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,


How the Republican Party Machine Lost Their Way

October 27, 2008

First it was rampant spending for the war without cutting back at home.  Then the party was afraid of the best candidates – Huckabee and Romney, falling back on giving McCain his turn.  Romney supporters didn’t fully trust McCain and Huckabee supporters considered boycotting the election.  All because the party in power didn’t really want to be reformed.

The selection Palin as VP surprised a lot of people.  There are some poor choices she’s made in the past that should have been caught before her name was announced, and gave fodder for the Democrat operatives.  But it was the kind of un-managed selection that energized the base and pulled them back into the election.

Until the party bosses got ahold of her.

$150,000 for new clothes!  She would have been more genuine in the same three outfits over and over.  Show off her working class cred instead of trying to act like the Washington elite she railed against so often.

She’s got a great message, and is a great debater on issues, but the party has coached her into saying nothing.  No press conferences.  No town halls.  Few independent campaign appearances (don’t want to out-draw the headliner!)

The party advisers are also telling McCain to stump tired speeches over and over.  He was unimpressive in the debate and looks like an angry old guy on the campaign trail, so much that “thoughtful Obama” almost doesn’t have to campaign any more.  He expects to get to the top job on momentum.

And if Obama wins, the Republican party bosses can go back to their comfortable back rooms and pat each other on the back.  The “maverick reformer” will be returned to the back bench for the remainder of his Senate term and then retire to obscurity.  Palin they assume is damaged enough they’ll never have to hear from her again.

The seeds of a 2010 mid-term election upset are already planted.  Look for fertilizer next spring.

Countering Obama-Biden (Palin or Watts)

August 25, 2008

There’s a fanciful (fake) press release running around the net purporting that McCain should pick Romney for Secy of Treasury and Huckabee as VP. It would be nice, but ain’t gonna happen.

Also, it’s not good for the party. Who do we have that counters a “nice” black man (to use Biden’s words)? Who do we have that would draw the disaffected women’s votes? Neither Huckabee or Romney fills either condition. For all the good either could do, as second banana to McCain, it’s not a good match.

(NOTE: I like Huckabee. I still have the sticker on my car (but not much longer). I just don’t think he adds the best balance for the party or the country.)

Who would I choose? I like Sarah Palin and JC Watts.

Listen to how Wikipedia describes Governor Sarah Palin (R-Alaska):

“Palin was the point guard for the Wasilla High School Warriors when they won the Alaska small-school basketball championship, in 1982. In 1984, she competed in the Miss Alaska beauty pageant after winning the Miss Wasilla contest earlier that year. In the Wasilla pageant, she played the flute and also won Miss Congeniality. Palin holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Idaho. She briefly worked in the media and utility industries.

“Governor Palin holds a lifetime membership with the National Rifle Association. Her husband, Todd, works for BP at an oil field on the North Slope and is a commercial fisherman. On September 11, 2007, the Palins’ son Track joined the Army. Age 18 at the time, he is the eldest of her five children. She also has three daughters, Bristol, 17, Willow, 13, and Piper, 7. On April 18, 2008, Palin gave birth to her second son, Trig Paxson Van Palin, who has Down syndrome. The Palin family lives in Wasilla, about 40 miles north of Anchorage.”

In short, she is a woman, a wife, a mother of 5, co-owner in her husband’s fishing business, and a successful Christian governor in an otherwise corrupt state government. (And she’s good looking – even in jeans and work boots.)

Maybe Palin won’t leave Alaska, where she has an 85% approval rating. Let’s turn, then, to JC Watts.

JC Watts was a college and football star quarterback (Univ of Okla and Canadian Football league), was a Baptist Youth Pastor, and served 4 terms in the US house before returning home to take care of family and run a successful business in a small city; he’s an eloquent, savvy, handsome black man with solid evangelical and conservative credentials.

In Congress, he served as Chairman of the House Republican Conference (the 4th highest ranking position). And in a 1998 interview with the NY Times, he chastised some black Democrats and civil rights leaders as “race-hustling poverty pimps”, whose careers he said depend on keeping blacks dependent on the government.


Either Sarah Palin or JC Watts would provide balance to McCain and appropriately counter the Obama ticket. Few others out there would do near as well.

Politics of Making Nice

March 29, 2008

“In a show of Republican unity, one-time bitter foes John McCain and Mitt Romney raised money and campaigned together Thursday for a single goal — getting McCain elected president.”

So begins an article by Liz Sidoti for the Associated Press on March 27. It shows how far politicians will bend “core principles” to get elected. For Romeny’s part, he dropped out of the Presidential race after assuming he couldn’t beat McCain. But while he was in the race, there was no love lost. Romney repeatedly said McCain was outside of the GOP’s conservative mainstream, and called him a Washington insider, someone who caused the probelms now needing fixing. McCain shot back that Romney’s positions on issues seemed to come only after he decided to run for President.

Oddly, it was McCain’s charges were prophetic. He said that Romney’s flipflops “indicated a willingness to change his positions to fit his political goals.” It is that willingness that lets Romney sit next to McCain on the campaign airplane Sidoti noted “They sat next to each other and ate turkey sandwiches. They laughed and talked during the hourlong flight, and were complimentary of each other when talking to reporters traveling with McCain.”

It seems clear the reversal is a bid by Romney to become McCain’s Vice President. “Romney lauded McCain and promised to do all he can to help, saying: “He is a man who is proven and tested” and without question the right man to be president.”

Lesson on being UNremarkable

March 16, 2008

In a normal year, the candidate with the most money, the one who raises the most money, is usually the winner, or at least is a front runner.

This year isn’t normal.  At least not for the Republicans.  In mid-summer 2007, John McCain ran out of money, and almost had to quit.  Mike Huckabee, the former Governor of Arkansas, lasted until March 2008 spending only $12M total! Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney matched the $60M he raised with $40M of his own money, and quit in December.

Ron Paul, the last challenger to John McCain to leave  the race, raised almost $33M.  But  he only managed 14 delegates.  What happened?

It wasn’t dedication of his supporters.  Only Huckabee’s grass roots army came close to the sheer fanaticism of Ron Paul’s supporters.  Banners on overpasses.  Disrupting other candidates’ press events.   One-liners on blogs.

According to David Larisonhe wasted his time. In a race he should have had to himself, he routinely scored at the bottom. 

His issues were very much the same as when he ran previously as a Libertarian. Lock down the border.  Bring the troops home from Iraq – and all foreign entanglements.  Restore the gold standard.  Limited government.

But in the end, there was only one issue.  Hatred for Bush and Bush’s policies.  It didn’t even seem to matter if Paul won. “He, and his voters, wanted to make a huge, un-ignorable statement, grab delegates, shift the party their way so that the inevitable terrible nominee was at least looking over his shoulder at them.”

Ron Paul spent  2/3 of his campaign cash with no results.  He should have been able to lead the thought war.  He could have used that last $6M to blanket the airwaves with issue ads.  Instead, he kind of faded away.

Larison says “The Paul campaign seemed to fall under its own spell: its candidate was so obviously honest, and had been talking about this stuff for so long, that surely the voters would realize this and spot him in a sea of phonies. But that isn’t how campaigns work.”

Close, but…Wait!

February 14, 2008

The media said it was all over.  All week long, everyone said Huckabee was done, had no following, couldn’t win. 

Some people believed him.  I talked to a lady who voted for McCain even though she supported Huckabee, because the news told her Huck couldn’t win. 

Even McCain started believing the press.  That is, until the returns started coming in.  As John himself said, Huckabee was a strong competitor, and almost won Virginia.  And did it without having to go negative on the other candidates.

But we lost Tuesday.  Not by much, but enough in a winner-take-all state.  It is increasingly unlikely Gov Huckabee can win outright before the convention.  But it’s not a sure thing that Sen McCain will will outright.  And if no one wins before the Convention, it’s possible the convention itself could choose the candidate from among all those who have not withdrawn. 

So who hasn’t withdrawn?  McCain, Huckabee, Paul … and Romney (who only suspended his campaign).  If we make it to the convention, any one of these four could become the candidate.

Any one of those four could become an embarrassment to the party in the next few months.  Remember John Dean’s scream?  Allen’s “Macaca” comment? Nixon sweating during the questioning in the debate?

The only thing I know for sure is that I can trust Mike Huckabee to be articulate, consistent … and gracious.

I’m also sure Mike Huckabee will not back down.  He knows he has an army of volunteers who emerge from the woodwork to confound the pundits.  He knows he can run a campaign on short money, because when all you say is the truth, it makes news.

2-man Race!

February 8, 2008

It’s a full-court offensive now, and the opposition isn’t even subtle. My local paper has their breaking news headline saying “Romney suspends run, McCain gets GOP nod.

It’s not true.

Daily even said there’s no reason for the Virginia primary now. I disagree. I know that without Romney, there is now only one Conservative candidate with a chance of winning. Conservatives should turn their attention to Mike Huckabee if they want change in government.

Romney did not pledge his delegates to McCain. Even if he did, those delegates are not obligated to vote at the convention for someone their state did not pick. Those delegates are in effect now “free agents.” In a sense, McCain is in even worse shape than if Romney had stayed in.

Gov Romney thought he could buy an election. He raised $88M- half of it his own money – and spent most of it. Gov Huckabee has raised a total of $8M, a tenth as much, and has about a million in reserves right now. Romney’s message was that we could spend our way out of a recession. Huckabee’s message remains that the solution is to empower the people and give them a cause worth working for, and they will solve the solution themselves.

Governor Huckabee is the only Republican with the ideas and leadership needed to make a radical change for the better in America. And he’s in it for the long haul. He’s not burning through his kids’ inheritance for a shot at glory. He’s got his kids working side by side him in the fight to become the country’s next servant leader.

I for one am not giving up.