January 30, 2008

Reaction: Huckabee Wins the CNN Debate

From CNN's Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider's live coverage:

Huckabee scores in debates - 08:22 PM ET

Huckabee speaks in a manner using a language that connects with ordinary voters.

McCain and Romney sound like politicians. His appeal is that he doesn’t.

He won the Iowa caucuses because of his performance in the debates. It was the debates that put him out in front in Iowa – in a debate like this, he could make some gains.

Huckabee's common-sense response - 08:33 PM ET

Huckabee’s answer on climate change sounds like a common sense defense of federalism– right or wrong, Californians should be able to make the decision for themselves. And he brings up “unfunded mandates” – major negative buzzwords for GOP primary voters.

Common sense talk on stimulus ideas - 08:36 PM ET

Huckabee is still speaking in a language ordinary people understand. He communicates, and his infrastructure project makes sense. Most voters are pretty cynical about the rebates. They welcome them, but don’t think they’ll make a big difference.

Huckabee gets back in the game - 09:02 PM ET

He can’t compete with Romney’s millions – this is the only way he has a level playing field.

Not that he’ll be the nominee – but he could get a boost out of this, which would keep him in the race a while longer. That’s a problem for Romney, who’s plugging himself as the conservative alternative.

Meanwhile, McCain’s being cautious and evasive for fear of offending conservatives – and opening up a vulnerability in the long term.

The bystander benefits - 09:14 PM ET

The McCain-Romney debate diminished both candidates – they looked like squabbling politicians. Who benefits? Huckabee.

Huckabee scores again - 09:15 PM ET

More common sense from Huckabee – and on foreign policy, an area that’s been tricky for him this campaign season.

Huckabee makes a great case - 09:32 PM ET

This is one of the better answers for why a governor should become president I’ve ever heard — a very compelling and eloquent answer. This is how he scores points in debates — in this case, a well-spoken defense of federalism, a very deep Republican theme.

He simply speaks in terms people relate to. He makes sense.

The night's big winner: Huckabee - 09:49 PM ET

Huckabee, I think, stood out in this debate as the one who made sense, talked as ordinary people do, and rose above politics. They may have scored. He connected. And that’s a problem for Romney, who would like to become the alternative to John McCain among conservatives who oppose the Arizona senator. But he has very tough competition from Huckabee, who’s forcing people to re-think his run at a time when he was supposed to be out of the game.

But this has always been the way he’s worked: Romney uses money to stay competitive. Huckabee has debates.

I don’t think McCain made many gains – and I think he may have caused people to re-think the race. I don’t think this was his strongest night, not because he was under attack. But because he wasn’t a straight talker. He talked very much like a politician. He was making a lot of charges at Romney – some of which, like the timetable charge, seemed very questionable.

A couple of Romney’s answers were quite good, particularly on the Iraq timetables issue. I don’t think he did himself any harm. But I think the one who really helped himself was Huckabee.

All in all: Huckabee gained ground, McCain probably lost ground, and Romney didn’t help or hurt himself – although he did effectively defend himself. McCain sounded petty – and that’s not the McCain voters know and like.

But to the extent that Huckabee may have made any gains from his performance, Romney’s got bigger worries out of tonight than the Arizona senator.

January 29, 2008

January 29: Huckabee News Roundup

Here are 2 late Florida polls:


Romney 37.8
McCain 35.7
Huckabee 12.4
Giuliani 11.4
Paul 2.7


McCain 35
Romney 31
Huckabee 13
Giuliani 13
Get the Florida election results as they come in from the Florida Department of State. Click on "U.S. President" on the left sidebar. Click on "U.S. President" again to see county by county results.

Check out this column by Andrew Longman titled, "Mitt or Huck: Who's More Conservative?":
There is a persistent myth that Mike Huckabee is a liberal and Mitt Romney is a conservative. That, my discerning friends, is a lie of convenience assembled by establishment people who own Romney, don't own Huckabee, and who have a lot of money they fear is at stake. Please keep in mind that Mitt Romney has tens of millions of dollars on hand and outspent Huckabee 15 to 1 in Iowa. Romney is supported by the multi-billion dollar business entity known as the Mormon Church. And pointedly, Huckabee has only his principles and a 10-year history as governor to run on; his professional life was made building only spiritual capital.

But let's reduce the charge to its root. Huckabee typically gets slammed as a liberal on taxes, pardons and illegal immigration. Do any of the charges stand up, or are they just being shouted through multi-million-dollar megaphones? I can only fit one topic per column, so let's hit the pocketbook.

The total tax burden in Arkansas went from 30.3 percent in 1996 when Huckabee took office all the way up to (are you ready?) 30.5 percent in 2006 right before he left. That's right, folks. Under the "big government" guy, the overall tax burden rose by two-tenths of a percent in 10 years. If you meet any Republican politician who can hold a Democratic state legislature to raising the tax burden by only two-tenths in 10 years, make him president, would you?

Has anyone recognized if any Republican is to be president, he'd probably have to restrain a Democratic legislature? And experience doing that is a good thing? Forgive me, but two-tenths in 10 years isn't a point of complaint. The guy should get a medal.
Read the whole thing...

January 28, 2008

AFA Voting Guide

The American Family Association has put together a non-partisan voter's guide scoring the candidates on a wide variety of issues: A human life amendment, traditional marriage, gun rights, business freedom, taxes, gay pride, the Iraq war and education.

Needless to say, the Democrats are on the wrong side of every single issue. But how do the GOP candidates score? Out of the 5 candidates left standing, Huckabee is the only one to score a perfect 8. Here's the breakdown:

Huckabee 8
McCain 5
Paul 5
Romney 3
Giuliani 2
The voter guides are approved for distribution by everyone, including churches and nonprofit organizations, and the AFA gives permission to forward the Voters' Guide to your friends.

Download the guide...

Defending Huckabee

Over the past week or so, several great editorials have come out in strong support of Mike. Each one is worth reading in full, but here are some excerpts:

Huckabee Hatin' Could Backfire on the GOP
by Greg Taylor, Real Clear Politics

Rush Limbaugh couldn't be clearer - supporting former Governor Mike Huckabee's presidential campaign is a really bad idea if you are a true Reagan Republican. In his opinion, Huckabee's nomination would mark the end of the Republican Party as he knows it. And Limbaugh isn't alone: Fellow talking head Sean Hannity and a whole host of conservative talk radio hosts love to pummel Huckabee and fellow candidate John McCain. The vitriol formerly reserved for Democrats Bill and Hillary Clinton, Al Gore and Howard Dean is now directed at Republicans like Huckabee and McCain.

Rush and crew should listen up: the Evangelical/Republican marriage could very well be on the rocks. This large and important block of voters who put George W. Bush in the White House twice could well be close to saying bye-bye to the party of Lincoln and Reagan, and conservative talk radio could be the reason why. And don't let us kid ourselves, without W's overwhelming support from Evangelicals, Al Gore would be President and the term "Lock Box" wouldn't be a punch line.

Why in the world would Evangelicals bolt? The answer is simple - Rush and crew have demonstrated the values Evangelicals hold dear don't matter nearly as much as economic and foreign policy positions. No one in the Republican field is more committed to the causes that matter most to the Evangelical community than Huckabee - the former Baptist minister who is pro-life (and always has been), pro-traditional family and even open to amending the Constitution to define marriage as solely between one man and one woman. Huckabee believes in abstinence education and is very pro-states rights. These positions connect with Evangelicals and frankly are more important to many in these communities than tax breaks for billionaires, border fences or amnesty accusations.

The three tenants of the Reagan revolution seem to be dissolving into just two pillars in the hearts and minds of Limbaugh, Hannity and the like. While trickle down economics and strong foreign policy are very important to the posse, strong social conservatism seems to be optional. Many in the world of conservative talk radio seem to care much more about economic and foreign policy issues, and much less about the issues that matter most to the Evangelical community.

Read the whole thing...
Huckabee Presents the Best Choice for Reagan Supporters
by John Linder, Gwinnett Daily Post
I was first elected to the Georgia House of Representatives 34 years ago. I have watched this party change for a long time. Some changes have been better than others.

Two years after that first election, I went to work on the Reagan campaign for the Republican presidential nomination. I was one of the leaders of that campaign in Georgia, and my friend, Paul Coverdell, led the establishment's efforts to nominate President Ford.

It was the typical establishment-versus-interloper campaign. Most of the friends I had made in the party were in the establishment. Most of them thought the nomination of Ronald Reagan was not only impractical, but would destroy our party.

Reagan had just served two terms as the governor of California. His record was not all that conservative. He signed the biggest tax increase in the history of the state. He got the best he could get with a Democrat-dominated general assembly. He signed a bill legalizing abortion. But governors have different challenges than presidents.

Frankly, most of the establishment couldn't have cared less about abortion. They thought the discussion of it was, well, tacky. But we were, at the time, the party that Barry built, and the new foot soldiers cared about abortion.

Their concern with Reagan was that he just wasn't up to it. What did he know about foreign policy? How could he stand up to the Soviets? Did he understand detente?

During that campaign, as in all campaigns, the establishment sat at the head table, and the rest of us milled around the small round tables below.

Coverdell approached me, after Ford had won the first several primaries, and urged me to switch sides. Paul was convinced that Ford had the best chance of winning. Paul recited all of the reservations mentioned above and then said, "John, Reagan cannot win. No one will take him seriously." That was also the consensus of the Republican writers and commentators.

I said, "Paul, I think politics is all about what you believe. I know what Reagan believes. I have no idea what Ford believes. But you need to watch Reagan connect with the people. He is the best communicator I have ever seen. He is bringing new people into the party. And these are folks you won't be meeting at the club for lunch. They carry a lunch bucket to work. Or a brown paper bag."

Read the whole thing...
The Case for Mike Huckabee by Chris Weinkopf, The Daily Bulletin
For (his) deviations from party orthodoxy, members of the GOP establishment have maligned Huckabee as some sort of crypto left-winger. But these are unconservative positions only if one thinks that conservatism demands rejecting any concern raised by a liberal, no matter how valid, and an adamant belief that the market can do no wrong.

Huckabee, however, harkens back to a more traditional brand of conservatism, one that sees the family, the middle class, social stability and the environment as goods worth conserving.

Perhaps it's because, as a preacher, he spent many years ministering to average Americans personally, gaining a real sense of the issues that concern them - health insurance, economic uncertainty, family breakdown. Huckabee brings a practical approach to politics that's directed toward making people's lives better, not making people's lives conform to some ideological template.

Call his political philosophy whatever you want, but it has the potential to obliterate the tiresome blue-red binary of American politics. Huckabee also has a sense of humor and doesn't take himself too seriously - a refreshing change in modern politics.

Evangelicals are right to like Mike. They shouldn't be the only ones.

Read the whole thing...

January 28: Huckabee News Roundup

The latest national Gallup poll shows Huckabee and Romney in a tight race for second place:

McCain 31
Romney 21
Huckabee 18
Giuliani 12
Paul 5
Recent Florida polls show Romney and McCain battling it out for first place, and Giuliani and Huckabee contesting for a third place finish:
Public Policy
Romney 35
McCain 28
Huckabee 13
Giuliani 12

McCain 30
Romney 27
Giuliani 13
Huckabee 11

McCain 32
Romney 31
Giuliani 14
Huckabee 13
The National Right to Life PAC has released a statement recognizing Huckabee as the strongest pro-life candidate:
National Right to Life is grateful for the strong pro-life record established by Mike Huckabee as governor of Arkansas, and recognizes that Governor Huckabee has taken the strongest pro-life position on all of the life issues of any of the remaining candidates for president.
Chuck Norris has a great column at WorldNetDaily titled "Presidential Buyer's Remorse:
When I backed Mike Huckabee as my choice for president, I didn't do so because he was a front-runner, could beat Hillary, had lots of money or because his presidency would advance my humanitarian efforts or increase my pocketbook. I endorse him because I agree with his platform, trust in his integrity, relate with his poor upbringing and support for average citizens, value his 11 years of service as governor of Arkansas and believe in his vision for a better America.

I want Mike to win – the nomination, then the presidency. But whether or not he does, or is offered by another a vice-president or cabinet position, my wife Gena and I can sleep at night and move forward into the future because we've lived true to our convictions, principles and beliefs. We cannot experience buyer's remorse with Mike Huckabee, because we know, win or lose, he could lead our nation into a better and more prosperous tomorrow. And he will continue to do so, as he's done for the last 20 years, whether he's the president or not.
Read the whole thing...

January 24, 2008

Florida Debate Reaction

Huckabee gave a strong performance in tonight's debate in Boca Raton, FL. Here is some reaction from the National Review Online:

Jim Geraghty:
The best exchange of the night deals with Huckabee and a Chuck Norris comment that McCain was too old to be president.

Jonah Goldberg:
I hate to say it, but for politics — and to a certain extent policy — (Mike Huckabee’s answer about the proposed stimulus package) was the best one. The $300 rebate thing is largely stupid as far as I'm concerned. But if we're going to spend $150 billion, building more highways seems like a better way to go. The China jabs were just smart politics.

I'd be curious to know if any of my colleagues disagree with me that Huckabee's proposed solution of building more highways — whether it's expanding I-95 or some other similar effort — instead of the rebate is a better approach than this rebate.
Some other online media reviews:
Former Arkansas Governor and Presidential Candidate Mike Huckabee scored major points during tonight's Republican Presidential debate in Boca Raton, Fla., emphasizing his plan to strengthen the U.S. economy, his successful record in Arkansas, and his vision for America's future.

"A few months ago, at the debate in Dearborn, Michigan, we were asked how about the economy, everyone said it's going great," Huckabee said. "I was the only one who said it may be great if you're at the top, but it's not so good if you're the ones carrying the luggage, serving the food, or driving the cabs."

Hot Air's Bryan Preston:
Mike Huckabee makes some sense on the economic stimulus. He says, essentially, if we’re going to borrow $150 billion from China to finance the stimulus package, why not use it to do something useful instead of just handing it over to be spent on goods imported from China?

That’s not crazy. Chances are, people will spend their rebates on TVs and other consumables that’s imported. That’ll help American retailers and importers but not manufacturers. While it would be better just to cut taxes and cut spending and the government as far from all our wallets and lives as possible, if you’re going to borrow and spend, let’s at least widen I-95, put Americans to work on it and get some long-term benefits from the project.
Check out the Huck's Army press release here.

Georgia: Huckabee 34, McCain 19

While John McCain and Mitt Romney are fighting for the lead in Florida’s Presidential Primary on January 29, Mike Huckabee has the lead in Georgia.

The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey in Georgia finds Huckabee with 34% of the vote followed by McCain at 19%, Romney with 16%, Ron Paul with 12% and Rudy Giuliani in fifth with 11%.

Huckabee is viewed favorably by 70% of Likely Republican Primary Voters, McCain by 63%, Giuliani by 63%, Romney by 62%, and Paul by 25%.

The Conservative Voice: Huckabee?

A great article from The Conservative Voice:

After the South Carolina primary and the subsequent withdrawal of Fred Thompson and Duncan Hunter’s presidential bids, the Republican field has narrowed considerably. Barring a Giuliani victory in Florida, the nominee will almost certainly be Romney, McCain, or Huckabee. As none of the remaining candidates can lay full claim to the conservative mantle, how do conservative voters select from among these three without splitting the party and dividing the base?

In the past, the various factions that compose the GOP made common cause based on a set of principles; a muscular foreign policy, free market economics, and promoting a culture that values life. After spending decades in the political wilderness, Republicans chose Ronald Reagan to turn these principles into policy. The order of events was no accident; the man (Reagan) met the moment (the Cold War and the supply-side boom) once Republicans were united in purpose.

In 2008, party unification (and subsequently, electoral victory) hinges on one thing: internalizing the lessons of the past. It is for that reason that conservatives and Republicans must approach the primaries from a different angle. Rather than viewing a choice between the current candidates as a series of trade-offs (Huckabee the social conservative vs. Romney the economic conservative), we should look at the principles beneath the positions. In that light, the current choice is between two conservatives (Romney and Huckabee) and a moderate who leans right on foreign policy (McCain).

In order for the GOP to usher in four new years of conservative governance, its voters must have one priority: to pick the candidate who 1) best embodies conservative principles and 2) is able to put those principles into practice so that they fully address the needs of the nation and its citizens.

For this reason, Mike Huckabee deserves a second look by primary voters who have written him off as “the social conservative candidate” or “an economic populist.” While he has drawn heat from a number of prominent conservatives for his attacks on the Club for Growth and the fact that he raised taxes while governor of Arkansas, there is more to Huckabee than meets the eye. While it is true that he raised taxes five times as governor, he also lowered them ninety-four times.

Additionally, polls indicate that the middle class is trending Democratic—largely over economic issues. While tax cuts are excellent for stimulating economic growth, they do nothing for job security. Huckabee’s overtures to Americans concerned about their jobs have not abandoned the principles of free-market economics; they still emphasize empowering individuals over expansion of government power. Rather, they are an attempt to answer the needs of the voters without resorting to the socialism-lite offered by the Democrats.

The fact is that America in 2008 faces different problems than in 1980, and while principles should not change, solutions must change where necessary to effectively meet America’s needs.

An avowed supporter of the pro-life movement and traditional marriage, Huckabee also offers a fresh perspective on the culture of life. By speaking on the genocide in Darfur and the slaughter of the unborn in America in the same breath, he has effectively linked America’s responsibility to the unborn and its responsibility to champion freedom and protect the innocent abroad.

This moral clarity is vitally important.

To those in the party who would like to put the issue of abortion on the back burner in favor of economic and foreign policy issues, Huckabee’s rejoinder is, why choose? All life is sacred. At the same time, it is an eloquent rebuttal to those Americans who are suffering from Iraq-induced fatigue and prefer a “non-interventionist” foreign policy. As President Bush noted, the terrorists began this conflict, but we’ll decide how and when to finish it.

Though the slate of Republican candidates is smaller than ever, conservatives need not despair. There is more than one candidate remaining whose platform is rooted in conservative principles. If, however, conservatives are looking something more—if they are looking for a candidate who can utilize these principles to craft new policies to meet our current challenges, they could not do better than to consider Mike Huckabee. The man from Hope is selling his own brand of optimism to voters—which makes him Reaganesque in more ways than one.

January 23, 2008

January 23: Poll Update

A new LA Times/Bloomberg poll shows Huckabee in second place nationally:

McCain 22
Huckabee 18
Romney 17
Giuliani 12
Thompson 10
Paul 6
And the latest Strategic Vision poll shows a tight 4-way race in Florida:
McCain 25
Giuliani 22
Romney 20
Huckabee 18
Thompson 6
Paul 5

Hunter Endorses Huckabee

This just in from CNN:

California Rep. Duncan Hunter, a former presidential candidate, announced Wednesday he is endorsing Mike Huckabee's White House bid.

“I got to know Governor Huckabee well on the campaign trail,” Hunter said in a statement. “Of the remaining candidates I feel that he is strongly committed to strengthening national defense, constructing the border fence and meeting the challenge of China’s emergence as a military superpower that is taking large portions of America’s industrial base.

"Along with these issues of national security, border enforcement and protecting the U.S. industrial base, I see another quality of Mike Huckabee’s candidacy that compels my endorsement," he added. "Mike Huckabee is a man of outstanding character and integrity. I saw that character over the last year of campaigning and was greatly impressed. The other Republican candidates have many strengths and I wish them all well."

January 22, 2008

New Florida Poll

A new American Research Group poll shows Huckabee slightly ahead of Giuliani in Florida:

McCain 29
Romney 22
Huckabee 17
Giuliani 16
Paul 6
Thompson 6

HucksArmy on CNN

January 21, 2008

TIME: A Split Decision on Super Tuesday?

Check out this article from TIME magazine about Super Tuesday:

For as long as anyone can remember, Republicans have wired their presidential primary process in order to produce strong and unstoppable frontrunners at a very early stage in the election calendar. But this year, all that intricate circuitry is going haywire.

Already, of course, the GOP race has given new meaning to the term "up for grabs." After holding primaries and caucuses in six states, no clear frontrunner has emerged. Mitt Romney has won three; John McCain has won two; Mike Huckabee has won one. If Rudy Giuliani, who has banked his entire campaign on a late entry in Florida, somehow prevails next week, Round 7 will only add to the confusion.

And then, at long last, comes the moment in the GOP race - Super Tuesday, or Tsunami Tuesday, as it has been christened this year — which is supposed to winnow the field and bring some clarity.

But what if it doesn't? What if, as is suddenly becoming clear, the rules which were designed to produce a sturdy frontrunner could conspire to produce the opposite?

On February 5, primaries and caucuses in 21 states will award more than 1,000 delegates to the Republican National Convention — almost half of the amount needed to secure the nomination.

But a four man field, in which each candidate has roughly the same momentum and factional strength (if not the same war chest), raises the distinct possibility that several candidates will split those delegates, postponing further the emergence of a frontrunner. And that means the GOP race could go on much longer than anyone imagined. It might even result in no candidate getting a majority of delegates when the primaries are over, a prospect that Republicans are starting to take very seriously.

Consider the 21 GOP primaries and caucuses approaching fast on February 5. Of the group, 11 of the states are winner-take-all contests, meaning, in general, that whoever gets the most of votes in any given state gets all of that state's delegates. February 5 isn't just an effective national primary; it is supposed to work like a booster rocket to the nomination. Win big on February 5 and you never have to look back.

But that booster effect tends to work best when there are only one or two candidates in the race for the nomination. If three or four candidates are still in the fray on February 5, the arrangement could have the effect of further splintering the race rather than consolidating support for a winner.

The likelihood of a split decision is enhanced by several other factors:

First, so many big and expensive states are in play on February 5 that no single Republican contender has the cash to compete in them all. Which means every Republican is likely to concentrate his time and money on their five or six most favorable targets.

Second, regional identities could hasten the divide-and-conquer approach. Under this scenario, each candidate plays — for reasons of time, money and simplicity — to his geographical strength. That has happened in the past in big, multi-candidate, multi-state primaries. Given the nature of the field - one candidate from New York, another from the Southwest; a third from the heartland and a fourth who's got both cultural links to the intermountain West and a record in New England - it could well happen again.

As polls stand now - admittedly a useless indicator - the candidates are poised to split the spoils on February 5, even if we assume everyone contends for the trove of GOP delegates at play in California, which is not a winner take all state.

There are already signs that Mike Huckabee has his eye on the heartland arc of Arkansas, Georgia, Alabama, Missouri, Oklahoma and Tennessee. If Huckabee won all of those (and they are almost all winner-take-all states), he would take home a surprisingly large 308 delegates. (This assumes Fred Thompson retires from the field between now and then, and Huckabee does poorly in California.)

Of course, things will surely turn out differently than the rough sketch above. And if this primary season has already taught us anything, it's that there's no way to predict how millions of voters will behave. "A big split probably won't happen," said a top delegate hunter for one of the GOP candidates. "Momentum has always kicked in before. But the possibility is there this time like it has never been there before."
Read the whole thing...

January 20, 2008

Video: A Message for Huck's Army

After the BBQ at the Chuck Norris ranch today, Governor Huckabee had this to say to all the members of Huck's Army:

Results from Nevada, South Carolina

Romney won handily in Nevada, while Huckabee narrowly edged out Thompson for 4th place by just 95 votes. In South Carolina, it was a tight race between McCain and Huckabee. McCain emerged the victor by just 3 percentage points. Huckabee gained 2 delegates from Nevada and 5 from South Carolina.

Nevada Republican Caucuses:

Romney 51
Paul 14
McCain 13
Huckabee 8
Thompson 8
Giuliani 4

South Carolina Republican Primary:

McCain 33
Huckabee 30
Thompson 16
Romney 15
Paul 4
Giuliani 2

The GOP Delegate Scorecard:

Romney 59
Huckabee 39
McCain 36
Thompson 5
Paul 4
Hunter 2
Giuliani 1

January 19, 2008

Huck's Army on ABC News

Huck's Army and the Harris twins were featured in this recent webcast of ABC World News with Charlie Gibson:

January 19: South Carolina Poll Update

Here are two final polls from South Carolina. The actual voting results will start coming in this evening:

American Research Group

Huckabee 33
McCain 26
Thompson 21
Romney 9
Giuliani 3
Paul 2


McCain 27
Huckabee 26
Romney 16
Thompson 12
Paul 4
Giuliani 3

January 18, 2008

SC Poll: Huckabee 26, McCain 26

An Insider Advantage poll released today shows Huckabee and McCain tied for first in the Palmetto State:

Huckabee 26
McCain 26
Romney 13
Thompson 13
Giuliani 5
Paul 5

January 17, 2008

Huckabee's Response to "Dear Huck" Letter

On Monday, Frank Pastore posted an open letter on Townhall entitled, "Dear Huck: You've Won Our Hearts, Now Win Our Minds, Too." Just a few days later, Governor Huckabee has responded to each of Pastore's questions. This is well worth reading and passing along to your friends. Topics include the Fair Tax, education, foreign policy, immigration, and the enviromnment:

Frank Pastore: 1. You’re accused of advancing “liberal economic policies” because you raised taxes in Arkansas. If elected, what do you want to increase social spending on and why? Most conservatives don’t define “limited government” in terms of “no government.” We want government to help those who truly need it. We want to help the single mom down the street that’s struggling. Unlike Democrats, we don’t measure the success of social programs by how much we spend on them, but by whether the people we claim to be helping actually get helped.

We want “limited government” in opposition to “unlimited government.” We believe we’re already spending too much on too many programs, and we’d rather spend more wisely what we’re already spending than simply default to spending more. We don’t want “bigger government,” we want “smarter government.” We understand a “let’s cut spending” message can’t win a general election, but a “responsible spending” message can. How do you suggest we do this?

Governor Mike Huckabee: First, I am a fiscal conservative. I have signed Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform “no tax” pledge. When I was Governor of Arkansas, I cut taxes 94 times, including the largest broad-based tax cut in the history of my state. I doubled the standard deduction and the child care credit, eliminated the marriage penalty, indexed tax brackets to prevent bracket creep, reduced the capital gains tax for both businesses and individuals, and eliminated the capital gains tax on the sale of a home. I reduced welfare rolls by almost 50 percent.

When I left office, the tax rates remained exactly the same as when I began almost 11 years earlier: the tax rate was 1 percent for the poorest taxpayers and 7 percent for the richest. Having inherited a $200 million budget shortfall from my Democrat predecessor, I left office with an $844 million surplus, letting my successor follow my lead to get the sales tax on food eliminated.

I share your goal of wanting to help those who truly need it. I will undertake a top-to-bottom review of all programs to eliminate waste and duplication. Right now there are many different programs dealing with things like hunger and job training. I will consolidate and streamline to get the most out of every tax dollar. I will reduce the federal work force by not replacing many of the baby boomers who will be retiring.

I will fight against pork and fight for a line-item veto that passes constitutional muster. I will also look for ways to accomplish our goals through block grants to the states. Governors at the state level are the ones who know their people and their needs better than the federal government and, since they have to balance their budgets, know how to get the most out of a dollar. We also need to measure performance and demand better accountability. We have to stop throwing money at problems without following up to ensure that they are actually achieving solutions. I will insist that programs and the people running them justify their existence. I will never just assume that because a program was funded last year, it should be funded next year.

While we have great needs, the federal government also has great resources provided by the sweat of the brows of all our taxpayers. They are entitled to a solid return on their investment. I will never forget where the money comes from and will demand of Congress and all my executive departments that we be the best stewards that we can possibly be of those hard-earned funds.
Read the whole thing...

January 16, 2008

UPDATED January 17: Poll Update

UPDATED: The latest Rasmussen poll for South Carolina shows Huckabee and McCain in a dead heat for first:

The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of South Carolina’s Republican Presidential Primary shows that John McCain and Mike Huckabee are tied at 24%. In a race that has already seen four different candidates with the lead, much could still change in the coming days--7% of voters have yet to make up their mind, 10% say there’s a good chance they could change their mind, and another 24% might change their mind.

Mitt Romney attracts 18% support and Fred Thompson 16%. The latest survey was conducted the night after Mitt Romney’s victory in Michigan. Ron Paul attracts 5% support and Rudy Giuliani 3%.
The new MSNBC/Mason-Dixon/McClatchy poll shows a tight race in South Carolina:
McCain 27
Huckabee 25
Romney 15
Thompson 13
Paul 6
Giuliani 5
A new Florida poll from Strategic Vision shows Huckabee in second place, ahead of Rudy Giuliani:
McCain 27
Huckabee 20
Giuliani 18
Romney 17
Thompson 10
Paul 5
Huckabee is ahead in the latest national polling:
The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Thursday shows Mike Huckabee on top in the race for the Republican Presidential Nomination. It’s Huckabee 23%, John McCain 20%, Mitt Romney 18%, Fred Thompson 12%, and Rudy Giuliani 11%. Ron Paul attracts 2% support.
The Clemson University poll for South Carolina shows a 2-man race between McCain and Huckabee:
McCain 29
Huckabee 22
Romney 13
Thompson 10
Paul 6
Giuliani 3
And an Alabama poll released this week shows Huckabee in first place:
A statewide survey of likely Republican voters by the Press-Register and University of South Alabama found Huckabee with 25 percent and McCain with 22 percent. The biggest category — 29 percent — was undecided.

The survey, released Sunday, found former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson with 9 percent, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney with 8 percent, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani with 5 percent, and Texas Rep. Ron Paul with 3 percent.

The Huckabee Plan

Joe Carter at the Evangelical Outpost has compiled an excellent article compiling Huckabee's true positions on the issues. Please pass this article along to family, friends and co-workers, especially those who have been swayed by all the untruthful attacks on Governor Huckabee:

For the past few months I've been defending Governor Mike Huckabee against an onslaught of attacks on his character, positions, and record. When I worked for the campaign I spent a significant portion of my time clearing up misconceptions for journalists and parrying dishonest accusations made by other campaigns. And here on this blog I've written numerous posts responding to the questions posed by bloggers and rebutting claims made by sundry interest groups.

Yet all this time I've failed to make a positive case for why I feel Governor Huckabee to be the most visionary and conservative candidate in the race. I naively assumed that everyone was seeing what I was seeing. Indeed, I'm embarrassed to admit that I failed to recognize that not everyone would have the same familiarity with his policy positions as his former Director of Research.

To rectify this situation I've compiled a list of his most significant policy positions on a range of issues--from tax reform to national security. While all of this information can be found online, I thought it would be useful to cut away the excess verbiage in order to provide as succinct a set of statements as possible. I've also included a prefatory section that explains Governor Huckabee's philosophy of governance.

Although this compilation is not exhaustive, I do believe that it provides a useful outline for anyone who wants to familiarize themselves on Huckabee's true positions on the issues.

Philosophy of Governance

Governor Mike Huckabee: "To me conservative governance means following the "original intent" of the Founding Fathers, it means recognizing that Jefferson won the debate with Hamilton, and that we want very strong, energetic, innovative states, with government both as limited as possible and as close to the people as possible. The states should not usurp functions that can be handled locally, and the federal government should not usurp functions that can be handled by the states. An important part of being a conservative President for me would be strengthening federalism. Conservative governance also means an emphasis on personal responsibility and letting the free market function unencumbered, so that Americans have tremendous opportunity, but not a guaranteed outcome. It means smaller, more efficient government; lower government spending; lower taxes. It means keeping the government out of our lives and letting families keep as much of the money they earn and make as many of their own decisions as possible. It means allowing younger workers to have personal Social Security accounts. It means getting entitlements under control.

I believe that our rights come from God, not from our government; that the people should retain as much power and be left alone as much as possible; that the federal government should not do what can be done at the local or state level; that our government belongs to the people, not the lobbyists and special interests; that government at all levels exists to serve the people and not the other way around; that we must respect the separation of powers and no branch should usurp the authority of another; that my greatest responsibility is to protect the American people from all threats; that the free market, low taxes, and minimal regulation are the keys to economic growth and prosperity; that Americans are owed equal opportunity, but not an equal outcome; that we are a culture of life and recognize that each individual has intrinsic value and worth; that we are only as strong as our families; that we owe a huge debt to those who have given their lives for this country to protect the freedoms and way of life for which they sacrificed.

I would weigh all of my decisions in the context of those principles to assure that I am doing the right thing and not the popular or expedient thing. I will always err on the side of protecting life, strengthening our families, and protecting our citizens and our country from possible threats to their safety."

(Response provided to the American Conservative Union)

Issues and Positions

Tax Reform

* Make all tuition for higher education tax-deductible

* Make health insurance tax deductible for individuals and families as it now is for businesses. (Low income families would get tax credits instead of deductions.)

* Preserve and expand President Bush’s tax cuts

* Eliminate the marriage penalty

* Cut taxes on savings

* Eliminate the Death Tax

* Reduce counterproductively high personal and corporate marginal tax rates.

* Encourage "baby boomers" who plan to work into their late 60’s or even beyond by giving them tax breaks, like additional exemptions or a “working senior” deduction.

* Long-term goal: implementation of the FairTax so that American workers keep their entire paycheck, American businesses can compete on a level-playing field with their foreign competitors, and so that we can brings jobs and investment that are currently parked off-shore back to the United States.
Read the whole thing...

Huckabee 3rd in Michigan

Romney finally won his gold medal, and McCain's momentum may be slowing. Here are the results from Michigan, with 100% of the precincts reporting:

Romney 39
McCain 30
Huckabee 16
Paul 6
Thompson 4
Giuliani 3

January 12, 2008

Matt and Jared: Mr. Huckabee

Another great song by Matt and Jared.

NYT: Young Evangelical Embrace Huckabee

Alex, Brett, and HucksArmy.com are the focus of this front page article in the Sunday Edition of the New York Times:

WASHINGTON — Much of the national leadership of the Christian conservative movement has turned a cold shoulder to the Republican presidential campaign of Mike Huckabee, wary of his populist approach to economic issues and his criticism of the Bush administration’s foreign policy. But that has only fired up Brett and Alex Harris.

The Harris brothers, 19-year-old evangelical authors and speakers who grew up steeped in the conservative Christian movement, are the creators of Huck’s Army, an online network that has connected 12,000 Huckabee campaign volunteers, including several hundred in Michigan, which votes Tuesday, and South Carolina, which votes Saturday.

They say they like Mr. Huckabee for the same reason many of their elders do not: “He reaches outside the normal Republican box,” Brett Harris said in an interview from his home near Portland, Ore.

The brothers fell for Mr. Huckabee last August when they saw him draw applause on “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart” for explaining that he believed in a Christian obligation to care for prenatal “life” and also education, health care, jobs and other aspects of “life.” “It is a new kind of evangelical conservative position,” Brett Harris said. Alex Harris added, “And we are not going to have to be embarrassed about him.”

Mr. Huckabee, who was a Southern Baptist minister before serving as governor of Arkansas, is the only candidate in the presidential race who identifies himself as an evangelical. But instead of uniting conservative Christians, his candidacy is threatening to drive a wedge into the movement, potentially dividing its best-known national leaders from part of their base...

“Some of my Christian friends, just like some of my not-so-Christian friends, have become a little too Washingtonian,” said Rick Scarborough, an aspiring successor to the previous generation of conservative Christian leaders. He recently argued that his allies were wrong to balk at Mr. Huckabee’s turn toward environmentalism and “social justice.”

“Can you imagine Jesus ignoring the plight of the disenfranchised and downtrodden while going after the abortionist?” Mr. Scarborough wrote on the conservative Web site WorldNetDaily.com.

But the lack of enthusiasm at the top of the movement has not deterred hundreds of grass-roots activists in Michigan and South Carolina who, like the Harrises, are trying to make up for the Huckabee campaign’s lack of organization and resources.

Huckabee volunteers are also working hard to court Catholics in Michigan, said Jeffrey Quesnelle, a 20-year-old conservative Catholic who is now the Michigan coordinator for Huck’s Army. (The Harris brothers have signed up state coordinators in 45 states.) Among other things, Mr. Quesnelle said, volunteers have been distributing copies of articles from the Web site Catholic Online, a hub for dedicated church members, praising Mr. Huckabee’s opposition to abortion rights and his empathy for the poor as consistent with the social teachings of the church.

In South Carolina, a make-or-break state for Mr. Huckabee and one where evangelicals are expected to make up more than a third of the Republican primary voters, the Huckabee campaign had only a state manager and two paid staff members until about two weeks ago.

But more than 500 people, many of them young evangelicals, have signed up for online Huckabee meet-up groups, said Christian Hine, 30, the state coordinator of the Huck’s Army effort. Unaided by the campaign, volunteers have borrowed church directories and bought their own phone lists to try to identify likely Huckabee voters, Mr. Hine said, and even paid to print their own Huckabee signs when the campaign ran out.

In November, volunteers associated with Huck’s Army raised about $1,550 to hire a plane towing a “Huckabee for President — HucksArmy.com” banner to circle over the South Carolina-Clemson football game, one of the biggest sporting events in the state. (Among other endeavors, members of the group also pitched in about $500 to buy pizza, balloons and doughnuts for Huckabee volunteers before the Iowa caucus.)

“Huckabee is a change for the conservative Christian movement, and a welcome one,” said Jennifer Stec, a 34-year-old homemaker in Lexington, S.C., who built a network of about 400 Huckabee volunteers. She started with her church Sunday school class, she said, and later printed her own Huckabee business cards and passed them out at the supermarket.

Alice Stewart, a spokesman for Mr. Huckabee, said the campaign “would love to have the support of the generals” of the Christian conservative movement, “but we are more than happy to have the support of the troops, and that seems to be what is happening here.” Ms. Stewart said the Harris brothers were especially “instrumental,” pointing out that they helped enlist the actor Chuck Norris, who now accompanies Mr. Huckabee on the trail.

Read the rest of the article...

January 12: Huckabee News Roundup

A new Mason-Dixon poll from Georgia shows Huckabee in front:

Among Republicans, Huckabee enjoys a 31 percent to 18 percent lead over John McCain, with Mitt Romney a close third with 14 percent. Rudy Giuliani is fourth with 9 percent and Fred Thompson fifth with 8 percent.
And an Alabama poll also shows Huckabee edging out McCain for first:
Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas, led GOP candidates with 32 percent, while McCain had 25 percent. With a polling margin of error of 5.6 percentage points, McCain could be within 2 percentage points of Huckabee, Johnson said.

“The McCain surge in the Republican primary (in New Hampshire) makes it right now McCain and Huckabee,” Johnson said.

Former U.S. Sen. Fred Thompson of Tennessee, an Alabama native, polled 10 percent, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani polled 7 percent, and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney polled 6 percent.
Here's a report from the campaign trail in Birch Run, Michigan, where according to one estimate Mike spoke to an audience of over 2000:
BIRCH RUN -- Sporting a Red Wings' jacket, Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee fingered a fire-red bass guitar as a whooping crowd plugged in the words, "Go Mike, go, go, go."

His surprise musical performance topped an energetic, loud rally of booming cheers Friday in Birch Run during which the Baptist minister pumped up his populist image, modest roots and staunch conservative beliefs.

An overflow crowd of 1,300 fans at the Birch Run Expo Center furiously snapped pictures, waved red and blue pompoms, chanted "We like Mike" and fluttered signs reading "Michigan for Huckabee" just days before the state primary election on Tuesday.

"I like you too," responded the former Arkansas governor. "In fact, I'm loving you guys a whole bunch today. I want to see you take this enthusiasm ... and help something happen Tuesday that a lot of people don't think can happen."
And check out this great column by Ken Connor from Townhall:
"Please move to the back of the bus!"

It is a command, not a request. The mood is emphatic, the tone condescending, the derision palpable. The sentiment is laced with the disdain that is common when patricians speak of the hoi polloi. They are, after all, accustomed to sitting at head tables and in box seats. They summer at Nantucket and Bar Harbor. They are educated at Harvard and Yale. They read the Wall Street Journal and Barron's. They are used to calling the shots, to being in charge. For them, there is no waiting in line.

They are the Republican elites, the bluebloods that fund political campaigns. They fashion for themselves quaint little names like "Rangers" and "Pioneers." Raising political capital is their new frontier. They invest in political campaigns as a cost of doing business and they expect a return on their investment. To spread the risk, they often put their money down on more than one candidate. And the returns are good—subsidies, tax breaks, limitations on liability when things go awry. Power is a wonderful way to leverage wealth! They are fiscally conservative and socially liberal. After all, one never knows when the right to abortion might come in handy. An unexpected pregnancy can be so inconvenient!

They expect people to know their place—and to stay in it. Place, after all, reflects one's station in life. It is, therefore, unsettling when one gets out of place.

That's why the candidacy of Mike Huckabee is so unsettling to them. A Baptist preacher who wants to sit at the head of the table! Can't he just pronounce the benediction? A graduate of Ouachita Baptist University—never heard of it. Where is he from? Arkansas? That's where the Ozarks are, right? They make moonshine there and those quaint little dolls with faces made of dried fruit. Governor, you say? Ah, but has he ever run a business? Wasn't Bill Clinton governor of Arkansas? Who is backing Huckabee? Home schoolers? Why would anyone want to teach their kids at home when there are perfectly lovely boarding schools available? Evangelicals? Those are the folks with the red necks and blue collars that carry big black Bibles, right? The ones that don't believe in evolution and want to take the nation back for Christ. They think the earth is flat and object to embryonic stem cell research? I thought so. Oh, they can be useful by winning elections for you, but they are soooo presumptuous! Who do they think they are? Give someone a seat at the table, and the next thing you know, they want to sit at the head of the table!

Here's the bad news for the bluebloods. The blue collars aren't going to go away. The base isn't going to the back of the bus. They've ridden back there for so long, their behinds are sore. They're mad as hell and they aren't going to take it any more. They've found a champion in Mike Huckabee and they intend to fight.
Read the whole thing...

WND: Teen Twins Birth HucksArmy.com

World Net Daily features an exclusive article on Alex and Brett:

Teen twins birth HucksArmy.com
Site's founder calls ex-governor 'a right-government conservative'

Ron Paul supporters aren't the only ones who can claim spontaneous grass-roots activism online: Mike Huckabee enthusiasts point to a new website founded by teenage twins that's organizing worker bees nationwide for the former Arkansas governor's presidential effort.

HucksArmy.com, created by 19-year-old Brett and Alex Harris, homeschool graduates from Portland, Ore., boasts over 3 million hits thus far – and if the Harris twins' track record of online success is any indication, the new site could attract considerably more visitors.

The Harrises are founders of TheRebelution.com, a site targeting Christian youth that fosters "a teenage rebellion against the low expectations of an ungodly culture." The site currently gets around 24,000 visitors daily.

So, why did the high-achieving media-savvy teens (whose new book is entitled Do Hard Things) choose Huckabee as their man?

"What really grabbed our attention initially about Mike Huckabee is that he is a great communicator," Alex Harris told WND. "He says things like, 'I'm a conservative, but I'm not mad at anybody about it.' And that's what young voters today are looking for, honestly – someone who can get things done not by compromising or by just plunging ahead regardless of what people think, but by communicating and inspiring people to reach for more. And that's what every great leader has been able to do."

Alex says it was Huckabee's "fresh thinking on critical issues that really got us hooked" – like "developing creativity through arts and music" in the schools.

"What he realizes is that the reason so many young people are dropping out of school or taking naps in class is not because we're dumb, but because we're bored."

Brett Harris rebutted criticism by Huckabee detractors that he favors big government.

"Conservatives hold to the idea that the government that governs least governs best, but by that standard Iraq has a better government than we do," said Brett. "Mike Huckabee is not a big-government conservative; he is a right-government conservative. There is a constitutional role for government, and Huckabee recognizes that.

"The reason the people of Arkansas repeatedly re-elected him was because he got the results. He got a life amendment passed and a marriage amendment. He turned a $250 million deficit into an $850 million surplus. He improved the roads and the schools. He cut taxes and balanced the budget every year. The reason some people hate him is because he didn't always do things their way – but they haven't gotten the results doing it their way."

Said Harris: "I think the people of this country are ready for a new way that works."

Read the whole article...

January 11, 2008

Video: Huckabee on Marriage

In the FOX News debate on Thursday, Mike Huckabee was given a question about his electability in light of a Southern Baptist Convention statement he publicly signed, which said in part, that "wives are to graciously submit to the servant leadership of their husbands." Here is his response:

January 10, 2008

South Carolina Debate Reaction

Another debate, another great Huckabee performance. Here are two reviews from the Weekly Standard:

Fred Barnes: I was impressed with Mike Huckabee's continued ability to be witty. The former Baptist preacher, when asked a question on religion, noted that he's the only candidate to get such questions. He said he might as well pass the collection plate in the audience. Might as well "go all the way." His campaign could use the money. Okay, maybe you had to be watching to find that funny.

[H]ere's how I'd rank the performances of the candidates in the debate: 1) Huckabee 2) McCain 3) Thompson 4) Mitt Romney 5) Rudy Giuliani 6) Paul.

Dean Barret: A big night for Huckabee. [He] deftly parried Thompson's aggressive and spirited attacks early in the debate. It was a battle on terrain that was unfriendly to Huckabee, and Thompson attacked with skill. And yet Huckabee got out of the exchange unscathed.

The exchange with Thompson came early in the debate, and Huckabee was just getting warmed up. For the first time in this campaign, Huckabee looked like a credible commander in chief when the conversation turned to those Iranian speedboats. His normal joviality vanished, replaced by an appropriate gravity.

Then he got even better. He seized on a characteristic piece of Ron Paul idiocy to give a spirited speech defending America's commitment to Israel. Again, he looked credible as a commander in chief. But this was also an extremely shrewd piece of politicking. Conservative foreign policy types obviously loved it as did inherently pro-Israel people (i.e. Jews). But Huckabee's core audience of conservative Christians, a much larger segment of the society than either of the other two groups, adored it also.

Mike Huckabee's an exceptional politician whose package of skills is often sold short. He's a lot more than an affable dispenser of one-liners who only knows how to play to the home crowd. For people who might be inclined to dismiss Huckabee, compare his response to Thompson's adroit offensive with McCain's blundering into the climate warming thicket. These two are the likely finalists, and one of them is much better at politics than the other.

Here's what I said on November 28, the night of the YouTube debate, the night that catapulted Huckabee to his huge lead in Iowa: "Was this a seismic night? I'll give that one a big yes. Tonight heralded the arrival of Mike Huckabee as a force in this race. Not a spoiler, not a wildcard, but a force."

Although fewer people watched this evening's festivities, tonight was even bigger for Huckabee. For the first time, it was not only possible but easy to imagine Mike Huckabee as the leader of 300 million people. He combined this new-found authority with his old standbys of off-the-charts likability and a deft way of tapping into aspirational politics.

In the race for the Republican nomination, Mike Huckabee is going to be tough to beat.

January 9, 2008

Michigan: New TV Ad

Check out the new Michigan TV Ad, "Understanding":

Huckabee Has Momentum

Here's a great article from Real Clear Politics by John Ellis:

Iowa was grand for former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, but New Hampshire was a bonanza. He cast his bread upon the waters there and though he finished a distant third, it was returned manifold. The one thing that Huckabee cannot afford, at this stage of the race, is head-to-head defeat. He needs at least two "strong" candidates in the field while he puts together the pieces of his Republican proletariat coalition.

What New Hampshire delivered last night was a revitalized Sen. John McCain, which makes Michigan a three-way race, which makes Gov. Huckabee's campaign there viable. If ever there was an electorate that is ripe for Gov. Huckabee's mix of economic populism and compassionate Christianity, it's down-trodden Michigan Republican primary voters. McCain won there in 2000 with strong support from Independents and he will direct all of his efforts at getting those independents to double down, one last time. Romney will throw everything he has at Michigan, to avoid elimination. Given a McCain surge and a Romney splurge, it's not hard to imagine a three-way split, with Huckabee doing surprisingly well in the collar counties around Detroit and drawing from the well of his base in the western and northwestern counties. Who knows, he might even win Michigan, which would set up South Carolina for a kill.

With McCain now anointed by clueless Washington scribes as the putative front-runner, the Arizona Senator must compete in South Carolina, because he will be expected to and because he has some unfinished business there from the 2000 campaign. Former Senator Fred Thompson has announced that he too will make a stand in South Carolina, although this may be moot by week's end. Romney will compete there, at least with negative television commercials, if only to cut McCain. The net result of all of that will likely be a convincing Huckabee victory, which should solidify Huckabee's lock on the Southern primary states and enable his campaign to poach in border states, in the Midwest and in the Rocky Mountain States.

A strong Huckabee showing in Michigan and a convincing win in South Carolina would set up a showdown with former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani in Florida, one that Huckabee could afford to lose. Indeed, he might even want to lose it, if only to fatten Giuliani up for his eventual slaughter on the altar of social conservatism. Again, the longer Huckabee faces two "not Huckabee" candidates, all of whom are alien or anathema to the GOP's core Sunbelt/Christian constituencies, the more likely it is he will eventually emerge victorious in the final showdown, wherever that might occur.

And if the results in the New Hampshire Republican presidential primary were not bonanza enough, Huckabee got the added boost of Senator Clinton's resurrection from the dead. What better to inflame the passions of Huckabee's more rabid partisans than the renewed prospect of Holy War against the hated Hillary. And what better way could there be to diminish the impact of McCain's revival than a bigger story burying his news.

In case you hadn't noticed, click your mouse around this website until you get to National GOP Presidential Polls. Guess who's tied for the lead or leading now in virtually every national poll. He may have finished third in New Hampshire, but he took a large step forward tonight. If he keeps it up, and things keep breaking his way, there will be no one left to stop him.

January 9: Poll Update

A new Datamar poll for Florida shows Huckabee in 1st place, with Giuliani slipping to 4th:

Huckabee 23.9
Romney 19.5
McCain 17.9
Giuliani 16.4
The latest national numbers are in from Rasmussen:
The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Wednesday shows Mike Huckabee on top in the race for the Republican Presidential Nomination. It’s Huckabee 22%, John McCain 19%, Mitt Romney 19%, Fred Thompson 12%, and Rudy Giuliani at 9%. That’s the first time all year Giuliani has slipped into single digits. Ron Paul attracts 3% support (see recent daily numbers).
A new Insider Advantage poll for South Carolina shows Huckabee ahead by 12 points:
Huckabee 33
McCain 21
Romney 14
Giuliani 8
Paul 5
Thompson 5
And here is the current GOP delegate count, according to MSNBC:
Huckabee 31
Romney 19
McCain 7
Thompson 3
Hunter 1

January 8, 2008

New Hampshire: McCain Wins, Huckabee 3rd

UPDATED: McCain has been declared the winner, and Romney has accepted the silver again. McCain currently leads Romney 37% to 32%. It looks as if Huckabee should maintain third place as the rest of the votes come in this evening (91% of the precincts reporting):

McCain 37
Romney 32
Huckabee 11
Giuliani 9
Paul 8
Thompson 1
Hunter 1
To see the results as they come in, go to MSNBC.

GALLUP: America Thinks Huckabee Will Win

In addition to the recent Gallup national poll showing Huckabee ahead by five points with 25 percent, here are some more astounding numbers from Gallup:

Huckabee's current front-runner status is bolstered by the poll finding that 33% of Americans, including 36% of Republicans, think he will win the Republican nomination for president. Eighteen percent each believe McCain or Giuliani will prevail, while 14% believe Romney will emerge as the Republican nominee.
These results are really quite incredible. Just look at the Republican numbers... Huckabee is ahead of everyone else by a 2-1 margin, and Thompson's numbers are just painful to look at:
Which Candidate Do You Think Will Win the 2008 Republican Nomination?

Huckabee 36
Giuliani 18
McCain 16
Romney 16
Thompson 3
No Opinion 8

GOPUSA: Huck and the Gipper

Here is an excellent piece by Doug Patton from GOPUSA:

A few weeks ago, as the presidential campaigns were heading into the home stretch in Iowa and yours truly was heading into a much-needed holiday hiatus, I published a column called "Huckabee Confounds Elites as Reagan Did." Since then, as the former Arkansas governor has catapulted to the top of the so-called first-tier candidates, additional comparisons to the 20th Century's greatest president have presented themselves.

The Gipper won two landslide presidential elections by connecting with the common man. Much has been written over the years about the Reagan coalition. It included military hawks, fiscal and social conservatives, and the so-called Reagan Democrats.

The Reagan Democrats were primarily blue-collar voters whose long-time allegiance to the Democratic Party was shaken by the economy of the inept President Jimmy Carter. These hard-working Americans lived their lives in a conservative manner, playing by the rules and paying their taxes. But that was not enough. Squeezed by 21 percent interest rates and double-digit inflation, they sought relief from the man who offered them hope -- Ronald Reagan.

The knee-jerk reaction to Huckabee from elites on the right and the left is much the same as it was to Reagan. They dismiss him as a one-dimensional candidate whose approach to our complex problems is just too simplistic. But a closer look at the candidacy of both men reveals something much deeper.

In 1980, Ronald Reagan promised drastic tax relief. Upon taking office, he proceeded to eliminate five tax brackets, thereby cutting the 70 percent top marginal income tax rate in half. This helped begin the process of stimulating the economy.

Similarly, Mike Huckabee wants to make big changes in the tax code. In fact, he wants to abolish the Internal Revenue Service, scrap the entire income tax system and replace it with a federal consumption tax known as the Fair Tax, thereby eliminating the three-trillion-dollar anchor we currently are dragging through our economy.

Reagan was determined to win the Cold War by rebuilding our military after years of deterioration. He succeeded in causing the Soviet Union to crumble trying to keep up with us.

Huckabee is calling for building an American military half again the size of that currently under arms. As a former governor, he has seen the danger of stretching our National Guard units to the breaking point, especially in this post-9/11 world.

The Gipper recognized the role of small business in our economy. Through his tax cuts and other fiscal policies, he opened up opportunities for entrepreneurs that had not existed in decades.

Mike Huckabee, alone among this year's Republican candidates, has addressed the plight of small business owners. He points out that most of the GOP field cannot see past the rosy macro-economic numbers reflected on Wall Street long enough to know that the average person is being squeezed by rising health care costs, skyrocketing energy prices and crushing taxes.

Huckabee says he believes that people want a president who reminds them of the guy they work with, not the guy who laid them off -- a clear shot at multi-millionaire business tycoon Mitt Romney. He also says that Republicans had better pay attention to the phenomenon of Barack Obama. He warns that GOP candidates ignore Obama's message of change at their peril.

But change purely for the sake of change is pointless, and Obama's promises are little more than warmed-over socialism, similar to that of Hillary Clinton, John Edwards and the rest of the Democratic field. In fact, it's the same old collectivist claptrap the Dems have been preaching for the last forty years. As the Gipper used to say, it isn't that liberals don't know anything; it's just that they know so many things that just aren't so.

Mike Huckabee knows that absent a real message of conservative change, voters will vote for the counterfeit rather than the status quo, and that would be tragic for America.

January 8: New Hampshire Poll Update

Here are the final numbers for New Hampshire. The Suffolk/WHDH poll shows Huckabee with 13 percent, up 4 points since yesterday:

Romney 30
McCain 26
Huckabee 13
Giuliani 11
Paul 5
American Research Group puts Huckabee at 14 percent:
McCain 31
Romney 24
Huckabee 14
Giuliani 13
Paul 9

January 7, 2008

January 8: Morning News Roundup

So much great news, it's hard to know where to begin! A new Gallup poll shows Huckabee with his largest national lead to date, boosting his RCP national average (20.7) slightly ahead of McCain's (20.0) and Giuliani's (19.0):

Gallup says Iowa caucuses winner Mike Huckabee has jumped into a national lead for the first time. The rundown: Huckabee, 25%; Rudy Giuliani, 20%; Sen. John McCain, 19%; Fred Thompson, 12%; Mitt Romney, 9%; and Rep. Ron Paul, 4%.

Huckabee's support rose 9 percentage points from mid-December. McCain's rose 5 points. Giuliani's fell 7 points. Thompson's fell 2 points. Romney's fell 5 points.
The latest polls from South Carolina look great for Huckabee:
Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee is on top once again in South Carolina’s Republican Presidential Primary. The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey shows both Huckabee at 28%, John McCain at 21% and Mitt Romney at 15%. In mid-December, Huckabee and Romney were tied for the lead with 23% of the vote while McCain was well off the pace at 12%.

The current survey offers disappointing new for Fred Thompson who earns just 11% of the vote, down a point since December. As recently as November, Thompson was tied for the lead in South Carolina.

Rudy Giuliani is also down a point over the past month and now earns 10% of the vote. Ron Paul picks up 4% support while 2% would vote for some other candidate and 9% are not sure.

Huckabee is viewed favorably by 73% of Likely Primary voters in the Palmetto State. McCain earns positive reviews from 69%, Thompson 64%, Giuliani 61%, and Romney 60%. Ron Paul is viewed favorably by 30% and unfavorably by 61%.

Huckabee’s favorables are up seven points since December, McCain’s are up five. Moving in the opposite direction are Giuliani (down five), Thompson (down seven) and Romney (down 11).

Survey USA
Huckabee 36
Romney 19
McCain 17
Thompson 11
Giuliani 9
Paul 5
Huckabee scored a major endorsement in the Super Tuesday state of Minnesota:
Mike Huckabee's presidential campaign hit new heights in Minnesota when the state's GOP chairman said he'd spearhead the former Arkansas governor's campaign here.

Republican Party chairman Ron Carey on Monday called Huckabee "the best of the best" as his role as volunteer state chairman for Huckabee was announced.

It's unusual for the leading party official to take sides during a hotly contested nomination battle.
Huckabee also received another endorsement from a pro-life organization:
The heads of a pro-life organization that serves as a Planned Parenthood watchdog has endorsed Mike Huckabee for the Republican nomination for president. The endorsement of the two leaders of Life Decisions International comes one day before the second presidential battle in New Hampshire.

Doug Scott, the president of LDI told LifeNews.com on Monday that he thinks Huckabee is the only candidate pro-life voters "can support with confidence."

He urged pro-life advocates to "join [him] in doing all they can to advance Mike Huckabee's campaign."

Thomas Strobhar, the chairman of the organization's board of directors, said he's backing the former Arkansas governor as well.

"We need to back a candidate who has a consistent record of supporting traditional values," Strobhar said. "Mike Huckabee is that kind of candidate."

"Pro-lifers have been used and abused by too many candidates that claim to be pro-life only at opportune times," Strobhar said. "Mike Huckabee is not worried which way the political wind blows. He's the real deal."

The endorsement puts LDI in league with other groups backing Huckabee, including Georgia Right to Life, Michigan Chooses Life and Tom Glessner, a leading pro-life attorney who works with crisis pregnancy centers.
And finally, look at these great head-to-head poll numbers from Kentucky:
Against Hillary Clinton, Huckabee trailed by 18 points 60 days ago, was tied 3 weeks ago, leads by 12 points today, a 28-point swing to the GOP.

1 in 3 Democrats now …… cross-over and vote Republican in a head-to-head matchup today.

Against Barack Obama, Huckabee was tied 60 days ago, leads by 19 points today. 4 in 10 Democrats cross-over and vote Republican in a head-to-head matchup today.
The Kentucky poll is making the folks at the liberal blog Daily Kos pretty nervous. Here's what Kos himself said:
Okay, this is Kentucky, friendly territory for the GOP. We were never going to win it.

But this is the reason we can't take Huckabee for granted. As I've been writing for years, and despite all the GOP's establishment's best efforts, the more people see him, the more they like him.

For whatever reasons, Clinton was overperforming the partisan index of the state, and she's still doing strong against Romney and is competitive against Giuliani in the state (unlike Obama). But McCain always had stellar numbers, and now Huckabee has joined McCain at the top.

Interestingly enough, there's not much movement in the rest of the matchups.

This is a trend worth watching as SUSA releases the rest of their state-by-state polling over the next couple of days. Will the Huckabee bounce be limited to states like Kentucky with large evangelical followings, or will it be a nationwide phenomenon?

Whatever the answer, go Romney!

Rod Dreher: Huckabee Striking a Chord

Rod Dreher had some positive things to say about Huckabee on his blog, Crunchy Cons:

Andrew Sullivan says this disingenuous bit from a Wall Street Journal editorial that criticizes Mike Huckabee shows why "fundamentalism" is destroying conservatism. Here's the bit from the Journal:

"Mr. Huckabee is also only now being discovered by most Republican voters. His innocence (or ignorance) on foreign policy, penchant for borrowing liberal economic attack lines, and even his rejection of Darwin's theory of evolution deserve to be understood by voters before they make him their standard bearer."

Why is that passage disingenuous? Because -- and I think Andrew would agree on this -- everything the Journal's editors find objectionable about Huckabee is also present in their favorite son, George W. Bush...except the quasi-populist economic views. George W. Bush is skeptical of evolution, and we knew that when he ran in 2000. G.W. Bush was famously ignorant of foreign policy when he ran in 2000. Did the Journal's editorial page object?

If Mike Huckabee held Mitt Romney's economic views, the Journal's editors would be falling all over themselves to praise him as the only thing that could save the country from a Democratic presidency.

I don't get why Andrew calls Huckabee's rise a sign of "the perils of fundamentalist politics." For one, Huckabee is not a fundamentalist. He's more of a Rick Warren Evangelical, which is not exactly an Andrew Sullivan Catholic, to be sure, but it's not the same thing as a fundamentalist. For another, as more and more people are catching on to, Huckabee's rise is not because of some zombie Jesus cult. He's scoring with folks for much the same reason Obama is: because he's an exceptionally good orator whose style is in tune with the mood of the country right now. Plus, his Joe Lunchbucket economic populism is striking a resonant chord with many Republican voters.
Read the whole thing...

TIME: Eating Up Huckabee

Check out this great article from TIME Magazine:

This is what it looks like when the seams burst on a threadbare campaign: Over a hundred people, crushed together between the Mike Huckabee bus and the front door of the Barley House restaurant Monday afternoon on Main Street in Concord, N.H.

The fans of rival candidate Ron Paul shout "Tax Hike Mike" over the Huck boosters, who scream "We Like Mike," and the press is jammed by the dozens in the middle, unable to get through the front door to witness the day's crucial newsmaking moment, when the Huck-a-campaign pulls off its latest Huck-a-coup — the launch of the Huck-a-burger. Yes, this is really happening.

We bang on the restaurant's front window. "What do you need?" a Huckabee aide writes out on a piece of paper, unable to hear us. TO GET IN! He understands, but can't help. "Fire marshal says no capacity," he writes back on his notepad. So we are left to stand in the street, amid the unending din. Even MSNBC's Chris Matthews, with his shimmering corn-husk blond hair, cannot gain entrance. Huckabee's own son, David, is not even going to try.

Just a few weeks ago, none of this would ever have happened. Back then Huckabee was still known as the pastor with the funny tax plan, whom no one really understood and only a handful of reporters followed. Sure, he was polling well in Iowa, went the buzz, but that's where all the evangelicals live. He had no real campaign operation to back him up. He was considered a flash in the pan. He was a curiosity. He wasn't going anywhere. Remember Pat Robertson in 1988? It was just a matter of time.

But then Huckabee won in Iowa, not barely, but by 9 points. He crushed Mitt Romney, despite the Mitt machine, a massive campaign organization that ruled the August straw poll and dropped nasty mailers like confetti. Now he is polling third behind Romney and McCain in New Hampshire, the two home-state favorites, at about 11%, a southern Baptist minister who has pulled ahead of a former New York mayor, Rudy Giuliani, in New England. Huckabee has skillfully set expectations low enough that a third-place finish in New Hampshire will be viewed as a success, and he is also leading in polls in South Carolina, where the GOP will hold a key primary on January 19. So the press has got to figure Huckabee out, and fast, which is bad timing, because New Hampshire voters are trying to do the same thing. On more than one occasion, the crowds have grown unwieldy, halls packed with enthusiastic audiences, all in a state where most folk don't much trust anyone who wears religion on their sleeve.
Read the whole thing...

January 7: Poll Update

The Rasmussen daily tracking poll shows Huckabee back in 1st place nationally:

In the race for the Republican Presidential Nomination, it’s Huckabee 20% McCain 19%, Rudy Giuliani 17%, Mitt Romney 15%, and Fred Thompson at 11%. Ron Paul attracts 3% support.
Now for the latest New Hampshire numbers. Rasmussen shows Huckabee in 3rd:
The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey in New Hampshire shows John McCain earning 32% of the vote while Mitt Romney attracts 31%.

The survey was conducted on Saturday and Sunday. All interviews were conducted before Sunday night’s debate. Romney leads by five percentage points among Republicans while McCain leads by thirteen among Independents likely to take part.

The current poll shows Mike Huckabee with 11% of the vote, Rudy Giuliani close behind at 10%, and Ron Paul at 8%. Fred Thompson earns 3%, some other candidate attracts 2%, and 4% are not sure.
FOX News also shows Huckabee in 3rd place:
McCain 34
Romney 27
Huckabee 11
Giuilani 9
A Marist poll shows Huckabee with a strong lead over Ron Paul and Giuliani:
McCain 35
Romney 31
Huckabee 13
Paul 8
Giuliani 5
Plus, a Strategic Vision poll shows Huckabee in 3rd:
John McCain 35
Mitt Romney 27
Mike Huckabee 13
Rudy Giuliani 8
Ron Paul 7

January 6, 2008

NY Times: President Mike Huckabee?

Check out this great op-ed piece by Bill Kristol from the New York Times:

Thank you, Senator Obama. You’ve defeated Senator Clinton in Iowa. It looks as if you’re about to beat her in New Hampshire. There will be no Clinton Restoration. A nation turns its grateful eyes to you.

But gratitude for sparing us a third Clinton term only goes so far. Who, inquiring minds want to know, is going to spare us a first Obama term? After all, for all his ability and charm, Barack Obama is still a liberal Democrat. Some of us would much prefer a non-liberal and non-Democratic administration. We don’t want to increase the scope of the nanny state, we don’t want to undo the good done by the appointments of John Roberts and Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court, and we really don’t want to snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory in Iraq.

For me, therefore, the most interesting moment in Saturday night’s Republican debate at St. Anselm College was when the candidates were asked what arguments they would make if they found themselves running against Obama in the general election.

The best answer came, not surprisingly, from the best Republican campaigner so far — Mike Huckabee. He began by calmly mentioning his and Obama’s contrasting views on issues from guns to life to same-sex marriage. This served to remind Republicans that these contrasts have been central to G.O.P. success over the last quarter-century, and to suggest that Huckabee could credibly and comfortably make the socially conservative case in an electorally advantageous way.

Huckabee went on to pay tribute to Obama for his ability “to touch at the core of something Americans want” in seeming to move beyond partisanship. And, he added, Senator Obama is “a likable person who has excited people about wanting to vote who have not voted in the past.” Huckabee was of course aware that in praising Obama he was recommending himself.

I was watching the debate at the home of a savvy, moderately conservative New Hampshire Republican. It was at this moment that he turned to me and said: “You know, I’ve been a huge skeptic about Huckabee. I’m still not voting for him Tuesday. But I’ve got to say — I like him. And I wonder — could he be our strongest nominee?”

He could be. After the last two elections, featuring the well-born George Bush and Al Gore and John Kerry, Americans — even Republicans! — are ready for a likable regular guy. Huckabee seems to be that.

Some Democrats are licking their chops at the prospect of a Huckabee nomination. They shouldn’t be. For one thing, Michael Bloomberg would be tempted to run in the event of an Obama-Huckabee race — and he would most likely take votes primarily from Obama. But whatever Bloomberg does, the fact is that the Republican establishment spent 2007 underestimating Mike Huckabee. If Huckabee does win the nomination, it would be amusing if Democrats made the same mistake in 2008.
Read the whole thing...

January 6: New Hampshire Poll Update

2 recent New Hampshire polls have Huckabee in 3rd place, which drives his RCP poll average up to 11.6 points, ahead of Giuliani's 8.7 average:

McCain 32
Romney 26
Huckabee 14
Giuliani 11
Paul 10

USA Today/Gallup
McCain 34
Romney 30
Huckabee 13
Paul 8
Giuliani 8

January 5, 2008

Reaction: ABC/Facebook Debate

A sampling of reaction to the debate tonight:

The Atlantic: Huckabee was by far the most effective in responding to the question of how to go up against Obama. And he was also smart to be generous. The rest reverted to the ancient right-left playbook. I don't think that works so well against Obama.

CBN News: Huckabee also needed to show the country that, beyond his folksy charm, he has the bonafides on national security and foreign policy. In this debate, you could see him really making a serious effort to talk tough and he even threw in some bonus extra credit on radical Islam history by naming the year of Sayyid Qutb, an Egyptian radical who was executed in 1966. Huckabee's answer on the differences between himself and Barack Obama was classic. He highlighted the many differences but then gave Obama credit for the new discourse in dialogue (something The Brody File has been talking about forever) and then transitioned into how he's trying to do the same thing. It was a night here in New Hampshire where Mike Huckabee showed he's definitely Presidential material.

The Atlantic: Huckabee is easily the most coherent and intelligible Republican. McCain seems very tired, which is understandable. I like the quietness of the format. When Romney stops pandering and starts explaining policy, he's much better. He's obviously a capable guy. He was a decent governor. But the ability to mortgage every part of his soul and past to the exigencies of the present really undermines him. I think of the Romney campaign that might have been. But in the end, character counts, I guess.

Weekly Standard: Huckabee also had a good night. He has a knack for explaining things in language that causes me to imagine hundreds of thousands of Americans across the country nodding their heads. He spoke of the "health care maze, and anyone who has tried to get approval from an insurance company nodded his head. After Mitt Romney spoke hypothetically about a $1000 charge for a hospital visit, Huckabee brought it home. "You said about a thousand dollars for a repair," he said, in comments directed to Romney. "It's about a thousand dollars for a Kleenex in a hospital now."

January 5: New Hampshire Poll Update

Polling in New Hampshire continues to show an upward trend for Huckabee:

Concord Monitor/Research 2000

McCain 35
Romney 29
Huckabee 13
Giuliani 8
Paul 7
Thompson 3

American Research Group

McCain 39
Romney 25
Huckabee 14
Giuliani 7
Paul 6
Thompson 1
Plus, reports keep coming about crowded Huckabee events in New Hampshire, such as this one from Dale Fitzpatrick:
We started the morning in Londonderry where Mike Huckabee and Chuck Norris celebrated local charities at the "Reason for Giving" event. Especially touching was the Moore Mart collection for which sends packages to the troops in Iraq. The middle school cafeteria was packed to the gills...we had to keep trying to get the crowd to pack in further.