December 15th, 2007
12:45 PM ET
14 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. jw, canadian,ok

    We're talking landslide now.

    December 14, 2007 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    I think Lowry is off base and stupid in comparing Huckabee with Dean. There is none.

    Huckabee would make a great President, I am hoping he gets the nomination.
    Huckabee and Romney as his running mate with no doubt Obama and Clinton, as their challengers; who do you think will win? Yes Huckabee will!

    December 14, 2007 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  3. Brian

    I totally agree in every respect! Come on America, lets all wake up here, we're not electing someone just becuase he's a nice guy, we need to elect someone who will lead the United States of America!!! Get on it and wake up! This isn't a church issue, this is AMERICA, and he will be squashed!

    December 14, 2007 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  4. Dan C, Federick, MD

    I’m baffled as to why Iowans are supporting Mike Huckabee. Huckabee says a lot of things that sound good to uninformed voters, but nobody seems to be paying attention to what this guy actually says and what his record is. Huckabee gave out over 1000 commutations and pardons. He rose over $500 million in taxes. He also supported college tuition breaks for illegal immigrants. All of this while Governor of Arkansas. Trust me, though he “sounds good” with his witty one-liners and lip service to stir the emotions…Huckabee is not the guy for the GOP.

    December 14, 2007 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  5. Linda SF NM

    What an A hole. The only similarities I see between Huckabee and Dean is that your own party will take you down.

    Governor Dean steadily rose to the top, where he deserved to be. He was the clearest opposition of the Bush and Republicans the Dem's knew if he won the Primary he would WIN the General and they wanted their DLC friends there, Hillary and Obama (the anti Hillary). Obama showed he was loyal when he couldn't wait to bash Governor Dean when Governor Dean became Chair of the DNC.

    Governor Dean was vetted well and stood up to all that. The only problem was the weak minds of the voters that they bought the DC folks and the Media's "electable" crap. HE was showing he was electable because they were supporting him. But, that and every single candidate and the Republicans got involved even because they didn't want Governor Dean...they wanted (like now, Obama) Kerry.

    I agree that Huckabee's last min surge will probably not hold, because he isn't a strong candidate, but trying to draw a false comparison to a tru blue Dem with an outstanding record as Governor Dean, is inaccurate.

    December 14, 2007 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  6. Bob N. Urbana, IL

    Nominating Huckabee would be a total gift to the Democrats. One day Republicans with brains will realize that winning in Iowa and South Carolina marks a candidate as ultra-conservative, and completely unelectable. It is a pity that our candidates are selected via such flawed system.

    December 14, 2007 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  7. Will, Lexington, Kentucky

    I'm not so sure. As a registered Democrat, Huckabee scares the heck out of me. Here's a guy that got 40% of the African-American vote. He has a quite a bit of baggage, but if he's up against Hillary, it's not like she won't have baggage of her own. Huckabee is one of the few religious candidates that come across really well. He doesn't seem like he wants to force his religion down your throat, and to top that he's very personable and even funny, in my eyes. I don't think he's nearly as unelectable as Lowry suggests.

    The one other thing I've been wondering about is this notion of Democrats running for change. Unfortunately for us, we're not going to be going against a guy who's been in Washington for years and years. Giuliani, Romney, and Huckabee, the three leading contenders on the Republican side are all Washington outsiders, while our two leading candidates ARE currently in Washington. I will be interested to see how that plays out.

    December 14, 2007 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  8. Ryan, New York, NY

    Yet this joker thinks that Romney has a chance of beating the Democrats? Aren't most polls showing each of the top 3 Democrats (Clinton, Obama, and Edwards) beating all of the Republican nominees in the national?

    After the country's watched Bush and his Republican supporters all through the last painful 7 years, does the GOP really think it's got a shot in '08? Their best bet is to hope that the country continues to fall apart from 2009-12 and maybe they'll have a shot to recover the White House in 2012. We're well on our way with the economy that the Dems will surely be blamed for since they'll be in office at its worst.

    December 14, 2007 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  9. Dave, Oklahoma City

    Lowry is obviously out of touch, and is only swayed by career politicians. I am a fan of Romney, but I'm torn between him and Huckabee. Romney has laid his convictions out on the table for everyone to see. If elected, there will be no surprises or flip-flops. I think the same can be said of Huckabee. As a 10-year resident of Arkansas, Huckabee did a lot of great things. He stood up for the things he believed in . . . whether everyone else agreed or not. It's time to elect someone who knows who they are and are not just defining themselves as they go, like Billary Rodham Clinton tends to do. With either of these conservative candidates, you'll at least be able to vote knowing who they are and what they stand for.

    December 14, 2007 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  10. Dave, Oklahoma City

    To clarify . . . I was the 10-year resident of Arkansas . . . not Huckabee. LOL

    December 14, 2007 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  11. Lee M, NJ

    There they go, the republican establishment trying to crush the obvious people's choice (republican people) who skyrockets up without the money, organization and media backing Mitt and Rudy had.

    It just goes to show you that they wish to simply USE the social conservatives and evangelicals come election time, but really are not serious about it. They prefer it much better if the evangelical voter would simply act like sheep and just vote for the "frontrunner" that the republican media appoints and anoints.

    Their agenda is simply preserving inherited wealth and all they want the evangelical's vote so they play lip service to that every time elections come up but their agenda, and the agenda of most republican voters through the bible belt and south are quite different.

    It's amazing how quickly they are moving to crush the people's choice (Huckabee). They want them to support a total phony like Mitt or Rudy instead.

    December 14, 2007 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  12. Colleen Apple Valley, Ca.

    I call BS. The Democrat has left the conserative Democrats, they are now the party of the left wings and gays. Huckabee is moderate and will take the Reagan swing vote. I for one am voting for him.

    December 14, 2007 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  13. scott, orlando fl

    Of course Lowry is writing this. Hello it says he's a Romney supporter. LOL LOL LOL What do you think he's going to say... gee I love Huckabee and think he could win the Primary. LOL LOL !!


    December 14, 2007 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  14. Ace, Grand Rapids, MI

    Huckabee would further damage the GOP come November 2008! What you may have would be more moderate or liberatarian Republicans feeling alienated by the presence of a baptist minister on the ticket and in turn go to the Clinton camp or just stay home. As a result you could easily see a huge landslide defeat for Huckabee! I wouldnt be surprised if it was a 410/128 (Electoral votes.) in favor of the Democratic candidate! Plus a popular vote of say 54%/44% and more seats lost in the house and senate for the GOP!

    As a Democrat that makes me wanna scream


    December 14, 2007 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  15. Indy in AZ

    Couldn't agree more! As a registered Independent, there isn't any candidate that I feel can take this country out of the mess we are in, and getting into deeper. But, Hillbilly Huckabee, he really is clueless; it does give me comfort knowing that at least he stayed at a Holiday Inn last night...
    Get real! We should be demanding, and getting better!

    December 14, 2007 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  16. Walt, Belton, TX

    Couldn't agree more, except that goes for the top two or three in both parties. They flat stink!

    December 14, 2007 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  17. Tim

    Ron Paul is the only republican that can beat the democrats.

    December 14, 2007 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  18. Justin, Asheboro, NC

    Yet another "conservative elitist" bashing Huckabee...Look at the polls, look at the nationwide surge...Huckabee is beginning to draw in more than just social conservatives. These guys are just miffed that they didn't see this coming months ago, when they were trying to coronate Rudy or Fred a year and a half before the election.

    December 14, 2007 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  19. deroy WPB, FL

    huckabee is a sanitized version of bill clinton.

    he's another hillbilly carrying a 15 pound bible.

    plus he's a religious bigot.

    December 14, 2007 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  20. ben, La.

    Right now,Huckabee is the only Republican candidate I would consider voting for.

    December 14, 2007 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  21. Jennifer, Ashland, Ohio

    Lowry's correct that Huckabee is a voice for the Evangelical niche within the Republican Party, the antithesis to Rudy Giuliani in their eyes. What's ironic is that they both embrace so many socialistic approaches to policy. Even as a member of the so-called niche, I could not vote for either one of them.

    December 14, 2007 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  22. therealist

    But with all these sudden attacks, CNN/Hillary must be afraid of Huckabee..

    December 14, 2007 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  23. Chad, Louisville, KY

    Oh yes, the Democrats will certainly squash Huckabee. It's obvious given the overwhelming success of women and minorities in previous presidential races. For Huckabee, with conservative "friends" like Lowry, who needs enemies.

    December 14, 2007 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  24. gilliganscorner

    Ron Paul is the only candidate that can take down the welfare/warfare statists.

    America needs Ron Paul to help her.

    December 14, 2007 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  25. Walt, Belton, TX

    Sorry Mike, one loser from Hope, Arkansas is more than enough.

    Neither advocates a strong national defense and neither served their country in uniform, and we saw how Clinton decimated the military.

    Two capitulators from Hope would be absolutely nuts!

    December 14, 2007 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
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