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. AJ, IL

    I don't read the National Review but i think Lowry is off-base and biased. Even though polls currently show Huckabee losing to the top 3 Democratic contenders, so does Romney. Romney would get no Democratic votes and very little evangelical votes. Republicans would vote for him, but at best Romney would only pull one-fourth of Independents. Romey has a strong resume but a lot of baggage. If the democratic campaign were to throw out 3 controversial Mormon doctrines, many Christians, Republican or Democrat, would rally against Romney.

    December 15, 2007 12:56 am at 12:56 am |
  2. Mike Brooks, Eugene, Oregon

    Look, I'll admit it, I'm a Democrat; an Edwards fan in fact. But I would have have a very tough time deciding whether to vote for Huckabee-McCain over any other Democrat. You see Integrity counts! And McCain has it and I think Huckabee does to. I do not agree with them on most policies but I trust them.

    December 15, 2007 12:59 am at 12:59 am |
  3. Faith No More

    I sincerely hope the Republicans nominate this theocrat in a three piece suit. Moderates will run away screaming from him, and the Democrats will win in a landslide.

    December 15, 2007 01:02 am at 1:02 am |
  4. Jake, CA

    The only GOP candidate that has any chance at beating a Dem is Ron Paul. If the GOP doesnt figure this out they're flat out ignorant. If 70% of the country has become anti-war or anti-Iraq War, how in the world is a pro-war candidate going to win the white house? Jellllloooooo???????

    December 15, 2007 01:07 am at 1:07 am |
  5. Dale Davis, Glendora, California

    Hey Huck. During your time as minister in your church, did you ever show that infamous anti-Mormon film, the Godmaker? We really want to know. I believe the Anti-Defamation League won a lawsuit against a lot of people who showed it in the 80s and 90s. Got an answer Mike?

    December 15, 2007 01:08 am at 1:08 am |
  6. Craig S., Los Angeles CA

    Let's see, weren't some Dems hoping for a Bush nomination in 00 because he appeared to be a moron he could never win? Be careful what you wish for.

    Huckabee's real persone was revealed a couple days ago when responding to the story about his paroling a rapist who then raped again. He said the parole board folks who said that he pressured them for release were "liars," denied the content of his own letter to the rapist saying "you should be parolled," then blamed–guess who–Bill Clinton for signing the law that allowed Huckabee to have the guy paroled. Surprised y'all missed it.

    So much for "Christian values" of humility, honesty and responsibility. Like most zealots, this guy is really dark, a total fraud, and as dangerous as Bush.

    December 15, 2007 01:29 am at 1:29 am |
  7. Martin, Ohio

    What Lowry fails to realize, is that Dean would of been a better candidate against Bush because Dean understood the 2004 presidential election was all about one thing; IRAQ. Add that with a candidate who would actually stand up for himself, and things might be different. I'm no Dean or Kerry fan, but Lowry fails to make this distinction. Just because Dean didn't make it to the general election, doesn't mean he was the worst candidate. Huckabee has the personality and charisma to do it. How can Lowry write an objective article while clearly backing another candidate?

    December 15, 2007 01:33 am at 1:33 am |
  8. Moe, NY

    Huckabee is a very scarey any woman in America could vote for him is beyond me, unless there are more women enslaved in the name of religion in this country than I thought! As far as the GOP goes in the upcoming election...well, we all know they are a joke...bad one, but a joke anyway. (The GOP has brought our country to ruin...and we, as citizens do not even know the half of it...yet!). As far as the Conservatives go...they are half the reason our country is in the mess it is currently in....Conservatives are hypocrites...phony family values, do as I say, not as I do mentality. Sorry Huckabee you will never get my vote...I am still a free woman and can think for myself. got it...I AM WOMAN..HEAR ME ROAR!

    December 15, 2007 01:40 am at 1:40 am |
  9. Jose Card

    American people will never look for a pastor for the White House.

    Huckabee will be beaten by any Dem nominee.

    Men of God cannot be also men of people in modern days. Look at Iran... Who are in charge? What a country Iran is today!

    December 15, 2007 01:42 am at 1:42 am |
  10. Trollmaster, CA

    I would have much rather seen Dean than Kerry run against Bush.

    He was against the war from the start and would not have had that flip flop label attached to him, like Kerry.

    December 15, 2007 01:47 am at 1:47 am |
  11. Kate, Long Island, NY

    Born in the midwest, having lived south of the Mason-Dixon for most of my childhood and the Deep South as a newlywed, and now in NY, I don't know whom I'll vote for, but it would NEVER be Huckabee.

    He helped to release a rapist from jail, simply because he was pushed to do it by enemies of Clinton.

    He will also appoint the next Supreme Court justices and I believe his choices will be extremely right wing.

    I heart Huckabee, however, insofar as he will be a gift to the Democrats as one poster said. I hope he and Fred Thompson run together because it will be the best "get out the Democrat vote" campaign you'll ever see!

    December 15, 2007 02:05 am at 2:05 am |
  12. Sam, Manchester, New Hampshire

    I do not agree with all of Mike Huckabee's politics.

    But I would still like to see him get the nomination because he has shown willingess to accept responsibility, a sense of vision, a sense of morality, common sense and he is a good man who seems real.

    He is not Mr. 9/11, Giuliani and he is not the slippery Mitt Romney. He's just Mike Huckabee, the man with the plan from Arkansas.

    Go Mike!

    December 15, 2007 02:20 am at 2:20 am |
  13. Joseph H, Warner Robins, GA

    As a Southern Baptist, only Ron Paul has the ability to defeat the Dem nominee. Ron Paul represents real change for this country. He is bringing awareness to a gamut of issues like: the high cost of the war, financially and militarily; the weak dollar created by the Fed Rsv; limiting the size and scope of the federal gov't. Also, NO other candidate, from either party, has the volunteerism as Ron Paul does. Come on, his supporters raised $4.2M in one day (independent of the campaign itself) and will raise more than that on December 16th. Lobbyists and corporations know they're wasting their time trying to buy Ron Paul. His campaign donations are coming from ordinary people like myself and thousands of others who are angry and sick of the BS coming from Washington and seeing their country's sovereignty being sold out.

    December 15, 2007 02:23 am at 2:23 am |
  14. Linda, Wentzville, Missouri

    Yeah, all of you fundies, go out there and have Huck for the GOP nominee. I'll be laughing all the way to the election when the Dems win.

    December 15, 2007 02:31 am at 2:31 am |
  15. Jonathan, Westboro KS

    Let's begin the first theocratic rule of law in this nation and take down the sinners once and for all! I can look past his liberal leanings so long as he brings us back to a true Christian nation where we can dominate the political atmosphere once and for all.

    December 15, 2007 02:33 am at 2:33 am |
  16. Nick, Chester SC

    There is only one GOP candidate that has a chance of winning. Ron Paul. 70% of the country wants out of Iraq...if the GOP doesn't get on board to that they are doomed to failure, not withstanding that they haven't been the party of fiscal conservatism either.

    December 15, 2007 02:40 am at 2:40 am |
  17. kevin, watertown, ny

    Ron Paul would make a great president.He knows what he wants and speaks what many of us are not allowed to say. Political correctness is smothering this country and needs to stop. What ever happened to freedom of speech. we can talk amungst ourselves at work or with friends but if you say anything in public you are a trouble maker. Why should I stop at a road block by our police and have to answer- "where are you coming from" and "where are you going to. What buisness is it to them where im going. Im not doing anything wrong. Ron Paul should run as an independent taking the election away from them all and change this country back to what it is ment to be "free".

    December 15, 2007 02:45 am at 2:45 am |
  18. Chris Hassel, Saint Paul, Minnesota

    Very few actual thinking people can stand this 2008 election ridiculousness, but if we were to circumvent this silly crap for a minute, Governor Richardson and Senator Biden would, on balance, clearly be the experienced, forward-thinking, NON-COMMERCIAL (let's say it together) people who would make fine presidents.

    It's unfortunately the case that such will probably not happen, which will only serve to show how we are not only capable but willing to throw elections away for "good vibes" again. Look: a restoration of the Clinton Empire will bring out vultures; Mr. Obama has been sorely ridiculous on foreign issues (he'll be a great candidate in 2016). But I suppose that makes me a "snob."

    Pathetic...absolutely pathetic....

    December 15, 2007 02:51 am at 2:51 am |
  19. Jeff Geslison, Salt Lake City, Utah

    I'm sorry, but I will NEVER vote for Mike Huckabee under ANY circumstance. I'm a lifelong Republican, a believer in the ideals of Ronald Reagan and yet I could see myself voting for a Democrat over this man. I'm pleading with my fellow Republicans...PLEASE PLEASE DO NOT NOMINATE THIS MAN FOR THE PRESIDENCY! It will be suicide for our party. He is a bigot, he doesn't like Mormons and homosexuals and a lot of other people. He is not tolerant, he has a record of being soft on immigration up until now and he is a fiscal liberal. Huckabee's foreign policy suggestions are a joke! Even the Democrats wouldn't go so far as to say we need to be Mr. Nice Guy all the time. He has no real vision. We need a solid leader that has fiscal conservative credentials and can lead this nation. We have two perfectly good choices in Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney and two other suitable choices in Fred Thompson and John McCain. Huckabee is the wrong choice for our party. Please don't make this mistake.

    December 15, 2007 03:12 am at 3:12 am |
  20. Huck08, WA

    When Huckabee was govenor of Arkansas, he acted in a way that served the interests of Arkansas. Every major criticism of Huckabee is because he actually did his job. He represented the people in that state. Arkansas has more democratic voters than republican. Democrats are big spenders. This isn't rocket science. Put two and two together. I have no doubt that if President, he will do his job, and do it well. If he spends a good part of that on his knees and in the Word of God, all the better. And people who don't like God-fearing leaders really should think about moving to another country. Either that or read some accurate history, not the watered down, censored, politically correct trash taught in public schools. Liberals would have serious issues with most if not all of our founding fathers.

    December 15, 2007 03:15 am at 3:15 am |
  21. Ralph Marcano, Chicago, IL

    I certainly hope Republicans are dumb enough to nominate Huckleberry. He may not be quite as psychotic or dimwitted as Bush, but at the same time he also has no vast criminal empire behind him like Bush did through his family. Nobody's going to go out of their way to rig elections for this ignorant bumpkin – there will be no Supreme Court coup d'etat this time around. And that inevitably means a rational, relatively decent person (i.e., not a Republican) will become President.

    Sadly, however dumb average Republicans are, the people who actually make decisions in their party know how to stay in power – it's really all they want or understand. This means that no matter what the rank in file decide, the one who will be nominated is whom the party elite chooses – the one who will safeguard their power and money. I have no doubt they would rig their own primaries if necessary.

    December 15, 2007 03:29 am at 3:29 am |
  22. Andrew, NJ

    Huckabee used to be my #2 choice, then he opened his mouth with all that religious crap and all the dirt about him came out, and now he is on the bottom of my list.

    And yes that puts him below Giuliani. If its Giuliani in the general election I'll vote 3rd party. But if its Huckabee I'll make sure to vote Democrat for the first time since I started voting, just to make sure the religious nut jobs never see the White house.

    I am all for religious tolerance, but you can't have someone in the white house, who only wants religious tolerance for his own religion

    December 15, 2007 03:30 am at 3:30 am |
  23. shannon NY

    he reminds me more of Hillary then Dean.

    December 15, 2007 04:08 am at 4:08 am |
  24. Val Carter Orlando, Florida

    He is a Clinton in Huckabee clothing.

    December 15, 2007 04:09 am at 4:09 am |
  25. Alice Newman Center Harbor NH

    "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,"

    ... yes but their widest plank was not "I am a Christian Minister." As you start really looking at the guy's record, look at the gift list, pardons, tax increases, locking those with aids away and on and on.

    You want a 23% flat tax? The single issue so-called Christian Evangelical Conservatives, who seldom look at the big picture, may give him a bump in Iowa but as the heat increases, Preacher Mike will have to get out of the kitchen.

    December 15, 2007 05:25 am at 5:25 am |
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