Posts Tagged ‘Huckabee’

“Romney has a flip-flopping, character, and authenticity problem,” writes the estimable eye of in a speculative discursus titled Questions that Remain

But someone is going to have to actually buy gross rating points to move this message. Who? Rudy has the resources, but is probably saving them for later. And, in any case, both Mike Huckabee and Thompson are only relevant if Romney fails. The incentives are there.

Sixth, Huckabee’s performance at the Value Voters summit seems to have reshaped the moral conservative field. The contrast between his authenticity and Romney’s phoniness seems to have stopped Romney’s forward momentum among the interest group leaders here. But can he execute? Attacks on Romney’s credibility and religion only get so far without GRPs. But … if no one else really contests Iowa, is there any chance that Huckabee could out-perform Romney? I mean… if that were really the ballot choice (yeah, I know, it isn’t a ballot), doesn’t Huckabee win?… etc., etc.

The emphasis is ours, all ours.

We disagree—humbly, respectfully disagree as eye is most definitely our superior in all things political. We would argue that it wasn’t Huckabee so much as an overreaching Romney who discomfited Romney at the so-called value voters summit, and halted the shambling Romney machine dead in its tracks. See:

This is no special case, we would contend. Romney has overreached, overextended, and grossly over-invested everywhere—for yet another example see: Romney poised to fail in Iowa no matter what the outcome. This is Romney’s way. This is Romney’s pattern. The man has no sense of proportion. Our conclusion: no one needs to lift a finger or utter even a whisper to solve the Romney problem. No one needs to soil their shirt sleeves or stain their hands. It will fall to Romney himself to take out Romney. This is our prediction.

Romney’s most dangerous rival is—and always has been—Romney.

We explain why here—poised to fail: Team Romney’s over-reliance on instruments of direct influence and its consequences 

yours &c.
dr. g.d.


The intrepid eye of responds to an email message from a reader in a post titled Evangelical leaders moving towards Romney? Not so much.

The writer of the email message is responding to Ralph Z Hallow’s article about Romney in today’s Washington Times. Hallow claims that Bauer and Perkins—two Evangelical “leaders”—are now emitting noise that sounds distinctly pro-Romney.

Using only his thumbs and an iPhone, eye text-messaged the Perkins’ Family Research Council for clarification. They quickly messaged him back, as, apparently, they have lots of free time on their hands:

“We are not moving away from Huckabee or toward Romney …

We just want to reiterate that Giuliani is a disaster … He will destroy the coalition among conservatives. Asking us to accept him as the nominees, is like asking fiscal conservatives to accept a candidate who wants to return to the tax rates of the pre-Reagan era”more

Translation: We—the FRC—are blithering idiots—that is to say, knuckle-dragging rubes—who want the right to veto the more general will of the conservative movement. Further translation: We want to be king-makers, and the only candidate so far willing to surrender all human dignity, to bow and scrape the dust at our feet, has been Willard Milton Romney in the stately role of Henry IV. (Paris vaut bien une messe, intones Romney the Risible as he transforms himself into the caricature of a conservative.)

“We just want to reiterate” that Tony Perkins has completely sold out.

Hey, Perkins. Here is a question for you: What do you get when you demand that candidates grovel?—answer: you get a candidate who grovels, you super-genius—i.e. you get a formless apparition like Willard Milton Romney. Now, ask yourself, is that what you really want? Here is the problem, Perkins: What if we find ourselves in a crisis and we really need, you know, a leader, and not a belly-crawling ideological cross-dresser?

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

“This is admittedly subjective, but Jonah Goldberg aptly summarized the way Romney often comes off in public by describing [Romney’s] demeanor as, ‘What Do I Have to Do To Put You In This BMW Today?'” writes the estimable Dan McLaughlin in a not-to-be-missed Redstate post titled The Trouble With Mitt Romney (Part 1 of 5)

I’ll discuss the specifics in more detail later, but the broader issue is that Romney seems unconvincing as the conservative he is running as; his calculations seem too close to the surface.

When the race kicked off, with Rudy and McCain as the frontrunners and the second tier filled with unknowns and/or candidates with their own issues with the base (e.g., Huckabee on taxes, Brownback to some extent on immigration), there was an opportunity for a candidate to build a market niche as the sane, electable conservative. Romney, to the credit of his business instincts, jumped on that opportunity like a starving man on a sandwich. The problem is that that posture is just not consistent with Romney’s history of campaigning and governing as a moderate, pragmatic, non-ideological Northeastern Republican, and specifically with numerous stands he has taken in the very recent past. Now, a good businessman, or even a candidate running principally as a competent technocrat, can get away with running on what the public wants today rather than on principles. But Romney is running a fundamentally ideological campaign, and he is doing so all too transparently as a businessman pursuing an underserved market rather than as a true believer.

Romney’s air of slickness and phoniness manifests itself in a number of specific ways I will get into later in this series, but the overall effect is an even more pronounced than usual (for a politician) tendency to leave people feeling like he will say anything to get elected. Democrats have, justly, suffered for that perception in the last two presidential elections, and they are almost certainly nominating a candidate who is legendarily calculating (Bill Clinton, by contrast, was a master at faking sincerity; but Romney, like so many others in politics, lacks Clinton’s talents in this regard and would do well not to try to imitate him). Republicans, having successfully and appropriately attacked Gore and Kerry and most likely Hillary as well on this basis, cannot afford to run a candidate who comes off as a phonymore [Emphasis ours]

Question: Does anyone like phonies?

Excellent metaphor: Romney as a “businessman pursuing an underserved market.”

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

“Does Mike Huckabee think that the financial services industry is today’s robber barrons? Is he right? Certainly in a post-industrial economy, there’s an analogy between railroads and financial services, even if it is somewhat strained,” asks the eye of the influential and precise in a post titled Huckabee against the robber barrons?

I contrast this with John Edwards. He targets the rich. Huckabee may be targeting Wall Street. That’s a difference. Perhaps an important one. What would Huckabee have to say about the housing crisis?more

An interesting question to be sure—some sort of redacted, reconstructed populism seems to be forming itself on the margins of the center-right. BUT: Here is a question that interests us more: who among the GOP candidates springs super-rich from the financial services industry like a venus on the half-shell?—like Athena, fully formed, from the forehead of Zeus, not because of hard work or native genius, but because of an opportunity offered him by a mentor?—answer: Willard Milton Romney formerly of Bain Capital. We have harped upon this string for weeks. See:

Romney’s millions—more on the equity-sector candidate from the NYT

Is it possible—we ask, just possible—that Huckabee is sending a signal to Team Romney and his equity sector and banking industry constituencies?—if so, Huckabee needs to be clearer, plainer, and probably a lot more direct. Team Romney is not known for its subtlety or intellectual rigour.

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

P.S. Not since the temple-based, central-storage economies of absolute antiquity—urban concentrations like Sumer, Akkad etc.—has there existed a social and material order the primary basis of which was not production, consumption, and trade, but hoarding and redistribution from a central site or sites. Post-capitalism—with its gigantic pension funds and other vast pools of spare money—seems to be taking us back to the future.

Does anyone remember the story of Joseph and the power that accrued to Pharaoh as he appropriated all the productive instruments of land and labour in exchange for the contents of his granaries?

Our laws and institutions have yet to adapt to the new regime of non-capital and its non-capitalists. It is from this new regime that Romney springs; see: Romney and private equity: the new ruling class. The first historical test of the new regime, already unfolding all around us—as intuits—is the so-called housing crisis, which is but the surface irritation of a global crisis of liquidity. See:

world financial system in crisis; Romney, who made his fortune in the equity sector, has nothing to say

“One of President Bush’s closest advisers has a brutally candid analysis of the Republican nomination battle: Fred Thompson is the campaign’s “biggest dud,” Mitt Romney has “a real problem in the South” because people will not vote for a Mormon, Mike Huckabee’s last name is too hick and John McCain could end up repeating 2000 by winning New Hampshire but losing the nomination,” writes the estimable Peter Baker in a post to Wapo’s The Trail titled Bartlett on the GOP Field: A Hick, a “Dud” and a “Flip-Flopper”

[Bartlett’s] judgment of Romney was only somewhat less negative [than his judgment of Fred Thompson]. While crediting the former Massachusetts governor with the “best strategy and organization” born out of his “business acumen,” Bartlett said “the flip-flopping on positions” stemmed from a miscalculation that the primary field would be more conservative than it proved to be. “They were trying to solidify his conservative credentials.” Bartlett added: “He’s getting a narrative in the national media as somebody that is too much trying to position himself, trying to hedge himself, almost too mechanical about the issues. Authenticity is going to be a very important principle in this campaign. And right now that?s their biggest danger” more

You don’t have to be Dan Bartlett to figure this one out. We have harped upon the string of Romney’s ridiculous “miscalculation of the primary field” for weeks now:

Back to Bartlett:

The flip-flopping issue, Bartlett added, provides an outlet for another big reason why Republican voters will not back Romney — his religion. “The Mormon issue is a real problem in the South, it’s a real problem in other parts of the country,” he said. “But people are not going to say it. People are not going to step out and say, ‘I have a problem with Romney because he’s Mormon.’ What they’re going to say is he’s a flip-flopper. … It’s a fact, it’s reality. I don’t know if it’s one that will keep him from becoming the nominee for the party but it’s something they clearly understand they’ve got to deal with.”

The only top-tier candidate Bartlett did not criticize was Rudy Giuliani, whom he credited with the “best message,” particularly because the former New York mayor has kept his focus on attacking Democrats, not fellow Republicans, which serves as an effective distraction from his own liberal positions on guns, gays and abortion. “He’s doing it particularly with Hillary,” Bartlett said. “There’s headlines the other day. He wants to engage in this debate. And there’s a very practical aspect of it because if he’s engaged with the Democrats, he’s not engaged on … his own positions, whatever those that would not be very receptive in a typical Republican primary”more

This is yet another string upon which we harp: Romney has no message. What he emits is often very angry noise. See:

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

“As he travels the country, Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney often boasts of his presidential campaign’s healthy finances. “I think our numbers have shown that we are able to raise the money,” he said at a recent press conference in Michigan. ‘And that’s essential to run a 50-state campaign,'” writes the estimable Michael Scherer for in an article titled Mitt Romney’s money machine; The identity of his biggest multimillion-dollar donor, and how Romney could blow away his GOP competitors on campaign spending

It’s a story line the Romney campaign wants to promote. He is the popular front-runner who has been able to energize donors in the party’s base, raising more money than any other Republican candidate. Through the first two quarters, he hauled in more than $44 million, about $10 million more than his nearest rival in the money race, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani. The money has allowed Romney to spend lavishly on television advertising in early voting states, open the only fully staffed Republican campaign office in Michigan and even hire a full-time organizer in a state as obscure as West Virginia.

But Romney’s boasts do not tell the whole story. As much as he likes to talk about his campaign’s brimming coffers, he avoids speaking about his campaign’s biggest single donor — a man worth between $190 million and $250 million, who has single-handedly allowed Romney to break away from the pack by giving the campaign one out of every five of its dollars. That donor’s name: Mitt Romney.

Through June, Romney has already given himself nearly $9 million in loans to fund his campaign, a number that is sure to grow in the coming weeks when he announces his third-quarter fundraising. Under current campaign finance law, there are no limits to how much a candidate can donate to his own campaign, giving Romney a huge advantage over other candidates who are forced to collect donations with a maximum value of $2,300 per donor. If Romney so chooses, he will be able to blow his rivals out of the water in January campaign spendingmore

For more on this theme see:

Romney’s self-financing an artifact of Romney’s self-deception—we call it the Madden Doctrine

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

Romney leads in NH at 30% according to the WBZ-TV/Franklin Pierce New Hampshire Poll numbers posted by Kavon W. Nikrad to Only Romney’s numbers in NH are misleading. This is because “in media terms, Massachusetts and New Hampshire might as well be the same state,” or so argues Dick Morris in an email transmission titled IOWA VS. AMERICA.

Romney’s surge is entirely Rudy Giuliani’s fault. Ineptly, his campaign chose not to advertise early on in Iowa and ceded the airwaves to Romney. Anxious to display the largest cash on hand, Giuliani made a possibly fatal mistake in letting Romney get a large and sustained lead in the first caucus state.

It remains to be seen whether Rudy and/or Thompson can play catch-up and challenge Romney in Iowa. If Mitt Romney wins in Iowa, he can probably expect to prevail in New Hampshire, where he is also well ahead.

It is one of the media’s blind spots that, while it discounts the performance of a presidential candidate in his home state (Tom Harkin, for example, got no bounce from winning in Iowa in 1992), it does not realize that, in media terms, Massachusetts and New Hampshire might as well be the same state. Most of the Granite State’s residents watch Boston television at night and are used to seeing ex-Gov. Romney in their living rooms on the nightly news, giving him an edge as significant as if it were his home state. In 1992, Massachusetts Sen. Paul Tsongas won the New Hampshire primary and the media accepted it at face value, as they are likely to do if Romney prevails.

If Romney wins Iowa and New Hampshire, will anti-Mormon prejudice and his flip-flop-flip on abortion bring him down, or will he cruise to the nomination?

It is also possible that something else is going on in Iowa. Jaded by the massive amounts of money spent in the state by presidential aspirants, Mike Huckabee seems to be developing a unique appeal as the candidate without money. As he said before the Ames straw poll, where Romney wrote out $35 checks for any of his supporters who wished to pay the obligatory poll tax and vote, I can’t afford to buy you. I can’t even afford to rent you. Huckabee’s second-place 18 percent finish at Ames might give an indication of a broader surge behind his candidacy as his electric personality, warm wit and sincere spirituality attract Republicans in droves. (In Texas, California Congressman Duncan Hunter may have shown a similar strength, winning the straw poll with 40 percent of the vote.) … more

For a counterpoint, please see:

Newport: McCain “now way ahead” of Romney—conclusion: the Romneys have squandered their August Iowa straw poll bounce through indolence, a lack of preparedness, and incompetence

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

WASHINGTON (CNN) — Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee took on fellow Republican candidate Mitt Romney’s spending habits Sunday on CNN’s Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer. The former Arkansas governor said: “I would be worried if I were a voter if a person is spending millions and millions of dollars to barely be in double digits. I’d be beginning to think I don’t want that person in charge of the Federal Treasury,” writes estimable CNN Associate Producer Jennifer Burch in a CNN Political Ticker post titled Huckabee: ‘I’d be worried’ about Romney spending.

Huckabee is right of course. But we have harped upon this string for weeks and weeks. See:

Romney: GOP for sale; says US$20,000,000.00 is the price for a top-tier position—here is where we also exposit upon Romney’s shockingly low-gain marginal return on every campaign dollar investment, and why every Romney campaign dollar is worth about 20% of any other campaign’s dollar—Romney probably does need cash, but what Romney needs far more than cash is the practical wisdom necessary to use that cash efficiently and effectively.

Are we ahead of the curve or what?!

Conclusion: Romney has overplayed his “I’m so super-rich I can fund my own campaign” line of reasoning. It has now become a liability. The Romney campaign must be in panic mode—again: their one true strength—their staggering wealth—has turned into their greatest point of vulnerability virtually overnight. Hence Justin Hart’s conveniently timed announcement about a new Romney grass-roots fund-raising effort; you can read about it here:

Romney US$9 million in the red—trying to suppress how much the candidate himself funds his own campaign—now announces grass roots funding effort

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

“Judging winners and losers in the moments immediately after such a debate is a dicey exercise at best, and I recommend against it. Nonetheless, by midnight, countless bloggers had given first reactions, and, the Romney press release lifted pro-Romney quotes from 11 of them, with (to the campaign’s credit), links to the original so you could check for yourself the full context. That small intellectual honesty point is, unfortunately, taken back” … writes the estimable Eric Black of in a blog post titled The magic of selective perception: A Mitt Romney example.

… by the heavy-handed dishonesty of the choices. The one that jumped out at me, from the press release, was the excerpt from Marc Ambinder’s Atlantic magazine-based political blog. The excerpt in the press release read … more, wherein the estimable Mr. Black details how the Romneys cherry-picked positive noise about Romney from a review that was anything but positive about Romney.

But what were the Romney flaks to do? Romney tanked, was the consensus. Some disagreed with the consensus, e.g. Jason Bonham on race42008 claimed Romney was “pretty good,” but Mr. Bonham’s criterion for “pretty good” is pretty odd: apparently Romney ticked off answers that were more “comprehensive” than his rivals. Contra Bonham, even shameless Romney sycophants like NRO’s Jim Geraghty could find nothing to love in Romney’s lackluster under-performing performance—and this was the consensus view:

It wasn’t just me – [Romney’s] answers on Iraq just seemed a little off, not his strongest performance. (Was it just me or did he just look bad? Bad makeup, bad lighting or is he fighting a cold or something?) As they noted in the Corner, stronger on domestic than the Iraq stuff, but he’s had better nights. This night won’t hurt him that much, but he’s had a good run lately, so maybe he was due for an off night ... more

Disappointed sycophants like Geraghty aside, even paid Romney flunkies were less than overwhelmed by Romney’s non-performance. EXAMPLE: the Romney flak-claque fraud-blog “Evangelicals for Mitt” damns poor Romney, the signer of their checks, with the faintest of faint praise. The sad and tedious David French opines:

Here’s the pattern: Rudy does very well (he shines in these formats), Huckabee has a memorable moment or two, and our guy always delivers a performance that seems to play better with the watching public than it does with the pundits. As for McCain, he’s up and down … I still think that no one does better across the entire spectrum of issues than [Romney] … more

Rudy shines—shines!—please keep in mind that this is a post from a web log called “Evangelicals for Mitt! Huckabee and McCain shine too for French, but intermittently. Romney, on the other hand, is steady, constant, and consistent; “competent” is the word that Romney toadies use to describe their hapless candidate’s poise and presence. (Competent? Our mechanic is competent. Our dentist is competent.) In other words, Romney never inspires, but he rarely fails to deliver. Hence, French concludes:

but for now I’d say that the debate did not alter the dynamic of the race in the slightest bitmore

Translation: Romney as a debater is a failure. He can plod “competently” along with the others; but he cannot pull away from the pack. Romney triumphs only where his vast personal wealth allows him to command the debate on his own terms—i.e. where everyone else is silent.

And this is from someone on Romney’s payroll!

Is French a mole for the Rudy campaign!?

Or: is French trying to suck up to other candidates in advance of a Romney meltdown?

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

“Little Rock, AR – Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee has surged to third place in the Republican presidential contest in Iowa, leading potential candidate Fred Thompson in that state and New Hampshire , according to an American Research Group poll released today,” reports the estimable, well, we really don’t know who because the article is posted without a byline. So please forgive us, whoever wrote this. We really want to give you the credit that you deserve. The post is titled Poll: Huckabee Surges In Iowa, New Hampshire And South Carolina

Huckabee, who scored a stunning second-place in the Republican Party of Iowa straw poll on Aug. 11, received support from 14 percent of Iowans and 9 percent of New Hampshire Republicans in the new ARG poll. He had been at 1 percent in each state in July. Huckabee stands at 9 percent in South Carolina , up from 3 percent in July, and is tied with former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney for fourth placemore

That Huckabee is tied for fourth with Romney becomes significant only when you consider how little Huckabee has spent compared to how much Romney has spent.

More on this theme:

We ask: Has anyone at Camp Romney seen the handwriting on the wall yet? Or are all of you Romney parasites and hirelings content to allow Romney to gleefully spend himself into complete bankruptcy as long as you keep getting your perks, pay-offs, and pay envelops?

Does Romney have any real friends?

It’s sad when you think about it.

yours &c.
dr. g.d.