November 20, 2015


  11:42 am

1. Marco Rubio  U.S. Senator from Florida

Sen. Rubio’s move to become the top mainstream candidate in the field has been cemented more over the past month. The Florida senator was declared by polls and pundits to be the winner of the fourth GOP debate, and he has continued to outpace the field in political and financial endorsements since September. As mainstream conservatives move to consolidate support behind the senator, other candidates have begun to flail wildly at Rubio to their detriment, both on the debate stage and on the campaign trail. With favorable/unfavorable numbers that are the envy of the filed, general election numbers that show the senator to be the most electable, and rising primary poll numbers that place the senator second is the most recent state polls, watch for the consolidation to accelerate.

2. Ted Cruz  U.S. Senator from Texas

Cruz continues to execute a brilliant strategy, consolidating as much of the Tea Party and evangelical vote as he can get. His campaign in Iowa was boosted by the endorsement of rabid anti-immigrant congressman Steve King, a big plus in the primary that will prove damaging in a general election. Cruz has steadily risen in the polls, but inevitably the Texas senator will have to confront the obstacles of Ben Carson and Donald Trump to truly dominate the far right.

3. Donald Trump  Chairman and President of The Trump Organization 

Trump’s clown show continues, with one embarrassing public debacle after another. From comparing the respected Dr. Carson to a child molester, to confusing bombers and fighter jets, to calling for a fascistic Muslim database, Trump’s idiocy remains the most entertaining, and disturbing, show in politics. Unfortunately for his fans, Trump’s poll leads are artificial, a cause of the unusually large field. But will those same polls indicating that Trump is the leading candidate in the “will never support” category, his time on top is limited, and a narrow field will quickly dispatch the Clinton donor for good.

4. Ben Carson  former Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital 

Dr. Carson’s high poll numbers and brief number one position brought an avalanche of criticism that he has thus far proven incapable of handling. From the confusion over his past statements and personal stories to his alarming lack of foreign policy gravitas, the former surgeon is proving to be in over his head. He remains personally well liked, but voters are begging to move on to more serious options.

5. Jeb Bush  former Governor of Florida

In the beginning of the race many thought Gov. Jeb Bush’s last name would be a hinderance, but ironically, it is now the only thing keeping him in the race. The Bush family network has cobbled enough money and endorsements together to allow Jeb to limp on in a campaign that he is clearly unfit to win. Donors have shifted to Sen. Marco Rubio, and Bush’s endorsements have stalled, with most coming prior to the launch of his campaign in the spring. Pride may keep him going, by 20 million in Super PAC ads have failed to lift his numbers, and there is no reason to believe more money will change that.

6. Chris Christie  Governor of New Jersey

The New Jersey governor has been the victim of very bad luck. After a strong debate performance in October and an uptick in his polls, Christie was bumped to the “kid’s table” debate by the Fox Business Channel, dealing a blow to his campaign’s viability. Still, his raw talent, captured in a viral moment discussing drug addiction in New Hampshire, reminded people why he was a frontrunner once. He is pushing hard in New Hampshire, but is stuck in the glut of establishment governors competing in the state.

7. Carly Fiorina  former CEO of Hewlett-Packard

Despite another strong debate performance, Fiorina is struggling to raise money and secure ballot positions and full delegate slates. She will need to find other ways besides debates to recapture momentum.

8. John Kasich  Governor of Ohio

Kasich did damage to himself in the last debate, proving incapable of articulating his bailout position. He lost the crowd and many watching. He remains in contention in New Hampshire, polling consistently in the double digits and ahead of Jeb Bush. His Super PAC is launching a multi-million dollar negative ad campaign against Trump that could make or break his New Hampshire-centric effort.

9. Rand Paul  U.S. Senator from Kentucky

Paul’s lack of money and poor poll numbers continue to plague his quixotic candidacy, and his isolationist rhetoric on ISIS led to a damaging moment against Sen. Marco Rubio in the last debate. While his libertarian fans cheered, follow up polls indicated Paul’s debate performance did him more harm than good.

10. Rick Santorum  former U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania

Santorum has no chance at the nomination, and has simply risen on to the rankings by the virtue of other candidates dropping out.

Drop Out Watch:  Mike Huckabee, Lindsey Graham, George Pataki,  Jim Gilmore


October 23, 2015


  12:06 pm

1. Marco Rubio  U.S. Senator from Florida

Sen. Rubio continues to be the most likely nominee for the GOP in 2016. After another impressive debate performance and good management of his resources by his team, Rubio is primed to take advantage of the collapsing Jeb Bush and the unserious Donald Trump.  The prediction markets have moved heavily in favor of the Florida senator, with a steady uptick in the polls and continued stellar favorability ratings. Rubio continues to be the most broadly acceptable candidate among the varied factions of the party, with the smallest number of voters saying they couldn’t support him, while Trump and Bush have the largest number. He is also now seen as a more plausible general election candidate then the gaffe-machine that Jeb Bush has become. Two debates in two weeks with Rubio near center stage play to his significant advantages and will propel his momentum into the winter months.

2. Ted Cruz  U.S. Senator from Texas

Cruz has positioned himself perfectly among the base of the GOP, strategically out-manuvering key rivals like Rand Paul, Mike Huckabee, and Rick Santorum.  He’s become a leading candidate among white evangelicals and has crafted a potentially brilliant southern strategy that could move him to the top of the pack by Super Tuesday. Cruz’s major problems remain his inability to curry any favor or support from any establishment forces.  In fact, he has burned more bridges to the wider swath of the party that it could prove decisive in keeping him from the nomination. His likability and favorability also trail significantly behind the more charismatic Rubio.

3. Donald Trump  Chairman and President of The Trump Organization 

Trump’s unserious campaign plods along, spending more money on hats than organization, and taking no serious attempts to build a national fundraising operation. As the only campaign to not purchase a voter file, nor use the free RNC voter database, it becomes harder to see how Trump’s campaign will turnout, register, or reach the new people he has attracted through earned media saturation. With his lead in Iowa gone, one of Trump’s only talking points is now slipping. His attacks on Sen. Rubio have also appear to have backfired, with Rubio steadily rising and will now be center stage with Trump, forcing the elderly real estate magnate into direct confrontation with the best communicator in the field.

4. Ben Carson  former Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital 

Dr. Carson has become the most favorably viewed candidate in the field and the top fundraiser in the third quarter, with a massive number of small donor contributions. With a strong personal story and bond with religious voters, the affable doctor has won voters over as the kindhearted outsider, as opposed to the bombastic, xenophobic Trump sideshow. Now leading in Iowa, Carson will now have to deal with increased scrutiny, as well as a barrage of incoherent rants and tweets from Mr. Trump.

5. Jeb Bush  former Governor of Florida

Things have gone from bad to worse for the former frontrunner. Bush’s “shock and awe” fundraising operation has turned out to be just average, leaving the governor in the middle of the pack, behind Carson and Sen. Ted Cruz. His cash-on-hand advantage in non-existant, and his team had to slash salaries, fire staff, and cut their operation to refocus on their fading New Hampshire hopes.  Bush’s last weapon has been the Super PAC cash haul he amassed early in the campaign. But after the first wave of ads, Bush’s numbers have actually dropped, and his unfavorable numbers have reached new highs.  He has been demoted from center stage in the debates, an indignity that reflects the trajectory of his campaign.  He has been replaced on stage, in polls, and in the prediction markets by Sen. Marco Rubio.  Now stories are beginning to trickle out, including ones from Bush supporters claiming he can no longer win, but must rely on others to lose.  If he is unable to outperform Rubio in the next two debates, the calls for him to step aside for the good of the party will grow louder.

6. Carly Fiorina  former CEO of Hewlett-Packard

After scoring a big victory in the second debate and damaging Donald Trump with female voters, Ms. Fiorina has been unable to capitalize on her moment.  The media’s pro-Planned Parenthood attacks on Fiorina withered her post-debate bounce, and the former businesswoman has been unable to sustain earned media.

7. John Kasich  Governor of Ohio

Kasich’s small surge in New Hampshire is long gone, coinciding with the Ohio governor’s Super PAC spending drying up. Kasich has shifted staff from Ohio to New Hampshire, making the state his must-win. However, Kasich’s campaign cash has quickly dried up and he risks fading from contention if things don’t change fast.

8. Chris Christie  Governor of New Jersey

The New Jersey governor was on the brink prior to the last debate, but is enjoying a slight resurrection, complete with the return of his 2012 Iowa backers and a small bump in New Hampshire and in national polls. Still, the governor is running low on funds and is still at risk of missing future debates.

9. Bobby Jindal  Governor of Louisiana

Jindal continues to hang on despite dwindling resources and no main stage debate performances.  He’s gone with an all-in Iowa strategy that has him registering more support than the past two Iowa winners, Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee. An Iowa upset is his only hope, if he doesn’t run out of money first.

10. Rand Paul  U.S. Senator from Kentucky

Paul’s fundraising and poll numbers have tanked, leading to increased pressure that he abandon his presidential campaign and focus on his senate reelection, which is looking increasingly competitive.

Drop Out Watch:  Mike Huckabee, Lindsey Graham, George Pataki, Rick Santorum, Jim Gilmore


October 1, 2015

September 25, 2015

Why I’m Still Undecided

  6:00 am

As I’ve made clear as I have talked about the debates before, I am one of your few vocally undecided front page posters here at Race42016. But, why am I undecided? We have a seemingly nice field of candidates. Many who are polished and refined with some great experience. Yea, we also have Trump, but he’s the anomaly, not the norm. Well, I’ll tell you why I’m undecided – it’s all about specific concerns which I’ll go through.

No Executive Experience – We have a number of United States Senators in the race. That’s fine, the more the merrier – to a certain degree. That said, what experience does Marco Rubio have actually serving as an executive in any capacity? Or Rand Paul? Or Ted Cruz? Or Rick Santorum? Or Lindsey Graham? Their skill set would make them fine Vice Presidential candidates, even cabinet members, but for President? I would prefer a nominee with executive experience. Does that mean I’d vote against them in the general? No, but it makes me wary to jump onto a bandwagon for a candidate who has never served in an executive capacity – either in business or in a governing role.

No Political Experience – Trump, Carson, and Fiorina have one major thing in common – none of them have served in public office before. The last President who went from private citizen to President was Eisenhower. It was different, though, with Eisenhower as Eisenhower had vast military experience which directly correlated to the position of Commander in Chief. He also had experience in the Federal Government as the Chief of Staff of the Army as well as serving as the overseeing Governor of American occupied Germany immediately after World War II. Carson has absolutely no experience relevant to the position of President. Fiorina and Trump at least are businesspersons who have experience serving as executives, but running a business and running the nation are not exactly the same. Also, their lack of political experience means they will make mistakes on the campaign trail most rookies make which could turn tragic against the Clinton machine in the general. Would I vote against them in the general? Apart from Trump, no, but again – it will make it more difficult for them.

Not Fiscally Conservative Enough – Let’s be real about John Kasich, George Pataki, and Mike Huckabee – their governing experiences in their respective states are not fiscally conservative. They are centrists at best, and at times center left when you look at their full records in office. Increased government spending, taxes, fees – that’s what you saw in their respective states. And Kasich’s continued defense of embracing Obamacare in Ohio should be disqualifying enough for any Republican voter, in my opinion. Christie has a…mixed history on the state level including some expansion and some cutting, making him in the mushy middle. And while Jeb was mostly great on the state level, his stances lately on federal issues and some of the decisions he made toward the end of his tenure in Florida are enough to give me pause. This doesn’t even begin to mention Trump’s vast history of proposing increasing the size and scope of government (socialized healthcare, increased taxes) and his personal abuse of eminent domain. Again, in the general it becomes a different beast entirely and I’ll most likely come back to support the nominee; but when I review their views now, I have concerns.

Not Socially Conservative Enough – I will not vote for a pro-choice candidate. Period. That eliminates George Pataki, but the fact that I lived in New York during all 12 years of Pataki’s reign and his center-left fiscal record were enough to disqualify him already. Kasich likes to talk about having a “truce” on social issues and is unwilling to fight the good fight federally on Planned Parenthood, only coming reluctantly on the state level after it became a major campaign issue. Paul rarely talks social issues, to my disappointment. I want someone ready to fight, especially for the right to life. Being able to talk on this issue and being firmly pro-life is a must for me. I will not vote for a pro-choice Republican who I can’t trust to appoint justice to SCOTUS who are ready to fight against Roe vs Wade. This, again, doesn’t begin to mention Trump who has been on all sides of the issue of life, still stands behind the “good” Planned Parenthood can do, and has a history of supporting restrictions on gun rights. A pro-choice nominee is one I won’t vote for unless I can be adequately convinced we’ll get pro-life judges on SCOTUS. I have yet to meet a pro-choice candidate capable of doing that, Giuliani came the closest in 2008.

I Despise the Fair Tax – Between the fact that the government can vote to give people more money through the poorly thought out prebate to the fact that a national sales tax will get abuses to no end, I despise the Fair Tax. This alone, for me, disqualifies Huckabee. I can’t vote for someone who supports the Fair Tax for President.

Foreign Policy Disagreements – I do not trust Rand Paul on foreign policy. There, I said it. I disagree with his seemingly naive view that we can withdraw inward. In the second debate he sounded more pragmatic, but in terms of national security – he concerns me. Bush and Kasich seem to have unrealistic expectations out of what Iran will do. And Fiorina sounds bold and capable, but are her plans she proposed in the debate realistic or too big? Carson – he just isn’t well versed enough in foreign policy to give answers and we don’t need a President who’s still training on the issues; we need them ready and having a plan in place for Day 1.

Now, I get – there are no perfect candidates. If I wanted a perfect candidate who I agree with 100%, I should run myself. I don’t and being I’m 32, I’m not qualified to be President. That said, these are my personal concerns. It’s okay to have concerns. And from them taken together I’m unsure about who I’ll vote for in the primary. Gun to my head? No idea. Still. There are things I love about each of the candidates. I love Fiorina and Rubio’s ability to connect with voters on a personal level. I love the humility of Carson. I love the willingness to stand firm on personal liberty of Paul and Cruz, even at their own personal career’s expense. I love Rubio, Bush, Fiorina, and (oddly enough) Christie’s ability and willingness to boldly defend the unborn on life issues. I love fact that we’re discussing reforming the tax code from a conservative perspective. That said, their pluses so far have not outweighed my current concerns. I will wait as the campaign continues, watching the impressive field and see if any of them have great pluses as I see them campaign and debate which outweigh my concerns. Until that day, I remain on Team Undecided. Feel free to join me here. It’s not the worst place to be…


-Matthew Newman is an engineer and blogger who also writes at Old Line Elephant and Red Maryland. Follow Newman on Twitter @mdmrn.


September 23, 2015

September 18, 2015

An Undecided Republican’s Post-CNN Debate Thoughts

  6:00 am

Since I’m still the resident undecided Republican, I went into this debate still interested in hearing all the candidate’s out to make up my mind. For reference, here was my take on the first debate. Again, I start up front with a warning – I dislike Donald Trump as a candidate, so my bias will be showing through the rest. Also, I’m a social conservative – so those issues matter to me. Quite a bit. I also remain undecided, even after the debate. I’ll go through the candidates individually, then talk my overall take on who helped themselves, and who didn’t, in this debate.

  • Jeb Bush – Bush did better. He was more energetic, his swipes at Trump were pointed and logical. He defended himself better than in the previous debate, but at times he still came across as uncomfortable. There are some issues he just does not seem to feel comfortable talking about and on those issues, he falters. It is also clear he’s sick of talking about his brother’s tenure and the comparisons. I would be too, but he needs to get over it because HIS BROTHER WAS PRESIDENT. The comparisons are going to happen, there’s no avoiding it. Get over it and find a way to respond as gracefully as you can while pointing out your own record.
  • Ben Carson – Ben Carson’s soft-spoken demeanor came through poorly in the second debate. Given a lot more questions than previously, he answered them either in a wishy washy fashion at times or not at all. I thought he had the most to gain from a good performance and the most to lose with a bad one. I think he had a bad one. His policy answers showed a lack of understanding at times, or an unwillingness to really respond, especially on foreign policy. His tax policy answer where he basically said, “Flat tax, but maybe not…” was perhaps one of the weakest of the night. Also, he had the perfect opportunity as a doctor to shut down Trump’s harmful (and completely scientifically disproven) attempts to link vaccines to autism. When asked, “Should Trump stop?” the answer should have been, “Absolutely.” It wasn’t, that disappointed me. His closing wasn’t bad, but not as memorable as last time. I see him dropping in the polls after this debate.
  • Chris Christie – Christie did something I was not expecting. He focused hard and often on life issues. His pro-life stances, pro-life discussions were some of his most passionate and I appreciated this from Christie. Christie kept up being the foreign policy hawk and, frankly, I think does rather well in these “joint press conference” debate settings. Which, frankly, surprises me. In a setting like this, he doesn’t come across as abrasive as you would expect, but as a passionate fighter. He once again had exchanges with Rand Paul and, once again, I felt did better than Paul – including in legalizing marijuana where Christie looked like the grown up once again as Paul misconstrued Christie’s record on medical marijuana. As a person who came into this primary season ambivalent about Christie, how much I’ve liked him in the debates has been the shock for me of the primary season.
  • Ted Cruz – Ted Cruz was polished, well spoken, and…still not that exciting. He did better than the last debate, but as my wife who is also an undecided primary voter said – he was forgettable. When he spoke to issues he was passionate about, he was…okay. When he didn’t, he came across as a generic conservative politician. Which also surprised me, Cruz doesn’t seem generic, but in this setting – that’s how he feels. There’s nothing to really make him stand out, besides his continued unnecessary defense of Trump.
  • Carly Fiorina – Fiorina crushed it. No, really. Every answer she gave was on pretty much on point. She was passionate about life issues and pointed to the Planned Parenthood tapes. She was a defender of her record in a way which was not off-putting. She defended limited government. She had good, memorable answers. And she was the only one with the chutzpah in the room to say that putting a woman on the $10 bill felt like it was pandering and a gimmick. She had a great, personal response on the drug war. I get why she got the poll jump after the first debate, I foresee a big one as a wider audience was introduced to her.
  • Mike Huckabee – Huckabee continues to be Huckabee. He’s got a folksy charm and loves to talk about the Fair Tax. That’s about it. His defense of Kim Davis was underwhelming at best. There was a point to be made there (that she could have been accommodated like she is right now from the beginning where she could have others sign off on the licenses, but was denied it), but that wasn’t really made.
  • John Kasich – I think Kasich was off-putting and abrasive at times, which was surprising with how he did in the previous debate. His answers on foreign policy were weak and, in some cases, non-answers to the questions. Kasich came across as a more of a generic moderate politician, not as the active uniter he tried to present himself in the first debate. I don’t think it helped, but I’m unsure if he was memorable enough to have been hurt.
  • Rand Paul – Rand Paul continues to, when he had time, to serve as the libertarian alternative. He did better than he did last time, but still wasn’t great. He was a bit of a one trick pony with his answers and felt canned. His exchange with Christie on medical marijuana was repetitive and, frankly, wasn’t very persuasive. His responses on foreign policy left much to be desired for people with even the smallest inkling of being a foreign policy hawk.
  • Marco Rubio – Rubio sometimes feels too good in these debates, especially by comparison. But, seriously, he did incredibly well. He was personal, polite, well versed on foreign policy, great on life issues, and very well spoken. I don’t know what else to say about it other than that – nice work, Senator.
  • Donald Trump – Trump did better than in the previous debate. That’s not saying much. I think his hardcore supporters opinions won’t change, but I think average Americans who were on the fence will be left wanting. His rolling his eyes at other candidates, his unwillingness to apologize to Columba Bush for his rude comments, his strange comment where he called Fiorina attractive (and Fiorina’s takedown of Trump’s comment with a quick one-liner) are not going to win him any points. Him continuing to embrace junk science on immunizations is infuriatingly foolish. I hope we start to see the Trump bubble burst, but what do I know. I never understood the draw to the liberalism of Trump and I still don’t.
  • Scott Walker – I asked my wife after watching the entire debate with me having verbal commentary the entire time what she thought about Scott Walker. Her answer: Who was that? He wasn’t memorable. His answers weren’t terrible. His discussion of his record, his plans he put forward, even his answers on foreign policy were well thought out and given adequately. But that’s just it – it was only adequate. He didn’t shine, he just was kind of there and that seems to be his problem this entire campaign so far. The man was elected Governor of Wisconsin 3 times in 4 years and has a solid record. I don’t see how that person could be the same person we’re seeing in these debates.

Based on my review of the debate last night, here’s my thoughts on how everyone did.

Helped Themselves A Lot: Fiorina, Rubio

Helped Themselves a Little: Bush, Christie

Did No Harm: Cruz, Huckabee, Trump, Walker

Did A Little Harm: Kasich, Paul

Crashed and Burned: Carson

Add in your comments below if you want, but be polite.


-Matthew Newman is an engineer and blogger who also writes at Old Line Elephant and Red Maryland. Follow Newman on Twitter @mdmrn.


September 17, 2015


  12:13 pm

1. Marco Rubio  U.S. Senator from Florida

Sen. Rubio holds the top spot in the rankings for his continued performance and potential, outshining his main rivals among the establishment. Rubio’s steady campaign has remained under the radar and disciplined while his main rivals, Scott Walker and Jeb Bush, have seen their favorability and electability numbers tank. The addition of Lanhee Chen to the senator’s foreign policy team is just the latest indication that the major influence leaders in the party are shifting towards Rubio. His favorability, debate performances, fundraising, and organization combine to make Rubio the best and most complete package the establishment could ask for.

2. Donald Trump  Chairman and President of The Trump Organization 

Trump’s campaign appears to have hit a ceiling this month, struggling to find more low-information voters to add to his carnival show. Trump stumbled badly when confronted on Foreign Policy 101 by radio host Hugh Hewitt, and added to his image as a misogynist with a misguided attack on Carly Fiorina’s looks. Trump’s bad month culminated in a humiliating defeat in the second GOP debate, where his  incoherent policy ideas and childish personal attacks left him the clear loser with nowhere to go but down.

3. Jeb Bush  former Governor of Florida

Gov. Bush slips further in the rankings, held up only by the strength of his financial advantage. Bush got the worse of a number of ill-advised exchanges with Trump, seeing his favorability and electability numbers crash. Rumors of the establishment abandoning Bush for a new candidate continue to grow, with even calls to draft former Gov. Mitt Romney once again rising among the donor class. Bush failed to reassure his supporters with another halting, awkward debate performance, though he handled himself better than in his first debate loss. Still, Bush continues to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, an establishment scion running in the most anti-establishment climate in a generation.

4. Ted Cruz  U.S. Senator from Texas

Like Rubio, Cruz continues to move methodically, aiming to be the last conservative alternative standing. He’s built strong ties with evangelical and Tea Party leaders and could be the candidate who benefits the most from Donald Trump’s continued humiliation. His anti-Washington crusade has been strong in both the debates and on the stump, and the longer he flies under the radar, the more likely he is to be one of the last candidates standing.

5. Carly Fiorina  former CEO of Hewlett-Packard

After dominating the first “Kid’s Table” debate, Fiorina went on to dominate the second main debate. With a better grasp of the issues than fellow outsiders Ben Carson and Donald Trump, and a more polished style, the former CEO will continue to rise, and will likely end up in the first tier by the time of the next debate.

6. John Kasich  Governor of Ohio

Kasich’s small surge in New Hampshire has cooled off some as other candidates have begun going up on the air. The Ohio governor has added more establishment endorsements, continuing to chip away at Jeb Bush’s only strength. However, Gov. Kasich had a bad night in the second debate, and his answers on Iran will likely come back to hurt him throughout the primaries.

7. Ben Carson  former Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital 

Dr. Carson’s personable style has quietly earned him a large following on the right, but his weakness on foreign affairs will continue to weigh him down and leave him unable to capitalize on his surprising poll strength. His apology to Donald Trump after their brief exchange over religion doesn’t help his case as a strong leader.

8. Scott Walker  Governor of Wisconsin

Walker’s slide turned into a nose-dive this month, with his flip-flopping and uneven performances continuing to dog him. He is fast becoming 2016’s Rick Perry; a good-on-paper conservative governor who flopped on the national stage.

9. Chris Christie  Governor of New Jersey

The New Jersey governor is on the brink of falling out of the main stage debates, and he has launched a national advertising push in order to stave off elimination. His strong debate performance will likely give him a lifeline as will the continued implosion of Jeb Bush’s candidacy.

10. Rand Paul  U.S. Senator from Kentucky

Paul has fast become an asterisk in the race, and could very well be bumped to the “Kid’s Table” debate next month. His confrontations with Trump have done nothing to move his numbers, and his fundraising has all but dried up. He may follow Perry out of the race rather than being relegated to the lower tier.

Drop Out Watch:  Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal, Lindsey Graham, George Pataki, Rick Santorum, Jim Gilmore


September 13, 2015

Does Huckabee Have More Residual Strength than We’re Giving Him Credit for?

  3:29 pm

It has become an article of faith among many political observers (among every political observer here on the Hovic estate) that Mike Huckabee is a spent force, past his shelf date, yesterday’s man, fill in your own favorite. The numbers thus far seem to bear that out – even before the Rise of Trump, Huckabee was wallowing in the mid single digits.

Byron York takes a contrarian view in the Washington Examiner and, right or wrong, it’s worth considering. York is discussing the recent event for Kim Davis’s release from jail.

But there was something else going on in Grayson this week that had little to do with constitutional law. Whatever else it was, the Davis rally was a show of organizational strength by the Huckabee campaign. Drawing 5,000 people to a rally in a tiny town — the schools were closed in anticipation of the crowds and congestion — is no small achievement. And by doing the heavy organizational lifting, the Huckabee team brought together a number of social conservative groups that could play key roles in Huckabee’s drive to solidify evangelical support in the Iowa caucuses and beyond.

The Huckabee team worked with the Family Research Council, Concerned Women for America, the National Organization for Marriage and other groups. Huckabee aides say the campaign got in touch with more than 750 churches in Kentucky, West Virginia, Indiana, Tennessee, Georgia, Ohio and North Carolina. That’s a lot of ministers who might be called on in the future. The team also sent out millions of emails — all in a frenzied long weekend of organizing.

That’s an organizational achievement that’s worth noting.

I got a chuckle out of this bit of hardball:

The rally was such a big deal that Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Tex.— Huckabee’s rival for evangelical votes — tried at the last minute to grab a role in it. Cruz traveled to Grayson and wanted to speak to the crowd. But he was physically blocked from doing so by a Huckabee advance man. There was no way the Huckabee campaign was going to work like mad for several days to organize an event and then give another candidate the stage.

Maybe there’s a bit more left in Huck’s tank than we’re giving him credit for.

HT: Mac (Mac posted a link to this two or three days ago, but I just got around to reading it last night — my apologies).


September 11, 2015

Huckabee: Dred Scott is “Still the Law of the Land”

  11:16 am

Well, it’s been a while since we’ve had a good old-fashioned Huckabee scandal to follow up on the Duggars and his “door to the oven” comments. So why not turn to the topic of African-Americans and display an utter lack of knowledge and understanding of our court system?

Mike Huckabee on Thursday said the Dred Scott decision denying U.S. citizenship to African-Americans is the law of the land.

Huckabee mentioned the Supreme Court decision as he defended Kentucky clerk Kim Davis’s decision to defy the court’s ruling on gay marriage and refuse to issue marriage licenses.

“The Dred Scott decision of 1857 still remains to this day the law of the land, which says that black people aren’t fully human,” Huckabee told radio show host Michael Medved. “Does anybody still follow the Dred Scott Supreme Court decision?”

The problem with Huckabee’s analysis, of course, is that the Dred Scott decision was overturned by the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment — so it most assuredly is not the law of the land, and in fact hasn’t been the law of the land for almost 150 years now.

I assume the point Huckabee was trying to make was this: sometimes the Supreme Court makes incorrect rulings. Huckabee clearly thinks Obergefell was one of those incorrect rulings, and therefore, civil disobedience to that ruling is right and desirable.

The irony that I cannot stop chuckling about this morning, though, is the Supreme Court decided Obergefell by citing the Fourteenth Amendment — the same amendment Huckabee is completely unaware of in his comments on the Dred Scott case.

You can’t make this stuff up.

Beyond that, of course, Huckabee’s comparison of Obergefell with Dred Scott is logically inconsistent anyways: the Dred Scott decision limited rights to a subpopulation; the Obergefell decision guaranteed rights to one. As many others have pointed out, Kim Davis (and folks supporting her, like Mike Huckabee) are less like Rosa Parks and more like George Wallace standing in the schoolhouse door. There is a fundamental difference between civil disobedience for the purpose of granting rights, and civil disobedience for the purpose of denying rights.

The worst part of this for Huckabee, however, might be the headlines people will read: essentially, unless someone digs into the story, what they will see is “Huckabee says Dred Scott is the Law of the Land,” which equates to, “Huckabee thinks black people shouldn’t be citizens.” That’s not at all what Huckabee was saying, but that’s how the headlines will come across.

Someone needs to hand Huckabee a copy of the Fourteenth Amendment, stat – so he can understand both Dred Scott and Obergefell and stop making these ridiculous comments. (After that, though, they better also hand him a copy of the Nineteenth and Twenty-Sixth Amendments so he doesn’t start talking about how the Fourteenth Amendment says only males over the age of 21 can vote…)



September 10, 2015

Struggling Huckabee’s Pot Calls the Kettle Black

  2:26 am

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee’s fledgling presidential campaign is rapidly approaching desperation mode. Lagging in the polls and seeing the likes of Ted Cruz, Donald Trump and Ben Carson gobble up his supporters, the former Fox News host, and holder of many liberal positions, took to Kentucky today to rally support for Kim Davis.

If you may recall, Mrs. Davis was dismissed from her clerk position for … wait for it … failing to do her job. She was also – unjustly in the opinion of yours truly – jailed for said transgression.

This incident gave Gov. Huckabee the opportunity to stoke the flames of the religious far-right, his (only) base of support. Mrs. Davis’ outright refusal to perform the tasks assigned to her, and her subordinates, in the name of “religious liberty” helped advance the silly assertion from a losing and dying faction in U.S. politics that there exists in present-day America a  “War on Christians.” Much like the Democrat Party’s invented “War on Women,” the “War on Christians” is lacking almost entirely in merit and is provides nothing more but an opportunity for partisans like Huckabee to nakedly pander to the ill-informed.

As part of his PR push, Gov. Huckabee appeared this evening on Fox News’ The Kelly File to discuss his rally in support of Mrs. Davis. Video of said interview can be found HERE. After airing a series of clips that showed left-wing pundits and celebrities behaving in the (always asinine and invariably infantile) manner that left-wing pundits and celebrities frequently do, Gov. Huckabee said the following:

“Kim and her husband are not like those people with such judgmental, hateful attitudes towards people they don’t know and don’t understand. But this is the world we are living in, if a person has the convictions of Kim Davis, Christian convictions, biblical convictions, they’re considered to be ignorant, backwoods. Well I’m more happy to stand with Kim and her husband than I any of those snobs who look down their nose at them or at me, let it be.”

Does that not strike anyone else as entirely hypocritical? It is as classic a case as I have seen of, to borrow a popular metaphor, the pot calling the kettle black.

Gov. Huckabee and his ilk routinely judge and condemn those that are different from them, homosexuals especially. This crowd does not refer to gays and lesbians as “ignorant” or “backwoods” but rather as “sinners,” “freaks,” “weirdos” and, my personal favorite, “not God’s children.” They attempt to deny same-sex couples the basic, equal rights that given to all of us under the Constitution.

Without getting into a theological discussion here, I wanted to open up the forum to the Race family to discuss this issue. Is the religious right, or at least some of its more radical and bombastic elements, finally seeing what it is like when the shoe is on the other foot?


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