October 31, 2007

Why I'm Supporting Mike Huckabee for President

A new endorsement has just been posted over at WorldNetDaily. Pastor Rick Scarborough, Founder and president of Vision America Action, is supporting Mike Huckabee for president:

Over and again I have been encouraged by men I admire to be patient. But I submit that our patience has moved beyond prudence, and we are increasingly being viewed as irrelevant. I would submit that our mistake has been that we have been looking for perfection in a candidate, which can only lead to frustration.

I have chosen to cast my support for Mike Huckabee, not because he is perfect, but because I believe him to be competent, and I have known him for more than 30 years. I have watched his life up close and from a distance for the entire time. We attended Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary together in Ft. Worth, 30-plus years ago. It was and still is the largest evangelical seminary in the world, and at the time there was significant liberalism on the campus.

Among the students, there were three basic groups: 1) Those that sat in awe of the professors and drank the "Kool-Aid" of the latest liberal theological fad, 2) Those who were conservative but who chose to go about their business of getting their education quietly with as little conflict as possible, and 3) Those who were there on a mission to prepare to change the world and for whom Christ was their first love and winning souls their passion.

Mike and I gravitated to each other because we hung with students in the third category. During those days Huckabee joined the staff of James Robison, who at that time was the leading soul winning evangelist in the Southern Baptist Convention. After seminary, I entered full-time evangelism and had the privilege of preaching a crusade in a church in Arkansas where Mike Huckabee was their beloved pastor. Together we witnessed scores of people give their hearts to Jesus and many joined his church.

Many are praying that God will spare our great nation from the judgment we certainly deserve for the killing of over 45,000,000 pre-born children, not to mention the millstone we deserve to have hung around our necks for allowing our living children to be exploited by the sexual anarchists that now control public education and Hollywood. We need revival for survival.

I suggest that God may be sending us a lifeline. Who better to lead a nation nearing moral collapse and perhaps World War III than a president who is also a pastor with 10 years of senior executive experience as a governor? Many in the secular press are now reporting that he is a legitimate first-tier candidate whose star is rising while others are fading. Millions of voters are gravitating to him.

Some suggest that he has no foreign policy experience. Neither did Franklin D. Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, nor George W. Bush.

Many often lament, as I have done, "Where are all the pastors?" Well, one of them is running for president, and it seems to me the Christian pro-family movement might do well to help him.

Read the whole thing here...

October 30, 2007

October 30: Huckabee News Roundup

David Yepsen has a great column in the Des Moines Register today, comparing Huckabee to Reagan:

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee's been the hot candidate in the Republican race since he finished second in the Iowa GOP's straw poll back in August.

Oh, there was a little time out for some chatter about Fred Thompson, but as he has fallen flat, the talk about Huckabee has resumed.

In recent days, that talk has escalated to a new level of buzz: Huckabee's doing so well in Iowa, he just might be able to win the Iowa Republican caucuses.

Wow. Conventional wisdom dictates former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's going to win Iowa. Ever since that straw poll, the buzzmeisters have slotted Huckabee to take second or third. To suggest he's going to win Iowa is taking it to a new level.

Like Huckabee, Romney is fond of telling people he ran and won in a Democratic state. It's also true Romney ran as a liberal on social issues such as gay rights and abortion. Had he taken the positions on those issues that he proclaims now, he never would have been elected in Massachusetts.

Huckabee, on the other hand, has been consistent, and GOP stalwarts are noticing that difference between the two men. Huckabee's rallied enough social conservatives to force Sam Brownback out of the race.

After Thompson's late start, he's lighting no fires in Iowa. His speech at the big Reagan Dinner Saturday night was a boilerplate thing he could have given anywhere. Romney didn't show. Huckabee got the only standing ovation.

As we chart Huckabee's success in the 2008 contest, it is most useful now to concentrate on his message. It is a positive, inclusive, good-humored one. As Republicans seek to rebuild from their defeat of 2006 and try to stave off a similar loss in 2008, they might study the Book of Huckabee.

"I'm a conservative, but I'm not mean about it," he tells audiences. He shows up at events with minority groups. His pro-life message also encompasses health care for poor women and a concern for children. His talk about education reform includes developing creative skills through art and music.

He had fun playing the bass guitar in his band at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake - an event that attracted more than 600 people on Friday. A former Baptist pastor, Huckabee peppers his speeches with Scripture and rock-music lyrics.

Unlike some Republican presidential candidates, who grew up in well-to-do families, Huckabee tells audiences his mother grew up in a house with dirt floors, and on his father's side, he is the first male to graduate from high school. That seems to give him a populist bent - and an understanding for poor people - that isn't seen in the Ivy League conservatives.

At a time when GOP candidates are falling all over themselves to rekindle the spirit of Ronald Reagan in their party, Huckabee's coming as close as anyone.
The New York Sun has an article covering the rise of Huckabee as the GOP dark horse:
The quiet man of the Republican presidential race, Mike Huckabee, is becoming the dark horse social conservative candidate who could end up trouncing his better known, better funded rivals.

In a poll of Iowa Republicans published yesterday, the former governor of Arkansas is neck and neck with Mayor Giuliani in a tie for second place behind Mitt Romney, who has spent tens of millions including an injection of his personal wealth to establish his lead in the bellwether state.

Mr. Huckabee's appeal to Republicans has gathered strength as commentators of both right and left have begun to depict him as a strong outside chance in a race that has not yet established a clear front-runner.

William Kristol, the editor of the Weekly Standard magazine, has written a scenario in which Mr. Huckabee beats Mr. Romney, or comes a close second, in Iowa, before beating Mr. Thompson in New Hampshire. Spurred by his success, he begins attracting donations and mobilizes his Southern supporters to trounce Mr. Giuliani.

Larry Eichel of the Philadelphia Inquirer described Mr. Huckabee as the "emerging choice of rank-and-file social conservatives." "He's an engaging speaker, a plainspoken man with populist leanings," and "could have an impact" if he starts attracting money, Mr. Eichel wrote.

In a column last week, Dick Morris, President Clinton's former aide who in 1992 was an adviser to Mr. Huckabee, painted Mr. Huckabee as "the most interesting phenomenon in either party's race" and "a gripping, humorous, passionate orator [who] brings a spiritual dimension to public-policy problems."

"This is a guy who brought the house down at the Values Voter Summit, wins or comes close to winning every debate, shocked everyone by placing second in the Ames, Iowa, straw poll, and is now inching toward the top of the polls in the Iowa caucuses," Charlie Gerow, a Republican strategist in Harrisburg, told the Pittsburgh Tribune Review.
In a new American Research Group poll released today, Huckabee holds a strong second place position in Iowa, just 8 points behind Mitt Romney. This comes on the heels of yesterday's Hawkeye Poll from University of Iowa which had Huckabee tied with Giuliani for second place.
ARG Poll Results:
Romney 27%
Huckabee 19%
Giuliani 16%
McCain 14%
Thompson 8%
Radio Iowa's blog has some wonderful in-depth coverage of Huckabee's recent campaigning in Iowa:
Some of Huckabee's personable political skills, perhaps learned when he served in the pulpit rather than the Arkansas statehouse, were on display Saturday night.

This past weekend when he walked up to that group of reporters in Des Moines, Huckabee complimented a reporter on his new glasses. Huckabee and this male reporter hadn't been in the same room for over two months, but Huckabee noticed the new glasses.

Huckabee wore a light blue tie with dozens of tiny white elephants splattered across it to deliver his Saturday night speech. I jokingly asked him about the tie.

"This is my true-blue-Republican elephant tie. Where else can I wear this?" Huckabee responded with a laugh.

"Is it made in the USA?" I asked.

Huckabee flipped the tie over to display the label. "I'll hold it up close so you can see it. I know you told me your eyes aren't very good. Look at that -- USA," Huckabee said to me.

Another personal detail remembered, filed away in his mind, and pulled out for use on Saturday.

Huckabee's other skill as an orator was on display a few hours later when he got his turn at the microphone Saturday night. I'm transcribing his closing comments for you, with some notes about pacing and delivery to show that he knows how to "play" a crowd and get an emotional response.

"I'm obviously here, like every other presidential candidate, for one purpose and it's not to eat the chicken dinner," Huckabee said slowly, pausing at the end of the sentence to let the crowd laugh.

The crowd started laughing.

Then, Huckabee picked up the pace of his delivery just a bit. "Nothing wrong with chicken dinner because we produce a lot of chicken in Arkansas," Huckabee said, as the laughter started building in the room "We want you to eat chicken. Lots of it. Toss some rice on top of it and we'll really be proud of ya. Why there's not corn on that plate I'll never understand. I know where I am tonight," Huckabee said. The crowd laughed a bit louder.

Next, Huckabee switched to nearly full-on pastor mode. His pacing -- and emphasis on certain words like "understand" -- were the cadence of a sermon reaching its zenith.

"But I'm here like every other presidential candidate because I want your vote, I want your support, but not just because I want to be president. I want to make sure this country is as good to the future generations as it has been to me. The prophet Isaiah said: 'Look to the rock from which you were hewn. Look to the quarry from which you were dug.' I understand something of the rock from which I was hewn and the quarry from which I was dug. On my mother's side of the family, I'm one generation away from dirt floors and outdoor toilets. On my father's side of the family, there's not a male upstream from me that even graduated high school. Ladies and gentleman, you're looking at a guy who has absolutely lived and experienced the American Dream. I have freedom today because brave men and women put on the uniform of this country, saluted this flag, took an oath and honored with their very blood and lives their sacred duty to keep guys like me free. I have an obligation not to just run for president, but to provide the kind of leadership so our children and our grandchildren and the future of this country will know that we have done everything within our power not only to love this country and to enjoy it, but to preserve it, to protect it and to pass it on to the next generation. Anything less than that does not warrant your support. That does," Huckabee said.

Then, to the close -- a direct verbal assault on the two Democrats Republicans loved to hate.

"I'm often asked, 'Do you think you can win, particularly against Hillary?' Folks, may I suggest to you that I've been battling against the headwinds of Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton's political machine in Arkansas more than anybody else running for president. I didn't just win once, not twice, not three times but four times in a statewide election against the Clinton political machine. Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton campaigned against me every time I ever ran and I won and they didn't and next year, the same thing is going to happen in America that happened in Arkansas," Huckabee said. The crowd had started clapping and he continued to speak over it. "We win. They lose and America wins. A stronger, freer, less expensive nation. Thank you very much."

Huckabee was the only one of the six candidates who spoke Saturday night to get the crowd to rise to its feet in applause at the conclusion of his speech.
And Joe Carter at The Evangelical Outpost has done some serious homework and released an amazingly comprehensive rebuttal of the Club for Growth attacks against Huckabee. We highly recommend that you read the whole thing, but here is a small sample:
After being elected Governor of California in 1967, Ronald Reagan reneged on a campaign promise and signed into law the single biggest tax increase in the state's history: $1 billion. (At the time, the total state budget was only about $5 billion. Adjusted for inflation and population growth, the increase in today's dollars would be $10 billion.)

If the Club for Growth had been around in 1980, Reagan might not have become President. The influential fiscal conservative group would surely have done everything in their power to prevent the Gipper from gaining the nomination. They would have attempted to derail Reagan's campaign just as they are now doing to Gov. Huckabee.

For several months the Club for Growth has been attacking Huckabee's bona fides as a fiscal conservative. In the process, they've slandered the Governor's record, deceived numerous trusting conservatives, and cast doubts on the organization's honesty and trustworthiness. It's a disgraceful situation made all the more shameful by our continued willingness to be duped.

I'm embarrassed that I initially relied on Andrew Roth's white paper when I formed my first impression of Gov. Huckabee. I'm even more embarrassed that others that have read this sloppy analysis believe it is a damning indictment. I've always considered The Club for Growth to be a respectable conservative organization. But their attempts to deceive their fellow conservatives by misrepresenting Huckabee's record have proven they are unworthy of such trust. Pat Toomey and his organization owe Governor Huckabee--and the rest of us--an apology for their attempted deception.

October 29, 2007

October 29: Huckabee News Round-Up

A credible scenario for Huckabee's victory was set forth by William Kristol in The Weekly Standard today:

Huckabee wins Iowa (or places a very strong second), beating Romney. He then defeats at least Thompson in New Hampshire. Energized social conservatives rally to the real thing for Huckabee's showdown with Giuliani, as Thompson and Romney fade. Huckabee gets enough money flowing in to compete adequately, and beats Giuliani one-on-one on Feb. 5 and after, winning more delegates than Giuliani by doing better in the delegate-overweighted (because they've voted Republican more often recently) Southern states.
And Politico has a good article countering the attacks against Huckabee and covering the latest Iowa Hawkeye poll:
His critics say that when Huckabee was governor of Arkansas, he was a big spender and a big taxer.

There may be another reason for some fiscal conservatives not to like him, however: Huckabee is anti-greed.

In his speeches, Huckabee rails against the “unbridled greed” of some Wall Street executives.

“I am not interested in being the candidate of Wall Street but of Main Street,” he says. “CEOs get paid 500 times what the average worker does, but they are not necessarily 500 times smarter or harder-working, and that is wrong.”

Last Friday, an opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal quoted Randy Minton, a former Republican state representative from Arkansas, as saying Huckabee’s “support for taxes split the Republican Party and damaged our name brand.”

Name brand? Of the Republican Party? In Arkansas?

Huckabee, who was governor of Arkansas for 10½ years, was only the third Republican governor there since Reconstruction. And he says that, far from damaging the name brand of Republicans there, he beat the “Clinton political machine” in Arkansas four times.

“Nobody knows Hillary better than me,” Huckabee told me. “The Clintons campaigned for my opponents four times, and I won. When people talk about who can beat Hillary, I say I already have.”

A University of Iowa Hawkeye Poll released Monday shows Huckabee gaining ground in Iowa, moving into a statistical tie for second place with Rudy Giuliani and trailing Mitt Romney.

“If Huckabee can motivate religious conservatives to attend the caucuses in large numbers, he may well threaten Romney,” said David Redlawsk, director of the poll.

I did some math:

Mitt Romney has spent $53.6 million this primary season and has 36.2 percent of the vote in Iowa, according to the poll. Which means Romney has spent $1.48 million for every percentage point of support.

Rudy Giuliani has spent $30.6 million and has 13.1 percent of the vote. Which means he has spent $2.34 million for every percentage point of support.

Mike Huckabee has spent $1.7 million and has 12.8 percent of the vote. Which means he has spent $133,000 for every percentage point of support.

So who is the biggest fiscal conservative?

By my calculations, if Huckabee had Romney’s money, Huckabee would have 40.3 percent of the vote in Iowa and would be in first place.

Which doesn’t mean Huckabee will ever be able to raise that kind of money (nor does spending money always guarantee support).

But Huckabee says his fundraising is going better and better, even though he is now being attacked by conservatives as well as liberals. (Liberals don’t like him because he is anti-abortion, pro-guns, anti-civil-unions and a supporter of exposing children to creationism as well as evolution.)

“It has been the liberal side of the press that has been calling me a right-wing fanatic and a Neanderthal,” Huckabee said.

But he said he fully expected the attacks from both sides. “When they quit attacking me, then that means I am no longer a factor,” he said.

Then he paraphrased, with credit, a saying of Mahatma Gandhi.

“First they ignore you,” Huckabee said. “Then they laugh at you. Then they attack you. Then they attend your swearing in.”

Huckabee Ties McCain in National Polls

The latest Rasmussen Report shows Huckabee ahead of Romney and now tied for third place with John McCain. He just keeps going up.

The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Monday shows five candidates within eleven points in the race for the Republican Presidential Nomination. Among Likely Republican Primary Voters nationwide, Rudy Giuliani is preferred by 23% while Fred Thompson is six points behind at 17%. John McCain and Mike Huckabee are at 13% while Mitt Romney is a point behind at 12%. No other Republican attracts more than 3% support.

Today, for the first time, Rasmussen Reports has added Mike Huckabee’s results to the daily tracking history table. The weekly Rasmussen Reports analysis of the race raises a question about why Giuliani is seen by some as the most electable candidate.

October 28, 2007

Responding to Attacks

As Huckabee continues to rise – now surpassing Romney nationally – you can also expect that negative attacks will increase, and they certainly have. The Governor and his supporters should wear them like badges of honor. He is finally being recognized as a legitimate contender for the nomination.

Time Magazine noted yesterday how Romney has begun to attack Huckabee:

If you are looking for signs that a dark horse is moving up in the presidential field, there is a more telling indicator to watch than poll numbers. It's when the opposition decides he is becoming enough of a threat to take a shot at him. That's why there was special signficance, an arrival of sorts, to Mitt Romney's seemingly offhand observation Friday in an Iowa Public Television interview that Mike Huckabee had supported "special tuition breaks to the children of illegal immigrants." It marked the first time that the GOP frontrunner in Iowa had ever singled out Huckabee for an attack.

"I must be doing well," Huckabee said Saturday morning, when I told him what Romney had said. The former Arkansas Governor had not known about the swipe. Huckabee had spent Friday night, as he put it, "rocking the stage" with his band Capitol Offense before an estimated 650 people at the fabled Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa, which was the last place Buddy Holly had played before he died in a plane crash in 1959. On Saturday, Huckabee was to try his hand at pheasant hunting, a popular Iowa sport, which he considered an apt metaphor. "You never put the crosshairs on a dead carcass," Huckabee said. "Somebody sees me as a real wall mount, and that's a good thing."

Huckabee is suddenly looking like he could make a very strong showing in the nation's first presidential contest on January 3. The buzz started building with his surprising second-place finish in August's Ames straw poll. Then, the ordained Southern Baptist minister wowed them at this month's Values Voter Summit. It is beginning to look like he may be the one for the GOP's yet-unsettled evangelical voters, who tend to wield an outsized influence in the Iowa caucuses.

His successes have been all the more remarkable for having been accomplished on a shoestring budget, suggesting that genuine voter affection, as opposed to advertising dollars, is driving the Huckabee surge. He noted that Friday also marked the first time he had passed the well-financed Romney in a national poll, albeit by a single, well-within-the-margin-of-error point. "I guess I'd be coming after me too," Huckabee said. "I'd also be crying, if I'd spent all that money."

Still, Huckabee acknowledged it is likely to get much rougher from here. "I always enjoy letting the other guy draw the first blood," he told me. "Once blood is drawn, all is fair in love and war."
One significant attack that came out this past Friday was a column by John Fund of the Wall Street Journal. An excellent rebuttal can be found at The Roebuck Report:
Huckabee’s social conservative track record is unrivaled by any one else in the GOP field. Front runners Romney, Giuliani, McCain and actor Fred Thompson don’t even come close to the consistency of Huckabee’s social conservatism, which is ultimately where Fund’s analysis of Huckabee falls apart. When Huckabee is talking about being consistently conservative, he is talking about the promotion of the sanctity of life, opposition to gay marriage and other core social conservative values that his opponents have flip flopped on enough times to rival John Kerry.

Every year while governor, Huckabee led the line in Arkansas’ annual Right to Life march. Huckabee also led efforts to pass a state constitutional amendment recognizing marriage as a bond between one man and one woman. Finally, Huckabee was proactive in helping to strengthen marriages in Arkansas by promoting “Covenant Marriages” as an option in Arkansas, where couples must see counseling before a judge will grant a divorce on grounds of convenience.

Contrary to Fund’s assertion that Huckabee is an inconsistent conservative, Huckabee is a social conservative I know I can count on.
Mike Huckabee also wrote a letter to the editor responding to Fund's column.
It’s important to note that every living Republican in Arkansas who has been elected to either a statewide or a federal office has endorsed my candidacy. I’m grateful for their support and proud that in 1998, I received the largest percentage of votes ever received by a Republican gubernatorial nominee in Arkansas, and that Arkansans re-elected me to another four-year term in November 2002.

As governor, I pushed through the Arkansas Legislature the first major, broad-based tax cuts in state history — a $90 million tax relief package for Arkansas families; led efforts to establish a Property Taxpayers' Bill of Rights; and created a welfare reform program that reduced the welfare rolls in the state by almost 50 percent. We also doubled the standard deduction to $2,000 for single taxpayers and $4,000 for those who are married. In total, I led the fight to cut taxes and fees over 90 times during my ten-and-a-half years as governor, saving the people of Arkansas almost $380 million. When I left office, Arkansas had over $800 million in state surplus.

Weekend News Roundup

A columnist at the Kansas City Star is predicting that Huckabee will win Iowa or New Hampshire:

Stick this one in your bonnet: Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee will win either the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses or the New Hampshire primary.

Whaaaat? You’ve never heard of Huck?

Get him on your radar screen. Huckabee has supplanted John McCain as the hot GOP contender on the circuit these days. With the Republican field remaining a jumble, look for the unexpected to trump the expected.
The Christian Post reported this morning on a new NAE survey which showed Huckabee leading among evangelical leaders:
Also this past week, the 30-million strong National Association of Evangelicals released a survey that showed Huckabee leading the list of 2008 presidential candidates in the October 2007 Evangelical Leaders survey.

The survey questioned 100 members of the NAE board of directors that include heads of evangelical denominations with about 45,000 local churches, executives of para-church organizations and colleges.
The NAE's press release showed Huckabee far ahead of the rest of the GOP field:
When making a specific choice Huckabee was clearly the leader with Sam Brownback, Rudy Giuliani and Fred Thompson tying for a distant second place.

National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) President Leith Anderson: “Huckabee is a clear first choice but there is concern that he is too far behind in the polls to catch up. If he does well in the Iowa caucuses or early primaries then Evangelicals may suddenly rally to his support.”
World Magazine has a great cover story on the Values Voters Summit in their upcoming November 3rd issue:
Tricia Erickson runs a production company and consulting business, and she sat in on a closed-door meeting with evangelical leaders at the Washington conference to follow up on their recent Salt Lake City meeting.

Erickson told WORLD she couldn't discuss the content of the meeting but did say she expressed her concerns over Romney's Mormonism.

Another source who attended the meeting, but asked not to be identified by WORLD, said that while the group (Dobson, Perkins, and Bauer were not present at the meeting) did not unanimously settle on a candidate to back, most people in the room expressed interest in the candidate who drew the most buzz over the weekend: Mike Huckabee.

Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas, was the last candidate to speak but drew the most enthusiastic response. The former Southern Baptist minister warned the group to remember that while some political matters are negotiable, others aren't: "the sanctity of human life, the definition of marriage, the purpose of our freedom, and the opportunity for us to worship as we please."

Huckabee called for a Federal Marriage Amendment as well as a constitutional amendment to protect the unborn. He also called for welfare reform that would not penalize recipients for getting married, and for repairing a tax code so broken "not even duct tape and WD-40 can fix it."

Huckabee, who acknowledges he has far less money and recognition than his top-tier opponents, ended with a plea not to allow "expediency or electability to replace our principles as the new value."

In a private meeting with supporters after his speech, Huckabee expressed frustration over Christian leaders' reticence to back him: "It's a little bit like a soldier who goes to war and his own army won't give him the supplies he needs to win."

But evangelicals at the conference handed Huckabee a huge win over the weekend: In a straw poll conducted by the FRC, Huckabee garnered 51 percent of those who voted on-site, swamping every other candidate. Romney trailed in second place with 10 percent of the on-site vote.

Eric Lupardus, a 20-year-old Huckabee supporter from Illinois, hopes that Huckabee's win in the FRC on-site straw poll will prompt more voters to coalesce behind the former governor, especially Christian leaders: "What they're looking for is right there in front of them."

October 27, 2007

Response to Grudem Endorsement of Romney

In October, Dr. Wayne Grudem came out with an endorsement of Mitt Romney. Below are my thoughts in response:

As a reformed, evangelical Christian, Dr. Grudem has always been (and will continue to be) a hero of mine. Still, I was very disappointed by his endorsement of Romney.

His endorsement is not saying anything new. Sadly, it seems to be based mostly on fear and misinformed political pragmatism. Let me explain.

Yes, Romney is experienced. So is Huckabee, who has more executive experience (10.5 years as governor of Arkansas) than any candidate on either side. His record is stellar.

Yes, Romney is an intelligent and effective debater. So is Huckabee, consistently (and almost unarguably) the best communicator of all the candidates, again, on either side.

Yes, Romney now holds all the right conservative positions. So does Huckabee, who has held them throughout his life and political career. He even has a constitutional marriage amendment, an unborn child protection amendment, and a covenant marriage law to show for it. He mirrors (or surpasses) Romney on all the issues mentioned in Grudem's column.

Yes, Romney shares Christian values and ethics. So does Huckabee, who served as a Baptist pastor for 12 years before entering the political arena and says (unlike Romney) that his faith guides and defines him as he seeks to lead in public office.

I don't mean to spark a debate about the points above. I believe Dr. Grudem would agree with most everything I said. But that brings me to my original point. His real reason for supporting Romney is not that he is the best candidate for evangelicals, but because he fears Hillary and Rudy, and he thinks Romney has the best chance of pulling off a win.

So is Romney really our best chance of beating—not just Rudy, but Hillary, too? Romney has spent almost $60 million dollars (nearly $20 million being his own money) and remains in the low teens in national polls, with little movement. Huckabee has spent less than $2 million and currently places ahead of Romney nationally—and keeps climbing, particularly in the early states, like Iowa. What is more, he captures the hearts of the Republican base in a way Romney never will. This was proven by his 64 percent win at the Values Voter Debate, and again by his 51 percent win among attendees at the Values Voter Summit.

Huckabee knows Hillary better than any other candidate. In Arkansas, where more than 8 out of 10 elected officials are Democrats, Huckabee beat the Clinton political machine, not once, not twice, but four separate times. And even now, with lower name ID, Huckabee is right alongside Romney in head-to-head match-ups. What is more, Huckabee can beat Hillary in a debate, and do it without coming across as condescending or rude. I don't think you can overestimate the importance of that—and no other candidate can claim the same.

But that brings me to the most important thing, even beyond merely winning. Huckabee can win, but he can also bring the country together. After years of partisan bickering, we need a leader who can bring unity and take us up as a nation, not just to the right as a government. Huckabee he can do that because he can communicate the beauty of a consistent conservative worldview. He has the experience, the vision, and the authenticity to restore hope to America; to lead by changing the hearts and minds of the American people on the issues we all hold dear. I'll hope you'll join me in supporting him.

October 26, 2007

Huckabee Passes Romney, Surges in NH

From Rasmussen's Daily Tracking Poll today:

National Poll: Huckabee Passes Romney for First Time

The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Friday shows—for the first time ever--Mike Huckabee moving into the top four among those seeking the Republican Presidential Nomination.

Rudy Giuliani remains precariously atop the pack with support from 20% of Likely Republican Primary Voters nationwide. Fred Thompson is close behind at 19% while John McCain enjoys a second straight day in third place with 14% of the vote. Huckabee continues to gain ground and is just two points behind McCain at 12%. This is the first time all year that Huckabee has surpassed Mitt Romney. The former Massachusetts Governor slipped another point and he is now at just 11% nationally. No other Republican attracts more than 3% support while 18% are undecided.

Given Huckabee’s progress in the polls, Rasmussen Reports will add his results to the daily tracking history table starting on Monday.
And their latest polling for the New Hampshire primary:
The New Hampshire poll contains good news for John McCain and Mike Huckabee, each of whom has gained four percentage points since mid-September. The big loser in New Hampshire this month is Fred Thompson who lost two-thirds of the support he enjoyed shortly after entering the race.

Romney now has support from 28% of Likely Primary Voters while Giuliani earns the vote from 19%. McCain at 16% and Huckabee at 10% are the only other Republicans in double digits. Thompson attracts just 6% of the vote and is trailed by Tom Tancredo (3%), Ron Paul (2%), and Duncan Hunter (2%). Fourteen percent (14%) remain undecided.
These polling numbers, along with the growing momentum and increasing negative attacks, show that Huckabee is finally being recognized as a threat. Wear them as badges of honor. However, with the attention will come the need for the Governor to defend himself against false accusations. That takes money.
+ Keep the momentum going! +

October 26: Huckabee News Round-Up

Dick Morris has a new column about Huckabee in the New York Post:

On the right court, low-seeded Huckabee beat Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback in the quarter-finals for the designation of "Christian Coalition" challenger - and now will face off against ex-Sen. Fred Thompson and Massachusetts ex-Gov. Mitt Romney in the right-court semi-final. The winner will meet Rudy in the finals.

Huckabee's national poll numbers are rising. Scott Rasmussen has him at 10 percent nationally and in third place at 18 percent in Iowa, where he trails Thompson by 1 percent and Romney by 7 percent.

Huckabee, who has risen rapidly without either money or organization, is the most interesting phenomenon in either party's race (and the only surprise). He finished second to Romney in the Ames, Iowa straw poll with 18 percent. That's significant because you had to pay $35 to vote. Romney wrote out checks for anyone and everyone, but Huckabee said, "I can't afford to buy you. I can't even afford to rent you" - and came in strong anyway.

More recently, he swept last weekend's Values Voters convention among those who appeared in person. (He lost by less than one point overall to Romney, whose tally included a mass of Internet votes.)

Why the Huckabee boomlet? A gripping, humorous, passionate orator, he brings a spiritual dimension to public-policy problems. His ideas are interesting. Want lower health-care costs? Tackle obesity and smoking. Education reform? Music and art education are just as important to our national creativity as science and math.

He has a good chance to be the front-ranking challenger to Giuliani in the national primary on Feb. 5. He might beat Rudy - or at least earn a VP designation, because Giuliani will be anxious to appeal to Christian-right voters.
National Review Online has analysis on how Huckabee could win the nomination:
How Each of the Big Five Can Win The Nomination

Talking with campaign folks, looking at polls, and examining the calendar, we can get a sense of the five different paths each candidate is mapping out to the nomination:

Huckabee: First, he has to do very well in Iowa. Huck’s got to make a heck of a splash, win outright, or place a close second or third. From there, he's got to do something to maintain that momentum in New Hampshire, even though it’s not the most fertile ground for his type of appeal. By “something,” I’m thinking a respectable double digit finish. Then move on to South Carolina and win. Along the way, he’s got to catch fire in a state like Michigan or Florida, or maybe even Maine, someplace he isn’t expected to do well, to demonstrate that he can appeal outside the deep south or beyond religious conservatives. Along the way, Huckabee needs a little help – he needs Romney to come out of Iowa and New Hampshire weakened, for Giuliani to look like the man who could tear apart the GOP, for Thompson to look narcoleptic, and for McCain to start reminding Republican voters of all the times he’s ticked them off. I think much of the GOP electorate is open to his message; if the “gut-level connection” is what clinched the nomination for Bush in 2000, Huckabee might be the candidate who could best mimic that appeal.
MSNBC has coverage of last night's Sioux City Forum:
Last night's AARP forum in Iowa -- which featured McCain and Huckabee -- was downright chummy, notes NBC/NJ’s Carrie Dann. Despite a sharp difference on one issue (fair tax), and some joshing jabs about the merits of senatorial vs. gubernatorial experience, it was clear that the two candidates like each other. After the forum, Dann talked to a number of attendees who raved about both candidates for their candor and civility. "They weren't at each others' throats," said Wade Sembach, an auto dealer from Sioux City. A friend echoed that the small venue was "intimate" and that the two candidates -- especially Huckabee -- are rightfully gaining momentum.
Slate Magazine has an interview with Huckabee:
Slate: You have a bit of the buzz of the moment. Is it paying off?

Huckabee: We've raised more money the last six days online than in the entire first three months of the campaign. We've had to upgrade the server twice just to handle the traffic and get more people in to handle the phones, because we couldn't get to them all. It's just exploded on us.

Slate: Now what do you do?

Huckabee: We have to turn the momentum into funding. We have people who have been sitting on the sidelines, but now they're willing to host fund-raising events. We now have a whole new energy. The amazing thing is that we've gotten this far by being patient and figuring if we stayed here long enough, the message would get through, and people would realize that many of the other candidates just don't scratch the itch for them.

Slate: Does this mean that social conservatives are deciding to vote their principles rather than voting for the person who appears the most electable?

Huckabee: The rank and file are no longer waiting to be given the nod by people who are perceived to be their leaders. Many are frustrated they're not getting more of a sense of leadership from the organizations they've supported. But also now even [those concerned with electability] are seeing that we have an opportunity to win. That I'm not out of this thing.

October 25, 2007

Evangelical Bloggers: Our Conservative Choice

Evangelical bloggers Justin Taylor of Between Two Worlds, Joe Carter of Evangelical Outpost, and Matthew Anderson of Mere Orthodoxy have come out today with a sterling endorsement of Mike Huckabee:

When it comes to politics, we three are pragmatic idealists. We are dedicated to the pursuit of noble principles and goals while never forgetting that politics is the "art of the possible." Because we are idealists we are choosing to endorse a candidate who most aligns with our principles and values and is most worthy of our sacred trust. Because we are pragmatists we are choosing to endorse the one candidate who we believe is most capable of defeating Sen. Hillary Clinton.

Because we are pragmatic idealists we are endorsing Gov. Mike Huckabee.

For several months we have admired the scrappy campaign of Gov. Huckabee but believed it would be a wasted effort to support him with our time, energy, and finances. We bought into the notion that he could never get the GOP nomination since conservative voters would not support him. And the reason we were told conservative voters would never support him is because he could not get the nomination. To quote John Piper (from a different context), "It’s like the army being defeated because there aren’t enough troops, and the troops won’t sign up because the army’s being defeated."

We can no longer sit idly by and allow the campaign of a worthy candidate and an honorable man to flounder for lack of support.

Only after prayerfully considering the issues, the candidates, and the electoral calculus have we decided to settle on this joint endorsement. We hope that you will join us in careful deliberation of Gov. Huckabee's candidacy and that you will join us in pledging to cast a sacred vote for the office of President of the United States. Our army may go down in defeat, but it won't be because we refused to enlist in this worthy cause.

Read the whole thing...
Their endorsement also includes a strong rebuttal to the attacks of the Club for Growth, which is very much worth the read. More to come.

Huckabee In Double Digits Nationally

Today's Rasmussen Daily Presidential Tracking Poll shows Huckabee at 10% nationally, his highest numbers to date. This confirms what we have been seeing in media coverage, endorsements and straw polls over the past several days. It's a wide open race, Mike Huckabee is without question a top-tier candidate, and he is gaining on the others!

Giuliani 21%
Thompson 19%
McCain 14%
Romney 12%
Huckabee 10%

Huckabee On the Rise

He's a true conservative with strengthening chances for '08, says Carl Leubsdorf of The Dallas Morning News:

Quietly, even unexpectedly, the genial former Arkansas governor may be turning the GOP's Big Four into a Big Five. He scored a triumph last weekend at the "Values Voters Summit" and got good marks from Sunday's Fox News Channel debate.

And in the key kickoff state of Iowa, there are signs of a showing that could transform the race.

The reason: In a field in which some of the best-known candidates are turning verbal cartwheels to portray themselves as more conservative than their rivals or their records, Mr. Huckabee is the real article. As he put it on Fox News Sunday, he's a "consistent conservative with some authenticity about those convictions."

Better than half of the more than 950 voters at the Family Research Council's "Values Voters Summit" favored Mr. Huckabee, five times as many as backed Mr. Romney. The result was muddled by a second count, including online voters, in which Mr. Romney edged Mr. Huckabee.

His weekend success was the clearest sign to date that the ordained Southern Baptist minister is making progress in becoming the favored candidate of religious conservatives, who play such a vital role in GOP politics.

And Mr. Huckabee's progress was underscored by his rise in the polls in Iowa, where religious conservatives may make up far more than half the turnout for the Jan. 3 caucuses.

Recent Iowa polls show his support in double digits. Two recent surveys put him just one point out of second, although still well behind Mr. Romney. But support for all candidates in Iowa is fluid.

One explanation for his gains is that he is running a more positive campaign than Mr. Romney or Mr. Giuliani. Displaying a kind of low-key charm, Mr. Huckabee has concentrated on his own views, rather than assailing Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton.

October 24, 2007

Huckabee Shows Amazing Strength

From Newsmax today:

Political guru Dick Morris tells Newsmax that Huckabee "represents a new phenomenon in politics, a genuinely spiritual and creative person who wants to find new ways to inject a spiritual perspective into policy."

Morris notes that while Huckabee is "pro life and anti-gay marriage and all the rest" that appeals to GOP social voters, he can't easily be put in a box."

He wants to expand the purview of a spiritual influence on policy to other spheres," Morris said. "For example, rehabilitation of prisoners, opposing childhood obesity, conserving the planet God gave us, teaching the arts in schools to enhance our divine creativity. He is a unique candidate with an appeal that transcends normal political boundaries and is catching on. And, in a world of bought-and-paid-for politics, he has little money but lots of popularity."

Huckabee's is beginning to show.

Chris Cillizza of The Washington Post has also come to admire Huckabee. In his "The Fix" blog, he writes: "Watch him in a debate or travel with him to a series of stump speeches and you see a candidate with real star potential."

Columnist Scot Lehigh notes in the Boston Globe, "In a field where the leading candidates have thus far proved unpalatable or unconvincing to the Republican base, Huckabee is a true believer, a committed, consistent conservative. Now that he's outrun his second-tier rivals, don't be surprised to see his candidacy take off."

October 23, 2007

Gingrich Compliments Huckabee

Newt Gingrich spoke with reporters in Ohio this morning and had this to say about Huckabee:

On how the Republican presidential race is shaping up: "I have to say in the last month probably Mike Huckabee has had the best trial run. He just had a great article in Newsweek. He did very well at the values conference last week."

October 22, 2007

Huckabee the GOP's Best Bet

Jonathan Alter has an outstanding piece on Huckabee today in Newsweek magazine:

The GOP is in a deep hole and keeps digging. Even after Mike Huckabee won big among attendees at last week's "Values Voters Convention," many evangelicals have been telling the former Arkansas governor—and onetime Baptist minister—that they like him but won't back him because he can't beat Hillary Clinton. They have it exactly backward. He may be the only Republican candidate with a decent chance to beat the Democrats next November.

Huckabee? Yes, Huckabee.

His only hope is that party leaders come to their senses and recognize that he's their best bet.

Huckabee comes across more hopeful than Giuliani, more believable than Romney, more intelligent than Thompson and fresher than McCain. He would hold the base and capture moderates drawn to his down-home style. His greatest asset is that he alone among the Republicans "speaks American." He connects to his audience with stories and metaphors and a geniality that can't be faked. "I'm conservative but I'm not angry about it," he likes to say, and it's true; his gentle mocking of the intraparty warfare that broke out during the Fox debate—likening it to a "demolition derby"—confirms the point. This was Reagan's secret, and it worked for Huckabee in Arkansas, where he won the votes of independents and Democrats.

The rap on Huckabee is that while he can speak fluently on global affairs, he has no foreign-policy chops. But that might be an advantage in November. Because he lacks Washington experience, Huckabee is the GOP candidate least tied to Iraq, which will remain an albatross for any Republican. And unless you believe 9/11 "changed everything" for American voters (if so, how do you explain 2006?), this election may revert to the norm, which means an emphasis on pocketbook issues. In the Detroit debate on the economy earlier this month, only Huckabee spoke with any passion about the millions of voters left out of the economic expansion. It's trendy now for Republicans to talk about their fiscal principles, but belt-tightening and fealty to Wall Street have never won a presidential election.

Voters in general elections are less ideological than in primaries and more intrigued by a compelling personal narrative. Huckabee's story hits closer to home than any other. After chest pains and a diagnosis of diabetes, he lost more than 100 pounds with diet and exercise. He tells the story with wit and grace (as well as the one about his wife's cancer diagnosis many years ago) and would kill on Oprah. When Huckabee talks about broader health-care issues he does more than brag about Arkansas's success under his leadership. He speaks in a folksy and comprehensible way that would match up well against Hillary's facts and figures or Obama's abstractions. The same holds true on education; his support for large-scale federal support of art and music programs to improve creativity (and thus competitiveness in the global economy) would resonate with millions of voters.

Even on faith and politics, Mike is easy to like. From afar he seemed extreme because he raised his hand in a debate when the candidates were asked en masse if they believed in intelligent design. But when Bill Maher pressed him to justify that view on his HBO show, Huckabee responded with a nuanced and presentable discussion of the origins of the universe that seemed to pacify even the atheist host. (I found this as well when we discussed the subject some months ago.) He has surely said some wacky right-wing things that could be used against him, but no more than any of the others in the Republican field.

The stridency of today's GOP has blinded the party to the context of this election, which is Bush fatigue. No wonder all the Democrats are using some variation of the line "The era of cowboy diplomacy is over." It is. And the least cowboyish and bombastic Republican will have the best chance a year from now to win the White House. That's Mike Huckabee.

Huckabee Is Top-Tier

From Byron York of the National Review:

We’ve just come through the most revealing three-day period in the Republican presidential race so far. Before Friday and Saturday, when all the candidates appeared at the Values Voters Summit in Washington, and Sunday, when they gathered for the Fox News debate in Orlando, we wondered whether Rudy Giuliani could survive an appearance before socially conservative voters; whether Fred Thompson could show the energy that primary voters demand in a candidate; whether John McCain could regain his place in the contest’s first tier; and whether Mike Huckabee could fully ascend to that top grouping. Now, we know the answers are “yes” on all counts. Those answers, along with the continued strength of Mitt Romney — despite doubts about his record among the voters to whom it means the most — mean that there are now five real contenders for the Republican nomination. It is the most wide-open race in a very long time.

Huckabee Swamps Opponents

TIME Magazine has a good article about Huckabee's victory at the Washington Briefing on Saturday:

The conflict has been brewing underneath the surface, but the results of the straw poll at Saturday's Values Voters Summit made it official: the real struggle in the 2008 Republican primaries will be not between Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney or social conservatives and fiscal conservatives but between Christian Right leaders and the conservatives in the pews.

Mitt Romney technically won the straw poll with 1,585 of the total 5,576 votes cast. But it was former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee who lit up the crowd with a fiery sermon as the last candidate to address the gathering. He took second place, just 30 votes behind Romney. When organizers broke the votes down into those cast online and those of summit attendees, the results revealed a true thrashing. In the tally of those present at the summit, Huckabee swamped his opponents, capturing 50% of the vote. By contrast, Romney was the choice of only 10% of on-site values voters.

The outcome was enough to give a serious scare to the GOP frontrunners. Religious conservatives are disproportionately represented in the Iowa caucuses and Huckabee has recently moved into second place in some Iowa polls. (A Rasmussen poll from Oct. 10-14 showed Huckabee in a tie for second with Fred Thompson, seven points behind Romney.) Huckabee is also benefiting from Kansas Senator Sam Brownback's withdrawal from the race, even though Brownback has not yet endorsed any of the remaining candidates. After his speech at the summit on Saturday, Huckabee told reporters that over the previous 24 hours, his Iowa offices "had a lot of traffic from key players in the Brownback campaign who are coming with us."

From the moment he took the stage in the Washington Hilton's International Ballroom, Huckabee was in his element. The Arkansas contingent in the front of the hall went nuts, waving low-tech H-U-C-K-A-B-E-E placards. Unlike the other candidates, Huckabee was greeted by a standing ovation throughout the entire cavernous room. He settled in behind the lectern as if it were a pulpit, greeting the crowd "not as one who comes to you, but as one who comes from you."

When Pat Robertson ran for the Republican nomination in 1988, he went out of his way to downplay his identity as a religious leader, emphasizing instead his television network and other business ventures. Nearly 20 years later, it is impossible to listen to Mike Huckabee without picking up on his background of 15 years as a pastor. Huckabee is fond of saying that he's a "conservative — I'm just not angry about it." His mood is usually that of a perpetually cheery youth pastor who just might grab a guitar and rock out with the praise band if the spirit hits him. (Huckabee does in fact play bass guitar with his band, Capital Offense.) At the Values Voters Summit, however, Huckabee started off with more fire and brimstone than he has displayed thus far in the campaign, hitting all the red-meat conservative issues: Islamo-fascism (ignoring the threat "will get us killed"), immigration ("we need to build a fence") and abortion ("a Holocaust").

All good preachers know to give their congregations some breathing space before heading into the main point of their sermon. Huckabee used that rhythm as well with a story about the early 20th century evangelist Billy Sunday. And then he got down to business. Zinging his opponents, Huckabee said that social conservatives need a candidate who speaks "the language of Zion as a mother tongue." And challenging the Christian Right leaders who are lining up behind Romney and, to a lesser extent, candidates like Fred Thompson, he urged: "Let us not sacrifice our principles for anybody's politics."

Hitting his stride, Huckabee compared himself to "the prophets of old, the ones who spoke truth to power." And he set up an altar call for his audience, letting them know exactly what they could do as well to stand up to the powerful. In what has to be the first ever presidential candidate shout-out to Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, Huckabee made his case for the little guy. "It's a lot better to be with David than Goliath," he declared. Or with Elijah than 850 prophets of Baal. Or with Daniel and the lions than the Babylonians. The point was not lost on the crowd of Sunday school veterans: the Bible is, after all, jam-packed with stories of the seemingly weak who triumph, heroes who shock the naysayers.

"Don't ever let expediency or electability replace our principles," Huckabee urged the crowd. "Come on, Mike!" yelled a man in support. "That's right!" shouted out others.

After his speech, Huckabee was asked whether he was concerned about the disconnect between his showings in the straw polls and the unwillingness of Christian Right leaders to support his campaign. He shook his head. "I'll go with that great horde of people whose names nobody knows rather than the folks whose names everybody knows," Huckabee said. "Their votes are still just one."

Before the straw poll closed, Christian Right leaders milled about in the halls of the hotel: Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention, who has made pointed positive statements about Thompson; Gary Bauer, who speaks highly of both Thompson and Romney; and the Family Research Council's Tony Perkins, who recently dismissed Huckabee's chances and criticized him for being too soft on foreign policy and immigration. But the summit attendees who leaped to their feet at the close of Huckabee's address streamed past the heavyweights to cast their votes. If religious voters heed Mike Huckabee's call again once the real voting begins, the battle between the purists and pragmatists in the Christian Right may well be settled in Iowa.

October 21, 2007

About Chuck Norris

Let me preface this by saying that if you haven't heard of Chuck Norris, there's a few facts you really need to know:

When the Boogeyman goes to sleep every night, he checks his closet for Chuck Norris.

When Chuck Norris does a push-up, he isn’t lifting himself up, he’s pushing the Earth down.

Chuck Norris can slam a revolving door.

Chuck Norris counted to infinity - twice.

Chuck Norris’ hand is the only hand that can beat a Royal Flush.

Chuck Norris does not sleep. He waits.

Chuck Norris can lead a horse to water AND make it drink.

Chuck Norris has endorsed Mike Huckabee for President.
In a special surprise, Mr. Norris links to I Heart Huckabee in his column. We're proud to have him as a fellow supporter.

Post-Debate Reaction

Great debate performance by Huckabee. The focus group named him the winner. The FOX News post-debate poll showed him placing him far, far ahead of Giuliani, Thompson, Romney, and McCain.

The pundits are agreeing:

Washington Post: "You've just spent the last year trying to fool people about your record. I don't want you to start fooling them about mine," Arizona Sen. John McCain bluntly told Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts.

The clashes, in the early moments of a 90-minute debate, prompted former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee to say he wanted no part of a "demolition derby" with others of his own party. "What I'm interested in is fighting for the American people."

Townhall: Mike Huckabee is, indeed, a skilled debater. I think that he scored some points when he refused to attack the other candidates. It may be that McCain now needs to attack Romney -- or that Thompson now needs to attack Rudy. But I don't think Huckabee gains anything by going on the attack and becoming a "politician."

Redstate: Tonight's GOP debate was truly the Huckabee and McCain show. Huck demonstrated the same smooth, articulate, can-sell-snake-oil-to-a-merchant demeanor that has propelled him to where he is now: one of the Big Five that actually deserves to still be attending these debates.

David Brody: With Mike Huckabee, he was able to provide a nice mix of funny lines but more serious moments too. Here's one of his best funny quips of the night:

"The reality is it's a health crisis, and I would further say that one of the challenges we face is that a lot of the Democrats want to turn it over to the government, while the Republicans want to turn it over completely to the private insurance companies. I think the better idea is to turn it over to each individual consumer and let him or her make that choice. I trust me a lot more than I trust government or a lot more than I trust the insurance companies. And we've got a situation with 10,000 baby boomers a day signing up for Social Security, going into the Medicare system. And I just want to remind everybody when all the old hippies find out that they get free drugs, just wait until what that's going to cost out there."

A funny line but Huckabee needs to make sure he's not seen as the presidential comedian up there. Sunday night, he took strides to do that. He made sure to speak tough on terror, he refused to take part in the political bickering between candidates. And then he turned serious about Hillary Clinton:

"But I want to say this -- you've asked: What's the difference? No matter which one of us is on this stage -- and, look, I like to be funny, let me be real honest with you. There's nothing funny about Hillary Clinton being president. Let me tell you why.

If she's president, taxes go up, health care becomes the domain of the government, spending goes out of control, our military loses its morale, and I'm not sure we'll have the courage and the will and the resolve to fight the greatest threat this country's ever faced in Islamofascism.

We've got an enemy that wants to kill every last one of us. We cannot be soft. We must be strong. We'll sign crazy bills like the Law of the Sea Treaty and give away our sovereignty. And that's why, with all of the fun we're going to have talking about it, there's nothing funny about Hillary being president."

National Review Online: After the FRC summit, he’s the social conservative choice, and if he gets the nomination, Hillary won’t know what hit her. This guy can sell ice to Eskimos. Kept his momentum, and played against his "the funny one" typecasting with his argument, "there's nothing funny about Hillary Clinton as Commander in Chief."

Live-Blogging on MikeHuckabee.com

+ Live-Blogging Over at MikeHuckabee.com +
Alex and I are over at Huckabee's official website live-blogging the Fox News Channel debate along with several other Huckabee Bloggers. You can check out the coverage here.

October 20, 2007

More Straw Poll News and Reaction

Some great articles on Huckabee's straw poll win, as well as some encouraging bits of news on the money and endorsements front:

Washington Times: Mike Huckabee yesterday asked social conservatives to back him as one of their own, and they did, giving the ordained Baptist minister a giant victory among evangelical voters who participated in this weekend's Values Voter summit straw poll.

Hours later, a closed-door meeting of top social-conservative leaders did not produce a consensus on which candidate to back, but The Washington Times has learned Mr. Huckabee had the most support among the two dozen in attendance.

Chicago Tribune: Mike Huckabee, former governor of Arkansas and a former Baptist pastor, placed a close second—with Romney claiming 1,595 votes and Huckabee 1,565. However, among votes cast on-site at the Values Voter Summit, Huckabee, the clear favorite in a hall full of conservative voters, claimed more than half of the total ballots.

The Romney campaign had waged a concerted effort to enlist online votes from supporters. Indeed, the results in the hall were received with silence Saturday, another clear sign that Huckabee actually had won the house.

That was borne out in the numbers: In the on-site vote, Huckabee collected 488—more than half of the 952 cast, and far and away more than any other candidate. Romney collected just 99 on-site.

CBS News: [I]t does appear clear that the fight for these “values voters” is shaping up as a two-man race between Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee -- the winner of that fight likely to emerge as the conservative alternative to Rudy Giuliani, who leads the Republican race in national polls.

The results of the event’s straw poll were especially telling: Of the 5,775 votes received at on-site voting kiosks, by mail, and online, Romney won 1,595, while Huckabee was only 30 votes behind, at 1,565.

But these baseline numbers don’t tell the entire story. Voting online required only a nominal donation to the Family Research Council, the organization that ran the poll and the leading sponsor of this weekend’s summit, held at the Hilton Washington. Candidates sent out appeals to their supporters to cast an online vote in the poll -- such votes turned out to generate about 94 percent of Romney’s support.

Among people who actually paid to attend the conference, people FRC President Tony Perkins has called “influencers” within their communities and church congregations, the result was far different, and a decisive victory for Huckabee. Over 51 percent of those who voted at the conference chose the former Arkansas governor. Romney was a distant second, garnering just over 10 percent of the vote.

Perkins predicted that Huckabee, who also finished second to Romney at the Ames, Iowa straw poll in August, would see a benefit once attendees made their way back home from Washington. “I believe that Gov. Huckabee will get a significant bounce out of this,” Perkins said, later adding that Huckabee could join the company of Romney, Giuliani and Fred Thompson at the front of the GOP pack.

“He could be a first-tier candidate,” he said. “He has held his own, he’s got a message, he’s certainly got followers. I think he’s come down here as a winner and a favorite out of this straw poll.”

New York Times: Mr. Perkins, who has spoken positively about Mr. Romney in the past, seemed to hold back at the news conference when asked if Mr. Romney should now properly claim a mandate of being the social conservatives’ choice.

“It’s fair to say he has support among social conservatives,” he said.

In contrast, he had much more positive things to say about Mr. Huckabee.

“I believe Governor Huckabee will get a significant bounce out of this,” he said. “People were clearly enthused with his message.”

Daily Pilot: U.S. presidential candidate Mike Huckabee will pay a visit the home of a Newport Beach businessman and big GOP donor Monday.

“Huckabee is going to be the Republican nominee for president, and it’s going to happen in Newport Beach,” said local Republican volunteer Richard Dunn, who is helping organize Huckabee’s visit. “This guy is going to come out of nowhere and win. He’s going to go head-to-head with Hillary [Clinton] and win.”

Former Arkansas Gov. Huckabee will deliver an address Monday evening from the Newport Beach home of Buck Johns, president of Inland Energy Inc. Johns counts Huckabee as one of his personal friends. He also hosted a dinner in honor of fellow GOP presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in March.
And just for fun, some more comments from the Left:
Wow, over 50% for Huckabee among theocons. In the beginning of the primary season, I figured that either Brownback or Huckabee would break out. Thompson seemed to stall that thought, but now it's reappeared.

I do not like a Clinton-Huckabee match-up at all. The press eats from Huckabee's hand.


Yes, he's very 'telegenic' as they used to say. And the Clinton-Huckabee match-up seems disastrous somehow, probably because his charismatic style exposes her perceived weaknesses. The question is whether Gingrich or Dobson are going to formally commit to him soon enough to make a difference, he needs exactly what they could offer. I fail to understand what part of their courtship has stalled, given their clear alignment of values, and can only assume it is something grossly political to do with the conditions of their support in respect of policy or some quid pro quo package they demand if he is nominated. Any thoughts on that?

Huckabee Proves Values Voter Support

One of the key stories that should come out of the FRC Straw Poll is that this is the second major values voter straw poll where he has crushed the competition.

At the Values Voter Debate in Florida in September, Huckabee took 64 percent of the vote — and 30 percent of that support was won over the course of the debate.

Still, in off-hand discussion I had last month with certain conservative DC activists, I got the impression that people viewed Huckabee's win at the debate as a fluke — that it had obviously been stacked for Huckabee.

Of course, this not true at all, but it almost seemed true — because his win was so dominating. Now with another dominating straw poll win, one where all of the candidates were present and where the leaders coordinating it have been critical of Mike, there can be no denying the validity of the earlier win as well.

Huckabee is the candidate for values voters. I hope the leaders listen.

David Brody on the Straw Poll

David Brody on the straw poll results:

Romney Wins Value Voter Straw Poll...Wait. Is Huckabee the Winner?

I'm not sure how to explain this. Let's start with this. Technically, Mitt Romney won the big Value Voters Straw poll but it’s not that simple. The vote was open to people online and in that sense, Romney won with 1595 votes compared to Mike Huckabee’s 1565 votes. It was just a 30 vote difference. But for the people that actually voted onsite, it was no contest. Huckabee won 488 votes to Romney’s second place 99. That’s called a thumpin’. Look at the results here.

Here’s what I make of all of this. Romney might be able to claim victory but the onsite voting is a better barometer. Still, the press release the Family Research Council sent out says it's Romney and doesn't even mention the onsite polling. Read it here. We should point out that there's already stories about emails circulating to pump the online vote for Romney. Read more here. Clearly, the people that actually heard the speeches thought Huckabee was the best candidate there. It would be one thing if Huckabee and Romney were neck and neck for onsite voting but for Huckabee to be such an overwhelming onsite winner, that is saying something.

Here’s what it says. It says that you have social conservatives that are ready to embrace him and he’s ready to embrace them. That speech he made on Saturday was electric. I was there. I saw the crowd. They ate it up. See more on Huckabee's speech here. But let’s call a spade a spade. You have Evangelical leaders that are reluctant to back him because he’s having a hard time raising money and putting what they see as a top notch organization in place. He needs their support. He’s going to have to earn it. If social conservatives really want Huckabee so bad, then they'll need to put their money where their mouths are.

Having said all that, Huckabee is poised now to really take off. Why? Two words: Sam Brownback. With Brownback out of the race, many of the votes may go to Huckabee. That could translate into some marginally better poll numbers. Plus, Huckabee can claim victory here and go around the country saying that social conservatives have spoken and that he’s the guy. Romney will make that same claim but don't tell me for a second that the onsite margin differential doesn't have some in the campaign concerned. Maybe because Huckabee is financially challenged, they're not too worried.

It’s going to be interesting to watch the spin coming out of both the Huckabee and Romney camps. Each will claim victory. Each campaign will be right. Read more here and here.

By the way, in terms of onsite polling, Fred Thompson finished with 77 votes after people heard him speak. Rudy Giuliani finished with 60 votes. I think the Giuliani team will take that number and as for the Thompson number, I’m sure they were hoping to do better than that.

The story today is Huckabee.

Results: The Values Voter Straw Poll

Thank you everyone who took the time to cast your vote in the Values Voter Straw Poll over the last few weeks. The polls closed today and the results were announced early this afternoon.

Mike Huckabee tied for first place!

1.) Mitt Romney - 1595 - 27%
1.) Mike Huckabee - 1565 - 27%
3.) Ron Paul - 865 - 14%
4.) Fred Thompson - 564 - 9%

However, this isn't the whole story. Mitt Romney sent out major email blasts over the last few days, urging all his supporters to vote online. The Huckabee campaign never did that. Because of that, the real test of who has caught the minds and hearts of values voters was at the event itself. Look at the results from the on-site poll:

1.) Mike Huckabee - 488 - 51.26%
2.) Mitt Romney - 99 - 10.40%
3.) Fred Thompson - 77 - 8.09%
4.) Tom Tancredo - 65 - 6.83%

The results are very clear. Those who hear and see Mike Huckabee know he is the right candidate for values voters and for this country. Thank you all for the part you played in this important statement. Conservative leaders are meeting now to discuss the results and decide where to put their support. Pray that they follow the voice of the voters.

There are several things to do to keep up Mike's momentum.

First, go to MikeHuckabee.com and make a donation. It doesn't have to be large, but we need to put our money where are mouth is if we want to have a voice in who our next President will be.

Second, join the Huckabee Forums. It's the best place to meet, talk, and collaborate with other Huckabee supporters from around the country.

Third, make sure and watch the FOX News debate tomorrow at 8 PM (EST), where Huckabee will be participating. You can also view live coverage on the Huckabee Blog.

Thank you again. God bless you all!

In Christ,

P.S. If you didn't have a chance to watch Mike Huckabee's great interview on the Glenn Beck show yesterday, you can now view it (or read it) online.

Huckabee at Values Voter Summit

+ Watch Huckabee on the Glenn Beck Show +
Just finished watching Mike Huckabee at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, DC. He did an incredible job! Quotes to come.

Meanwhile, some preliminary reaction:
NRO: Rudy's story is coming in a later post. But if ovations at the Value Voters Summit determined who would be the Republican candidate, Mike Huckabee would win.

Rich Lowry: Wow. Let me repeat: Wow. What an incredible communicator. His message has gotten stronger with the accent on Buchanesque nationalist/protectionist notes, and he speaks the language of these kind of voters better than anyone. I found myself getting goose-bumps near the end of his speech when he invoked a long series of Biblical underdogs, beginning with David and his five smooth stones. He made as strong a case as possible for putting all pragmatic considerations aside and going with him. And no one could mistake the shots at Romney, including a reference to candidates who have as many positions as Elvis had sizes to his waist-band. Watch out in Iowa.

AmSpec Blog: To say that Huckabee knocked it out of the ballpark here at the Values Voter Summit would be to understate his performance. Early in the speech, he set the stage by saying that he was here "Not as one who comes to you, but one who comes from you." He talked about his backround as a Baptist minister, and then plunged into a number of issues in a speech litered with biblical references and folksy humor.

You know he owned this crowd, because he received multiple standing ovations, and it wasn't just on social issues. From tax policy to immigration, from energy independence to fighting Islamofascism, he had this crowd on its feet. Throughout his speech, almost as if he were giving a sermon, the crowd nodded and spoke out "yeah."

Mere Orthodoxy: Mike Huckabee is a man among his own people. And his people love Mike Huckabee.

The first time the presenter said his name–before he was introduced–he received loud cheers and a standing ovation. It was a sign of things to come.

With a well-structured speech, Huckabee won over the crowd handily.

It was a beautiful speech, and the crowd loved him. I’ll go out on a limb and claim that it will be Huckabee who will win the straw poll here–at least the straw poll of the votes on the ground. More than any other candidate thus far, Mike Huckabee had the room energetic, enthusiastic and excited.

Questions remain, but one answer is clear–Mike Huckabee deserves to be considered as a top-tier candidate for the Republican party. Even with his unusual (for Republican) financial views, he is a solid campaigner and a world-class communicator who could be an extraordinarily effective President.

PoliTalk: Lots of excitement in the room about Mike Huckabee who's appearance raised hoots and hollers several times. In fact, his opening was comfortable, probably one of the most comfortable of any set of remarks I've seen so far. He was especially strong with this line: "I don't come to you… I come from you."

In fact, he has received consistent standing applause throughout his speech. He also looks presidential -- he's comfortable in front of the audience which is more than one could say for Mitt Romney or Fred Thompson. And when it comes to discussing religiosity, Huckabee couldn't be beat. He went on a riff about what he was taught to believe, referring to Daniel and the Lions Den, David and Goliath, Jesus and the Blind Man -- frequently casting himself as the underdog.

But it wasn't just the religiosity. It was the passion with which he spoke -- he knew how to deliver a line and rile up an audience.

American Prospect: Huckabee came out swinging, which many assumed would happen, but it was an even far more aggressive, direct speech than I expected. While he didn't mention other candidates by name, he was clearly challenging their credibility with evangelical Christians. "I come to you not as one that comes to you, but as one that comes from you," he said.

"I don't want expediency or electability to replace our vales. We live or die by those values," he said. "I want to make it very clear that I do not spell with 'G-O-D,' 'G-O-P.' Our party may be important, but our principles are even more important."

He also hit on the right subject areas – abortion, gay marriage, immigration, appointment of federal judges -- and was the only candidate to drop the word "Islamofascism" into his speech this weekend. He also got in some plugs for the need for energy independence and the reviving the American industrial sector to liberate us from China. And he wasn't shy about advocating the kinds of constitutional amendments these voters would like to see happen in regards to marriage and abortion.

RedState: It's abundantly apparent from the corridors to the reception he gets when he comes in that Huckabee is among his own, more so than Romney or Fred.

He says we cannot "negotiate, accommodate, or placate Islamic terrorists. We must eliminate." The crowd likes that. "We cannot have the naive idea that if we leave them alone they will leave us alone. That will get us killed," he says as the crowd roars.

Then he goes into immigration and the broken border. He says he thanks God that we live in a place where people want to break into than break out of, but how terrible it is that it is more difficult for us to get on an airplane in our hometown than it is for an illegal to get over the border. Biggest Applause of Any Speech Yet That I've Seen.

He says he doesn't blame those who want to come here. He blames the government that has sat around doing nothing for over 20 years. Again, the crowd goes nuts.

He moves to energy and how bad it is that we are so dependent on energy from others. People in the crowd verbally agree with him. Then he bashes China and the crowd goes wild. Romney should be nervous. So should Fred.

"Our freedom is threatened by a tax system that is out of control." "As we say in the south, not even duct tape and WD-40 can fix it." He goes into Fair Tax. He points out how it would stop the IRS from muzzling ministers in the pulpits from speaking out. The crowd goes wild again.

He brings up the Law of the Sea Treaty. The people clap. He says any judge that thinks he can legislate from the bench "ought to be impeached." My ears are ringing the crowd is so loud.

Thompson and Romney should be worried. We have reached the crowd favorite.

Now he goes into marriage. The crowd goes wild and these, by the way, are not his people. His small group is up front, but the rest of the crowd is not his, but they are now.

"We don't need to move God to meet the cultural norms. We need to move the cultural norms to meet God." Massive applause. Standing ovation.

Video: Huckabee with Tucker Carlson

+ Vote in the FRC Straw Poll - NOW! +
+ Watch Huckabee with Tucker Carlson +

Huckabee Rising in Texas Poll

+ Vote in the FRC Straw Poll - NOW! +
The latest IVR Polls, released today, show Huckabee surging up to tie for third with Romney at 14 percent — with Thompson fading:
Fred Thompson's support is fading among previous Texas Republican primary voters. Back in June, long before he officially entered the race, Thompson led the race with 29%. At the end of August, he had slipped slightly to 25% and by mid-October, he has fallen to 19%, behind Rudy Giuliani, who added three points to 24%. Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee tied for third at 14% each.

Giuliani - 24%
Thompson - 19%
Huckabee - 14%
Romney - 14%
Tancredo - 7%
McCain - 6%
Paul - 6%
Hunter - 4%
Keyes - 0%
Undecided 6%

532 Texas GOP Primary voters, polled 10/18/2007 - Margin of error 4.3%
HT: Oh Baby That's What I Like

October 19, 2007

Huckabee with Glenn Beck [UPDATED]

Mike Huckabee had a terrific hour-long interview with Glenn Beck this evening on CNN Headline News. Video to come, as soon as its available.


BECK: You`re a genuine guy. I don`t know. I come home -- I drive home and go talk to my wife, and I say, "You`ve got to watch this, look at his eyes, I can tell that he was lying, or I can see it right there," or whatever. Television does not do justice to people, because you can`t really tell a lot of the times. You`re a real genuine guy, and I believe you believe the things that you are saying.

HUCKABEE: I have to. You know, Glenn, I told you during the break, my dad taught me one simple thing: Tell the truth. You don`t have to remember what you said the next time.

BECK: Yes.

HUCKABEE: If people want to reject me as their president, I want them to know what they`re rejecting. So I`m not going to tell them something I don`t believe. I`ll be honest with them. And if I get thrown out, then so be it.

BECK: Ten seconds. Leave America with one thing you want them to know about you.

HUCKABEE: That I am who I am today, and it`s the same person I was a year ago, 10 years ago, and the same person I`m going to be 20 years from now. My convictions are what they are, and they`re based on some deep, hard, core principles, and I think that matters, authenticity and consistency.

BECK: Governor Mike Huckabee, what a pleasure, sir.

HUCKABEE: Great to be with you.

BECK: Thank you.

America, good night.

Huckabee Needs Your Help - NOW!

Romney and Paul supporters are crashing the Family Research Council Straw Poll online. This is a time for urgent action.

+ Vote in the FRC Straw Poll - NOW! +
If you have not voted in the straw poll, do it immediately. The other campaigns have sent out massive email blasts to all their supporters telling them to vote before the deadline tomorrow at noon (EST).

If you have already voted, please find several (or more) people to do so as well. This is asking a lot, but it is vitally important.

It costs just $1 to become an FRC Action member and vote in the straw poll. It is worth much, much more than that. Go vote — and get votes!

IMPORTANT: Join the Huckabee Forums

+ Vote in the FRC Straw Poll Today +
The grassroots effort to elect Mike Huckabee as President of the United States got a huge boost tonight with the creation of the Huckabee Forums — online central for Huckabee supporters to meet, talk, strategize, and work together.

All of you need to go and register. It only takes a minute and you'll be ready to go. This will really increase the effectiveness of blogging efforts, Meetup groups, and grassroots support nation-wide, but it requires that people get plugged in. So don't delay!
+ Forum.HucksArmy.com +
Again, this is an exciting development — so jump in and get involved!

October 18, 2007

October 18th: Huckabee News Round-Up

+ Vote in the FRC Straw Poll Today +
A number of great articles have come out recently in support of the Governor. Here are a few very recent ones we wanted to highlight.

First, Reagan's son supports Huckabee. This should be capitalized on, and quickly.
Full Article: He's the host of a nationally syndicated talk radio show, a best selling author, and the eldest son of former President Ronald Reagan.

Michael Reagan spoke on the MSU Campus Thursday night. He was the keynote speaker at a benefit for the Montana Family Foundation. But, before the banquet began Reagan posed for pictures and candidly spoke about the upcoming presidential election. The conservative says he favors former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee for the 2008 Republican party candidate, but told the crowd he felt Christian voters would be responsible for deciding who ends up in the White House in the end.
Second, David Brooks has a great column in the New York Times:
Full Article: The first thing you notice about Mike Huckabee is that he has a Mayberry name and a Jim Nabors face. But it’s quickly clear that Huckabee is as good a campaigner as anybody running for president this year. And before too long it becomes easy to come up with reasons why he might have a realistic shot at winning the Republican nomination:

First, Republican voters here and in Iowa are restless. That means that there will be sharp movements during the last 30 days toward whoever seems fresh and hot.

Second, each of the top-tier candidates makes certain parts of the party uncomfortable. Huckabee is the one candidate acceptable to all factions.

Third, Huckabee is the most normal person running for president (a trait that might come in handy in a race against Hillary Clinton). He is funny and engaging — almost impossible not to like. He has no history of flip-flopping in order to be electable. He doesn’t seem to be visibly calculating every gesture.

[Note: Read the full article for four more reasons...]

Huckabee is something that the party needs. He is a solid conservative who is both temperamentally and substantively different from the conservatives who have led the country over the past few years.

He’s rising in the polls, especially in Iowa. His popularity with the press corps suggests he could catch a free media wave that would put him in the top tier. He deserves to be there.
Finally, Dean Barnett shares his thoughts on Huck-a-mania:
Full Article: The only pollster that really matters is Scott Rasmussen of Rasmussen Reports. In addition to his unrivaled track record, Rasmussen is also the only pollster who is currently screening for likely voters. So when Rasmussen says something, we ought to pay attention.

Yesterday, Rasmussen released a poll of the Iowa Republican Caucus. Given its surprising results, I'm surprised it hasn't received more attention. Romney's winning with 25 percent; no big shakes there. Fred's in second at 19 percent; again, nothing earth shattering. But here comes the bombshell: Mike Huckabee checks in at 18 percent, a stunningly strong third place showing and within shouting distance of the frontrunners.

Obviously, Huckabee is making a move in Iowa. He has risen from the bottom tier. In fact, he's solidly in the top tier, at least in Iowa. He has a five point lead over Giuliani and a twelve point lead over McCain in the Ethanol State.

Huckabee is the most natural campaigner in the bunch. Unlike one member of the top tier, there's no danger that he'll doze off in mid-sentence. Unlike other members of the top-tier, Huckabee's a social conservative's dream. You want someone rock-ribbed on the social issues? Huckabee's your guy. He doesn't even believe in evolution. His taxing and spending in Arkansas may not be every conservative's ideal, but Huckabee probably has fewer policy skeletons in his closet than anyone else in the field.

The Republican rank and file's disillusionment with the present top tier hasn't been any secret. They have long hungered for the proverbial "someone else" to make their right-wing dreams come true. Mike Huckabee has a real shot at becoming the "someone else" who finally sets conservative hearts aflutter.
What do all these recent high-profile thumbs-up have in common? People are starting to recognize that Huckabee is viable and only moving up. Since that's the only thing that's holding so many conservative leaders back, this is a very good thing.