During the primaries last year, I was among the many who wondered about Romney, whether he was able to be a leader, or only a corporate raider.
Now, opponent Mike Huckabee has given us a behind-the-scenes look that confirms our suspicions. Do the Right Thing (subtitled “Inside the Movement That’s Bringing Common Sense Back to America”) started as a manifesto for a “smarter, fairer type of politics.” He says it’s not right versus left, but instead it’s what he calls “vertical politics” – connecting the people with the leaders.
He also talks about how the other candidates, those that acted like leaders and those who were merely candidates. For example, he says Romney was less than gracious in defeat during the Iowa caucus.
“We were backstage waiting for the concession from him to go on stage and do the victory speech. The networks were all pushing us, the newspapers were pushing us – everybody had deadlines,” Huckabee said. “I thought it a bit impolite to go out and claim victory without a concession. That’s an unwritten rule. It was one of those things. I was somewhat surprised. Generally, when you’re in a tight contest, there’s a tradition of calling and conceding. It’s a way to congratulate that person. In a way it characterized his campaign.
“I don’t think he ever really regarded me with much respect and ever really took me seriously.”
Huckabee also thought Romney was out of touch with voters. In one debate, on the issue of helping the economy, Romney didn’t seem keen on helping the average American.
“I stood there in stunned silence when he went into his well-prepared, programmed answer about how we needed to invest more in high-yield stocks,” he writes. “That moment was perhaps the single most revealing of what was wrong with our party. We had people leading us who knew the country club, but not Sam’s Club.”
Huckabee is now on a sold-out booksigning tour. A friend of mine said the lines in Oklahoma City were long and early, and the store sold out. Huckabee brought an extra thousand books, and sold them as well.
Even so, Huckabee took time to speak to each supporter. Brian Summers, a former campaign staffer, was noticed in the crowd, and commented on how Huckabee waited to greet everyone who wanted an autographed copy of the book.
“He stayed here until everybody was done. [It] was the same way on the campaign trail. We never left anybody in line who did not get a chance to meet him.”