Why as a conservative don’t I support the presidential candidacy of Mike Huckabee? Another great example is highlighted this morning by Jim Geraghty at NRO’s Campaign Spot:
The Thompson campaign has video of one of those pro-Huckabee push polls.
More than a few South Carolina readers have reported the same calls, as well as Campaign Spot Senior South Carolina Correspondent.
I’m neither impressed by the Huckabee campaign, nor from Common Sense Issues, the group behind the calls.
Sure, the Huckabee campaign says they don’t support this, and they’re calling on it to stop. But let’s see some anger. Let’s have Huckabee call up Davis, the guy who’s doing this and say, “stop it, you’re hurting my campaign.” Come on out and denounce Davis as a mudslinging slime merchant who’s manufacturing cynicism on a grand scale. (They’re saying they’ll make a million calls in South Carolina!) The governor’s a good wordsmith, I’m sure he can put it even better than that. Let’s see some fire and brimstone. Tepid words to the Associated Press aren’t going to deter Davis.
If Huckabee supporters want to make Thompson’s lobbying in two or three meetings 17 years ago the reason Republicans shouldn’t vote for him in the primary, they should come on out and say it. Don’t do this in the dark of night, hoping to reach primary voters who aren’t familiar with the issue. If this really was such an objectionable, disqualifying bit of Thompson’s background, we would be hearing it from the candidate himself.
In short, it’s cheap political slime.
When Thompson or others criticize his record publicly, Huckabee dodges and weaves with his Clintonesque evasive charm, as documented at Powerline (here and here and here and here).
Then Huckabee plays the passive-aggressive “conspiracy” victim role. Meanwhile, rather than making direct challenges about his opponents’ records, Huckabee resorts to showing the negative ads he won’t run and winks as surrogates smear voters with push-polling. What kind of “Christian leader” would do this? None other than a neo-populist demagogue with occasional and convenient conservative views. In the unlikely scenario the GOP decides to nominate this guy for President, we will get everything we deserve.
It’s also interesting to note that the person behind these auto-dial push polls is Patrick Davis of Common Sense Issues, the group that produced ads highlighting some negatives in Boulder liberal Mark Udall’s record. Commercial ads to criticize a liberal Democrat, but underhanded push-polls to smear a fellow Republican? Geraghty is right in his advice for Gov. Huckabee: “Come on out and denounce Davis as a mudslinging slime merchant who’s manufacturing cynicism on a grand scale.”
Steven Nielson says
The Huckabee campaign has repeatedly asked this Colorado based organization to cease all push polling on behalf of his campaign. Huckabee himself has stated that it is offensive, and against the very idea of how he wants to run his campaign.
Of course, the company does not have to listen to the campaign, because of their tax status. I believe that the story came out when this happened in Iowa that they are in a tax status that prohibits them from working with or taking direction from the political campaign… as such, the leader has said that it is not his intention to follow the will of the campaign.
I wonder if legality issues arise, or will this company be protected by the first amendment?
Either way, Huckabee has vocally condemned this group on a number of occasions.
Regarding Huck’s showing of the ad to the press. That is the name of the game in politics. You can attack someone by saying “I am not going to attack my competition on their record of abortion”. In doing so, you will have every reporter looking into your competitor’s positions on abortion and doing the attacking for you. This is LPR month 2 stuff! We discussed this in great detail. It is a tactic that is used regularly by all candidates. Fred Thompson used the same tactic in the CNN YouTube debate by showing clips of Mike and Mitt giving speeches, or segments of a speech, and said “Just wanted to give the competition some more air time”… it is the same “slime” as you called it.
Look. Let’s be honest with ourselves and not make drastic claims like “the Republican Party will cease to exist if so and so is elected”. What this does is divides the GOP base, and come general election time, no GOP candidate will win.
Huckabee has some great Social Conservative stances, and is supported by the SOCON base. He may be more plyable in FICON areas, but we move on and work on those weaknesses together.
Fred Thompson has questionable issues regarding SOCON isseus, as a Lobbyist for an Abortion group, but he has presence… so we work on the SOCON issues and move on together.
so on and so forth.
This all or nothing mentaility that is starting to creep up around the individual GOP caniddates is playing right into the hands of the Democrats. If we all do not realize that ANY one of our guys is better than all of theirs put together, and we are not all able to say “OK… I will support our candidate because I know we can reason together and fix our perceived weaknesses”, then we are dooming (and damning) ourselves to a Democrat in the WH, likely Hillary Clinton.
I ask you: Who is worse – Huckabee or Clinton? McCain or Clinton? Thompson or Clinton? Rudy or… well… I’m not sure about that one, but at least he has the intention of appointing constructionist judges… so he is trying to work on his weaknesses.
The answer to your question (“Why as a conservative donâ€™t I support the presidential candidacy of Mike Huckabee?”) is in the question. You’re a conservative, so you don’t support the candidacy of someone who clearly isn’t.
Suricou Raven says
Another good reason is that Huckabee’s campaign is basicly an appeal to the social conservatives, and noone else. He draws all the attention he can to his Christianity, and always turns the discussion to the two issues that social conservatives care about the most – abortion and gay marriage. But outside of those, he has nothing to say. His tax reform proposals are considered unworkable to the point of being laughable to most economists, his forign policy is a blank, his views on the political side of conservatism vary from nothing at all to ‘States have the right to independant governance unless I disagree with them.’ His education policy is worse than nothing – he is actively anti-education, having a strong dislike of public schools in general and even more so of further education. Ive never heard one line from him regarding government spending.
He acts as though his devout faith alone will make him a good president, and uses that as a shield. He never talks about any issue other than religion, abortion and gay marriage unless pressed, and even then tries to avoid detailed answers – because really, he has nothing else to say. He knows how to convince the gullable he is God’s Chosen, but thats the only effective argument he has.
To Steven, it’s not an all-or-nothing mentality. It’s a “come on, we can do better than Huckabee” mentality. And Fred “has questionable issues regarding SOCON issues”? So much so that he won the National Right to Life endorsement by doing what? Meanwhile, Huckabee’s record has genuinely alienated the Fiscal Conservative branch, and inspired little or no confidence in the Foreign Policy Hawk branch.
Please offer cites where Huckabee seriously asserted that the push polls should stop. Of course, he’s going to say they’re offensive. It makes him look clean and good, while the 527 group does the dirty work for him.
Of course, Huckabee is to be preferred to Clinton or Obama. Didn’t say the party would cease to exist, but I believe it would be damaged by his candidacy. Simply put, we can do better than someone whose campaign runs on charm and evasion, and runs no deeper than a populist appeal to faith.
To Suricou, You make some good points. What I posted here certainly isn’t my only reason to oppose Huckabee in the primary. Just the latest and most glaring.
Curious Stranger says
It’s a shame Schaffer doesn’t distance himself from folks like Davis.