Conservative Colloquium

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Posts Tagged ‘Huckabee’

Huckabee is a Liar: Romney Supported the Troop Surge First

Posted by Tony Listi on January 6, 2008

Huckabee Said He Supported The Surge Before Romney:

“I supported the president in the war before you did. I supported the surge when you didn’t.” (ABC/WMUR, Republican Presidential Candidate Debate, Manchester, NH, 1/5/08) 

Huckabee lies:

“Well, I’m not sure that I support the troop surge if that surge has to come from our Guard and Reserve troops which have really been overly stretched, but I…blah blah blah”

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Choice Between Huckabee or McCain? God Forbid

Posted by Tony Listi on January 6, 2008

Is the Choice Huckabee or McCain?
It seems clear that we should do all we can to help revive the Romney campaign.

By John O’Sullivan

I was struck down by the family gastric flu at around 4:00 P.M. in New York. By the time I had hobbled back to my Washington apartment, I was not in the sunniest of moods – but I was in exactly the right mood for the Iowa results, namely a sour determination not to be swept away by a very strongly based mood affecting everyone. Let me resist it: If we stand back, the basic message of the Iowa caucuses seems to be that the race is slightly open on the Democrat side and wide open on the Republican side.

On the Democrat side Hillary has lost two precious assets: the inevitability factor and the competence factor. She is no longer the front runner; Obama is. Inevitability was taken from her by the voters, and competence by Obama who has delivered several coolly effective put-downs to her in candidate debates.

Until now Obama has been the most popular of the candidates in all the parties; voters shrank from voting for him only because he was young and inexperienced. He still seems young, but he no longer seems inexperienced. That gives millions of voters across the spectrum permission to overcome their doubts and vote for Obama now. They already wanted to do that in order to demonstrate that neither they nor America are guilty of racism.

Obama possibly overplayed this theme in his victory speech which was, if anything, too self-consciously historic. He need not stress that theme overmuch since the media will stress it for him. And he take a very slight risk of cheapening a powerful message — and losing the plot — if he is seen to bully voters morally into his voting column, however gently.

Edwards is finished since Obama makes the same point without seeming to hate other Americans. So Hillary will have to fight hard without seeming to do so in order to stay the course. Nothing is over yet — and my taxi driver told me that the Democrats would somehow be forced to choose Hillary even if Obama won all the primaries. But that was yesterday’s paranoid orthodoxy.

Huckabee made the best speech of the evening — personal, direct, untechnical, and designed — well, seemingly not designed but effortlessly succeeding in reaching people who generally tune politicians out. It even contained a quote from G. K. Chesterton which will endear him to conservative Catholics.

Huckabee himself is the single best reason to vote for him. He is a first-rate natural politician, charming, shrewd, and full of surprises. He is right to focus on economic security — and on issues such as health care — both because the voters care about them but also because they are really important issues. Conservatives like me are reasonably worried that many of his actual policies will not solve the problems he correctly identifies. That will be solved (or it won’t be solved) in the following ways: either Huckabee will talk to conservatives and gradually move towards better policies or he will lose to other candidates — of whom three are seriously still in the race.

Romney was badly damaged by the result. After spending so much he ought to have done better. He now limps into New Hampshire. But his concession on FOX was not merely gracious, it was gallant and endearing. It seemed to me to refute the argument (heard from his conservative admirers as well as from others) that he has every good quality except likeability. I believe him when he says that he will fight on to the end — and that means we may not know who the candidate will be until the convention.

John McCain sweeps into New Hampshire now as the favorite, helped by the damage to Romney, not seriously harmed by the continuing rise of Huckabee (whom he probably hopes will be his last opponent standing), delighted to see the now terminal decline of Giuliani, and hopeful that Fred Thompson will abandon the fight and throw him his support. I argued yesterday that McCain’s victory would be a disaster for conservatives. He owes us nothing and has shown contempt for our opinions. That looks even more true after Iowa.

It seems clear that we should do all we can to help revive the Romney campaign. If that fails, we face a choice between Huckabee and McCain. Neither looks like a good bet against a surging Obama candidacy.

Until Thursday night I would have said that McCain would have the better chance of victory in November — the main argument against him being that he would probably succeed in transforming the GOP into a party of corporate multiculturalism. Huckabee would find it much harded to transform the GOP permanently into an economically liberal party simply because most strong ideological groups in and around the GOP are passionately opposed to such a transformation — even if he had a chance of winning. I didn’t think he had any chance of winning until Thursday night. I still don’t. But after hearing him and Obama both speak last night, I cannot be entirely sure.

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Huckabee: A Looming Disaster for Conservatism

Posted by Tony Listi on January 6, 2008

In the wake of Thursday night’s Iowa Caucus victory for Mike Huckabee, National Review Online asked a group on Right-minded commentators: What does Huckabee’s victory mean for conservatism?

Richard Brookhiser
Preacher cleans rich guy’s clock in Iowa – what a story! No wonder it filled the headlines – in 1988, when Pat Robertson finished ahead of Vice President George H. W. Bush (Bob Dole came in first that year).

Evangelicals began engaging in Republican politics in the late Seventies. Dinesh D’Souza’s biography of the late Jerry Falwell gave an early and amusing account of the process. In a meeting with Falwell, Paul Weyrich came up with the name Moral Majority, but thought it was too peppery. Falwell jumped on it. In crowded fields, an evangelical champion, if there is one, can shoot to the front. 1988 was a cattle call, just like this year: Bush, Dole, Kemp, DuPont, and even Al Haig, besides Robertson.

In one important respect, Huckabee’s supporters have made a wiser choice than their soul-mates 20 years ago. Their man has been a governor and a lieutenant governor. Unlike Robertson (and the host of tyro candidates who have run recently) he would know the way to the bathroom.

Expect much hand-wringing about religious politics, but remember that this is a religious country, whose believers have often picked sides in our electoral battles. For decades Catholics made their home in the Democratic party; Ray Donovan, Reagan’s Secretary of Labor, used to say that the two pictures on the wall of his home growing up were of FDR and Pius XII. Black Protestants are Democrats now, and two of them have sought the Democratic nomination (Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton).

Iowa is early days, and Huckabee will now get a full mauling; Ed Rollins will know just what to expect. But jockeying is the sign of lively coalitions, and the delight of connoisseurs.

I just wish he wasn’t such an eye gouger.

– Richard Brookhiser is a National Review senior editor.
Daniel Casse
I don’t know what Huckabee means for conservatism. But it promises a helluva party for the angry Left. Since Thanksgiving, the New York Times has been positively giddy about the possibility that the GOP was firmly in the hands of a genuine Bible-thumper. “They’re arguing about Jesus again,” was the plain meaning of the half dozen front-page “news analyses” the paper feverishly put together on the Huckabee surge. People for the American Way appears to have an entire team posting news about Huck’s progress, including a story crowing “We Like Mike.” And why not? They are scripting the fundraising video, likely set to the music from Jaws, as we sit here. Ditto the American Civil Liberties Union, where they are probably studying his “Silent Night” ad in Iowa as if it were the Zapruder film. Can you imagine the gleeful warnings about Huckabee’s American that you will be hearing on the Air America Guatemala cruise in February? Liberal interest groups haven’t had such an enviable fundraising opportunity since George W. Bush raised the arsenic level in kids’ drinking water. The Democratic direct-mail barons are doing handsprings. “I Like Mike,” they are shouting. School prayer. Back-alley abortions. Supreme Court nominees. Christian Nation. For them, happy days are here again.

– Daniel Casse is a senior director of the White House Writers Group.
John Hood
Both major political parties in the U.S. are coalitions. Right now, the Democratic coalition is energized and coherent. The Republican coalition is dispirited and divided. The outcomes in Iowa illustrate these conditions – though history and common sense tell us that they did not necessary predict the eventual party nominees.

Look at Mike Huckabee’s solid win over Mitt Romney. Of the five major GOP candidates, two are running as the candidates of optimism and reassurance: Romney and Thompson. They seek to hold together and mobilize the traditional triad of fiscal, social, and defense conservatives. For Huckabee, McCain, and Giuliani, the strategy is entirely different. Each in his own way rejects key positions and elements of the triad in an attempt to pull new voters into what they see as an inadequate GOP base.

While the pessimists’ goals are similar, only one can prevail. In reality, Huckabee and McCain are effectively operating as agents of Giuliani. Romney’s modest performance in Iowa may set up McCain to sting him in New Hampshire, seriously weakening if not destroying Romney’s early-state strategy. Since I believe neither Huckabee nor McCain has the resources, issues, and temperament to win the nomination, the beneficiary is obvious.

Fortunately for Mitt Romney – and defenders of the current conservative coalition – Obama’s Iowa win will likely set off a huge and exciting battle in the New Hampshire Democratic primary, thus potentially pulling independents away from the GOP primary and undercutting McCain a bit. The game’s not yet over. But Giuliani is now back in it, thanks to Huck.

– John Hood is a president of the John Locke Foundation.
David Limbaugh
Most expected Huckabee to win Iowa, but his actual victory is somewhat sobering. I believe a Huckabee nomination would be a major step backward for conservatism, given his liberalism, apart from social issues. It’s true that George Bush isn’t completely conservative either (e.g. spending and immigration), but he has strong conservative credentials on the “big three”: taxes, national security and social issues (judges). Huckabee is weak on immigration and only a sure thing on one of the big three.

The question, then, is whether Huckabee’s Iowa victory substantially increases his chances of capturing the nomination, without which it will have no impact on conservatism.

It seems the Iowa caucus system and demographics were made to order for Huckabee’s identity politics. Very large percentages of the Republican voters are self-described evangelicals. New Hampshire presents a different picture, but Huckabee’s impressive win might increase his stature enough to make him more competitive there and elsewhere. He has the advantages of likeability, charisma, and eloquence and could capitalize on the respective weaknesses or perceived weaknesses of the other candidates.

Romney, once thought by pundits to be a strong favorite, looks much more vulnerable having been beaten by a grossly under-funded and recently second-tier candidate. If tonight starts him on a downhill path, the question is whether one of the other candidates – Go Fred! – will fill the void.

I still think Huckabee is very much a long shot to win the nomination. While large percentages of Republican voters are Christians, they are also conservatives and eventually, Huckabee’s dubious conservative bona fides and record should sink his bid. But I admit that could be wishful thinking on my part.

– David Limbaugh is a writer, author and attorney. His book Bankrupt: The Intellectual and Moral Bankruptcy of Today’s Democratic Party was recently released in paperback.

John J. Pitney Jr.
Huckabee’s victory highlights a populist strain in the GOP. Populism has a long history and variety of features, but we can roughly define it as the union of traditional moral values and “little guy” economics. It’s God vs. Gomorrah in the bedroom, David v. Goliath in the boardroom.

Thursday night was hardly the first time that populism had left its mark on a GOP nomination contest. In 1988, Pat Robertson placed second in the Iowa caucuses, ahead of George H. W. Bush. Four years later, Pat Buchanan won a surprising 40 percent in the New Hampshire primary. In 1996, Buchanan came close to Bob Dole in Iowa and actually beat him in New Hampshire.

Robertson and Buchanan faded quickly, in part because of their demeanors. Robertson seemed weird, while Buchanan looked mean. Huckabee could last longer because he comes across as sane and nice.

More than mere image, Robertson and Buchanan suffered from limited appeal to orthodox conservatives. According to the Club for Growth, Huckabee takes “profoundly anti-growth positions on taxes, spending, and government regulation.” For Huckabee to succeed where Robertson and Buchanan failed, one of two things must happen. Either he must mislead GOP voters into thinking that he is an economic conservative, or those voters must stop caring. Either way, a Huckabee victory would be very bad news for conservatism as we know it.

– John J. Pitney Jr. is Roy P. Crocker Professor of American Politics at Claremont McKenna College.
Pat Toomey
Huckabee’s win in Iowa is a temporary setback for conservatism. Fortunately, the celebratory mood at Huckabee headquarters will likely end soon. Huckabee is a social conservative, but otherwise liberal populist who managed to capture a plurality of the vote in a large and splintered field in one of the most socially conservative electorates in the union. But there is little chance of this plurality growing into the majority Huckabee needs to take the nomination. In fact, it often seems like Huckabee goes out of his way to anger the other elements of the conservative movement instead of courting them, dismissing his critics who believe in economic freedom and a strong national defense as members of the Washington establishment, Wall Street millionaires, and secular elitists. Huckabee is going to need some of those critics if he is ever to win 50 percent of the vote in any primary. Iowa has a history of voting for candidates who do not go on to win their parties’ nominations, and there is a very good chance that will be the case here. Huckabee is a fringe Republican, and does not represent the conservative movement on economic policy, domestic programs, law and order, and foreign policy. It is hard to imagine a candidate so out of step with most in the conservative movement assuming the stage in Minnesota in eight months as its leader.

– Pat Toomey is president of the Club for Growth.

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McCain, Huckabee Stir Up Envy Against Romney’s Wealth

Posted by Tony Listi on January 6, 2008

Who are the most despised people in America? If one looks at the political scene (especially on the Left), it seems that rich people are.

McCain in tonight’s ABC debate: “And for you to describe it as you do in the attack ads, my friend, you can spend your whole fortune on these attack ads, but it still won’t be true.” (smiles)

Huckabee in Iowa was also trying to play the victim saying that he was being outspent 20-1 by Romney. He said this at his victory speech: “The first thing we have learned is that people really are more important than the purse, and what a great lesson for America to learn.”

Romney’s Republican rivals are trying to make his personal wealth an issue though it shouldn’t be. Romney has raised more money than all his other opponents, about $62 million!  And only 1% of Romney’s contributions were at the $4600 level (highest legally). That’s means a lot of contributors, and people don’t give money unless they really support you. He has a right to spend the money he raises! (See And who cares if he wants to spend $17 million his own wealth? I don’t see any disgust for Bloomberg’s wealth when there is talk of him running.

McCain married into wealth; his wife owns a major distributor for Anheuser-Busch. So he has a net worth of upwards of $32 million! That’s no chump change. He is one to talk. Hypocritical demagogue.

What is wrong with American culture today that it so despises rich people? Romney made his wealth legitimately in business. There is no reason for envy. It is not like he sued doctors and took them for all they were worth based on pseudo-science (ahem, John Edwards, the laughable candidate of the poor).

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Rush: Huck ‘not a conservative’

Posted by Tony Listi on January 2, 2008

Rush Limbaugh devoted a large portion of his first show since the holidays to criticizing Mike Huckabee’s candidacy and offering a disapproving bottom-line assessment of the former governor.

“Ladies and gentlemen, Gov. Huckabee, mighty fine man and is a great Christian, is not a conservative, he’s just not,” Limbaugh said. “If you look at his record as governor, he’s got some conservative tendencies on things but he’s certainly not the most conservative of the candidates running on the Republican side.”

Limbaugh’s comments come after a long-distance back-and-forth between the candidate and influential talk show host before Christmas.

Despite his criticism, Limbaugh said he didn’t want to use the entire program to bash Huckabee.

“I’m going to keep some of the powder dry here because I don’t want to be accused of piling on,” Limbaugh said, “but if people are going to ask me questions I’m not going to shirk from them and try to hem-haw around.”

Indeed, callers were interested in discussing Huckabee, and the talker spent most of the first half of his program discussing his candidacy in the context of the GOP race.

While calling Huckabee’s now-famous Des Moines presser Monday “Clintonesque,” Limabugh said he would not “join the chorus” of those saying it would damage the Republican’s chances.

“It’s quite possible people will see Huckabee’s press conference as an attempt to be honorable, that the drive-bys [in the mainstream media] have now sabotaged him on,” Limbaugh observed.

“And they can easily conclude, ‘Look, he didn’t air the ad, you guys did.’  The people that are looking at Huckabee in a supportive way are not analyzing Huckabee, this is what you have to understand. They are not picking apart his policy, they’re accepting him for what he is based on his identity politics. So I don’t think they’re going to take it to the nth degree the way the drive-by pundits are.”

Limbaugh, who has previously offered warm words for Fred Thompson, appeared to be dissatisfied with at least three of the top GOP candidates.

In addition to Huckabee, he singled out John McCain for specific criticism, attacking the senator on immigration, campaign finance reform, interrogation and tax cuts.  

“The idea that he’s a great conservative in this race is an affront to conservatives,” Limbaugh said, accusing the media of “pushing McCain hard.”

Limbaugh seemed to swipe at McCain, Huckabee and Rudy Giuliani, respectively, in responding to a caller about which candidate had true conservative bona fides.

“If our nominee is either not conservative and is pandering to the left trying to get some of their votes, or if our nominee is so afraid of his record that he’s relying on identity politics to get votes or if our nominee decides that the only way he can win is to go out and pick off some libs in the northeast and out in the west, it’s going to be a bloodbath,” he predicted of the general election.

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Huckabee on Immigration, Comparison to Slavery

Posted by Tony Listi on January 2, 2008 

“One of the great challenges facing us is that we do not commit the same
mistakes with our growing Hispanic population that we did with African
Americans 150 years ago and beyond. We’re still paying the price for the
pathetic manner in which this country handled that… I think, frankly, the
Lord is giving us a second chance to do better than we did before.”

– Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee at a meeting of
the Political Animals Club in Little Rock, Arkansas, December, 2006

This is a dangerous way to talk about public policy. I have no problem with appealing to Judeo-Christian ethical principles when talking about policy. But talk about God’s intentions or will with regard to certain events is dicey and no basis for policy. As Lincoln said, the question is not whether God is on our side but whether we are on God’s side.

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Sorry Mike! – (for telling the truth about your record)

Posted by Tony Listi on January 2, 2008

My fellow Christians and evangelicals, look at Huckabee’s record, not at what he says!

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Fred Thompson zings Mike Huckabee on Sanctuary cities, taxes

Posted by Tony Listi on January 2, 2008

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Huckabee is Soft on Crime

Posted by Tony Listi on January 2, 2008

I hear through the grapevine that he pardoned criminals based on whether they had converted to Christianity. If so, that is outrageous!

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Chuck Norris Should Roundhouse Kick Huckabee

Posted by Tony Listi on January 2, 2008

Chuck, you’re supporting the wrong guy.

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