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. Lori Huthoefer, Diamondhead, MS

    One more thing–America has an inate desire to respect the office of President. For the past 20 years, this has not been the case. The fact that Mike Huckabee has won over many voters due to his general likability is not to be minimized. We WANT to like and more importantly respect our president, an emotion that instantly came over me the first time I saw him speak. If he can win that many people over based on his general likeability, that tells me that he has the potential to influence and sway lawmakers in a more important arena–that of leading our country in the top executive position. Influencing other politicians and being able to choose qualified advisors and cabinet members are two extremely important roles of a president. I haven't felt this motivated by a candidate in a long time–imagine what he could do with this positive influence in Washington. He ranks high in integrity for me (similar to McCain), a quality that you cannot acquire–you must already have it. With that, he's already ahead of the pack as far as I'm concerned, and experience can be acquired!

    December 14, 2007 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  2. HH

    I have a couple of predictions for Mr. Lowry:

    1) If Romney doesn't get the Republican nomination, he won't become president.

    2) In the general election, whoever gets the most electoral college votes will win.

    Of the People, By the People, For the People

    December 14, 2007 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  3. Chris, Middletown, CT

    I am a Republican – we need to understand that the right wing of the party (socially and fiscally conservative) is what is dragging us down – we need a moderate and Huckabee isn't it....his social message is not appealing to the unaffiliated – the only hope he would have would be if the Dems ran Hillary – they might pick a social conserative over a socialist....or maybe they will be like HRC supporters and pretend she actually answers any question...and is not defining policy from Saul Alinskys Marxist handbook...

    December 14, 2007 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  4. Jeremy, Columbus OH

    I say Huckabee get nominated so the Democrats can win. Huckabee is a scary man running around with a bible. The last thing we need in this country is another bible thumping president. I'd rather have someone with experience in foreign affairs, domestic affairs, and can fix this country for everyone not just the select few. Moderate Republicans and Independents, there is a place on the Democratic side for you in '08 if Huckabilly gets nominated.

    December 14, 2007 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  5. Chris, San Diego, CA

    Am I the only one who gets the feeling tha everyone of the comment boards on these news sites are dominated by campaign staffers.
    do you guys really think you're that sneaky?

    December 14, 2007 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  6. Will, Bloomington Illinois

    Huckabee has no business being president.
    He doesn't believe in evolution and he thinks
    the world is only 6000 years old.

    He's either really stupid or a liar.

    December 14, 2007 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  7. Ron

    I agree with Lowry.
    Huckabee is UNELECTABLE. He is a religious fanatic version of Dean. He has no network, no money, no federal experience and is far behind in all but two states. That's 48 to 2 against him as I see it. That does NOT add up to a wise nominee choice.

    December 14, 2007 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  8. Karma, Hartford CT.

    The one way which someone as unfit for office as Huckabee is will be elected is if comments like Colleen's here will be taken as an insult. "left wings and gays", god forbid, someone who respects gays. Better to respect rapists and murderers eh Huckabee!!

    December 14, 2007 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  9. Ed,Ellenville,New York

    With such a minority position that the republicans have,no candidate can win as a republican. They're just scamming money out of suckers for a failing cause. I hope they get rich off them.

    December 14, 2007 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  10. M Jefferies

    Here is a thought for the good ole GOP.
    If Huckabee doesn't get the nomination, many thousands of "religious hicks" like myself will stay home on election day. Huck was right, the GOP deserved to get fired in 06. We don't want the same old politics and good ole boy politics. If Hillary get elected...we are getting just deserts. Huckabee is the only new voice out there.

    December 14, 2007 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  11. Nic, Toccoa Ga

    As a voter, i want to see a candidate that can stop the inefficiencies of the government, install a sensible tax plan, cut spending (N. Pelosi's jet)etc, create a reform in healthcare cost, and disregard political correctness for overall well being of the nation. NOBODY from the D's has this ability, nor life experience. But, maybe a businessman like Romney can!!!!

    December 14, 2007 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  12. Trang, Fremont, CA

    How unfortunate. The Republican party is doing the same thing to Huckabee as the Democratic Party to Obama. Finally, we have two decent guys and their own party are beating them up, saying they have no chance because they 'nice'.

    December 14, 2007 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  13. Laura, San Antonio, TX

    I wonder where Rich Lowry is getting his information about Mike Huckabee appealing to "niche" religious voters? The latest polls show rising support among moderates. Also, how does this theory explain Huckabee's rise in the national polls? I also find troubling his statement that the country shouldn't have a religious president. Would he prefer an atheist?

    December 14, 2007 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  14. Leandro, Washington, DC

    Could there be a better gift for the DNC than a Huckabee GOP ticket?

    It's pretty simple really, once the most conservative, religious-minded Republicans figured out that Rudy was pro-abortion and Romney was a Mormon, they weren't left with too many choices.

    Huckabee would be demolished in a national election, the man is political Kryptonite. Best of luck.

    December 14, 2007 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  15. Average Huckabuster

    Huckabee is awesome because I love Chuck Norris!

    December 14, 2007 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  16. Sean Allen

    Lowry's warning may very well be accurate. And how ironic it would be if the party that lived by extremist, right wing religion suddenly died by it.

    December 14, 2007 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  17. Tom, Florida

    The talking heads thing Huckabee is only gaining because of the Religous Right. Funny, I'm an Athiest and plan on voting for him. The experts have no idea what they are talking about.

    December 14, 2007 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  18. brian



    December 14, 2007 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  19. Steve, Lyons, CO

    "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."

    Who's "they"? Sounds like you're paranoid.

    The only "people" supporting Huckabee are ultraconservative Iowan farmers, some of them as brainrotted by over-religion as our friends under Pat Robertson and the late, Good Riddance poster boy for extremist Christian hatred, Jerry Falwell.

    People are panicking on the Repub side because they know an avowed "Christian leader" who's as anti-science as he is pro-war will sink like a boulder in the general election lake, even if nominated. And even the Repubs won't nominate this guy.

    December 14, 2007 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  20. James, Dayton, OH

    Has anyone considered that maybe Huckabee is winning over the independant voters? I myself am an indepandant voter in Ohio (key state for the 2004 election) that voted for Kerry in the last presidential election, but is eager to vote for Huckabee in this next one if he becomes the Republican nominee.

    December 14, 2007 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  21. Steve, Lyons, CO

    "The Democrat has left the conserative Democrats,..."

    ?? No comprehende.

    "... they are now the party of the left wings and gays. Huckabee is moderate..."

    Moderate? Mr. Christian Leader? Mr. Anti-Science? This guy is as far right as Dick "Criminal Traitor" Cheney, hated now more than Darth Vader ever was.

    "... and will take the Reagan swing vote."

    The Reagan swing vote took a lot of Democrats in. Huckabee has already aliented most Democrats. He'll get zero swing votes. Religious nuts are going out of style. Hail the end of superstition?

    " I for one am voting for him.
    Posted By Colleen Apple Valley, Ca."

    And, of course, that's your absolute right, which I would defend to the death!

    December 14, 2007 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  22. David - Portland, Oregon

    Watch as your American news media chooses your next President. Remember, most conservative talk show hosts are left of Huckabee.

    December 14, 2007 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  23. Bill Mitchell, Raleigh, NC

    Huckabee's #1 problem?

    He is a LIAR. He said he had nothing to do with the release of Dumond and knew nothing about his criminal past other than the rape he was in jail for.

    These are obvious lies and many many people has said just the opposite.

    Nice guy. Liar. Can't vote for him.

    December 14, 2007 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  24. scott,manchester NH

    this is funny stuff..we've got a republican candidate suddenly doing well who is waaay too far to the Right to stand a chance,we've got a whole bunch of ron paul supporters who still havent figured out his chances are statistically near impossible when Reality is considered (conscience votes are meaningless);and we've got Mitt Romney pouring a ton of effort into explaining his religion when there are roughly 101 things that are more pressing for this country than that ridiculous stuff. i said...funny.

    December 14, 2007 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  25. Bill Maloni, Chevy Chase, Maryland

    The Republicans deserve a Huckabee nomination in return for what they have visited on this nation, since the 2000 election.

    As a life long Democrat, let me plead with my GOP brethren to nominate Huckabee. Then it won't matter how much blood Hillary and Barack Obama leave on the ground, one of D's will be our next President!

    December 14, 2007 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
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