Posts Tagged ‘gov. mike huckabee’
“The Romney campaign’s February 5th math is simple: move all the voters from the Huckabee pile onto theirs and claim a majority of conservatives,” writes the estimable Patrick Ruffini, an “Ex-Bush aide/Giuliani aide/current Romney endorser,” as described by Marc Ambinder, in a blog burst titled Intransigent Huck Voters
Unfortunately, continues Ruffini, it’s just not that simple.
In the South — still more delegate-rich per capita than NY, CA, NJ, IL, etc. — the “conservative” vote, defined as Romney + Huckabee, is splitting down the middle. Most polls down South look like McCain 30, Huckabee 25, Romney 25. We’ve seen how this played out in South Carolina, except there it was establishment conservatives refusing to take the advice that they play ball with Huckabee to strengthen their hand in Florida. We also saw it in rural northern Florida, where in many cases it was a three man race (and often a two man race between McCain and Huck).
The problem with this analysis is that I’ve seen no evidence that Huckabee voters would go to Romney. On a county level, the Romney and Huckabee votes are negatively correlated, with Romney representing the conservative side of the Chamber of Commerce/Rotary Club vote and not really showing outsized strength with Evangelicals [...]
[...] There is a message in these returns to conservatives busy soldering together the coalition below decks: do not assume that just because they’re all pro-life, that Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Laura Ingraham speak for the social conservatives Romney needs next Tuesday. They don’t. Being pro-life and pro-marriage is not enough. To understand what Huckabee voters want, you need to actually appreciate what Mike Huckabee brings to the table, which is an emphasis on faith, undiluted. Many conservatives, particularly those around here, do not. While many of us agree on the social issues, the conservative establishment resented how he injected his religion into the campaign. Never have I seen conservatives so readily repeat the Barry Lynn/ACLU line on the “wall” between church and state.
It’s instructive to study how George W. Bush united the conservative coalition eight years ago. He did so not as a Mitt Romney Republican but as a Mike Huckabee Republican. The only thing Bush offered fiscal conservatives was tax cuts. The rest was Catholic social thought. Say what you will about him, but Bush has never gone squishy on a single social issue in eight years. But has gone wobbly on fiscal issues, leading to a revolt in the conservative establishment. As Bush knew, and as we are re-learning with the rise of John McCain and the intransigence of Mike Huckabee’s base, fiscal conservatism is where the opinion leaders are, and social conservatism is where the votes are.
Mitt Romney is trying to unify the party as a business guy from Belmont who is culturally as far removed from Suwannee County, Florida as you can get. He’s going about it very clinically: vote for me because I’m not McCain. But I’m not sure that message holds much sway with an audience that takes its cues from Christian radio not News/Talk and certainly not National Review. And notice his message: it’s all about the economy, and nothing about Life and only a little bit about marriage. Christian voters have noticed.
Romney is pinning his hopes on brining in the social “leg of the stool.” But though they’re not wild about McCain, I’d venture that a plurality of these voters would rank Romney third [...]
[...] Specifically, it seems to me that the conservative establishment’s decision to go nuclear first on Huckabee (who never had a shot but speaks for voters we need in November) before McCain (who always had a shot but speaks mostly for himself) will rank as a pretty serious strategic blunder [...]
We concur. Only it was Romney went nuclear on Gov. Huckabee, and at great cost. See:
- Cost: Romney’s furiously negative campaigning in Iowa and New Hampshire may have already cost Romney the nomination by alienating Gov. Huckabee and Sen. McCain voters
- Luntz: “Romney made a ‘big mistake’ by going negative against Huckabee”—how a Faustian Romney rages against the laws of physics
Marc Ambinder comments on Ruffini’s analysis in a blog burst titled Republican Coalition Politics
[...] Left unasked is precisely why the establishment felt more threatened by Mike Huckabee that it did by even John McCain. And not just the pro-business, anti-tax wing of the professional conservative establishment: the faith wing, too, from the Family Research Council to various members of the Arlington Group who cast their lot with Fred Thompson, a conservative, to be sure, but someone of an undefined protestant faith who didn’t seem to go to church much.
My theory — and it remains a theory — is that Huckabee threatened these interests so much because he never depended on them in the past and would never depend on them in the future. In the sense that these interests mediated between leaders and rank-and-file conservatives, Huckabee was able to bypass the mediators and speak directly to faith voters — the hard core corps of moral conservatives who tend to compromise about 20 to 35% of any given electorate, more so in the South and Midwest [...]
Only now it begins to dawn on Republicans just how much damage Tribe Romney has done to the base.
[...] “America, to pay her bills, has begun to sell herself to the world,” argues Pat Buchanan in an article titled Subprime Nation
Its balance sheet gutted by the subprime mortgage crisis, Citicorp got a $7.5 billion injection from Abu Dhabi and is now fishing for $1 billion from Kuwait and $9 billion from China. Beijing has put $5 billion into Morgan Stanley and bought heavily into Barclays Bank.
Merrill-Lynch, ravaged by subprime mortgage losses, sold part of itself to Singapore for $7.5 billion and is seeking another $3 billion to $4 billion from the Arabs. Swiss-based UBS, taking a near $15 billion write-down in subprime mortgages, has gotten an infusion of $10 billion from Singapore.
[Willard Miton Romney's] Bain Capital is partnering with China’s Huawei Technologies in a buyout of 3Com, the U.S. company that provides the technology that protects Pentagon computers from Chinese hackers.
This self-indulgent generation has borrowed itself into unpayable debt. Now the folks from whom we borrowed to buy all that oil and all those cars, electronics and clothes are coming to buy the country we inherited. We are prodigal sons, and the day of reckoning approaches [...]
The word financial system is in crisis. Romney, the equity sector candidate, has nothing to say about it.
Only one candidate—possibly two—speaks clearly and compellingly on the problems that issue from the new capitalism
- Huckabee contra the inequities and inequalities of the financial services industry; is Huckabee sending signals to the Romneys?
- Medved: “[Gov. Huckabee’s] powerful appeal to females, the young and the poor make him a different kind of Republican—[one] who connects with voting blocs the GOP needs to win back—[Gov Huckabee is] hardly the one-dimensional religious candidate of media caricature”
- Brooks: “Romney represents what’s left of Republicanism 1.0. Huckabee and McCain represent half-formed iterations of Republicanism 2.0″
The populism of Gov. Huckabee—and to a lesser degree, Sen. McCain—reduces to a class critique consistent with the conservative principles as we understand them. The premises are these:
(1) Conservatism tolerates—even celebrates—natural hierarchies, e.g. some runners run more swiftly, some businesses profit more than others, some people amass more wealth than others, others are wiser than others etc.
(2) Conservatism tolerates—even celebrates—blind elites, i.e. gate keepers who rule on grounds of merit, examples may include universities, military formations, professional societies, corporate hierarchies, trade unions, craft guilds.
(3) Hence: conservatism in the era of the nation state tends to favor civil society and human commerce as relatively autonomous zones where natural hierarchies and blind elites may develop according to their own inner logic, their own rules.
(4) Here is the problem: the new capitalism,represented by the equity sector—vast pools of spare money, pension funds etc., managed not by owners but by a technically adept professional class with interests of their own—organizes itself according to different rules. When e.g. pension funds fail, the problem is instantly national and political and can cascade through an entire economy. Pension funds and other equity funds command capital reserves far in excess of other market actors.
Say a capital fund like Romney’s Bain Capital owns a stake in a national retailer. Say the retailer fails to perform. Whether the retailer is allowed to fail, whether the retailer is allowed to persist until market conditions change, or whether the retailer is “turned-around” by e.g. “re-engineering,” purging the management, downsizing, out-sourcing etc.—these are all reduced to technical questions. In other words, in the era of owner-less capital, competition and innovation take on a different characters—what we are confronted with, suddenly, is the antithesis of capitalism—what we are confronted with is a de facto planned economy in which profits are privatized, and costs—in the form of crashes and failures—are socialized. In other words, we don’t get a say in the planning. But when things fail it is we—pensioners, taxpayers—who get to pay for it.
“Pension fund socialism,” is what Peter Drucker called it in the 1970s when he predicted its rise. Well, it’s here.
(5) Further, economic development in general, productive capacities in particular, are more generalized globally. The US economy’s productivity relative to the rest of the world is in steep decline. The cost of energy has also increased precipitously; the entire post-war boom was largely an artifact of cheap energy, an enormous subsidy that we increasingly no longer enjoy. When energy-transfer systems or social systems experience supply shocks or the marginal returns on their investments begin to diminish, they begin to differentiate; their hierarchies begin to steepen. The rich become richer and the poor become poorer, to use a tired cliche. The rise of the equity sector is a part of this socio-material-historical process.
(6) Hence: neo-populism, and neo-populist proposals as articulated by Gov. Huckabee and Sen. McCain. Their critique is class as opposed to market or system based. Note that Sen. McCain in MI argued that the jobs lost to US industry were lost forever. What was required was investment in worker retraining and newer, lighter and more agile industries consonant with the historical moment. Also: Sen. McCain opposed Pres. Bush the younger’s tax cuts as he believed they benefited the rich etc.
Populism and class criticism in general is anathema to the Reagan coalition assumption about how productivity generalizes itself throughout a system. Allow the most disposed to do so to prosper as freely as possible—those who work hard, those who lead or innovate, those who can attract, organize, and develop income-producing capital—and everyone prospers as the newly developed wealth distributes itself throughout an economy, is the argument.
But what if the era itself no longer supports capital formation as construed classically? What if the new capitalists—or new non-capitalists, as they no longer own but only dispose of capital owned more generally—are capitalists like the steward capitalists of Bain Capital? For the capitalists of the industrial era the primary unit of production of circulation was the commodity, and everything got commodified—time and space itself got commodified. For the new non-capitalist the primary unit of production and circulation is the security, and everything is getting securitized.
Take, for example, mortgages, especially subprime mortgages. What drove so much cash into the mortgage markets were the banks, capital funds, pension funds etc., trading in the new mortgage-backed securities.
Politics and political life is a lagging sector. The sad truth is that no one yet knows what to make of these developments. Gov. Huckabee and Sen. McCain represent an intuitive and under-theorized response that hardly rises to the dignity of a knee-jerk reaction to the perception of great danger. But it is a response. And it is a start.
Here is what we believe is most perverse. Romney, after months of savaging Gov. Huckabee’s views and opinions on the economy, suddenly becomes Gov. Huckabee in MI. Romney becomes a populist. Suddenly this super-rich non-capitalist sides with the oppressed against entrenched powers in Washington, a city that Romney says “is broken.” But just as Romney’s alleged, ingenue, and now abandoned conservatism was always clumsy and caricatured, so too is his atavistic fantasy-populism. See:
[...] “On the Republican side, my message is: Be not afraid. Some people are going to tell you that Mike Huckabee’s victory last night in Iowa represents a triumph for the creationist crusaders. Wrong,” writes David Brooks in a NYT editorial titled The Two Earthquakes
Consider Brooks’ editorial yet another rejoinder to Romney’s claim that Iowa decided against him because Iowans are religious bigots.
Back to Brooks:
Huckabee won because he tapped into realities that other Republicans have been slow to recognize. First, evangelicals have changed. Huckabee is the first ironic evangelical on the national stage. He’s funny, campy (see his Chuck Norris fixation) and he’s not at war with modern culture.
Second, Huckabee understands much better than Mitt Romney that we have a crisis of authority in this country. People have lost faith in their leaders’ ability to respond to problems. While Romney embodies the leadership class, Huckabee went after it. He criticized Wall Street and K Street. Most importantly, he sensed that conservatives do not believe their own movement is well led. He took on Rush Limbaugh, the Club for Growth and even President Bush. The old guard threw everything they had at him, and their diminished power is now exposed.
Third, Huckabee understands how middle-class anxiety is really lived. Democrats talk about wages. But real middle-class families have more to fear economically from divorce than from a free trade pact. A person’s lifetime prospects will be threatened more by single parenting than by outsourcing. Huckabee understands that economic well-being is fused with social and moral well-being, and he talks about the inter-relationship in a way no other candidate has.
In that sense, Huckabee’s victory is not a step into the past. It opens up the way for a new coalition.
A conservatism that recognizes stable families as the foundation of economic growth is not hard to imagine. A conservatism that loves capitalism but distrusts capitalists is not hard to imagine either. Adam Smith felt this way. A conservatism that pays attention to people making less than $50,000 a year is the only conservatism worth defending.
Will Huckabee move on and lead this new conservatism? Highly doubtful. The past few weeks have exposed his serious flaws as a presidential candidate. His foreign policy knowledge is minimal. His lapses into amateurishness simply won’t fly in a national campaign.
So the race will move on to New Hampshire. Mitt Romney is now grievously wounded. Romney represents what’s left of Republicanism 1.0. Huckabee and McCain represent half-formed iterations of Republicanism 2.0. My guess is Republicans will now swing behind McCain in order to stop Mike [...]
Imagine a McCain-Huckabee GOP ticket. Dare we to dream? We still cherish in our hearts a profound affection for Hizzoner. But even so …
[...] “Predictably enough, most media commentators have totally misinterpreted the nature of Mike Huckabee’s big win in the Iowa GOP caucuses,” writes the estimable Michael Medved in a townhall.com blog burst titled Stop Lying About Huckabee and Evangelicals!
Conventional wisdom says that he swept to victory based on overwhelming support from Evangelicals, but conventional wisdom is flat-out wrong. According to the exit polls used by major news networks, a majority of voters who described themselves as “evangelical” or “born again” Christians actually voted against Huckabee –with 54% splitting their support among Romney, McCain, Thompson and Ron Paul. Yes, Huckabee’s 46% of Evangelicals was a strong showing, but it was directly comparable to his commanding 40% of women, or 40% of all voters under the age of 30, or 41% of those earning less than $30,000 a year. His powerful appeal to females, the young and the poor make him a different kind of Republican, who connects with voting blocs the GOP needs to win back. He’s hardly the one-dimensional religious candidate of media caricature.
It’s also idiotic and dishonest for observers to keep harping on anti-Mormon bigotry as the basis for Mitt Romney’s disappointing showing. Yeah, it’s true that 81% of Evangelicals voted against Romney— but 75% of ALL Iowa Republicans voted against him, so where is the big evidence of “anti-Mormon bigotry”? In other words, there’s only a 6% difference between his general rejection and his Evangelical rejection. There’s no evidence, in other words, that those who described themselves as “born again” or “evangelical” faced an especially tough time voting for a Mormon. Romney, after all, finished second among this group—as he finished second among the electorate in general. Among Evangelicals, Mormon Mitt beat John McCain, Fred Thompson and Ron Paul by a ratio of nearly two-to-one…a bigger, not smaller margin of victory over these other non-Mormon candidates than he managed to achieve in the electorate in general. The message ought to be obvious: the core issue was phoniness, not faith– and the religious and non-religious alike react badly to phoniness.
Meanwhile, 87% of non-Evangelicals voted against Huckabee…. compared to only 66% of all Iowa Republicans…. in other words a 21% gap! Think about this…. THERE’S MORE EVIDENCE IN THE EXIT POLLS OF ANTI-EVANGELICAL PREJUDICE than there is of anti-Mormon prejudice. Huckabee did well across the board with all groups in the exit polls except one: the 40% who said “no” to the question, “Are you a ‘born-again’ or ‘evangelical’ Christian?” He finished fourth among this group, behind Romney, Thompson and McCain.
The evidence is pretty clear, isn’t it? The preferences of Evangelicals mirrored those of Iowans in general.[...]
[...] Those who insist, over and over again, that the Iowa Caucuses reflected “Christian identity politics” or a “tidal wave of Evangelical support” are basing their analysis on feelings, not facts; on vapors, not voters. It’s dishonest to say that a guy who just won a crushing state-wide victory, without even winning the majority of his own religious group, displayed a one dimension appeal to Christian zealots only.
This endlessly repeated story line is not only tired, it’s a lie [...]
Thank you, Mr. Medved. The emphases are ours, all ours.
Our question: is Romney listening? Probably not.
… Huckabee announced to a crowd of reporters that the anti-Romney commercial he’d cut the day before would not, in fact, ever be broadcast — and then proceeded to show the ad to the reporters. Huckabee surprised even some of his own staffers with the ploy. The campaign had apparently been divided about whether to put the ad up in the first place, but the move wound up looking either brazenly cynical or shockingly stupid — or both — and the reaction from the political press was withering.
It was the reaction from the Romney campaign, though, that may have been more telling. Spokesman Madden sent out a careful press release that linked the fiasco to the Romney message that Huckabee can’t handle scrutiny. But when I talked to Madden later in the day, he just sounded flabbergasted. Romney’s team had watched the nation’s top political reporters laugh in Huckabee’s face three days before the caucuses, to little avail. They had won the news cycle, but not the war. They still couldn’t figure out quite what to make of their candidate’s biggest rival — or how to make him go away … etc.
“Mitt Romney said last year that it would be ‘akin to a nightmare’ to have to fund his presidential campaign out of his personal fortune,” writes Howie Carr in a BostonHerald.com news feature titled Mitt finds $20M can’t buy voters’ love
But I can think of worse things. One would be spending $20 million of your money . . . and then losing. Forget “akin to” – that would be the politician’s ultimate nightmare.
So now Mitt Romney is about to find out how much it costs to buy – or fail to buy – an election in 2008. A lot more than the $6 million it cost him to buy the Massachusetts governorship in 2002, that’s for sure. Forget the $63 million Mitt raised through the first three quarters of 2007 (which included $17 million of his own).
Let’s talk about how much of his cash Mitt has thrown into the campaign by now. We won’t know until Jan. 31, but it’s got to be way more than $20 million.
And for what? Who knows at this point? By this time in most campaigns, the candidate has a pretty good idea if he’s going to win or lose. But this week the polls are all over the place.
And for at least another day he finds himself in a two-front war, with John McCain in the East and Mike Huckabee, the dope from Hope, in the West. Two-front wars are tough – just ask Napoleon and Hitler …
[ ... ]
… How does Mitt explain to the partners at Bain Capital if he loses to Mike Huckabee? I mean, that would be like losing to Warren Tolman or John Lakian. Completely unacceptable.
No wonder Mitt has been spending money like a drunken sailor, although the difference between the sailor and Mitt is that Romney doesn’t have the bad-ice-cube excuse. Everyone has the occasional moment where suddenly you can’t control your spending – you’re trying to impress some babe, maybe, or you’re in a high-stakes poker game. Which I suppose is what Mitt’s in, although I think by this time he thought he’d be reacting to Hillary, not Huckabee.
Bhutto gets shot, and Huckabee apologizes to Pakistan, like the United States shot her or something. And what happened after Huck made a fool of himself? He went up two points in the national tracking polls.
I hope Mitt pulls it out in both states, but if he doesn’t, the reporters will be grilling him in a few weeks about why he blew 20 million in Steve Forbes-like futility.
To which Mitt should reply, “I was drunk.” So what if it’s not true? It’s an answer that always works for the Kennedys …
… The TV and mail advertising blitzkrieg, though, has done little to endear Romney to any of his rivals. “He’s given up on trying to persuade anybody that he’s the right candidate,” said McCain’s Iowa chairman, Dave Roederer. “He’s just trying to persuade them that everybody else is the wrong candidate.” Another Republican strategist said, with some relish, that a Huckabee win here would be “a massive upset” given everything Romney’s spent in the state. Huckabee and McCain have practically signed a mutual defense pact over the campaign’s closing weeks, with each side rushing to protect the other from every Romney attack … etc.
How can a man who so blithely, thoughtlessly, and consistently alienates and estranges everyone around him govern?
- the Romneybust is coming!—the Romneybust is coming!—DesMoines Register poll: Gov. Huckabee still leads Romney by as many points as the last poll taken in late November—more on Romney’s fantastically low ROI for his every campaign dollar
- Romney campaign a victim of the “sunk cost effect”—also: how Gov. Huckabee’s sudden ascendancy is an artifact of the Romney campaign’s misguided activities
“Mike Huckabee, a former Baptist minister riding a wave of support from fundamentalist Christians, tops Mitt Romney for first place in a new Des Moines Register poll of Iowans planning to attend Thursday’s Republican caucuses,” writes Jonathan Roos in a DeMoines Register article titled GOP poll: Huckabee maintains lead over Romney
In a battle of former governors from Arkansas and Massachusetts, Huckabee leads Romney, 32 percent to 26 percent.
This despite months of massive spending, organizing, and near media saturation by Romney:
- Edsall: “Since January 1, 2007, the former Massachusetts governor has spent well in excess of $80 million, including at least $17.4 million of his own money, paying media fees in excess of $30 million, salaries of roughly $16 million, and consulting payments of more than $15 million”—more on Romney’s ridiculously low ROI for his every campaign dollar (iii)
- More on Romney’s ridiculously low ROI: Romney reaches total saturation in Iowa—for example, he purchased 2,000 GRPs in Cedar Rapids alone—yet he still trails perilously behind the under-funded and under-organized Gov. Mike Huckabee
This despite Romney’s relentless attacks on the person and character of Gov. Huckabee for weeks now, combined with the GOP establishment’s infantile freakout over Gov. Huckabee’s rise:
- Romney’s negative campaigning: is Romney willing to take the party down with him?
- conservative elites smack down the Republican base—can they do so with impunity?
Back to Roos:
“I really like it that he is a religious man and social conservative. That is pretty important to me, especially the right to life,” said Huckabee supporter Alyssa Stealey, 20, of Charter Oak, who is also drawn to his call for tax reform.
Mike Huckabee, a former Baptist minister riding a wave of support from fundamentalist Christians, tops Mitt Romney for first place in a new Des Moines Register poll of Iowans planning to attend Thursday’s Republican caucuses.
In a battle of former governors from Arkansas and Massachusetts, Huckabee leads Romney, 32 percent to 26 percent.
“I really like it that he is a religious man and social conservative. That is pretty important to me, especially the right to life,” said Huckabee supporter Alyssa Stealey, 20, of Charter Oak, who is also drawn to his call for tax reform … etc.
The DeMoines Register poll is consistent with other polling:
“Well, there’s a new Iowa poll out: the Reuters-Zogby, which shows Mike Huckabee with a two point lead over Mitt Romney,” writes the writer of the watersblogged blog in a post titled Romneybust!
Since the most recent poll has Huckabee leading- and since Romney’s newly-minted RCP average lead (owing to at a poll with yet another pro-Romney result so out of step with the others to be suspect) has shrunken overnight to .04%- I guess we must be witnessing a Romney implosion.
Or at least that’s the conclusion one reaches if one uses the the logic pro-Romney folks have been using over and over and over during the past two weeks to demonstrate that a “Huckabust” was underway (“Yes! Huckabee is imploding!…uh, ok, NOW. Now Huckabee is imploding… well, OK. Now. Now for sure….”)
Have to congratulate them on one thing, though. Just before this most recent poll- the one that shows Huckabee in the lead- the Romney folks finally managed, after two weeks of proclaiming that their candidate had recovered and that Mike Huckabee was history- for the first time since early December have actually been able to cite two consecutive Iowa polls showing Romney in the lead!
With tne latest poll, of course, the streak is over. Worse, the Huckabee lead is one point bigger than that shown by the Reuters-Zogby poll of the day before.
That poll was, for some reason, not included in the RCP average- and seems, however tentatively, to suggest a trend toward Huck … etc.
Conclusion: Even if Romney ekes out a victory—or: even if Romney scores a double-digit blow-out—Romney’s fantastically low ROI, i.e. how much he has expended for how little he got in return and against under-funded and un-organized rivals, will be the real story coming out of the Iowa. MarkG of race42008.com makes the case tongue-in-cheek:
My gut feeling tells me Mitt will now swap places with Huck for the actual caucus figure. The headlines will say Mitt spent his estimated 9 million bucks wisely to get circa 30,000 votes. The press will speak long and verbosely about how wise Mitt was to finance his campaign by as much as a third, and speculation will run wild for days about how much of Mitt’s finances were from his own pockets … etc.
Romney and Constanza, a Team Huckabee Huckabee-for-President post available here. IMHO, Gov. Huckabee’s campaign provides the most apt and accurate narrative of Romney’s contortions on the issue of whether, or in what sense, Romney’s father marched with with MLK available.
We also appreciate this narrative:
… Romney Asserted He Was A Reluctant Politician, Convinced To Run For Governor By Panicked Republicans Who Wanted A Winner. “Romney also cast himself as a reluctant politician, focusing instead on his 25-year business career and stint helping to resurrect the financially troubled 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics. ‘When I came home, some people in the Massachusetts Republican Party encouraged me to run for office and said, ‘We need somebody who can win and who can fix Massachusetts,’ Romney said.” (The Associated Press, 12/21/07)
In Truth, Romney Declared His Candidacy For Govenor Two Days After Returning From The Olympics. “Romney returned to Massachusetts from Utah on Sunday, March 17, 2002. He declared he was running for governor on Tuesday, March 19.” (The Associated Press, 12/21/07)
Romney Roughly 48 Hours After Returning To Massachusetts: “I’m In. … The Bumper Stickers Are Printed, The Web Site’s Going Up. The Papers Are Going In Today.” (The Associated Press, 12/21/07) … etc.
Consistent with David Brody’s point that Romney’s attacks open up opportunities for Romney’s rivals to respond using earned media, Tim Russert of Meet the Press turned the microphone over to Gov. Huckabee this morning and allowed the Governor to answer each of Romney’s false and baseless charges one after the other. This is an excerpt from Kilmer of Redstate’s account, available in post titled The Sunday Morning Talk Shows—The Review:
Russert asked if Mitt Romney had said anything about Huckabee which was untrue. Huckabee started the list.
- Mitt claimed that Huckabee had reduced Meth sentences in Arkansas when the truth is that he signed a bill in 1999 which doubled Meth sentences, which are four times greater than those in Romney’s Massachusetts.
- Huckabee said that Romney accused him of giving “special breaks” to illegal immigrants. Actually, it was a bill concerning the children of such people who had “earned” scholarships, and it never made the legislature.
- Romney accused Huckabee of increasing spending “by some ridiculous amount,” and even the New York Times “took him apart” on this false claim.
- Huckabee said that Romney’s claim about tax increases was wrong because the tax increases in Arkansas were either court ordered or approved by the voters, such as the one to improve roads.
- Huckabee said that he left Arkansas with good roads, while Romney’s “were a mess” in Massachusetts.
- Romney claims that he did not raise taxes, when actually he did raise taxes in the form of fees by a half-billion dollars. [Huckabee] said that he raised taxes for “educational purposes” and for roads. (I take it, then, that he opposes abolishing the Department of Education.)
The formatting is ours, all ours.
Kilmer issues this coda to his account of Gov. Huckabee’s performance: … “It went on for a while. Russert’s questions, while not softballs, were not as tough as some of the questions I’ve seen asked here at RedState. Huckabee did not implode, by any stretch, and handled himself well” …
Our conclusion: What is happening in Iowa to Gov. Huckabee would offend anyone’s sense of fair play, even Russert’s. Hence Russert’s performance this morning. This is a part of the price Romney pays for his viciously negative campaign—others are coming to the defense of Romney’s rivals.
“INDIANOLA, Iowa — Mike Huckabee called chief rival Mitt Romney ‘dishonest” today for what Huckabee said were gross distortions of his record, and said voters should question whether Romney would tell the truth if he were elected president,” writes Susan Milligan for the Boston Globe in an an article titled Huckabee says Romney is ‘dishonest’
“If a person will become president by being dishonest, just remember, if he becomes president, he likely will not be honest on the job,” Huckabee told voters at a restaurant campaign stop.
So apparently distressed at Romney’s criticism, Huckabee refused even to commit to voting for Romney for president if the former Massachusetts governor wins the Republican nomination. “I would never vote for a Democrat in the presidential election next year,” Huckabee said. But asked if he would prefer an honest Democrat to a “dishonest” Republican, Huckabee refused to answer … etc.
Thank you, Gov. Huckabee. We concur. Here is the problem for the party: Romney alienates and estranges all with whom he comes in contact—he had divided the other candidates against him—he is tearing the Republican coalition, the sad remnants that may be left of it, apart.
Question: Are we who value the person, character, and message of Gov. Mike Huckabee—or that of Sen. McCain, or that of Mayor Giuliani, or that of Sen. Fred Thompson—supposed to forgive and forget Romney’s lies, calumnies, and unprovoked abuse in the name of party unity?
Also, did Sen. McCain call Romney a pig? We sure hope so.
“Romney has been forced into a two-front war, trailing Mike Huckabee in Iowa and holding onto a lead against a resurgent McCain in New Hampshire,” writes Eric Kleefield in a TPMelectioncentral.com post titled Romney Rolls Out Anti-McCain Ad in New Hampshire
But as it turns out, his lines of attack against each are the same, faulting them on taxes and immigration in both states … etc.
Here is the problem for the bitter, angry Romney. His rivals—Gov. Huckabee and Sen. McCain—have concerted their criticisms of Romney, the man and his message, by playing up each other even as they play upon the same themes.
Yet Romney’s response is to argue against both of his rivals on the same grounds, immigration and taxes.
In the case of Gov. Huckabee Romney’s critique raises his rival to the level of a peer when Romney has been trying to argue that Gov. Huckabee’s rise is artifact of misplaced religious zeal.
In the case of Sen. McCain Romney’s line only underscores the independence and integrity of discretion of a man already known for these virtues, even as Romney foregrounds his own slavish hewing to party orthodoxy in a state that appreciates coherent and individuated lines of reason.
- Romney Opens Second Negative TV Front, writes Mark Halperin for The Page.
- Eye of Horus, in an eyeon08.com post titled Desperate Romney flip-flops and goes Negative, elaborates on how Romney told reporters he was going positive only hours before his campaign went deeply, painfully, negative.