Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

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Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Huckabee surges. Whoopty-doo

Rasmussen breathlessly reports that Mike Huckabee has surged ahead of Mitt Romney in Iowa, and Allah takes note of a new endorsement for Huckabee coming from the Falwell family:

The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of the Iowa caucus finds former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee with 28% of the vote, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney with 25% support, and everyone else far behind. National frontrunner Rudy Giuliani gets just 12% of the vote in Iowa at this time while former Tennessee Senator Fred Thompson is the only other candidate in double digits at 11%

Given the margin of error, the challenges of determining the relatively small number of people who will participate in a caucus, and other factors, the race is far too close to call at this point in time. However, the fact that Romney is no longer the clear frontrunner in Iowa reflects a stunning change in the race.

Take a look at that paragraph above. The poll numbers are within the margin of error -- "far too close to call" -- but Romney isn't the "frontrunner." (I hate to tell Rasmussen this, but Huckabee isn't the frontrunner right now as long as he's int he margin of error.) As the rotating headers on LGF occasionally announces "Don't drink idiotic." It's clear by this non-story that some people in Iowa, or possibly Rasmussen, are drinking idiotic.

Look, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but this is literally a two man race. Huckabee may come in second, and might even split the early states with Romney, but in long run this race is between Romney and Rudy. They both have the money, the support, and the serious chances of taking the nomination. By mid-to-late March, our nominee will be clear, and it's not going to be Mike Huckabee. We like the guy, but based on what we've read, he's not the sort of conservative we want in the White House. Add in AP report from Breitbart today and the Novak column from Monday Huckabee is facing serious criticism, and he's not answering those critics.

From Breitbart:

Mike Huckabee's presidential rivals are pointing to chinks in his record as Arkansas' governor—from ethics complaints to tax increases to illegal immigration and his support for releasing a rapist who was later convicted of killing a Missouri woman.

The Republican presidential candidate has plenty to champion from his 10 1/2 years as governor—including school improvements and health insurance for the children of the working poor. But his record has rough edges, and Huckabee has a habit of playing fast and loose with it.

Other campaigns for the GOP nomination, watching Huckabee's rise in polls in Iowa, are starting to mine his past for political fodder. Take ethics, for example.

"People are starting to contact us and they're saying we want everything on Mike Huckabee," says Graham Sloan, director of the state's Ethics Commission.

What they'll find is 436 pages of documents chronicling Huckabee's various tangles with a commission he's derided as a political tool of Democrats. It's a panel that has held proceedings 20 times on the former governor and
lieutenant governor.

But the Ethics Commission files don't cover everything, and this year—anticipating criticism—Huckabee's campaign set up a "truth squad" to push his side of various stories. It often offers, at best, an incomplete account of his record. ...

... Huckabee has consistently understated his role in the parole of rapist Wayne DuMond, who had been convicted in the 1984 rape of a distant cousin of former President Clinton.

Two months after taking office, Huckabee stunned the state by saying he questioned DuMond's guilt and that it was his intention to free the rapist, who had been castrated by masked men while awaiting trial. Huckabee said then he had "serious questions as to the legitimacy of his guilt" and acknowledged later that he had met with DuMond's wife about the case while he was lieutenant governor. Two months after ascending to the governor's office, Huckabee met with the woman again.

The ex-governor now blames his predecessor for making DuMond parole eligible—Jim Guy Tucker commuted a life-plus-20 years sentence to 39 1/2 years—but distances himself from his role in DuMond's release. Huckabee met privately with the state parole board, and two members have said he pressured them for a vote.

From Robert Novak:

Who would respond to criticism from the Club for Growth by calling the conservative, free-market campaign organization the "Club for Greed"? That sounds like Howard Dean, Dennis Kucinich or John Edwards, all Democrats preaching the class struggle. In fact, the rejoinder comes from Mike Huckabee, who has broken out of the pack of second-tier Republican presidential candidates to become a serious contender -- definitely in Iowa and perhaps nationally.

Huckabee is campaigning as a conservative, but serious Republicans know that he is a high-tax, protectionist, big-government advocate of a strong hand in the Oval Office directing the lives of Americans. Until now, they did not bother to expose the former governor of Arkansas as a false conservative because he seemed an underfunded, unknown nuisance candidate. Now that he has pulled even with Mitt Romney for the Iowa caucuses with the possibility of more progress, the beleaguered Republican Party has a frightening problem on its hands.

The rise of evangelical Christians as the motive force that blasted the GOP out of minority status during the past generation always contained an inherent danger if these new Republican acolytes supported not merely a conventional conservative but one of their own. That has happened now with Huckabee, a former Baptist minister educated at Ouachita Baptist University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. The danger is a serious contender for the nomination who passes the litmus test of social conservatives on abortion, gay marriage and gun control but is far removed from the conservative-libertarian model of Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan.

There is no doubt about Huckabee's record during a decade in Little Rock as governor. He was regarded by fellow Republican governors as a compulsive tax increaser and spender. He increased the Arkansas tax burden by 47 percent, boosting the levies on gasoline and cigarettes. When he decided to lose 100 pounds and pressed his new lifestyle on the American people, he was far from a Goldwater-Reagan libertarian.

Oooo. Ouch. It's getting chilly in here as critics tear into Huckabee, and rightly so. The man is anything but a conservative int he mold of those who have led the party in the past. I'm not saying we should be looking for a new Reagan because he was an anomaly that happened to be in the right place at the right time. We need a leader to become president, and one that can see the future of America as bright and shining, not morbid, destitute, and gloomy.

I'm not saying that Huckabee would do that, but I'm contrasting the difference between Republicans and Democrats this election cycle. But what we're concerned about when it comes to Huckabee is he reminds us far too much of President Bush -- a self-described "compassionate conservative" that bought into the idea that conservatives should embrace the Democrat's ideas that big government and spending can solve problems. (Overall, no one can deny this about the president, and it's the single largest gripe we have with him.)

Huckabee can surge. Chances are, he might even increase that lead by another point or two. But we think, seriously, this is too little, too late for Mike Huckabee. Furthermore, his "truth squad," which is playing fast and loose with the facts, isn't helping him. If anything, they're giving his critics more fodder once those people start digging up the facts surrounding their claims.

Publius II


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