If only Huckabee…

March 10, 2010

I just finished reading Mike Huckabee’s memoir of the campaign trail, called Do the Right Thing.  It is perhaps even more instructive now than a year ago.  How much different the country would have been if he had been allowed to become President!

As he wrote about how much they were able to do on so little money, I was reminded of a letter and a blog post* I wrote as the Texas primary approached.  I noted that both the Texas and Ohio Leagues of Women Voters had excluded Mike Huckabee from their voter’s guide to the candidates simply because he hadn’t raised or spent enough money.  Their standard of viability was how fast the candidate burned through cash.

At the time, I noted that the League of Women Voters prided themselves as a nonpartisan political organization. They claim they have “fought since 1920 to improve our systems of government and impact public policies through citizen education and advocacy”.  I called their exclusion of the number 2 candidate – even from a quickly editable website – “an aggregeous act of electioneering, an unconscionable interference with the political process.”

And so, voters in Texas were not given opportunity to weigh the common sense ideas of Mr Huckabee, and America lost.

I found Do the Right Thing at my local library.  I’m sure you can find it there or at the bookstore.  Either way, it’s worth the effort to read.

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* I started this particular blog to be a member of Huck’s Army and one of his unpaid bloggers.  I’ve done quite a bit of blogging since then, but without the inspiration of Arkansas’ former Governor, I’d be talking to myself.

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Huckabee Writes What We Already Knew

November 23, 2008

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.”

Sources:  Boston Herald, Wall Street Journal Market Watch, MSNBC,


Change to what?

July 31, 2008

I got an email from Mike Huckabee today. It poses an interesting question: If Barack Obama is the “change” candidate, what is he changing from, and to? Does he have an agenda, or just a tagline?

Here’s the message:

“Someone asked me recently to describe Barack Obama’s Agenda. The question caught me off guard, because if you think about it, he’s been running as the “change candidate” and yet no one I know understands what change he is aiming for. His Agenda remains shrouded in mystery. For instance, gasoline prices are at historic highs and yet he hasn’t articulated a plan of action to help American families.

“What we do know about Barack Obama’s agenda, is that he favors higher taxes, supports abortion, believes the federal government should be bigger and has embraced a foreign policy that would make Jane Fonda proud. We also know he was rated by National Journal as the most liberal Senator because of his voting record. According to their ranking, even Bernie Sanders, Vermont’s Socialist Senator, isn’t as liberal as Barack Obama. No kidding.”

So who has an answer for Mike? Does Obama have an agenda that makes sense?


The problem with binary labels

June 30, 2008

What did we learn from the primaries?

Over at Dutch 4 Huckabee, he says the neoconservatives who refused to support Huckabee’s candidacy – even worked actively against it in favor of less conservative political insiders – may have shot themselves in the foot.  He cites analysis pulled a February Christian Science Monitor article on the Huckabee problem.

The Monitor describes the stereotype this way:

“Conventional wisdom has held that evangelicals are driven by a single-minded concern with defending ‘moral values,’ while mainline Protestants focus on issues of social and economic justice.”

Mike Huckabee’s views are more accurate to the modern Evangelical position of the collective defending the “widows and orphans”, especially on moral issues like crime and oppression, and relying on the individual’s diligent work ethic to not be a burden on society for those things the average citizen should be able to take care of.  That means lower taxes, less Government intrusion into issues of conscience, positions the modern Democrat party opposes with their interpretation and extension of Johnson’s Great Society.

The problem with binary labels (left/right, conservative/liberal or religious/secular) is that anytime we let our adversary (that includes the media) define who we are and don’t challenge them, we let their misinterpretation stand.  Huckabee was closer to traditional religious conservatism, but the country – and even the party – had become so secular, they didn’t recognize what would have been taken for granted just a few years ago.

McCain or Obama, the mainstream evangelical – the heart of the religious conservative movement – will feel left out in this election.  Huckabee is right to focus on an ideas campaign, to be ready for the election of 2012,


An Unconventional Campaign

April 26, 2008

I read CBS news reporter Joy Lin’s article about the Huckabee campaign.  It’s an especially good overview.  As one of the thousands of spontaneous volunteers that defied pundits, I’d say she nailed it.

Politics, at its worst, is about deceit and manipulation, but if Romney’s greenbacks and political influence could not determine the caucus outcome, then Huckabee’s win seemed to affirm the power of the ordinary individual to decide the kind of man and the message they wanted to vote for. With that, a certain corner of the public imagination peeled open to expose a whole realm of possibilities: what could a campaign do with little money and a threadbare infrastructure? Did this mean ordinary contributions of only $20 could make a real difference in the campaign? Was it possible to organize successful phone banks online?

Huckabee’s campaign was so non-conventional, the Texas and Ohio League of Women Voters refused to include him in their voter guide because “he hadn’t collected enough money to be considered viable,” even after he’d won several states and emerged as one of the top delegate getters.

Quoting Joy Lin:Huckabee’s win seemed to defy the most clinical components of campaign success: money, experience, organizational strength, and coziness with establishment insiders.


The Choice – Self Government or Big Government

April 15, 2008

Tonight (April 14) former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee spoke to a crowd of almost a thousand at Union College as part of the college’s Speakers Forum.  It revealed much about why he believes what he believes.

One point that is already making news is a belief in the value of personal responsibility. 

Mike Huckabee said that “When people make rational, moral choices then there is little need for government.”  He elaborated by saying “One of the reasons we have such an extraordinary level of government is because we have failed to self-govern.”

Huckabee also noted the cost of this lack of personal responsibility.  Big government is expensive, and the actions of a few costs all of society.

He also introduced us to his version of what he calls “Hucktown,” where people are hard-working, educated, and don’t commit crime.  I Hucktown, there is no need for government regulation beyond the provisions of basic necessities.

To this reporter, the message of tonight’s speech tells as much about our society as it does the man who recently ended his presidential campaign.  Too many Americans have come to accept “Big Government” as the way things have to be, and have no language anymore to understand the concepts of limited rule.

But wouldn’t it be nice?

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p.s. – The Schenectady Daily Gazette posted an interesting caption to their picture of the event.  An affable Mike Huckabee in suit but no tie stopped to greet members of the media before a press conference.  It’s so refreshing to see a politician who genuinely likes people as people, not as a means to an end of getting elected.

Sources:  Schenectady Times Union and Schenectady Daily Gazette


An opportunity wasted

March 30, 2008

Intersting article in this week’s World Magazine (Apr 5 08, Vol 23, Nbr 7). With a cover headline”Shattered Dreams”, the article to read is titled “Divided We Stand.”

Warren Cole Smith’s article on the recently-concluded Republican nomination process is an interesting post-portem on the race.

The room—which had been taken over by argument and side-conversations—became suddenly quiet. (Paul) Weyrich, a Romney supporter and one of those (Michael) Farris (of the Home School Legal Defense Association) had chastised for not supporting Huckabee, steered his wheelchair to the front of the room and slowly turned to face his compatriots. In a voice barely above a whisper, [Weyrich] said, “Friends, before all of you and before almighty God, I want to say I was wrong.”

In a quiet, brief, but passionate speech, Weyrich essentially confessed that he and the other leaders should have backed Huckabee, a candidate who shared their values more fully than any other candidate in a generation. He agreed with Farris that many conservative leaders had blown it. By chasing other candidates with greater visibility, they failed to see what many of their supporters in the trenches saw clearly: Huckabee was their guy.

Huckabee could not gain traction among the religious right leaders who could have generated the financial backing he needed to run a national campaign. Either they didn’t like this position or that. He wasn’t tested yet. He was an unknown.

James Dobson refused to endorse anyone, only coming out for Huckabee as the campaign drew to a close. Gary Bauer, the political kingmaker, supported Thompson, and when Thomposn quit, wrote an email depricating to all other canidates, saying Thompson “was the one candidate who understood Reagan conservatism and who appealed to all three segments of the Reagan coalition—social conservatives, economic conservatives and defense conservatives.”

And even though Bill Owens, founder and president of the Coalition of African-American Pastors, said that McCain “has no clue what we’re about,”there remained no groundswell of support, choosing instead to go with McCain.

And now we have the candidate we’re stuck with, hoping against hope the Democrats implode. Any wonder so many are considering staying home this year?
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Thanks to TrueBeliever for pointing me this way, and to OneMom, for finding it for him.