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. lava, North Pole

    Clinton Andrews, Grosse Pointe, Michigan:

    Oh yeah! Ross Perot was a huge winner. Don't kid yourself.

    Save America! NO Huckabee in the White House!

    December 15, 2007 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  2. Robb, New York

    As an independent, Democrat-leaning voter, I resent Lowry's comment and similar comments made by these know-it-alls who believe electability is everything. Last time I checked, this is a presidential election, not a popularity contest. We're not supposed to vote for someone based on how presidential they look or act, or how they look, or what faith they are, or if they're a smart choice to have dinner or a drink with. We're supposed to choose a candidate based on their ideas and beliefs and the other traits necessary to run the country.

    Look at the last four elections we've had. We've picked the most "electable" candidate each time, and what has it gotten us? In Clinton, we had a very competent fellow, but also someone who talked from both sides of his mouth, and couldn't define what "is" is in a deposition about extramarital affairs. In Bush, we have a very charismatic guy with little competence and a knack for doing the opposite of what a specific situation warrants, or what the general consensus calls for, or refusing to compromise on anything. And in both cases, they acted in such a manner that made their opponents hate them passionately and refuse to work with them, thereby driving the country further and further apart.

    That's what voting for a candidate who is the most "electable." You might win an election, but you don't win anything else.

    Maybe Huckabee is another Howard Dean, or maybe not. But these pundits have no say in that; the people do. Let the people make their own decisions on their candidates. Don't tell them, "Don't vote for so-and-so because he's not electable." That's completely irrational; if a candidate can win a nationwide nomination race, then a candidate can win the general election, too. Once it's a one-on-one race, in this day and age, anything goes.

    Enough is enough. Enough with this "electability" nonsense. Who died and made these pundits the kingmakers? Last I heard, this is a democracy, and here the people rule. So let them make up their own minds on a candidate. Let us make the choice on who is the most "electable."

    December 15, 2007 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  3. Tom Dedham, Mass

    Posted By Lee M, NJ : December 15, 2007 8:23 am

    You are an uneducated liberal who thinks they know what ALL Republicans think and want in a candidate.

    Lowry is totally correct here and MANY of us NON-BIBLE THUMPING smart folks who HAPPEN to also be conservative leaners will leave the GOP and vote for someone other than Clinton and Edwards on the other side if this FAKE Conservative is the nominee.

    Iowa DOES NOT represent ALL Republicans and if they are foolish enough to have him win the caucus and maybe SC, that's about it.

    Take a look at his numbers away from these areas, he is a nobody and RIGHTFULLY so.

    Huckabe supporters are you happy with licenses for illegals, in-state college tuition, pardons for 12 MURDERERS, an average of a pardon every 4 days he was in office, check out his own words on taxes, he never met one he didn't like.

    If you vote for him because of his faith and won't vote for a SUPERIOR candidate (Romney) because of his, "Ya'll" will hand the election to the Democrats.

    This guy has skeletons big time, and if the best you can do on Romney is his changing some ideals over a PERIOD OF YEARS, "Ya'll" are as dumb as the Democrats say you are.

    December 15, 2007 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  4. Dr. Mike, New Braunfels, Texas

    Gov. Huckabee is the Republican's Jimmy Carter, and like President Carter (Iran Hostage Crisis) is similarly unprepared to defend the United States against militant Jihadists.

    December 15, 2007 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |


    December 15, 2007 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |


    December 15, 2007 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  7. Leo Truttmann, Claremont, CA

    Lowry is right: Dems will squash Huckabee, but he is also wrong: Any Democrat will squash any Republican in 08. Period. The public is sick and tired of anything what this party has to say.

    December 15, 2007 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  8. Dave, Charlotte North Carolina

    Social conservatism has to be part of the Republican message

    No it doesn't. Republicans need to learn the difference between a sin and a crime just like the Democrats need to learn the difference between a requirement and a virtue. The only reason social conservatives have made an impact in previous elections is because they are highly motivated to turn up at the polls. When the rest of us do the same, they are as much a liability to the GOP as the welfare-staters are to the democrats.

    December 15, 2007 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  9. T. Tim, Lodi, WI

    "...Huckabee is an under-vetted former governor who is manifestly unprepared to be president of the United States..." Kind of the Republican way, no?
    Bush, Jr. was/is of the same ilk and yet look how people voted. Maybe they were 'manifestly unprepared' to be good voters. Oh woe is America!

    December 15, 2007 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  10. Mark, B'ham., Al.

    To Ryan in New York, the pain democrats have faced with GW in the White House is minor compaired to the pain from the slap in the face the democrats put on the US Armed Forces by electing a "DRAFT DODGER" to be Commander In Chief and now they want to elect that "DRAFT DODGER"S WIFE" who wanted to ban military uniforms from the White House since it upset her daughter because the military did not like her dad. I do not like Huckabee because of the sales tax proposal and that he has not learned the lesson that 70% of American Citizens do not want Amnesty for Illegal Immigrants. McCain has learned that lesson with lots of pain and he is willing to admit it. I am voting republican because I am middle class and do not want to pay higher income taxes as I had to in 1994 on the last raising taxes on the rich by the democrats. Maybe I'll send the dems my bills to pay instead of filing for bankruptcy. You think the foreclosures are bad now they will be worse, since the dems give away programs will help everyone except the middle class.

    December 15, 2007 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  11. Nim,manchester,nh

    John is right. This kind of article is mere filler. As meaningless as it must be easy to write. There is no particular insight here, just a routine rehash of standard bits of speculation that we've all read ten times before. It's the stuff political journalists keep themselves busy with on slow news days. The Prospect should be better than this, leave this kind of thing to the talking heads on the TV networks

    December 15, 2007 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  12. A Campbell, Lake Mary, FL

    I tire of being told what is wrong about the other candidates. Tell me what you believe and will do. If the best you offer is trashing others, that is not good enough. I don't agree with everthing Huck supports, but he is up front about his beliefs and I know what I am getting.

    The other candidates talk as if they would tell me anything they thought would sway me. I am not buying a used car. This election is about the future my children will live in one day.

    December 15, 2007 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  13. Mike, Fredericksburg, VA

    If Romney is a superior candidate, why is NH about the only state in which he is leading in the polls, despite spending millions of dollars over the last year?

    A "superior" candidate doesn't change his personal convictions to coincide with whatever office he happens to be running for at the moment. Mitt "I was for abortion before I was against it" Romney isn't somebody I can trust. Mitt "I was for gun control before I was against it" Romney tells voters whatever he thinks they want to hear, not what he really believes.

    Romney needs to drop out and throw his support behind Huckabee, a man who is not only a consistent conservative, but can also appeal to independents and moderate democrats in the general election. Huckabee can appeal to independents and traditional democrats because he can relate to everyday people – something Romney can't do.

    December 15, 2007 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  14. anonymous, Imperial Beach CA

    I don't think the "average joe" is ready for either Hillary as the first female president (efficient shrillness anyone?), or Obama–(as smart and appealing as he is–I'd pick him way over Hil)– a black with Muslim sounding name–to be the head of America.
    If the Dem's nominate either of the two–which seems likely–I think it will exponentially increase Huckabee's chances.
    On his website Huckabee says "As Governor of Arkansas, I cut taxes and fees almost 100 times, saving the taxpayers almost $380 million. I left a surplus of nearly $850 million, which I urged should go back to the people."
    Is this true? I'm up for balancing the national budget, cutting taxes and getting something back! Dan C. posts in his comment "He rose over $500 million in taxes."
    Sooo... which is correct? Anyone know?
    His tax plan has great appeal to me–and I like his Secure America Plan–he just GETS it.
    I decided to vote for Huckabee– way before there was any real talk of him running- when I saw him on TV during the Katrina debacle. He was the only governor/govt official who was prepared to deal with the influx of refugees into his state. He thought ahead, got ready and provided solutions . He was the only one who looked like he knew what he was doing and did it. He communicated in a sincere, non-self-promoting way.
    I'm tired of the dog and pony show that most career politicians put on. Huckabee is fresh, real and intelligent. He seems like a strong leader without being an egotist. Moral, without being "religious"–despite his pastoral background. I have come to despise the evangelical brand of self-righteousness or sham put-on-for-the-campaign religion that most candidates seem to have. He's not shoving his faith down people's throats–He just seems to have a strong foundation and solid moral compass based on his faith.

    He doesn't make excuses for his mistakes or ignorance–but shoots straight. Doesn't waffle or flip flop. Sounds like he knows both his strengths and weaknesses, will admit when he is wrong and isn't afraid to ask for advice.
    PLUS he has a sense of humor about himself–a touch of genuine humility which goes a long way in my book.
    The pundits need to pay attention–he has a Regean-esque appeal–I predict he will win.

    December 15, 2007 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  15. Richard,WI

    He was a sleaze-bag when he was governor of Arkansas. this doesn't suprise me at all.

    December 15, 2007 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  16. Rick, Springdale AR

    I feel like the nation needs a president that is not concerned with the "parties" needs but the needs of the nation. Creating “an act of suicide for the party’’(Rich Lowry) should not be the next presidents biggest worry or a worry at all. I feel like we need a president that is going to do what is right for the nation as a whole, not just a party of the nation. Do you understand what I’m trying to say?


    December 15, 2007 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  17. Tim, Detroit, MI

    What arroagance – Lowry calls people who won't support Romney because of his religion bigots, but it's protecting the GOP to oppose Huckabee because of his.

    December 15, 2007 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  18. celebrityscraps

    I lost all faith in Huckabee when he brought on board Chuck Norris...

    Does the man have no common sense???

    December 15, 2007 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  19. Chris

    Was this is sneaky jab at the Dynamic Duo – Barackman and Oprah?

    December 15, 2007 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  20. Mario Preston ID

    Don't voe for Mike Hichupbee, he's just a liberal democrap in the wrong party.

    December 15, 2007 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  21. Phil, Memphis, TN

    Iyt is interesting to see that the principles of the far right majority of the GOP are the ones tearing apart any chance they have of winning. Their inability to tolerate any beliefs other than their own (in this case religious)will be the end of their party as they know it. So keep worrying about the Ten Commandments, prayer in school and which one of you is a Baptist vs. a Mormon. Meanwhile, the Dems will have the White House and the congress, which with the current GOP options and the previous administrations baggage probably is for the best anyway.

    December 15, 2007 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  22. Ed,Ellenville,New York

    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.

    December 15, 2007 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  23. mark wilkes barre pa

    The dems have not been able to squash one blessed thing in the last eight years,, how will this be any different ? one of you lefties will have to explain in long winded elite minded fasion so we all roll our eyes up in are heads fall into a semi concious state and can be mind-melded into following you BS story

    December 15, 2007 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  24. Dale Davis, Glendora, California

    I just know that Huck will be able to use his knowledge of the Bible to become a basis of knowledge to construct an economic plan. It would definately be better than someone who has 2 degrees in both Harvard and BYU, in both business and law, with top honors in both, along with numerous successful business ventures.
    Afterall, Huckabee could hire the swift boat veteran guy to drive a swift boat to barter and sell Bibles to the Chinese, so that they won't just dump all of the trillions of dollars that they are thinking of dumping. And if they refuse, then another Huck supporter, Chuck Norris, could beat the excrement out of them to comply. This would be great. Then he could send some of those other supporters, like the old pro wrestlers, i.e. Ric Flair, to back him up. They could then sell cheese whiz in a can by the case loads, Red Man Chewing Tabacco, cloudy Arkansas diamonds, along with Nascar posters. Then we will be able to get more free trade and balance our trade deficit. This will definately get us out of our impending financial crisis next year. After all, the whole world will be charmed by Huck's "authenticity" of character that the common folk in Iowa and South Carolina are looking for. Well America, your finally waking up.

    December 15, 2007 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  25. KaM San Jose California

    All I hear is Huckabee is a good communicator,a Baptist minister,former governor and play bass quitar.But there appears to be more bad news about him than good ones.His commutation records of dangerous criminals are over the fray.He is believed to be the main force behind the release of Wayne Dumond a Rapist that end up killing two teenage girls after rapimg them.This is serious staff and one would seriously consider Huckabees' stand on Family Values given the horrow,pain and suffering the families of these precious teenage girls went through because of a lack of commitment by the governor to honor and stand firm in protecting the lives of members of the public from dangerous criminals.

    December 16, 2007 02:00 am at 2:00 am |
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