Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Is Huck Back?

...well, not quite. But it makes you wonder what would have happened had he won in SC. It’s too early to know who actually will win most of the southern states, but Huck is running impressively everywhere. I shouldn’t write this down, but I think he wins Georgia and conceivably Tennessee, not to mention Alabama. (And he’s not far off in OK and MO.) McCain’s showing is less than spectacular almost everywhere, even NY and AZ. Romney is not really shining anywhere, but there’s still hope for a Missouri and California combo. Once again, it’s the type of night that will help McCain, although he certainly doing worse than (at least I) expected. Will he feel chastened? You know the answer.

UPDATE: McCain finished strong with a very narrow winner-take-all victory in MO over Huck and a more decisive one in California. It’s hard to know how Romney can stay in the race now. Will Huck finally take McCain on? Hillary also finished strong to win all the big, contested states and manage a draw overall for the evening. That was actually a bit of a comeback on her part. Maybe those Clintons can never die!

Discussions - 17 Comments

Short answer: No.

Too many influential Republicans have come to hate him almost as much as they hate McCain.

Too many influential Republicans have come to hate him almost as much as they hate McCain.

Besides the libertarian radio/intellectual core (starting of course with Rush & NR) who mislabel Huck as a "liberal" (LOL! Sense when did libertarians get to define "conservative"?! :), what other "influential Republicans" have grown to hate Huck? Sincere question out of ignorance on my part...

It must be noted however that old Huckabee houndog has accomplished a great deal with very little money behind him.

But will Huckabee actually start going after McCain, instead of defending him and going after Romney. That might prove interesting.

Well saying "besides Rush & NR" is asking quite a lot, don't ya' think? Limbaugh and NR, in addition to the other talk radio hosts and the other Conservative publications, have taken after Huckabee, and that isn't likely to cease because of his surprisingly strong showing in some Southern states. I don't know of any Conservative publication or talk show host that's well-disposed to his campaign.

Moreover, I don't know of any elected official whose backed him, at least none of note.

But I do know of many who've critiqued his campaign style of quasi-identity politics, and branded it divisive.

Your question reminds me of an interviewed by Katie Couric about some terrorist who was branded such and sent off to Gitmo. Couric asked her guest: "Other than his having attended terror training camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan, what evidence is there that he's a terrorist."

Likewise your question about Huckabee, what additional evidence about his lack of popularity is required.

NR dislikes Huckabee, The Weekly Standard, The American Spectator, every major talk show host has deplored the fact that he's still in the race, when he should have bailed after Florida. He's been flacking for McCain, sparing him of any criticism while going after Romney. Sparking endless speculation that his camp has entered some deal with McCain. Precisely like that deal we saw play out in West Virginia.

McCain has support amongst some talk show hosts, and has support too amongst Conservative publications.

Huckabee has none.

A very good night for Huck. He might have done it were it not for Thompson's goofy and probably McCain supporting stand in South Carolina. To last a month with no wins, no money, and pull off a 5 state victory and have 2 more very close states (MO like 8,000 votes!) is very impressive. Peter, you wondered earlier how strong Huck and his contingent are; I hope this was a clear answer. The GOP better pay attention to his message, his ideas, his philosophy. Huck was a serious candidate with a lot to offer the party. This showing proves that he still does have a lot to offer to the party.

A very good night. Huck was successful, McCain solid, Romney below expectations.

A little bit ironic that Romney had to play the spoiler...

It seems like a vote tonight for Romney was a vote for McCain.

Huck has demonstrated some sectional strength. Beyond that? Nothing much.

His own campaign will reveal whether they think he's for real or not. If they go after McCain, SERIOUSLY go after McCain, that will tell us that his campaign thinks he's for real. But if we see more of Huck acting as a stalking horse, and acting as a political wingman for McCain, that will tell us he's still out for that VP nod.

The next couple of days will tell the tale.

A race that is split up, with the candidates showing some sectional strength, could be a race that goes to the Convention. And I think that's what we need. Watching Obama speaking tonight, then thinking of McCain trying to take him on, with his whole "my friends" act, just makes me cringe.

We don't have a candidate that can both unite the party and take on the Democrat contender. And we had better find one at the Convention.

Or else we're in a world of trouble.

Your question reminds me of an interviewed...

And your post try's to hard to be clever, and instead just comes off as insulting.

I read into "influential Republicans", thinking you were indicating party leadership and/or elected officials. I see you mean the chattering classes (of the libertarian leaning kind).

Sparking endless speculation that his camp has entered some deal with McCain.

This would prove interesting. I know he would lose my support if a deal with the devil has been made...

We don't have a candidate that can both unite the party and take on the Democrat contender. And we had better find one at the Convention.

The GOP has done itself in. The failure since 94 is too real, too large. The Rockefeller wing has divided and conquered. I don't expect the GOP to recover till 2012 at the earliest. It will take a Huck or some other instinctive conservative that is somehow able to gain the trust of the base.

All this is really just an exercise in futility. Too many libertarians and conservatives will go third party or stay home. Obama or Clinton will be better than a McCain or Romney - at least they would light a fire under the conservative instincts of a GOP minority...

That "chattering class" is PART of those included within the term "influential Republicans." Limbaugh, though he balks at being so considered, is part of the Republican establishment. He gets private emails, he gets delegations to his home, he gets inside information which we're not privy to. Likewise Hannity. Likewise Levin. There's an incredible amount of pressuring and arm-twisting going on behind the scenes, and occasionally someone will blurt out that fact, by mentioning an email, a conversation, a phone call, but that's all going on behind the scenes. And a good part of those conversations concern Huckabee. And how unacceptable he is.

Huck is smooth and glib, quick with a line, but he's angling for the VP slot. The fact that he's no money is testimony to how thin his support is.

It's difficult not to conclude that Huckabee won the not-a-Mormon primary tonight. And in the race to see which candidate was the most non-Mormon, Huckabee prevailed, and prevailed hands down over the Mormon.

It's real difficult to come to any other conclusion about Huck's "strength" tonight. He won no state outside the South, and he won West Virginia only by a deal with McCain's folks.

I said over a year ago that Romney's Mormonism was as much a problem as his flip flops.

Tonight provided but further evidence of that grim and brutal truth. Perhaps if Romney was a truly charismatic guy, perhaps if his qualifications were demonstrably superior, but that wasn't the case. McCain keeps trotting out his trials and travails at the Hanoi Hilton. And whenever McCain hits Romney, he responds with a in-more-sorrow-than-anger attitude, which hasn't gained him any fans. Let alone votes.

Romney has done better than I anticipated, but those two millstones around his neck prohibited him getting the nomination.

As for the rest of us, we have to force a floor fight and a platform battle. We have to seriously threaten McCain with a Favourite Son candidacy.

Various pundits keep advising and suggesting McCain make some concessionary type of speech at CPAC. Their advice more resembles pleading and begging however, than actual suggesting and advising.

McCain's "outreach" will be purely symbolic. The situation is so bad that when McCain stifles his natural urge to visibly and publicly gloat over Romney's demise, -------------- THAT fact is taken as McCain "reaching out" to Conservatives.

Good God, how throughly minimalist Conservative note-worthies have become. He doesn't laugh out loud at Romney, and THAT'S evidence of McCain demonstrating a willingness to reach out to Conservatives.

It's all evidence of Conservatives marooned within their own party.

We Conservatives feel like Robinson Crusoe watching out primary battle unfold. We're outsiders, the world is passing us by, and all we have to while away our time is endless reflection, endless introspection, endless and eternal pondering of our past, so glorious, so victorious, and so recent.

And Chris, we're not done yet. Bush and his father, their groupies and hangers-on, have to be sure, damaged our party. They've inflicted deep wounds to our party.

But our party is predicated on bed-rock. The waters of political strife will now and again wash over us, our political leaders will frequently become confused about what genuinely advances our commonweal, and elections will be lost from time to time. But our party has STILL within her men and women possessed of the TRUTH about human freedom, about man's responsibilities towards one another, but also towards himself. And so long as we have those people, so long as their voices sound out, we're NEVER out of it.

The truth can be entombed, but it won't stay long entombed. Political correctness is but a fad, likewise global warming concerns. They're all fads. And fads fade; it's the nature of fads to fade, to give way to the most recent fashion of the time.

The policies that the Democrats advance, and the ones they hope to enact, ARE DESTINED TO FAIL. They've never worked. Europe stands as sombre witness to the failure of the Left. And the American Left isn't capable of offering anything new and improved compared to their European co-religionists.

Before Churchill, there had to be Chamberlain. Before a Reagan, there had to be a Carter. The Democrats have no limiting principle, their own inner impulses propel them to failure. They don't know how to stop themselves.

Will Huck finally take McCain on?

Huck is done. McCain will win. End of story.

Comment #13, succinct and to the point. Maybe not quite the end of the story. Clint's right that Huck's strong showing - people just like him - means influence there. This Byron York article cheered me up a little. this morning.

McCain’s bona fides. “I am a Republican because, like you, I want to relieve the American people of the heavy hand of a government,” he said. “I am a Republican because, like you, I believe government must defend our nation’s security wisely and effectively…I am a Republican because I believe, like you, that government should tax us no more than necessary, spend no more than necessary… I am a Republican because I believe the judges we appoint to the federal bench must understand that enforcing our laws, not making them, is their only responsibility…”

“I think that when it’s clear who the nominee is going to be, the conservative wing of the party will come together,” North Carolina Republican Sen. Richard Burr, who is traveling with McCain, told me earlier in the day. “And I think John will reach out to them.”

If he doesn't "reach out" to conservatives and unite the party, we will have one of those two Democrats a year from now. I have not been listening to their speeches with care, but if one of them gave some paraphrase of Tom Paine's “That government is best which governs least.” or even hinted at the sentiment of that idea....well. “I am a Republican because, like you, I want to relieve the American people of the heavy hand of a government,”

Today, I want to believe him.

If McCain's biggest problem is the lack of conservatives, I would think that a McCain-Huckabee ticket would be the one thing that could unite the Republican party. Huckabee has the support of the south and the conservatives Nationwide...that to me would sound pretty appealing to McCain...

As both Peter and I have pointed out, part of the problem of joining forces with Huckabee is that it potentially produces a "double alienation" since neither one of them is entirely embraced by the regnant GOP establishment. However, McCain doesn't neccessarily see it that way and the possibile back room dealing between him and Huckabee in WV point to the possibilty of a general arrangement already brokered.

The fact is McCain needs someone who can motivate the conservatives in the south and in bellweather states like Missouri.


The primary turnout for Democrats has been greater in most states than the Republican.


A McCain/Huckabee ticket might be the key, with a moderate populist yet very socially conservative message, to thwarting the advantage of the democrats.


Ideas like a right to life ammendment and a Fair tax have given Huckabee a fighting chance despite complete unfairness in coverage by Foxnews. He appeals to the "Walmart Republicans" who own small businesses and who work two jobs. Imagine if he had had Romney's money.


Huckabee's only drawback? The wall street republicans. The WSJ/FOXNEWS conglamorate have taken over the party and their six figure salary followers are scared to death of ideas like the Fair tax. At least this is what the average joe thinks... who is not already otherwise biased.

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