December 15th, 2007
12:45 PM ET
15 years ago

Lowry: Dems will squash Huckabee

Is Huckabee this year's Howard Dean?

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Is Mike Huckabee the new Howard Dean?

That's what one prominent conservative thinks, and he's warning his fellow Republicans not to nominate the former Arkansas governor.

Rich Lowry, an editor of the conservative publication the National Review (which endorsed rival Mitt Romney this week), writes on the Republican Web site Friday that nominating Huckabee would amount to "an act of suicide" for the party.

"Like Dean, Huckabee is an under-vetted former governor who is manifestly unprepared to be president of the United States," Lowry writes. "Like Dean, he is rising toward the top of polls in a crowded field based on his appeal to a particular niche of his party."

"As with Dean, his vulnerabilities in a general election are so screamingly obvious that it's hard to believe that primary voters, once they focus seriously on their choice, will nominate him," he adds.

Huckabee, an ordained Baptist minister, has gained ground in several key primary states largely due to his appeal to Republican evangelical voters. Recent polls have suggested he now holds a double-digit lead over Romney in Iowa, and is in front of Rudy Giuliani and Fred Thompson in South Carolina.

And in the latest sign Huckabee's campaign is gaining serious momentum, veteran GOP strategist Ed Rollins - the architect of Ronald Reagan's 1984 landslide re-election victory - has signed on to help manage the operation.

Not so fast, says Lowry. According to the conservative commentator, nominating a Baptist minister would turn one of the party's assets - its message of social conservatism - into a liability.

"[A] Baptist pastor running on his religiosity would be rather overdoing it," he wrote. "Social conservatism has to be part of the Republican message, but it can't be the message in its entirety."

In response to Lowry's column, campaign manager Chip Saltsman defended Huckabee's electability and record as governor.

"Rich Lowry should know that four of the past five U.S. presidents have been governors, and all but Ronald Reagan were from the South," Saltsman said. "Mike Huckabee's candidacy is picking up steam because his optimistic, conservative message is resonating with voters who are looking for a leader with vision and experience. He has been elected four times for statewide office, twice as governor, in a Democratic-state because he places a premium on results, and that's what the American people are looking for."

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

Filed under: Mike Huckabee
soundoff (261 Responses)
  1. Marti San Diego, CA

    You bet they will. Huckabee hasn't a chance in a national election. His conservative credentials are questionable among conservatives, but his I'm Mr. Christian Leader persona has no chance of winning over swing voters.

    Let's get back to what is most important – PROVEN LEADERSHIP ABILITY, vision and experience to tackle big problems, bring people together, and get things done.

    Top of the list – IT'S THE ECONOMY STUPID! and that means out of control Federal spending, tax cuts that need to be made permanent, and a trade defecit that is running the dollar right down the toilet. We also have a bankrupt Social Security program, a potentially devastating housing crisis on the horizon (already bad, could get much, much worse), an educational system that still lags much of the developed world, and no cohesive immigration and border security plan. We have a lot of big items that need to be addressed.

    Forget the social issues. Forget which church the candidates go to or don't go to. Forget whose voice is more charming or who has the best one-liners. Let's get serious. Who has demonstrated throughout their life the ability to (1) tackle big problems, (2), lay out a clear vision for solving them, and (3) put the right people in place while rallying people from both sides to get something ACCOMPLISHED?

    Mitt Romney brings the most complete set of credentials, accomplishments, leadership skills, and fresh vision to the table. He has been incredibly successful in everything he has done–from 25 years in business, to balancing a budget deficit without raising taxes as Governor of MA, to turning around a scandal laden and financially distressed SLC Olympics.

    Mitt Romney is the kind of PROVEN LEADER we need to tackle our big problems and actually get something done.

    December 16, 2007 02:24 am at 2:24 am |
  2. David Woods, Portland, Oregon

    If the GOP does not nominate Huckabee. Millions of people, me included, will write his name in. Wouldn't that be a historic event, to win on a write in?

    December 16, 2007 04:25 am at 4:25 am |
  3. Lee, Mays Landing NJ

    "Romney is the kind of PROVEN LEADER we need..." blah bla bleeh

    Posted By Marti San Diego, CA : December 16, 2007 2:24 am

    You say the same "leader" thing in every thread.

    What's with this "leader" fascination? To the authoritarian wing of the Republican Party (most of the party now): Sieg Heil!

    December 16, 2007 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  4. PJ, LA, CA

    If you want another "Christain Nazi" as president, then this is your guy.


    Good Luck, America.


    December 16, 2007 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  5. Tom Dedham, Mass

    An un-educated liberal is still far smarter than a conservative. Conservative thinking is a mental handicap that has been proven by brain scans. No more mentally deficient politicians.

    Posted By Ed,Ellenville,New York : December 15, 2007 7:11 pm

    How you been Ed, have you been out long?

    Your typical and same as usual postings were not missed.

    I forgot more than some nitwit from NY like yourself will ever know.

    Take your medicine and stay warm, I know this because I happen to have a masters degree that I earned and I PAID for.

    Anyone from NY that votes in a carpet bagger with NO EXPERIENCE running anything and votes for her because of name only is not allowed to speak at the grownup table.

    December 16, 2007 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  6. Ed,Ellenville,New York

    Hey Tom,your simple-minded attacks and juvenile manner hasn't made your master's degree worth the paper it's printed on. What was it in? Theology or theatre? Every time you attack,you confirm your inferiority complex. Does "carpet-bagger fit your Governor Mittster? Whomever you support will lose anyway. Even if you picked a democrat,it'd be the wrong one. You really are in love with Hillary though. You can't hide your obsession.

    December 16, 2007 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  7. Charles in Salt Lake City, UT

    Mr. Lowry, editor of the National Review, is correct - Mike Huckabee may be a pleasant and personable and likeable guy, but he comes with vulnerabilities that make him essentially unelectable to the broad base that would be necessary to carry a National General Election.

    Unfortunately the National Review fails to appreciate that Mitt Romney is similarly unelectable for the very same reasons. Say whatever one may please about how a candidate's personal brand of faith shouldn't affect his electability, Romney's membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) can and will have a negative effect on his ability to appeal to voters. There are far too many "skeletons" in that closet, and the answers and assurances Romney has been able to offer have been transparently oblique with far too many double meanings.

    Sorry, but this isn't a repeat of 1960. Mitt Romney is no JFK, and the LDS Church is not Catholicism.

    December 16, 2007 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  8. screwupaulhaters, Birmingham, AL

    Keep laughing Paul Haters. He just raised 6 Million dollars in one day.

    December 17, 2007 03:29 am at 3:29 am |
  9. ProgressiveEvangelicalForObama


    Republicans! Just ignore this. There's nothing to see here. Just go on an vote for Huckabee. It's the "Lawds" will.

    C'mon. Don't you want a real Conservative this time? Hmmm? C'mon. Ignore Rich. He doesn't know what he's saying. Just go on and vote for Huckabee.


    December 17, 2007 04:21 am at 4:21 am |
  10. AJ; Montpelier, VT

    Huge difference. Gov. Dean was a man with some integrity. Huckabee is a hate filled Bible banging bigot who will say and do anything for money and power.

    December 17, 2007 07:22 am at 7:22 am |
  11. Matt, New York, New York

    So what Huckabee is Christian. The real "bigots" are the ones that wouldn't vote for him because of his faith. Listen to him talk. He has great ideas and preaches tolerance and conservative values. As presidental nominee he could easily beat someone like John Edwards. As Vice President to Giuliani or McCain, the Republicans will be able to win against any Democratic combination.

    December 17, 2007 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
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