immigration reform legislation that is very unpopular with many in the GOP grass roots. Likewise, high profile New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has been declared to have “crossed the line” with his handling of a U.S. senate vacancy and his “moderate” views. The new darling on the right is first-term Texas Senator Ted Cruz, an outspoken and smart conservative who seems to be filling a temporary political void. Concurrent with the seeming decline of Mr. Rubio, there has been a revival of the only man in recent U.S. history who has been disqualified for the presidency solely because of his surname, i.e., former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, a man with genuine accomplishments, proven intelligence and, oh yes, all kinds of Hispanic credentials.
Of course, the Republicans also have a stable of old war horses, including Rick Perry, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, et al, but unlike 2008 and 2012, there are none who might legitimately claim that it’s ”their turn.”
As I see it, Governor Christie, Senator Cruz and former Governor Bush, albeit with differing points of view, are rather talented fellows, and should make the 2016 contest (when we finally get to it) rather interesting.
In 2005, by the way, hardly anyone had heard of the person who swept to election as president only three years later.
Copyright (c) 2013 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.
Rubio tied in Iowa as well: Rubio/Huckabee 16, Paul 15, Bush 14, Christie 12, Ryan 10, Martinez 4, Jindal/Perry 3: publicpolicypolling.com/main/2013/02/l…
— PublicPolicyPolling (@ppppolls) February 7, 2013
Former Gov. Mike Huckabee’s endorsement of Rep. Todd Akin in the Missouri primary turned out to be a bad idea. Allowing Akin the use of his radio show as a platform to stay in the race was a worse idea. But today, Mike Huckabee’s latest idea might be the worst of his career, with the exception of his release of Maurice Clemmons from prison.
Today Huckabee, in the face of near universal conservative clamor for Akin to leave the Missouri Senate race, blasted out this email to his followers:
The Party’s leaders have for reasons that aren’t rational, left [Akin] behind on the political battlefield, wounded and bleeding, a casualty of his self-inflicted, but not intentional wound. In a Party that supposedly stands for life, it was tragic to see the carefully orchestrated and systematic attack on a fellow Republican. Not for a moral failure or corruption or a criminal act, but for a misstatement which he contritely and utterly repudiated. I was shocked by GOP leaders and elected officials who rushed so quickly to end the political life of a candidate over a mistaken comment in an interview. This was a serious mistake, but it was blown out of proportion not by the left, but by Akin’s own Republican Party. Is this what the party really thinks of principled pro-life advocates? Do we forgive and forget the verbal gaffes of Republicans who are “conveniently pro-life” for political advantage, but crucify one who truly believes that every life is sacred?
Who ordered this “Code Red” on Akin? There were talking point memos sent from the National Republican Senatorial Committee suggesting language to urge Akin to drop out. Political consultants were ordered to stay away from Akin or lose future business with GOP committees. Operatives were recruited to set up a network of pastors to call Akin to urge him to get out. Money has changed hands to push him off the plank. It is disgraceful. From the spotlights of political offices and media perches, it may appear that the demand for Akin’s head is universal in the party. I assure you it is not. There is a vast, but mostly quiet army of people who have an innate sense of fairness and don’t like to see a fellow political pilgrim bullied. If Todd Akin loses the Senate seat, I will not blame Todd Akin. He made his mistake, but was man enough to admit it and apologize. I’m waiting for the apology from whoever the genius was on the high pedestals of our party who thought it wise to not only shoot our wounded, but run over him with tanks and trucks and then feed his body to the liberal wolves. It wasn’t just Todd Akin that was treated with contempt by the thinly veiled attack on Todd Akin. It was all the people who have faithfully knocked doors, made calls, and made sacrificial contributions to elect Republicans because we thought we were welcome in the party. Todd Akin owned his mistake. Who will step up and admit the effort being made to discredit Akin and apologize for the sleazy way it’s been handled?
I’ve always believed and still do, that if you don’t honor your friendships, you don’t honor yourself. And I consider Todd a friend. So I will join Todd as often as I can, in his fight for our Party’s pro-life policies, traditional marriage and our efforts to rein in the massive expansion of government under President Obama. Todd is being systematically scourged for one thing he said. Is that more important than what Claire McCaskill has DONE over her 6 years in the Senate? If you’d like to join the fight, and help defeat a Democrat Senator standing in the way of a conservative majority, I encourage you to join me. The party has decided it won’t help. In fact, it has decided that it will try to cut off the supply lines to Akin to pressure him to exit and let the party bosses overturn the voters of Missouri and pick their own candidate. If this can happen to Todd Akin, who is next?
I’ve heard the talk of new deadlines and the nonsense about the Republican Party running a 3rd party candidate, but I am no longer listening to that noise. The idea that our Party would continue to play games behind the scenes and feed the Democrats make-believe narrative of the GOP’s fictional war on women is equally ridiculous. Now is the time to focus on electing a conservative Senate Majority. And if the NRSC and RNC and the money-rich PACS won’t help Todd Akin get us to the majority, then we’ll do it without them. And his seat will not have been sold to the highest bidder, but obtained by the highest principles.
This should be the last straw for a man whose poor judgement, religious bigotry, and pettiness have been the cornerstone of his political life. I call on Gov. Mitt Romney to pull Mike Huckabee from the Republican National Convention and I call on Roger Ailes to end his show on Fox News. No one this arrogant, this selfish, this self righteous has any place on our convention stage or on a legitimate news network. Let him spend his time groveling for donations from the tiny handful of religious extremists who still think Todd Akin will be a U.S. Senator. We cannot afford, nor should we allow, someone this narcissistic to occupy the same stage as our nominee. This is about Romney/Ryan and the future of our country, not about Mike Huckabee’s questionable judgement or massive ego.
I can’t say I’m surprised by Gov. Huckabee’s actions. I’ve known for years just how phony and dishonest he was as a governor and as a candidate. I was always the first to knock down the ridiculous suggestion that Mitt Romney should add Huckabee to the ticket, burdening himself with his distorted ideology.
Now, all my fears of Huckabee have been proven right. His insanity has cost us a Missouri Senate seat, and with it possibly a Senate majority. With that he has cost us the very reforms our nation needs, sabotaging a Romney presidency before it even gets off the ground. And maybe that was his intention all along; revenge against his former foe. Revenge against the man who has beaten him to the cusp of the presidency. Revenge on a man whose faith he cannot stomach. Maybe that was his goal all along.
Todd Akin made a serious gaffe, a gaffe that should have forced the end of his candidacy. But it’s Mike Huckabee who has revealed the most about his character, it’s Mike Huckabee who has truly damaged this party, and it is Mike Huckabee who should see his career end because of this debacle.
According to Robert Costa over at NRO, Gov. Mike Huckabee is being considered for the #2 spot by Team Romney:
The conventional wisdom about Mitt Romney’s vice-presidential short list, according to a handful of Romney insiders, may be wrong. Instead of picking a straitlaced Midwestern senator such as Ohio’s Rob Portman, or an outspoken northeastern Republican governor such as Chris Christie, there is a chance Romney will tap an evangelical from the South.
And the name on the lips of Romney friends and supporters isn’t a rising southern senator or a current Dixie governor. He has been out of office for five years, resides on a beach in the Florida panhandle, and hosts a television show.
In other words, Mike Huckabee, the bass-guitar-playing former governor.
Yes, according to several sources close to the Romney campaign, who insisted on anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the vice-presidential search, the 56-year-old Arkansan may be included in the veep mix.
With Huckabee being 1B to Marco Rubio’s 1A for me, I am keeping my fingers crossed that there is some truth to this report.
For all of the reasons why a Romney/Huckabee pairing makes sense, be sure to read all of Costa’s article here.
The second round of Veep Polling has passed (results here) and we’re moving on to the third round.
If John Thune was selected as Romney’s VP, how content would you be on a scale from 1 to 10 (1=You’d stay home, 10=You’d canvas the country for Romney)?
If Bobby Jindal was selected as Romney’s VP, how content would you be on a scale from 1 to 10 (1=You’d stay home, 10=You’d canvas the country for Romney)?
If Mike Huckabee was selected as Romney’s VP, how content would you be on a scale from 1 to 10 (1=You’d stay home, 10=You’d canvas the country for Romney)?
If Mitch Daniels was selected as Romney’s VP, how content would you be on a scale from 1 to 10 (1=You’d stay home, 10=You’d canvas the country for Romney)?
John Thune- 5
Bobby Jindal- 10
Mike Huckabee- 6
Mitch Daniels- 8
Note: I realize that some of you may not be overly familiar with some of these candidates, but please try to provide a response for each, or I will not be able to compile the data. Lack of familiarity (which would likely lead to average numbers) is a response in of itself.
-Matthew E. Miller can be contacted at Obilisk18@yahoo.com
Memories and Lessons of a Just-Completed Campaign
Now that the primary season has all but officially ended (mercifully and at last), it is time for political analysts to look back at the yearlong trek that got us Nominee Romney and see what conclusions we can draw from this prolonged fight. There are several things that led to Romney’s success this time around:
The Job Interview
At first glance, it may seem the most cogent lesson is the simplest one: the Republicans once again nominated their next-in-line candidate. Just as John McCain, Bob Dole, George H.W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, and Gerald Ford before him, Romney was widely perceived as “earning his turn,” so to speak. But there is something going on at a deeper level here – why (with the notable exception of George W. Bush) does the modern GOP seem to hand their nomination to the next-in-line? After all, this is a truism, a force, strong enough to revive John McCain from political death a thousand times over in 2008. And it was enough to protect Romney from one of the most anti-establishment, angry conservative electorates in recent memory. How?
It has been said that the Republicans treat their primaries much like a job interview, while Democrats treat theirs like a dating game – a comparative analogy that has some heft behind it to be sure. Democrats get excited about insurgent candidates that send thrills up their legs, whereas Republicans like to sit back and determine whether our candidates have the experience necessary for the job. Looking at the 2008 primaries in an parallel universe, then, we wouldn’t have been surprised to see a Mike Huckabee vs. Hillary Clinton general election matchup – where Huckabee had won the Democratic primary and Hillary the Republican one.
Insurgent candidates are just not built to survive modern Republican primaries. And so Romney perhaps had the huge advantage in this way from the outset: with no Huckabee and no Palin in the mix, he was the only “serious” candidate applying for this job. Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, and Rick Santorum were never going to pass the job interview process. Jon Huntsman and Rick Perry both had a chance based on the resumes they had submitted, but as soon as they were called in for a face to face interview they were both summarily dismissed from contention. And so, after inspecting each of the job applicants in turn, ultimately the Republican Party ended up calling the candidate that looked the most attractive at the beginning of the process and saying, “You’re hired.” It’s a familiar process that makes sense for the “party of business” to follow.
Continue reading for Cycling Seppuku, I Can be Your Friend, Where in the World is Romney Sandiego, and “Establishment” Support…
DALLAS, April 9, 2012 – Cumulus Media Networks, with more than 4,000 affiliate radio stations reaching 121 million listeners, announces that former Governor Mike Huckabee’s highly anticipated “The Mike Huckabee Show” debuts today on more than 180 stations nationwide. The show airs live from noon to 3 pm ET, offering radio listeners a new voice in the conservative political talk landscape. The first show will feature Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
Rush Limbaugh, the longstanding undisputed king of conservative talk radio who’s been dogged by controversy recently, is about to face some more heat. Not from the left, but this time from the right.
On Monday, former Arkansas governor and one-time Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee will launch a three-hour radio program on almost 200 stations across the country, going voice-to-voice with Limbaugh in the noon-to-3 p.m. time slot, Monday through Friday.
Cumulus Media, which owns and operates the new program, is already pitching Huckabee to listeners and advertisers as the “safe alternative” to a man who has recently found himself under weeks of intense fire – not for the first time – and who some believe could be vulnerable to a challenge from someone offering a kinder, gentler conservative voice.
“Our tagline is, ‘More conversation, less confrontation’,” Huckabee told POLITICO. “I’m going to treat every guest with respect and civility. Nobody is going to come on and get into a shouting match with me. That’s just not my style.”
Huckabee, who has never met Limbaugh, does indeed join a long list of conservative voices who have gone up against Limbaugh in the noon time slot, competing for pull among the base of the Republican party. The most well-known of those now-vanished competitors is Fox News personality Bill O’Reilly, who hosted the nationally syndicated show, “The Radio Factor,” for seven years and became the second-most listened-to talk radio host on the airwaves. In 2009, O’Reilly was replaced by former Sen. Fred Thompson, who — like Huckabee — was trumpeted as an alternative to Limbaugh, but was never able to get traction. He ended the show last year.
I haven’t listened to Rush on purpose in years. I suspect it’s a matter of changing taste. I used to enjoy his style of bombastic shtick quite a bit. Now I prefer much more measured, thoughtful, careful analysis.
I guess I’m getting old.
Doug Wead states the case for Mike Huckabee in his Op-Ed for Conservative Actions Alerts:
Romney, if he has any chance of winning at all, will pick former Arkansas governor, Mike Huckabee, as his running mate. Because Huckabee is a born again Christian who is vetted. Two very big factors. Now if Huckabee were only a woman and an African American there wouldn’t be any doubt about it. But the Romney campaign has been pretty stunning in its missteps. So there is no guarantee that it will pick Huckabee. People do stupid things. Especially Romney. And then, gas prices may climb to $8 a gallon and then he can pick whomever he wants.
Consider, 48% of the nation claims to be born again Christians. If even a fraction of them sit at home, the South, bulging with African American voters for Obama, will tilt to the Democrats. Huckabee can help Romney carry the South. And all of the other VP candidates will have surprises in the closet that will come out. Huckabee too had some of those surprises but they are old news. And they are manageable.
The first rule of choosing a VP is do yourself no harm.
If Rubio and Martinez are ruled out, I would love to see Gov. Huckabee get the nod.
Full Op-Ed here.
“I didn’t major in math. I majored in miracles, and I still believe in them, too.”
-Mike Huckabee, 2/9/08, upon learning that it would be mathematically impossible for him to win the GOP nomination
“This isn’t about math… This isn’t a mathematical formula. This race has a tremendous amount of dynamics.”
-Rick Santorum, 3/11/12, when asked about the arguments that he cannot mathematically win the GOP nomination
Sometimes facing reality hurts.
I spent all day yesterday traveling so I missed most of the excitement. When I finally got home and could check the news, Mitt Romney had already won both contests. So, what does it mean in the grand scheme of things?
Well, Mitt was supposed to win Arizona handily, and he did. The other candidates only put in token efforts in the state. Michigan was the big story.
Both Mitt and Rick Santorum pulled out all the stops in Michigan. It was Mitt’s birth state. It is a blue-collar Midwestern state where Santorum is supposed to be strong. It was a battle royal.
A little more than two weeks ago, Mitt led Rick 33 – 14% in the Michigan RCP poll average. Three days later after Santorum’s three state win, the polling stood at Santorum 39, Romney 29%. Rick went from a 19 percentage point deficit to a 10 percentage point lead. That is a swing of nearly 30 percentage points in a mere three days. Mitt was in serious trouble.
Nationally, Santorum passed Romney on the Gallup daily tracking poll on his way to a 36% peak reached on the 18th of February. Romney dropped to a low of 26% reached a day later on the 19th. All momentum had shifted to Santorum.
ABRs began confidently predicting a Michigan loss for Romney. “He’s done. Stick a fork in him”, were some of the comments seen around the web. They spoke too soon. They forgot that Santorum was the last Flavor-of-the-Month that had never really been vetted before.
It didn’t last for long. Only three days after Santorum passed Romney in the Gallup daily tracking poll, he reached his peak of 36%. He hung there for three days and began to slide. Romney reached his low point four days after losing the lead, hung there for two days, and began to rise. Momentum was shifting back to Romney. It looked for all the world like another ABR bubble burst.
Santorum could see his numbers in Michigan and nationally slipping and knew that if he lost the two big states of Michigan and Arizona, his campaign would be dealt a serious blow. So Rick went for broke in Michigan. But there is going for broke, and there is panicking. Rick panicked.
First he turned to personal nasty attacks against Mitt Romney. He started to throw everything at Mitt, including out and out lies. This was the exact same mistake that Newt Gingrich made in Florida and the lead up to Nevada. That, more than anything else, is what drove Newt’s numbers down into the low teens where Ron Paul is now threatening to pass him and take third place.
When that tactic failed to head off his slide, Rick tried one last desperate act; he sent out a robo-call to Democrats calling upon them to come to the polls and vote against Mitt. While that seemed to work as far as it went, it also helped to swing the undecided Republican voters against him. They broke heavily for Romney. That pretty much balanced out everything Santorum gained with that dangerous tactic.
There is only one excuse for desperate measures, and that is if you win. Rick Santorum did not win. He lost. In a state where he lead the polls by double digits just two weeks before, he lost. In a died-in-the-wool rust-belt state full of evangelicals, he lost. If desperate measures do not get you the victory, then you are invariably in a worst position than you were before. Which is the position that Santorum finds himself in this morning.
Since it became increasingly clear, following my candidate (and employer) Gary Johnson’s decision to drop out and run third party, and my second choice Ron Paul’s failure to gain traction after his very-respectable-but-just-not-energizing-enough finishes in the Iowa and New Hampshire contests, that a libertarian would not be representing the Republican Party in the general election, my sense of disappointment, frustration, and burn-out has compelled me to take something of a slight break from politics for a month or two. (I’m sure you were all enormously grieved by my absence.) A lot of libertarians in the GOP have been, and are currently, going through this phase right now. One thing that may be snapping a lot of us out of our funk, however, is the chilling surge in popularity of Rick Santorum–quite possibly one of the most overtly anti-libertarian candidates ever to come within reach of the GOP presidential nomination.
Like many of you, I was a bit….. stunned….. by the results last night. Caucuses are notoriously difficult to poll, and so I took polls showing Rick leading in Minnesota with a grain of salt. Nobody thought Mitt could lose Colorado if he tried. And then……
So here’s what happened, as far as the numbers are concerned. Mitt lost 46% of his raw vote total in Colorado- compared to 2008- while overall turnout was down 7%. Mitt lost 63% of his Missouri voters, while overall turnout there was down 57%. And in Minnesota, Mitt shed an eye-popping 69% of his 2008 supporters, while overall turnout was down 24% (this is with 95% reporting in Minnesota, so both % will shrink a bit there). I suspect Team Romney feels a bit like road kill this morning, wondering what the hell just happened. Where did all of their supporters from 2008 go? Why is Santorum, a guy with no money, organization, or charisma, suddenly the white knight?
I don’t pretend to have all (or any) of the answers, but I’ll throw a few random thoughts out there, and a few more questions to ponder.
So where does Mitt go from here? Some last night advised he go “nuclear” on Santorum. That might work, and certainly worked on Newt in Florida (where 92% of Romney’s ads were negative). But all that negativity, I think, is part of why Mitt failed so spectacularly last night. He needs to find a way to win without running every last opponent he has through the shredder. People are going to have a hard time rallying around a campaign that is virtually all negative, all the time (at least in regard to what the average voters see, which are debates and TV ads). Others suggested he needs to sharpen his message, rework his stump speech, and present a clearer vision. I think this is better advice, and much healthier for his long term viability.
We should bear in mind that the low turnout races last night are the domain of the truly hard core voter. These folks tend to be higher information voters, and more ideological. Perhaps some Catholics were rallying around Santorum over the HHS mandate (I’m not aware of any exit polls this year). Perhaps many of these voters were reacting to the enormous cat fight between Newt and Mitt. Perhaps- as some have suggested- Mitt is simply not the “conservative alternative,” as he was in 2008, but rather now plays the part McCain did. These high information, highly motivated voters will be more diluted in primaries like Michigan. But Michigan is now Mitt’s firewall. If he loses Michigan to Santorum, not only has the air of inevitability left, but Santorum becomes the favorite for the nomination.
Here’s Gov. Mike Huckabee’s statement on the ad:
The use of the actual audio from my show, The Huckabee Report, was not authorized for use by any candidate. My quotes are public domain and just like the numerous complimentary things I have said about other candidates they have been used to highlight something positive in a political ad. However, this in no way is an endorsement of any candidate. I have not nor do I anticipate endorsing anyone until after the primary at which time I will fervently campaign for the Republican nominee so that we can make sure Obama is a one term President. Any attempt by anyone to imply an endorsement of a candidate or opposition to a candidate is not true.
Consider this an open thread for the Huckabee forum. Better late than never.
It’s true that rank-and-file conservatives in the Republican Party are unrepresented or poorly represented by their national leaders on issues such as trade and immigration, and this is because it’s definitely true that the economic interests of a lot of working- and middle-class conservative Republican voters are neglected by the national party. The electoral record also shows that the relative moderate candidate tends to prevail in the presidential nominating contest, and this is happening again as anyone could have seen that it would. As Cost later acknowledges, the relative moderates eke out nomination victories because there are always so many conservative candidates splitting the much larger conservative vote, which is proof that there are often too many conservative candidates in the mix and not that self-styled conservatives don’t control the party.
There is also always a large number of movement conservative activists and pundits more than willing to embrace the relative moderate as a bold conservative leader on the grounds that he is more electable, which is how George W. Bush and Romney acquired their ill-deserved reputations as conservatives in the first place. When a field has seven reasonably competitive conservative or libertarian candidates and arguably just one moderate (counting Romney as the moderate), it’s no wonder that the one moderate comes out ahead, especially when there are more than a few movement conservatives willing to make the case for him.
But neither Cost, nor Larison, get at one of the fundamental reasons there are frequently several relatively conservative candidates: the inability of conservatives to winnow their field. Conservatives aren’t actually over-represented in GOP fields. In this cycle, there were 3 relative moderates (Romney, Pawlenty, and Huntsman), 4 relative conservatives (Perry, Bachmann, Santorum, and Cain) and 2 relative oddballs (Gingrich and Paul). This is a pretty representative sample. But the establishment has skillfully winnowed the “moderate” field down to one contestant, sending Pawlenty packing early, and ignoring Huntsman entirely. Conservatives, however, have jumped for every single conservative and one of the oddballs. Let me suggest 2 ways to explain this phenomenon.
1.) The Effect of the Invisible Primary. This is essentially the race for money and endorsements. Candidates who perform well in the invisble primary tend to have success. So money and endorsements matter, right? Well, yeah, but I think something more complex is going on. Establishment candidates compete in the invisible primary- grassroots candidates don’t. Candidates who compete in the invisible primary, and later stumble, are more likely to be weeded out. Why should be it the case that Tim Pawlenty should drop out immediately after Ames, despite running 4 points ahead of Rick Santorum and 5 points ahead of Herman Cain? Isn’t this a little curious? A little odd? Both Santorum and Cain competed at Ames, and Santorum devoted as much to the straw poll, relative to his resources, as Pawlenty did. Sure, Pawlenty would have had a hard time getting noticed when his money dried up, but Santorum didn’t get noticed until 3 days before the first caucus and had no money at all. And yet it was obvious to an awful lot of people that Pawlenty needed to drop out. The invisible primary seems to function as a winnowing process for establishment candidates and the grassroots has no equivalent.
2.) Viability. Viability does not really matter to the grassroots. This is not an exaggeration. Even now, you can head over to RedState and read a dozen Erick Erickson posts since Christmas which have A.) Called Rick Santorum a pro-life statist and B.) Admitted that Santorum was preferrable to Romney. Presumably, though I don’t follow his every post, Erick Erickson- along with many other grassroots conservatives- is inclined to support Texas Governor Rick Perry. Erick Erickson thinks Perry “can still win” and therefore sees his criticism of Santorum as both a good faith effort to expose someone less than ideal and a way of improving Perry’s odds of winning the nomination. He is, along with many grassroots conservatives, a true believer. The True Believer may have many superior qualities, but strategic thinking is not among them.
Rick Perry has now been at 5% in SC for 4 straight polls. He has not been in double digits in South Carolina in 2 and 1/2 months. The odds of him coming back in the state are objectively quite low and any improvement he makes is bound to come at the expense of Santorum who, the True Believer admits, is preferrable to Romney. An establishment oriented voter would, at this juncture, abandon Perry and Gingrich, go all-in with Santorum, and hope for the best. And indeed, establishment oriented voters have done that all year. There will be no Huntsman surge in NH to mirror the Santorum surge in Iowa. Establishment Republicans, concerned about electability, do not see Huntsman as viable. Therefore Huntsman has been cheerfully ignored. After NH he will have exited the race, while 3 more grassrootsy alternatives continue on fruitlessly. In ’08, the establishment Giuliani, despite leading in national polls by a gazillion points for an age, was all but abandoned after December and led in just one Florida poll after NH. Meanwhile, conservatives seemed entirely unable to choose between Romney, Fred, and Huckabee, even as McCain seemed likely to waltz to the nomination. Establishment candidates are winnowed by the viability test while grassroots candidates are apparently encouraged to stay in forever.
There is no grand establishment conspiracy to consistently foist relatively moderate nominees on the party. The establishment simply does a better job of winnowing out unlikely nominees, thereby allowing one establishment choice to have free roam of the field.
The President of the United States wears many hats, holds many titles, and assumes many roles. Among others, he is:
But the very first role mentioned in the Constitution is Chief Executive, sometimes referred to as Head of Government. Article 2, section 1 (the section that deals with the Presidency) begins:
The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America.
It is the most fundamental job of the President, seeing that things get done. It is his chief responsibility.
There is a tendency sometimes for voters to romanticize the office. They see the glamour, the speeches, the rides in Air Force One, the presidential motorcades, the pomp and flourishes of presidential visits, the 21-gun salutes, the bands, the streamers, etc. They seldom envision the grinding day-to-day, week-to-week, month-to-month work that goes along with the job. All the problems and issues dealing with the Government and the country end up on his desk. He is the person ultimately responsible to answer them. Harry Truman famously said, “The buck stops here”.
That is one of the primary reasons Mitt Romney supporters are so enamored with the man. It is obvious to even the most casual observer that he is the candidate in 2012 election on both sides of the aisle with the best qualities, skills, talents, experience, and temperament to be a truly effective Chief Executive Officer of the United States. As if to drive home the point, we have the recent fiasco in Virginia to consider.
Virginia has some of the toughest laws in the country dealing with primary ballot registration. To get on the ballot, a candidate must gather a minimum of 10,000 valid signatures state-wide. These signatures may not be purely collected at random, either. There must be at least 400 valid signatures collected from each Congressional district. One nice thing is if a candidate gathers at least 15,000 signatures, he is assumed to be qualified.
How difficult is it to qualify for the ballot? Well, let’s put it this way. In 2008, the Democrats had six people who qualified for the primary ballot. So did the Republicans. The Republican ballot included Mike Huckabee, who at the time had little money and even less organization. It included Fred Thomson, who got in late, and who seemed to have a real distaste for anything dealing with actual campaigning. Those guys made it onto the ballot in Virginia. So if they could do it, the bar can’t be all that high. One would expect any reasonably competent campaign to be up to the task.
This year, only Mitt Romney and Ron Paul made it. Jon Huntsman, Michele Bachmann, and Rick Santorum only put in token efforts if that. Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich procrastinated to the last moment, and then made a mad scramble to collect the required signatures.
How badly did Perry and Gingrich do? The following was taken from the Right Speak comment section (emphasis added):
My youngest daughter is the political director for VA Lt Gov Bill Bolling, who is Romney’s campaign chairman for VA, as he was in 2008. As such, we were receiving a constant twitter stream of yesterday’s events. And it was a story of complete incompetence. The Perry and Gingrich campaigns submitted between 40 and 50% of their collected signatures in an invalid format. (invalid forms, no addresses, no notary, wrong counties, not registered voters, non-qualified solicitors, etc.) No wonder Newt thinks he can now mount a vigorous write-in campaign, which is prohibited in a primary.
I just got the following in my email:
The election next November will have ramifications for generations.
Neither South Carolina nor the nation can afford four more years of President Obama, and Mitt Romney is the right person to take him on and get America back on track.
He is a conservative businessman who has spent his life working in the economy, and he understands exactly how jobs are created. He is not a creature of Washington, and he knows what it means to make decisions – real decisions – not simply cast a vote.
This election isn’t about what candidates say – it’s about what they’ve done.
Our country will need real leadership to undo President Obama’s failed policies, and replace them with the conservative principles Mitt Romney learned turning around businesses and a failing Olympics and successfully, conservatively governing a Democratic state.
I am proud to endorse him and will work my hardest to ensure he is elected so we can turn around our country.
I stand with Mitt. Will you?
Governor Nikki Haley
The sagging poll numbers of Obama, as well as a weak GOP field has had many people thinking Huckabee made a big mistake in skipping this election as he once again could have been a top contender again.
I can’t help but thinking that while running for President, may not be Huckabee’s prime goal in life, if the GOP can’t win the election, he may have given himself every advantage for 2016. He garnered nearly universal praise for his recent forum, and his fair treatment of each candidate to come on his program including Mitt Romney helps to elevate him as well. Whatever hard feelings remain from 2008 or Huckabee’s tenure as Governor of Arkansas will be gone for most people come 2016.
This field is also noteworthy for the fact that it really if the GOP loses, it is unlikely to produce a candidate who can show up in 2016 and claim to be next in line with Gingrich and Romney being clearly past their prime. Just like in 2000 after 1996, the field will be open.
Some like to suggest that Huckabee needed to run now because Chris Christie, Bobby Jindal, and Paul Ryan may be waiting in the wings but perhaps the past two election cycles with candidates that look great on paper and in theory such as Tim Pawlenty, Rick Perry, Rudy Giuliani, and Fred Thompson should temper the idea that these candidates can just show up and win the nomination.
Huckabee is continuing to become not only a known quantity, but a well-liked one too. While I hope the GOP beats Obama in 2012. If not, Huckabee will have a stronger case than ever to be the next president in 2016.
Politico reports Mike Huckabee telling the members of our party that are grumbling about Mitt Romney that we need to get past that unless we want four more years of Obama in the White House:
It would be real tragic if they stayed out. Mitt Romney may not be their first choice, but Mitt Romney every day of the week and twice on Sunday is going to be a much more effective president for issues that they care about than Barack Obama.
I think sometimes there is this anxiety within the Republican Party of who is the perfect candidate. The answer is there isn’t one.
And so, what you find is you have to decide who can survive that process. And whoever that is, if it’s Mitt Romney, then I think Republicans and conservatives and the tea party need to get behind him and say, ‘You may not be our first choice, but between you and Obama, I’ll vote forty times to get you elected.’
As a veteran of the 2008 GOP wars, I find Huck’s attitude fascinating. He was, after all, one of the leaders in the ABR fight that kept John McCain from choosing Mitt Romney as his VP running mate. Mike wrote letters, gave speeches, and declared in interviews what a disaster having Mitt on the ticket would be. He also filled page after page after page of his book about the 2008 race with excruciating details about every slight real or imagined that he suffered from the hands of Mitt Romney during the campaign. Yet here we see him supporting Mitt short of an endorsement. The Mike Huckabee I watched in 2008 would still be in there fighting trying to prop up some candidate or the other as the Mitt-alternative.
So what’s happened to Mike Huckabee?
The answer is found in the first graph of Cain’s column which wasn’t posted here. Cain begins his endorsement article this way:
The dynamics of political party connections, the political process itself and public perceptions have once again yielded the top two contenders of each major party in the 2008 presidential race. And once again, the public can only hope that the ultimate winner of the White House will be a candidate with the most leadership substance.
This endorsement article came on February 4, 2008, the day before Super Tuesday and was written towards the view of a Presidential race that had come down to A (Mitt Romney) v. B (John McCain). This was commonly held by many conservatives. Fred Thompson was out, Mike Huckabee had been written off (though Huckabee would show the experts wrong on that), and for many folks it was a question of one or the other. Cain saw Romney as the best of two choices. But was Herman Cain’s heart with Romney throughout the process? No. In January 0f 2008, Cain wrote a check for the-then federal maximum of $2300 to Mike Huckabee. But given the McCain v. Romney dichotomy, that was his choice.
Cain has not run a hard-edged campaign against Romney. Indeed, given certain A v. B scenarios, he might endorse Romney again, or he might not. Regardless, it’s fatuous to pretend that Cain was a big Romney booster, out campaigning for the guy when: 1) his endorsement came the day before Romney’s last primaries and 2) he gave $2300 to Mike Huckabee.
Event: Mitt Romney speaks at Giese Manufacturing
When: 12:15 PM CST
Location: Giese Manufacturing
7025 Chavenelle Road
Event: Mitt Romney speaks at Iowa American Water
When: 5:20 PM CST
Location: Iowa American Water
5201 Grand Avenue
Mike Huckabee was on Fox and Friends this morning, and the subject of Herman Cain came up. Here is Mediate’s report on his appearance (video included).
First Mike was critical of Cain’s 999 plan. What sold it to people was its simplicity. Now it is becoming more and more complicated as people begin to examine it closely and Herman thinks it through. It is beginning to lose its charm.
Then Mike described Cain’s abortion position as “very pro-choice”. He commented that it is going to hurt him in Iowa. Even as Herman tries to walk it back, “the damage has been done”.
Mike made the observation that in a Presidential campaign, you have people that you sit down with and go through all the issues large and small to make sure that you have all your ducks in a row, that you can speak comfortably about almost anything. Cain isn’t doing that. As Charles Krauthammer commented earlier today, Cain appears to be “winging it”.
This is going to get him in a whole lot of trouble real quick if he doesn’t get a handle on it. I like Herman Cain. He is a likable guy. But a Presidential candidate can’t keep clarifying and clarifying and repeatedly misunderstanding questions and stumbling over answers about major issues and remain a viable candidate, at least not a frontrunner candidate. Sooner or later it is going to catch up with him.
Herman Cain makes his 2nd appearance on “Huckabee” in as many weeks.
Almost everybody in the Mitt Romney camp blames Mike Huckabee for thwarting the former Massachusetts Governor’s opportunity to be president in 2008 and giving us John McCain. They have suggested a secret whisper campaign in Iowa and elsewhere led Evangelical Christians to vote against “the Mormon”.
Even today these Romney supporters make no distinction between a political position and a religious one. Governor Huckabee himself may have brought some of the criticism on himself by making an off-hand remark to a reporter in 2007 that he thought that Mormons believe Jesus and Satan are brothers (which they do). But even if Huckabee believes that Mormonism is a false religion (or a cult) that does not mean that he would not vote for a Mormon (in fact he has endorsed Mormons in the past and affirmed that he would vote for Romney). These are two separate issues, but the Romney supporters and mainstream press refuse to make the distinction. And there lies the rub. Many pundits and political hacks have implied that if a presidential candidate believes that another candidate’s religion is false, it is THAT belief that disqualifies the candidate from office.
There is a religious test. Talk show host Glenn Beck applied it to Mike Huckabee. Beck once called Huckabee “the devil” because he refused to say that Beck (who also is a Mormon) is a Christian. But Christianity and Mormonism have been at odds over that question since the very latter religion began during the days of Joseph Smith. Smith and the Latter Day Saints have always maintained that only Mormons are saved, and that Christendom is false. It is not a one-way street. It is simple. Each has in the past considered the other a false religion.
Neither Huckabee nor texas Governor Rick Perry have suggested for a moment that Romney’s religion should keep him from office. Enter author and Baptist pastor Robert Jeffress, who introduced Perry at the Value Voters Summit earlier this month. Jeffress later said that Mormonism is a cult and that Christians should only vote for Christians. I do not know if he was asked about this by a reporter or not, but he reiterated the statement from his church pulpit the following week.
John Huntsman, who is a member of the Latter Day Saints church, said the pastor is a moron for making the statement and then required a religious test of Rick Perry. Romney also insisted that Perry repudiate the man. Why? What if Perry believed that Mormonism is a cult? Does that disqualify him from being president? Are people who believe like Jeffress to be excluded from campaign positions or public appearances? Should candidates ask each person what they believe about Mormonism before they become a precinct chairman or introduce the candidates at a political rally?
Why make the demands that Perry even declare his religious position then? Romney is rarely asked the religious question, about his actual belief, he is only asked about its effect upon his campaign. Perhaps that is as it should be. But Perry shouldn’t be required to comment on his religioous belief either. Sadly, Perry took the position that Mormonism is not a cult (which, of course, did not satisfy Huntsman):
This kind of talk, I think, has no home in American politics these days. And, you know, anyone who is associated with somebody willing to make those comments ought to stand up and distance themselves in very bold language. And that hasn’t been done. And – and Rick ought to stand up and do that.
Apparently neither Beck, Romney, or Huntsman nor the mainstream will allow a candidate to punt on this issue. The implication Huntsman makes is that anybody who believes that Mormonism is a cult is disqualified to be president. Now THAT is a religious test.
Cross-posted on Caffeinated Thoughts.
Mike Huckabee’s not buying the Perry family’s religion argument for why the campaign hasn’t gone well. And Bill O’Reilly is ticked off that Perry refuses to step into the no-spin zone.
Thanks to commenter Massachusetts Conservative for the Tip.
From the Christian Scientist Monitor (emphasis added):
Watching Rick Perry’s debate performance Tuesday night, [the author] (along with many observers in the press) was struck by how itching-to-get-out-of-there uncomfortable he looked. It was like watching someone’s half-hearted attempt to engage in polite conversation at a dinner party he was only attending as a favor to his wife.
Which has led us today to this fundamental question: Does Rick Perry really want to be president? Or, more specifically, might the Texas governor regret his decision to jump into the race?
Tellingly, when New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie offered up his reasons for passing on a White House run, he said he’d tried to imagine himself in a hotel room in Des Moines “and it’s 5:30 in the morning and it’s 15 below, and it’s time for me to get up and go shake hands at the meatpacking plant.”
His point? To subject yourself to the true grind of a presidential campaign – with the loss of privacy, the discipline of having to be always on message, the tedium of giving the same speech over and over, and the out-and-out hard work required behind the scenes - you have to really, really want it.
And almost by definition, a candidate who jumps in only after some arm twisting by supporters – as Perry did and Christie did not – probably doesn’t want it that bad.
Last time around, we had Fred Thompson. There was a great clamor for him to get in the race, too, but anyone watching real close could see that his heart just wasn’t in it. So when he finally did jump in, his campaign just slowly withered on the vine.
Perry simply was not ready. Everyone convinced him that all he had to do was show up, swagger a bit, talk real big, sling a few half-truths about Mitt Romney, and the nomination was his. He was in no way ready. And it has blown up in his face. Now he’s stuck with sinking polls, $15 millions in the bank, and seemingly hating every minute of it. Now what?
We’ve had a number of candidates this time around whose supporters did everything they could to convince them to join the race, but were wise enough to know that it wasn’t for them. First, there was Mike Huckabee. He was leading the polls when he let it be known that he was not running this time. Mitch Daniels was another. And let’s not forget Haley Barbour and Jim DeMint. Both of them had supporters begging them to run. Even Jeb Bush got some action.
Mike Huckabee taped his show last Friday to air last night. One of the segments was an extensive interview of Mitt Romney. Three quarters of the interview have now been made available on-line. They are:
Why “Part 1″ is not available yet, I don’t know. If they ever make it available, I’ll provide the link.
This was a most interesting interview. Mitt and Mike were completely and totally civil with each other. And yet it went beyond that. There was a definite air of mutual respect and camaraderie not often seen in these political interviews. I came away with the same impression one gets when watching two old adversaries sitting down and discussing the current war. The two of them may have once been on opposing sides, but their shared experiences allowed them to instantly understand each other and know where the other guy was coming from. That is something that only occurs with people who have shared the same struggles in life.
I am reminded of the analogy that Ronald Reagan often used. In a football game each team fights long and hard to earn the win; but when it’s over, the two teams both shake each others hand and leave the field with respect for each other.
If there were any hard-feelings lingering between these two, they were not in evidence. Consider that hatchet completely and fully buried.