Monday, December 10, 2007

Is Huckabee surge REALLY a Problem for Conservatives?

As I was reading through my blogroll, I came across an article discussing the problems with a Huckabee nod from the GOP. As a former pro-Huckabee blogger (now officially neutral due to circumstances), I still like discussing the viability of candidates, and enjoy discussing such with fellow bloggers. Though our friends make good points about Mike's lack of foreign policy, and the troubles he will face as his dirty laundry is finally aired nationally, I wonder if there is a blind-rage factor, as seen by Hugh Hewitt. Now, to be fair, the blogger does state that they do not officially have a horse in the race, but I wonder who their favorite is... it is definitely NOT Mike Huckabee.

I decided to post my response to his article below. Because I cannot officially support or endorse any candidate, I like to take a step back and think of the issue not in a pro/anti candidate light, but rather an electability light... and I challenge all my readers to do the same. I have made a couple points about it below.
(let me start by stating that on-the-record I am unable to support or endorse any candidate before the primary)

When selecting a president, and a presidential candidate, there are a few things to consider. National appeal is surely one, but Electoral appeal is more important in winning. Prior races and prior opponents surely matter. And of course, the ability to serve all citizens.
The biggest issue I have with President Bush is that he became so wrapped up in his own agenda that he isolated a good number of citizens (or allowed the left to isolate themselves), thus furthering the political divide. When I look at a candidate, I look at a candidate that has a wide base appeal, because this country needs a leader who can bring the nation together and heal the political divide. Fred Thompson (to mention someone directly) has come out and all but stated that he is going to continue the butt-kicking of the democrats (and independents, I presume). He is a continuation of the "Cowboy Republican" image that has further isolated the GOP from the rest of the nation. National appeal wins elections... and we need a candidate that can do more than 49.5% of the vote... else we run the risk of a deeper political divide.

Regarding Electoral appeal... Looking at the 2004 electoral map, one must consider which candidates are capable of holding ALL the Bush states. A candidate like Rudy, where many have voiced SOCON concerns, may cause a series of undervotes or 3rd party votes, thus tipping the tables and handing over entire states to the Democratic contender (most likely Clinton). The base, as a whole, is more concerned with SOCON issues than FICON issues... So the base is more likely to get out and vote on behalf of a SOCON, especially against Clinton... This puts Rudy and Mitt in question... and McCain and Huckabee if you consider past stances on immigration a part of the SOCON agenda.

The ability to serve all, as I hinted at above, is a HUGE factor. You specifically mentioned Huckabee above, so I will here as well. Mike Huckabee's recent endorsement of the Teacher's union in NH and the Machinist Union in Florida are not signs of liberalism, but rather as the ONLY Republican candidate who went out to speak to them! He is reaching out to all citizens, where others are ignoring those votes as they traditionally go to Democrats. I already discussed Thompson's view of anyone other than a Republican... and I don't see the other candidate's ability to reach out, or their efforts at all... especially in this campaign.
And past races are very important. Rudy was losing to the Clinton machine in his NY bid for the Senate. NY is a tough state for a GOP contender, but losing to a carpet-bagger? This doesn't bode well... as well, there was a LOT of dirt that the Clinton's had that they never got to use on him... so he will be faced with a tough battle, especially when so many Republicans have all but sworn not to support him even if he gets the nomination. Mitt went up against the Kennedy machine, which might as well have been the Clinton machine, and lost in MA. To win, he had to take even more liberal stances, all of which he has now changed as he is seeking a higher office. Remember Kerry in 2004... we will see the exact same thing by the Clinton's against Mitt... even if it is not true, the perception is there, and the masses will hear about it. Huckabee has faced the Clinton machine time and again in Arkansas, and the people chose him over the Clintons. Of course, the same old mud is going to be news to the rest of America, but I can guarantee that Huckabee, having been faced with all the same mud before, has canned responses to all of it.

I think that Huckabee is capable of taking on the Clintons and winning...Electorally, and nationally... It is pitting a uniter against a polarizing figure... and we will come out on top. Electorally, what states do you see switching their 2004 votes in favor of Clinton over Huckabee? I cannot think of one!

Now... If Clinton happens to NOT get the nomination... well, we will surely have a WHOLE NEW discussion about electoral strategy! An Obama or Edwards nomination on the left will change things drastically...

The key will be if Huckabee can maintain his high numbers in the face of all the old mud coming out for the nation to see... if he can, and he can answer the questions, I do not see why you suggest he is not viable. Is he not as established a politician as all the rest?

One additional comment about Huck - notice that his support is not from the Independents (Paul) or the center-left Republicans (Rudy). His support is the SOCON base. The same base that Fred had, and squandered... So I don't think that the Clinton "positive" comments effect the SOCON vote.

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