Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Huckabee questions McCain’s ability to ‘energize’ base
thehill.com ^ | 02/12/08 | Sam Youngman

Posted on 02/12/2008 8:03:58 AM PST by TornadoAlley3

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, showing no signs of giving up in his quest for the GOP nomination, on Tuesday questioned presumptive nominee Sen. John McCain’s (Ariz.) ability to turn out conservatives in a general election.

Huckabee, who has repeatedly bested McCain in conservative, Southern states, said he is the candidate winning the “states that are essential to being elected as a Republican.”

“Republicans are not going to be elected because they carried Delaware, Connecticut, New York and California,” Huckabee said, referring to some of the states McCain has won. He added that the question is whether the Arizonan will be “able to energize the base of the party in a way that will get the foot soldiers out.”

In a wide-ranging discussion with reporters at a breakfast sponsored by The Christian Science Monitor, Huckabee encouraged reporters to “look a little deeper than just the number board.”

Despite the long mathematical odds Huckabee faces as he remains in the race against McCain, the former governor indicated Tuesday morning that he has no plans to withdraw anytime soon. Huckabee said he plans to start campaigning in Wisconsin, which holds its primary Feb. 19, on Wednesday.

Campaign manager Chip Saltsman said after the breakfast that Huckabee would campaign there for much of the week and then make a decision about how much more time to spend in the state.

Wisconsin, which holds an open primary, would seem to be an obvious place for McCain to continue his path to the nomination on the backs of independent voters.

But Huckabee said the state has a strong “pro-life” core of Republican voters. The former governor said his support of a constitutional amendment banning abortion – coupled with McCain’s opposition to such an amendment – and his opposition to embryonic stem cell research will help him with conservative Republican voters there.

Huckabee also said his campaign planned to put a lot of effort into Texas, which is scheduled to hold its primary on March 4.

“Texas is very, very important to us,” Huckabee said, adding that he plans “to spend a great deal of time there between now and March 4.”

Despite the occasional attempt to distinguish himself from McCain on conservative issues, Huckabee continued to show an unwillingness to attack the senator.

That said, the former governor did question the long line of conservatives who have endorsed McCain in recent days, saying they are “people that had nothing nice to say about him, and now they’re suddenly standing on stage with their arm around him.”

Huckabee said he would never be the “establishment” candidate, but his supporters are not “me-too people.”

The former governor also sized up the current state of play in the Democratic contest, saying Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), who is riding a wave of momentum, should have been taken more seriously from the beginning.

“People underestimated Barack Obama and his capacity to inspire,” Huckabee said. “Obama may present a difficult challenge [for Republicans] because he’s new and different,” he added.

“His weakness is he [has] never been tested.”

Huckabee said Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) has run into trouble in recent contests because she can be too wonkish, and not as inspirational, as a candidate.

“She does not have the personality of her husband. Very few people do,” Huckabee said.

Despite the nearly cemented conventional wisdom that Huckabee cannot win the GOP nomination, he declined to talk about what he might do if he fails in his quest.

The former governor did rule out a third party bid and a Senate run. There has been a great deal of speculation that Huckabee might challenge Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), and the filing deadline to do so is inching closer.

“There’s a greater chance that I would dye my hair green, cover my body with tattoos and go on a rock tour with Amy Winehouse,” Huckabee joked.

The only way Huckabee would discuss the future, other than talking about his ongoing campaign, was to say that he would “absolutely” push for the anti-abortion rights amendment to be included in the GOP platform at this summer’s convention.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Crime/Corruption; Government; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: base; election; huckabee; mccain

1 posted on 02/12/2008 8:04:01 AM PST by TornadoAlley3
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: TornadoAlley3

Huckabee’s right...not that Huckabee can do any better.


2 posted on 02/12/2008 8:05:57 AM PST by Vaquero (" an armed society is a polite society" Heinlein "MOLON LABE!" Leonidas of Sparta)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: TornadoAlley3

But he’s got a great ability to alienate it.


3 posted on 02/12/2008 8:06:08 AM PST by massgopguy (I owe everything to George Bailey)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: TornadoAlley3

Is it even a question anymore?

The real question is: can Huckabee do any better?


4 posted on 02/12/2008 8:06:08 AM PST by Def Conservative (In the short term, or even the long term, I would not support repeal of Roe v. Wade-John McCain)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: TornadoAlley3
The former governor did rule out a third party bid...

Hmmm. Didn't see THAT one coming...

5 posted on 02/12/2008 8:06:30 AM PST by COBOL2Java (Vote for McCain! Mental health is overrated!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: COBOL2Java
Ah, messed up. Thought it said he did NOT rule out a 3rd party bid. nevermind
6 posted on 02/12/2008 8:07:39 AM PST by COBOL2Java (Vote for McCain! Mental health is overrated!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: TornadoAlley3

I question his ability to energize anything.


7 posted on 02/12/2008 8:08:02 AM PST by Rennes Templar ("The future ain't what it used to be".........Yogi Berra)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: TornadoAlley3
Huckabee is having a hard time energizng anybody who does not speak with a southern drawl and/or play Golf on Sunday morning instead of going to church.

California-- 12% (Half million votes behind Romney)
Colorado -- 13%
Connecticut --7%
Maine --6%
Massachusetts --4%
Montana 15% -- He finished BEHIND Ron Paul
Nevada 8% -- Behind Ron Paul
New Hampshire -- 11%
New Jersey --8%
New York -- 11%
North Dakota -- 20% Behind Ron Paul
Utah --2% Behind Ron Paul

<>Mike Huckabee came in BEHIND Ron Paul in 4 states. ,b>
8 posted on 02/12/2008 8:08:59 AM PST by elizabetty (Mike Huckabee for President of the Confederate States of America -- Bad for the UNION)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Vaquero

Exactly what I was thinking — Huck’s correct that McCain sucks, but Mr. Import-Illegal-Aliens-for-Jesus Huck is no better.


9 posted on 02/12/2008 8:09:12 AM PST by TheThirdRuffian (Don't blame me; I will write in Thompson.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Rennes Templar

What? You not energized by his one liners? /s


10 posted on 02/12/2008 8:12:03 AM PST by BARLF
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: TornadoAlley3
"There’s a greater chance that I would dye my hair green, cover my body with tattoos and go on a rock tour with Amy Winehouse."

Now there's a great campaign promise. I think I'd like the guy with a lessor chance of doing those things. ;-)

11 posted on 02/12/2008 8:13:40 AM PST by HoustonTech
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Vaquero
Huckabee’s right...not that Huckabee can do any better.

both will carry the title of former presidential candidate before its over.
12 posted on 02/12/2008 8:16:15 AM PST by cripplecreek (Just call me M.O.M. (Maverick opposed to McCain.))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: elizabetty
I am no Huck or McCain fan, but how many of those states you listed stand a chance of being red in the general? McCain won blue states that will go Dem in the general, can McCain win the southern states in Nov?
13 posted on 02/12/2008 8:16:47 AM PST by TornadoAlley3 (Everytime McCain reaches out to conservatives, conservatives get poked in the eye.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: TheThirdRuffian
Exactly what I was thinking — Huck’s correct that McCain sucks, but Mr. Import-Illegal-Aliens-for-Jesus Huck is no better

One thing a vote for Huckabee could do, is show the RNC that conservatives do not have to vote for their annointed one.

14 posted on 02/12/2008 8:17:31 AM PST by Shortcake
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: Vaquero
“Huckabee’s right...not that Huckabee can do any better.”

I agree. I guess one question is “What is the base?”. I don’t really know. The viability of the Republican party is, in my view, contingent upon answering that question and finding the common thread that unites. Clearly not all Republicans and not all conservatives have the same religious views, so specific details about one group’s religious convictions can’t be that point of unity. More general convictions like belief in self-determination, personal responsibility, the sanctity of life, commitment to providing the most nurturing environment for children, keeping America strong in the world, effort and merit-based achievement vs. socialism, etc. are more likely to be shared views and thus points of unity. What do we all agree on? Does anyone know?

15 posted on 02/12/2008 8:18:47 AM PST by pieceofthepuzzle
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: elizabetty
Nice list.

The Huckster is only picking up support now because he's not John McCain.

He and McCain teamed up to get the last acceptable candidate out of the race and now he's representing himself as an alternative to McCain?

I'd vote for Ron Paul first, like the people in Montana.

16 posted on 02/12/2008 8:19:03 AM PST by Vigilanteman (Are there any men left in Washington? Or are there only cowards? Ahmad Shah Massoud)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: TornadoAlley3
Sad when the “presumptive” nominee is having to fight for every vote he’s getting. He probably was looking forward to time at the house in AZ. There goes those plans.
17 posted on 02/12/2008 8:22:23 AM PST by Sybeck1 (You trust this joker on the Supreme Court? He did vote to confirm Ruth Buzzie Ginsburg!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Vigilanteman

I question Hucksterbee’s ability to energize anyone but brainwashed Amway/Quixtar pyramid scheme folks and religous fanatics.

My vote is with Ron Paul.


18 posted on 02/12/2008 8:22:54 AM PST by Chucktallica101
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: Vaquero
Huckabee’s right...not that Huckabee can do any better.

I disagree..check out Huck's speech from CPAC:

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1967971/posts

19 posted on 02/12/2008 8:28:29 AM PST by marinamuffy ("..pacifism ensures that cruelty will prevail on earth." - Dennis Prager)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: TornadoAlley3
Huckabee knows better than to even THINK about running against Senator Mark Pryor.

"If you can't beat 'em, maybe another option?""

Sunday, Jan 20, 2008

By David Sanders

When word got out this week that Sen. Mark Pryor wouldn't face the threat of a creditable Republican opponent, thanks, in part, to state Republican Party chairman Dennis Milligan's discouraging would-be challengers in his party from running against the first-term Democrat, it elicited a few responses from yours truly.

Simply on the surface, it appears that Milligan is derelict in his duties, which includes recruiting quality Republican candidates. His justification, best I can tell, is that putting up someone to challenge Pryor, who is widely considered unbeatable, might provide extra incentive for Democrats to work harder this year. Republicans don't want that, especially since Arkansas figures to be a target state in the upcoming presidential contest.

But is sitting out the race the only option for Republicans?

This election year has already provided numerous ups and downs - frankly, at times it has seemed like up is down and down is up. What was predicted to happen in the presidential primaries hasn't gone according to plan.

Since things are so unpredictable only weeks into 2008, there is always a possibility, albeit small, that the popular anti-Washington-we-need-a-change sentiment driving this presidential campaign, might, at some point, proliferate through the electorate and affect key senatorial and congressional contests, rendering vulnerable politicians who were once considered a lock for re-election.

That said, someone would have to be willing to run, to take advantage of such a future electoral ethos, but it appears the well is dry. No Republican of any stature is willing to challenge Pryor.

So I've come full circle - this isn't all Milligan's fault. In fact, fending off any serious challenge is a testament to Pryor's ability. He has avoided toeing the Democratic line in spite of some very serious divisions between the two parties.

During his five years in the Senate, he has carved out some positions that are indistinguishable from some of the Republicans running for president. That doesn't mean those positions were always preferred or acceptable. It's merely a qualitative appraisal of a record Pryor's staff likes to highlight these days.

In terms of the war in Iraq, Pryor went against his party, voting against a resolution to pull the troops out and another plan containing a defined timeline for a troop withdrawal. Pryor pushed a plan to leave Iraq, but with a "secret" pull-out date. For a while last year, Mitt Romney was supportive of Pryor's secret withdrawal.

He voted for the Patriot Act, which puts him in line with every Republican except Ron Paul.

After he voted for the ban on partial-birth abortion, he voted against a resolution affirming Roe v. Wade as the law of the land. This places him to the right of Rudy Giuliani and more in line with pro-life Republicans like Mike Huckabee and Fred Thompson, and others. (According to National Right to Life, Pryor's most recent votes on pro-life issues leave a lot to be desired.)

Pryor and Sen. John McCain teamed up together on the so-called "Gang of 14" to prevent a Senate meltdown over judicial appointments. They prevented Republicans from using the "nuclear option" to break the Democrats' filibuster, but they also cleared the way for many of Bush's nominees to receive a vote on the Senate floor.

Last summer, Pryor voted against his friend McCain to block the controversial immigration reform bill backed by the White House and Democratic leaders. In the past, Pryor had supported measures more friendly to illegal immigrants, which puts him in good company. Both Giuliani and Huckabee have now taken a hard line (to varying degrees) on illegal immigration, but in their previous jobs, both men supported pro-illegal immigrate policies.

Pryor voted to protect gun manufacturers from frivolous lawsuits and against a bill that would have outlawed a significant amount of gun ammunition as well as other bills supporting the Second Amendment, which puts him in line with Huckabee and Thompson, but to the right of Giuliani and Romney.

Milligan told The Associated Press that the 2006 Democratic sweep set Arkansas Republicans back 20 years. Since Arkansas' junior Democratic senator is getting a pass from Republicans and given the fact that he's been fairly conservative (comparatively speaking), Milligan and his party cohorts could, in the spirit of bipartisanship, consider Pryor for the GOP nomination. They have nothing to lose and are desperate to win.

------- David Sanders writes twice weekly for the Arkansas News Bureau in Little Rock and is a host of the Arkansas Education Television Network's "Unconventional Wisdom." His e-mail address is DavidJSanders@aol.com.

20 posted on 02/12/2008 8:40:37 AM PST by spectre (spectre's wife)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Vaquero

Yes, that’s the great irony.

McCain can’t energize the base (so far), but neither has Huckabee.

If Huckabee could, obviously we wouldn’t be in this situation. While it’s true that the early primaries were not in the more conservative states, the showing made by the more conservatives candidates was insufficient to demonstrate viability by any standard.


21 posted on 02/12/2008 8:44:40 AM PST by fightinJAG (Rush was right when he used to say: "You NEVER win by losing.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Chucktallica101

>>”I question Hucksterbee’s ability to energize anyone”<<

So much tripe in here lately. Anyone? His base is more motivated than McCain’s by far, which is why he has a chance in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin’s an open primary and McCain supporters are either weak, or figure he’s got it locked up, or both, and will be easily tempted to go screw with the Democratic primary. I do this regularly when we have no important contest on the ballot, as do a lot of Democrats. But this year, there’s no way I’ll mess with the Democrats because I’m voting for Huckabee. But many of McCain’s potential supporters, as I said, might cast Democrat ballots instead.

This will be a big enough factor to have a chance at influencing the outcome, and I’m not sure the pollsters will pick it up.


22 posted on 02/12/2008 9:04:38 AM PST by Norseman
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

To: pieceofthepuzzle
"What do we all agree on? Does anyone know? "

McCain Sucks! maybe less than the dims, but he still sucks. So does this primary process. This cycle is the first exercise of the mechanics in my voting lifetime (when we don't have a pre-ordained successor candidate) of the primary process, and it's totally broke. The fact that 4% of the population can deselect half of our candidates is unbelievable ( and those states are mostly blue states, they're not gonna vote red anyway...). We need to rebuild.

23 posted on 02/12/2008 9:22:47 AM PST by matthew fuller (COMPLETE THE FENCE NOW, McCAIN!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: TornadoAlley3

Well, we’re energized, but just not the way the RNC hoped we’d be...


24 posted on 02/12/2008 9:24:17 AM PST by livius
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: TornadoAlley3

When Republicans carry the South, they tend to win. When Dems pick up a few southern states, the Reps always lose. McCain has been losing in way too many Southern states.


25 posted on 02/12/2008 9:36:14 AM PST by Dreagon
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: TornadoAlley3; potlatch; devolve; ntnychik; dixiechick2000; MeekOneGOP; gonzo

26 posted on 02/12/2008 9:54:07 AM PST by PhilDragoo (Hitlery: das Butch von Buchenvald)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: TornadoAlley3

“Republicans are not going to be elected because they carried Delaware, Connecticut, New York and California,” Huckabee said, referring to some of the states McCain has won. He added that the question is whether the Arizonan will be “able to energize the base of the party in a way that will get the foot soldiers out.”

Huckabee has a strong point. During those months when Giuliani had a big lead over all Republican hopefuls, I often commented that blue states want to nominate a candidate that red states will have to elect.

Well, that’s what we’ve got, only the mostly blue states are nominating McCain, and the red states will have to provide probably 80% or more of the support for him to have a chance to win. Anyone counting on New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey and California going for McCain in November??

This scenario is inevitable as the country club Republicans try to gain greater influence in the party.


27 posted on 02/12/2008 10:15:28 AM PST by Will88 ( The Worst Case Scenario: McCain with a Dhimm majority in the House and Senate)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: matthew fuller

“This cycle is the first exercise of the mechanics in my voting lifetime (when we don’t have a pre-ordained successor candidate) of the primary process, and it’s totally broke.”

And that’s another reason why I say both Bushes have trashed and weakened the Republican party built up by others.

Neither of the two VPs selected by the Bushes became a strong presidential contender after the Bushes, Quayle because he was so unknown when selected and too easily diminished by the media, and Cheney because of health considerations and maybe age.

But neither Bush picked a VP that could logically became a strong presidential candidate. They picked for purely personal reasons (many guesses what those were), and as with many of their decisions, did nothing to strengthen the party or its future prospects. Each seriously damaged the party’s future, and their selection of VPs is just one more example.


28 posted on 02/12/2008 10:25:32 AM PST by Will88 ( The Worst Case Scenario: McCain with a Dhimm majority in the House and Senate)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: Will88

I agree completely. GWB should have “accepted” Cheney’s resignation for his second term. God bless Dick Cheney for his service, we couldn’t have had a better VP. I would love to have him for President if his health was OK.


29 posted on 02/12/2008 10:34:00 AM PST by matthew fuller (COMPLETE THE FENCE NOW, McCAIN!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 28 | View Replies]

To: TornadoAlley3
I am no Huck or McCain fan, but how many of those states you listed stand a chance of being red in the general?

What is the REDDEST state in the Union?

What is the only state in which William Jefferson Clinton came in THIRD?

It is the state Huckabee got 2%.

Huckabee broke he cardinal law of Primary elections -- Don't make enemies on your own team.

He has made many, many enemies with his loose lips and reckless statements.
30 posted on 02/12/2008 10:41:36 AM PST by elizabetty (Mike Huckabee for President of the Confederate States of America -- Bad for the UNION)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: matthew fuller
“We need to rebuild.”

Okay. I understand and don’t disagree. However, if we’re going to rebuild, what do we coalesce around? What are the core issues that we all agree on? You can’t put together a coalition of voters without a platform. Politics in general has become so sound-bite oriented, so divisive and full of factions that I really don’t know what the common threads are that hold us together. We have to identify those things, and agree on candidates based on those things, or we will just bicker ourselves to insignificance while the pragmatists (and/or those who will say anything to anybody to gain power) get their way.

31 posted on 02/12/2008 10:57:05 AM PST by pieceofthepuzzle
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: TornadoAlley3

How can you believe anything that cultist the huckster says?


32 posted on 02/12/2008 11:05:20 AM PST by Old Mountain man (Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: pieceofthepuzzle
" However, if we’re going to rebuild, what do we coalesce around? What are the core issues that we all agree on? "

I am no prophet, and I don't know. However, in your question lies the problem, i.e., what are the agreeable core issues?- and that points up great problems. Cultures have traditionally looked to "a religion" to provide bedrock values, but our country, and party has outgrown that, witness the conflict raised with a Mormon, and a Southern Baptist. We are many diverse religions, so religion is not a viable catalyst. It's somewhat hard to define Conservatism, because we have all sorts of people telling us now that McCain is conservative, when most of us know that is total BS. Many others are convinced Romney or Huckabee or even Bush are Conservative, and I don't believe that. We can't even agree on "Conservative". Everybody is now invoking Reagan but that's a fad, just like "Change" is for the Rats. So I am in the same boat as you- I don't really know what we need, just that we need another primary system for starters.

33 posted on 02/12/2008 12:29:33 PM PST by matthew fuller (COMPLETE THE FENCE NOW, McCAIN!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 31 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson