February 7, 2008

Huckabee's Super Tuesday Miracle

From Doug Wead, presidential historian and New York Times best-selling author, on Huckabee's establishment-shocking showing on Tuesday:

It’s a good morning in the Huckabee nation. Written off by experts and urged by a drumbeat of pundits to drop out of the presidential race, Mike Huckabee surged to victories last night in Arkansas, West Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee and Alabama and came within one percentage point of taking Missouri and Oklahoma, as well.

For the last week, as if orchestrated by the very same talking points, all the giants of talk radio and FOX News poured on the heat to force Mike Huckabee out of the race and let Mitt Romney have a chance to stop John McCain.

Huckabee was on the ropes, they said. He had lost the close one in South Carolina and that had been his make or break point for the nomination. They said Huckabee wasn’t a true conservative, anyway. Only Romney had the money and the support now to make the difference.

The networks all caved into this reasoning, relegating Huckabee to the end of the bench at the GOP CNN, Reagan Library Debate, making it a defacto race between McCain and Romney.

It seemed to be working. When the anti-Huckabee campaign began he was actually tied with Romney in national polls and leading in several Super Tuesday states. Huckabee supporters desperately tried to point all of this out but in the Boston-New York-Washington corridor the perception becomes the reality. The polls, reluctantly but very clearly began moving in the direction the pundits were ordering. Romney seemed to inch up from Huckabee, showed promise in California and would win Missouri if only Huckabee would only drop out.

By the morning of Super Tuesday, the drumbeats were intense. A commentator on FOX openly sneering at Huckabee’s effrontery at staying in the race. Some were now saying that he would lose his own home state of Arkansas. But they were wrong. Their evidence, their opinions were all incestuous ideas developed over drinks at the same receptions in Georgetown.

The Huckabee nation, give them credit, stayed calm. Their man was the true conservative, they pointed out. He had not changed his positions on civil unions for gays or abortion or any of the other so called litmus tests that Romney had been forced to violate to win the governor’s mansion in Massachusetts, arguably the most liberal state in the nation. Huck’s tax plan was libertarian. And the votes that left him in Florida did not go to Romney, they went to McCain. And why? The media who had for a year declared Rudolph Giuliani the likely GOP nominee didn’t want to know.

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