Thursday, January 31, 2008

McCain nearly abandoned GOP

As reported by The Hill:
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) was close to leaving the Republican Party in 2001, weeks before then-Sen. Jim Jeffords (Vt.) famously announced his decision to become an Independent, according to former Democratic lawmakers who say they were involved in the discussions.

In interviews with The Hill this month, former Sen. Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) and ex-Rep. Tom Downey (D-N.Y.) said there were nearly two months of talks with the maverick lawmaker following an approach by John Weaver, McCain’s chief political strategist...

Daschle noted that McCain at that time was frustrated with the Bush administration as a result of his loss to George W. Bush in the 2000 Republican primary.

Daschle said that throughout April and May of 2001, he and McCain “had meetings and conversations on the floor and in his office, I think in mine as well, about how we would do it, what the conditions would be. We talked about committees and his seniority … [A lot of issues] were on the table.”

The feel of a Reagan campaign

Atlanta Journal Constitution:
Campaigns and races do shift quickly, Linder acknowledged, but the state of the race in Georgia still feels good for Huckabee.

"It has the feel of the [1980] Reagan campaign," Linder said. "People all over the place printing their own bumper stickers, and yard signs all over the place, people standing on corners holding up signs."

Huckabee's focus on Tuesday will be closely tuned to Georgia and other Southern and Midwestern states, Linder acknowledged, because those states are most likely to appreciate Huckabee's message of tax reform and his social conservative positions. "The strength of Mike Huckabee is the message and the messenger."

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Our future first lady

Slate has a great article about Mike and Janet Huckabee:

His wife, the former Janet McCain (no relation to John), grew up in Hope, too, and she and Mike have been together since high school, where he led prayer sessions in the school auditorium and she attended them, if she didn't have basketball practice. Their first date was cheeseburgers at the local truck stop, and they got married when they were 18, in a ceremony at the bride's home. Her sister played "Here Comes the Bride'' on the piano as she came down the stairs, wearing a white eyelet dress her mother had made for her, and in lieu of a real ring, the groom slipped a soda can tab on her finger.

So, when Janet Huckabee joked that she'd like to build a Habitat for Humanity house on the White House lawn—she's hammered nails for such homes in 20-some states already, and slept under bridges with homeless people once a year to bring awareness to their problems—Republicans in Arkansas were half-afraid she wasn't kidding. Because back home, the Huckabees' empathy for the luckless is one thing that has never been in doubt: "Janet's very headstrong and, even more so than he, contemptuous of critics, and has a chip on her shoulder,'' says John Brummett, an Arkansas News Bureau columnist. "But if a tornado hits your house, one of the first people in your yard is probably going to be Janet Huckabee. And when Arkansas got evacuees from Katrina—and by all accounts Huckabee did masterfully—she decided, accurately, that these people were exhausted and the last thing they needed was to sit in line and be processed, when they could be processed on the bus." Then she got on the bus with some of them and pitched in on the paperwork.

"I know there are people who would be concerned about him having been in the ministry and think that's a little bit creepy,'' says Huckabee's sister Pat Harris, a seventh-grade teacher in Little Rock. "But having been in the ministry, he and Janet have also seen all kinds of things about life; his phone would ring in the middle of the night and up they'd go, to the hospital or the morgue or the jail. Because he was on TV, a lot of these calls were from people who weren't in his church and very often they weren't believers, but the rubber had met the road and they needed somebody." The Huckabees' shared faith defines both of them, and their relationship.

Janet may not like the media but, oh, the media would like her, the anti-Teresa Heinz, just as they do her husband. (See how excited ABC's Claire Shipman was—"This was a big deal!"—when Janet shared how early in their marriage, Mike sold his guitar collection to buy her a washer-dryer, so she wouldn't have to wash poopy diapers at the Laundromat?) With all of the other Republican candidates' wives mum, too, for various reasons, handing a speaking role to such a plain-talker was, alas, too high a risk. But underfunded as Huckabee is, hiding a woman who has "earned media" written all over her, and who so clearly is in touch with the concerns of ordinary voters, may turn out to have been the worst campaign decision since Rudy wintered in Florida.

How did we get here?

Interesing story from the National Review.
He was once the national frontrunner. It was less than a month ago that he won in Iowa, but it feels like it has been a year. What the heck happened to Huck? Haridopolos offers the same frank assessment that many have offered before him. “Had he gone from New Hampshire straight to South Carolina, he’d probably be competing for the victory in Florida,” he said.

Instead, Huckabee went to Michigan, giving Fred Thompson a chance to come to life in South Carolina and erode his base. Huckabee had every reason to think he would perform well in Michigan. His message of economic populism seemed promising among the autoworkers in that state’s East, and he could have also caught fire with the Dutch reformed and Evangelical communities in the West.

It was a strategic error — a bridge too far for a campaign always short of resources. Macomb County, outside of Detroit, gave Huckabee a pathetic 13 percent. He lost to McCain and Romney among voters from union households, despite his witty ad contrasting himself (“the guy you work with”) to Romney (“the guy who laid you off”). Huckabee even lost to Romney (34 to 29 percent) among self-identified Evangelical and Born-Again Christians.

The subsequent loss in South Carolina definitely hurt his credibility with Florida voters. Polls from both Rasmussen and Quinnipiac show him losing six points in the Sunshine State since his close second-place finish there. At the same time, his rate of donations has stayed steady, if it remains comparatively slow. According to the live feed from his website, Huckabee had raised $2 million this month before the Jan. 19 contest in South Carolina. He has raised just under $1 million in the ten days since.

And he still draws those impressive and enthusiastic crowds. “He energizes an critical wing of the party and keeps them interested,” said Haridopolos. “If it isn’t Huckabee — whether it be McCain or Romney — I think he’s positioned himself very well to be vice president.”

Thursday, January 24, 2008

After South Carolina, Huck STILL has more delegates than McCain

The Associated Press:
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney leads the race for delegates to the Republican National Convention with 59. He is followed by former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee with 40 and Arizona Sen. John McCain with 36.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Will it go to the convention?

The Hill:
Those hoping for a brokered convention this summer are likely to be disappointed, [RNC Chairman Mike] Duncan said. He said he is convinced there will be a consensus nominee before the RNC convention.

That said, the chairman did say he is reading up on the nomination battles of 1944 and 1952, both years that saw the GOP nomination fight decided at the Republican National Convention.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Thompson drops out and what does it mean?

It means we're going to win!

Mike Huckabee lost South Carolina, in large part because of Fred Thompson. Thompson's departure means Huckabee is more competitive than ever. Maybe it's even worthwhile to campaign in Florida. Florida is a winner-take-all state, so for it to be worthwhile campaigning there, Huckabee has to have a real shot at winning. The loss in South Carolina doesn't help, but with Thompson gone, the guys who are splitting votes are going to be McCain, Giuliani and Romney. Huckabee should take the conservative votes.

According to the Washington Post:
The exit polls from the Palmetto State underscore Thompson's appeal to the most conservative GOP voters. Among the voters who described themselves as "very conservative" (roughly one in every three participants), Huckabee led the way with 41 percent of the vote, but Thompson claimed 22 percent (McCain placed third with 19 percent followed by Romney with 16 percent).

I think the people who were supporting Thompson will go for Huckabee, not McCain, Giuliani or Romney. Hucakabee is now the only conservative left in the field, aside from the flip-flopping Romney.

According to Rasmussen, 12% of primary voters in Florida were going to vote for Thompson. Huck has slipped to 13% in the last poll, with Florida front-runner Romney at 25%. Even with Thompson's votes it may not be enough for Huck to win Florida.

It could be better to skip Florida and focus on states (like Illinois) that aren't winner-take-all. Huck can at least go into the convention with a boatload of delegates. Even if he doesn't make it onto the 2008 ticket, he'll be the front-runner in the next election.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Huck still has more delegates than McCain

Even after the Michigan primary, where Mike Huckabee picked up only only one delegate, he's still way ahead of McCain in the delegate count. Romney won, and that was for the best because it weakens McCain in South Carolina.
Overall, Romney has 42 delegates from the first four contests, followed by Huckabee with 32 and McCain with 13. A total of 1,191 delegates are needed to secure the Republican nomination.

If Huck wins South Carolina as expected, he will go into Florida with the most delegates and the greatest momentum of any candidate.

For an interesting analysis and projection of the final GOP delegate count, see this article.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Huckabee pulls in black votes

The Weekly Standard asks, "Could Mike Huckabee be America's Second Black President?"
Given the suddenly painful and prominent debate over race relations currently going on among Senators Clinton and Obama, and among Democratic leaders, it's worth noting that there's one Republican presidential candidate who has demonstrated an ability to win African-American votes: Mike Huckabee.

Exit polls show Huckabee won 48 percent of the African-American vote when he ran for Governor in 1998...

Monday, January 14, 2008

Huckabee's big lead in Georgia

The latest Mason-Dixon poll for Georgia:

Mike Huckabee, 31 percent

John McCain, 18 percent

Mitt Romney, 14 percent

Rudy Giuliani, 9 percent

Fred Thompson, 8 percent

Sunday, January 13, 2008

The ring

Supporters are showing devotion to the cause. Michigan Live reports:
The Republican presidential candidate was attending a Friday night rally in Birch Run when a woman handed him a ring. She said she had no money to donate to his campaign, but wanted him to get whatever he could for it.

Huckabee said he tried to turn down the offer, but the woman and her husband...insisted.

Huckabee only 3 points behind in California

The San Francisco Chronicle reports:
On the Republican side, Arizona Sen. John McCain leads the California pack with 18 percentage points; former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee now in second place with 15, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has sunk to third place with 14. Here's the shocker: former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani -- once the frontrunner here -- shows up with 12 percentage points, with Fred Thompson, the former Tennesee Senator, back in single digits with 9 points, and Texas Rep. Ron Paul in 5 percent. Undecided GOP voters are a huge number -- 24 percent.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Huckabee takes commanding lead in South Carolina

The results of the latest (January 7-10) Mason-Dixon Poll of South Carolina voters.

Mike Huckabee, 31 percent

John McCain, 18 percent

Mitt Romney, 14 percent

Rudy Giuliani, 9 percent

Fred Thompson, 8 percent

Huckabee's Detroit Economic Club speech

Mike Huckabee takes questions after his Detroit Economic Club speech. The last question is, "Beatles or Rolling Stones?" Make sure you watch it through for the amazing answer...

Friday, January 11, 2008

Huckabee gets best audience reaction in SC debate

Mike Huckabee gets the best audience reaction on his response to a question about Iran, and Ron Paul gets the worst reaction on his response to the same question.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Weekly Standard: Huckabee wins South Carolina debate

The Weekly Standard may be slowly coming around to Mike Huckabee. First it was Bill Kristol who suggested Huckabee can be the GOP's strongest nominee, and now Dean Barnett says it's easy to imagine Huckabee as the president and commander in chief:

Huckabee 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 pro-Israel people. 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 last evening's festivities, tonight was even bigger for Huckabee. For the first time, it was not only possible but easy to imagine Huckabee as the leader of 300 million people. He combined this newfound 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.

Fred Barnes likewise says Huckabee won the debate:
For what it's worth, here'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.

Huckabee supporters meet million-dollar goal

With 50 minutes left to midnight, supporters raised $1,000,000 for Mike Huckabee in 10 days, with more than a thousand new donors coming in on the last day.

If this is less than what the other campaigns can do, put it into perspective: Romney and Giuliani have Wall Street backing them, Ron Paul has Silicon Valley. Mike Huckabee, who depends on the support of regular Americans, is never going to raise more than these guys, but he'll raise enough, as he showed last night. And when all the votes are counted and the delegates tallied, the nomination of Mike Huckabee will go down in history as the day that "We the people" decided who our candidate and our president would be, not the moneyed elite or the beltway establishment.

Go Huckabee!

Huckabee leads the pack in Michigan

The latest Rossman Group poll of Michigan voters puts Mike Huckabee at 23%, Romney at 22% and McCain at 18%. Strategic Vision, however, released the results of their own weekend poll, essentially reversing McCain's and Huckabee's positions, with Huck at 18% and McCain at 29%. Weekend polls may not be as accurate....

A conservative even Colbert can vote for

Not since Reagan, have we had a presidential contender with such a sense of humor. As they say, it's far better to have a president who can deliver a punchline, than one who is the punchline.

Huckabee: We're polling first in South Carolina, Florida, Michigan

Bill Kristol: Huckabee can be our strongest nominee

One of my favorite pieces of recent reading has to be Bill Kristol's take on Mike Huckabee. This was printed in the New York Times after Huckabee's resounding victory in Iowa. Here are the highlights:

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...

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. He came up from modest origins. He served as governor of Arkansas for more than a decade. He fought a successful battle against being overweight...

In Iowa, Huckabee did something like what Obama did on the Democratic side, albeit on a smaller scale. He drew new voters to the caucuses. And he defeated Mitt Romney by almost two to one, and John McCain by better than four to one, among voters under 45...

His campaigning in New Hampshire has been impressive. At a Friday night event at New England College in Henniker, he played bass with a local rock band, Mama Kicks. One secular New Hampshire Republican’s reaction: “Gee, he’s not some kind of crazy Christian. He’s an ordinary American.”

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.

Krauthammer: "Huckabee can be unstoppable"

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Huckabee has the most delegates

The Seattle Times tallied the delegates and found that:
In the overall race for the nomination, Huckabee leads with 31 delegates, followed by Romney with 19 delegates and McCain with seven.

He's winning!

On the Democratic side:
Clinton leads with 187 delegates, including separately chosen party and elected officials known as superdelegates. She is followed by Obama with 89 delegates and Edwards with 50.

It looks like Iowa, for Democrats, was not worth a lot of delegates. So the general election could be Huckabee vs. Clinton, afterall.

Huckabee is the only Republican who has successfully defeated the Clinton machine in the past, so I'm sure he'll be ready for the fight.

Huckabee's rise in Michigan polls

I can't find a poll taken more recently than this one, but Huckabee's trajectory is very clear. At this point, he is probably already even with Romney if not leading.

Huckabee leads McCain by 7 points in South Carolina

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%.

New Huckabee tv spot

Huckabee delegate at Batavia voters forum

Huckabee delegate Jim Krenz will appear Thursday (tomorrow) at the League of Women Voters candidates' forum in Batavia. Don't forget to turn out and show your support for Huckabee!

Top 10 Reasons Huckabee will be the nominee

Huckabee for the win!

This blog is for rallying Huckabee supporters from Elgin to Aurora, in Kane County, Illinois.