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. DFinFL

    How's this for irony?

    When Islamic countries elect Mullah's as political leaders, Republican politicians label them dangerous religious extremists. Now the Republicans want to elect an ordained Minister as their political leader.

    December 15, 2007 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  2. onemom

    Since the NRO has endorsed Romney, Mr. Lowry's opinion is tainted and irrelevant to the general discussion.

    December 15, 2007 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  3. Cody Harding, Kinsley, 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.

    Posted By Jonathan, Westboro KS : December 15, 2007 2:33 am

    And while we're at it, we can practice demonizing other religions while isolating ourselves from our current and potential world allies, right?

    Freedom from religion, and the seperation of Church and State is what I believe. And you say 'Take down the sinners'? So, anyone who doesn't have the same moral belief set as you [Stem cell research, same sex marriage, polytheism, etc.] automatically deserve to be ostracized, regardless of their contribution to society?

    Even then, who said he would bring a Christian state, Gods forbid? He's a baptist who can't even follow the moral tenents of his own religion, who has taxed the poor and pardoned the guilty of their crimes. For a religious leader, he seems to have a very shifty and uninformed stance on politics and morality.

    And a Theocratic Law? Hasn't that been tried before in Europe? Remember what the Dark Ages brought to the world? Over five hundred years of expessive repression and some of the worst atrocities attributed to man. The word of the lord works best as a guideline to daily life, NOT as a unmoving edict that all are forced to follow.

    As a native of Kansas currently serving overseas, I am ashamed to share a state with you, sir.

    As for Sen. Huckabee, I find that he seems to deny a lot of his past, instead of trying to atone for his mistakes. He may have grown with time, but his experience in the past will be the achilles heel that fails him in the upcoming election, if his religious base doesn't do it first.

    December 15, 2007 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  4. Jose, Orlando, Florida

    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?

    Yes Laura, I would prefer an atheist...

    December 15, 2007 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  5. Rebecca, Michigan

    I totally agree with the blogger who posted these comments (I couldn't have said it better myself.):

    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 15, 2007 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  6. Bryan Cox

    Allow me to clear some things up for undecided voters. Huckabee is the only reasonable choice. He is kind, likeable, honest, compromising, and intelligent. His past as a Baptist minister should not be of any more concern than Hillary or Obama's faked religious leanings or Mitt Romney's 180 degree flip-flop from radical liberal to radical conservative. Anyone who makes his religion an issue is an obvious hypocrite and bigot against protestant Christianity.

    Hillary will never win. Too much poor history. Her foreign policy is no different than that of George Bush. And then there's Bill.

    Obama is only liked because no one can find any "accomplishments" with which to bash him over the head. His foreign policy and anti-American attitudes will cost him big in any election.

    The current Democrat candidates stand absolutely zero chance of getting elected.

    Romney may be the frontrunner for the media, but his 180 degree flip-flop from radical Kenney-esque liberal to good down home values radical conservative will not be believed for a second. People know that when elected, the false conservative front will evaporate. Who gives a hoot about his Mormonism.

    Rudy Guiliani? Might as well be a democrat with his social liberalism. He may be personable, but social conservatives see through his charade.

    John McCain? Used to be a good, middle-of-the-road choice but has shown his unlikeability and his unfortunate unelectability.

    Fred Thompson? Yeah...the guy can't act either. Nobody's going to want this guy for president.

    Ron Paul? What? He's a Republican? He reminds me of a liberal Ross Perot! He may stand for "change", but his absurdly naive foreign policy statements (eg. pulling American military bases out of foreign countries) will hurt America's ability to defend itself from foreign attack and destabalize the world far more than any Iraq conflict ever could. Ron Paul, the choice of the "simple" who don't understand that he's not a true Republican (in nearly any sense of the word) and he doesn't have a clue on issues of foreign policy.

    Huckabee is the only reasonable choice. The negative information about him in the media is all spin with little truth. The AIDS thing? Ancient comments from a period when AIDS was still barely understood and appeared to many to be a "Gay disease". His views have changed with science. Anti-science? Baloney. Most liberals have little understanding of true religion and believe that Christians are all anti-science. I've got news for them. Most Christians are as intelligent and pro-science as they are. The liberals are just blinded by their misconceptions and misunderstandings. Huckabee is anti-mormon? No. If anyone took the time to look into the context, they would find an innocent question about Mormon beliefs to a reporter (which Huckabee obviously never intended to see the light of day). Huckabee is a sincere man who wants to know the truth about the beliefs of others, not to smear another religion as his comment has been unfairly spun.

    Having lived in Arkansas under Clinton and knowing about Huckabee's leadership, I feel quite qualified to bash Clinton (as I did before he was ever elected the first time) and promote Huckabee for his integrity and likeability. He's the choice for America despite the contrary claims of anti-protestant biggots, hypocrites, and those so "open-minded" that their brains have leaked out (without them realizing it of course).

    December 15, 2007 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  7. Nate Lawson, Pensacola, FL

    The media has been going after Obama about his drug use why don't someone look into Romney's beliefs. The Mormons have very different beliefs than main stream Christians. I'm a black man and I'm particularly concerned about Romney's beliefs. Does he share views of the Book of Mormon which espouse racist doctrine? If not he's a hypocrite and disengenious and should not be trusted as the leader of our nation. As usual you people refuse to even look into this matter!

    December 15, 2007 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  8. Susan Prock, Fort Pierce, Florida

    "Like Dean, Huckabee is an under-vetted former governor who is manifestly unprepared to be president of the United States,"
    What a joke the Republicans are! The above statement describes Bush perfectly! Dean would have made 100 times the President Bush has been! I would not vote for any of the current crop of Republicans! they are all a joke!

    December 15, 2007 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  9. Anonymous


    December 15, 2007 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  10. Michael Sheridan, Grand Rapids, MI

    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.

    Posted By Huck08, WA : December 15, 2007 3:15 am

    As a liberal, I don't mind "God-fearing" leaders – but Huckabee talks and acts like someone who isn't so much afraid of God as he is certain that he's God's BFF, and it's leaders who think that they are the particular favorites of God who scare me. Bush claims God had a hand in getting him selected to be President, while Huckabee claims that God is influencing the latest polls and does a shtick where he pretends his cellphone is on God's speed-dial. Stuff like that shows a stunning lack of humility, and we could do with a little less hubris and a little more capacity for self-examination from our next President.

    Also, we liberals more than embrace our actual, liberal founding fathers. And I say "liberal" because it's absolutely laughable to look at how they overturned centuries of rule by a hide-bound monarchy whose hereditary ruler was also the head of the state church, replacing it with a completely new system of government based on individual liberty, equality and right to participate in government, and somehow see it as a victory for "conservatism."

    December 15, 2007 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  11. Terry, El Paso, TX

    "What's wrong with a president who has Christian values and believes?... we are losing the blessing of the Lord .... America needs to return back to Godly values..." by Al Horta

    That's easy to say, Al, but the facts are in the details. What are Christian values? I see very little similarity between the God of the Pope and the God of Pat Robertson. No two Christians can agree on the proper interpretation of any verse in the Bible. Jimmy Carter is a Godly man if ever there was one, but Evangelicals hate (not dislike, hate) him. 20% of the Christians who were surveyed say they believe in reincarnation (literally "born again"). I would say that Christians would want to feed the poor, cure the sick, help the widow and the orphan, and share their wealth with the less fortunate, but most evangelicals prefer to let the free market take care of them or not as long as they can't have an abortion. The Bible says men should not sleep with men, and Evangelicals hate homosexuality and homosexuals (don't start; yes you do). A few verses later, the Bible says not to eat pork, but Evangelicals do love that sausage and ham, don't they? A few verses later, the Bible says that a man should take as his second wife the widow of his brother, but we associate polygamy with Mormonism and many Evangelicals hate Mormons (don't start).

    In short, while we all support Godly values, there is absolutely NO agreement on what those values are.

    December 15, 2007 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  12. Dave - Indianapolis

    The focus should be on who is best suited for change. Romney might look better on paper or on a stage, but people connect with Huckabee. He feels like one of us and not a professional politician. I for one, would rather have someone that I believe in (Democrat or Republican) versus the same old tune.

    December 15, 2007 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  13. ed, macon, ga

    Thanks to Rich Lowry. When a little geek comes on all afraid of someone who is going to beat his rich benefactors – you know we have a winner like Reagan on our hands. Go Huck 08.

    December 15, 2007 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  14. Michael Sheridan, Grand Rapids, MI

    While I'm on the subject of hubris and humility, this caught my attention:

    That is one of the reasons our nation is having so many problems, little by little we are losing the blessing of the Lord because of our secular liberal believes in which we try to govern oursleves without His help.

    The belief that God has somehow favored our nation, and that we are losing that favor for some reason, rests on the assumption that we can know what God is thinking. Since, by definition, no finite human mind can comprehend the omniscient mind of God, to suppose that God has blessed us in the past, or even that we are or ever have been deserving of God's blessing, is to commit a sin of pride.

    "God Bless America" is not a statement of fact – it's actually a prayer, and every humble, imperfect resident of this imperfect country should add the word "please" in there somewhere.

    December 15, 2007 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  15. Alexander, Wasington D.C., USA

    Chilling account on Huckabee's Record. This is a must see!

    December 15, 2007 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  16. David H., Plano, TX

    The things I haven't heard the pundits say, and you certinly won't hear it from the Huckabee campaign, is that in a field of Republicans who all want to be Ronald Reagan, Mike Huckabee is George W. Bush. He's a "compassionate conservative", i.e. values conservative friendly to big government. Yes, Huckabee rose from obscurity in sharp contrast to Bush, and he is much more articulate. But the thing Republicans need to ask themselves is whether they would have been happy with Bush's policies if they had been articulated better. For me, the values issues are significant, and competence is crucial (sorry, Dubaya), but given the choice, I'd much rather go with someone like Romney who won't continue to drive the nation toward fiscal catastrophe.

    December 15, 2007 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  17. Craig, Ottawa, Ontario

    This is the same Mike Huckabee who declared on national TV that he believed that the Canadian capital building was a giant igloo made from ice. Sounds really prepared for international diplomacy. Search YouTube if you want to see it.

    December 15, 2007 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  18. Steve, Lyons, CO

    "Why doesn't this guy run on a Democratic side?"

    Are you kidding me? He's EXACTLY who the Repubs should nominate.

    " He would fit right in. "

    Rally? When have the Dems run a religiously-disabled anti-science misogynist?

    December 15, 2007 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  19. Brad, Stockton, CA

    Who cares what a "prominent conservative" thinks? I didn't know any of them had the ability to think for me.

    December 15, 2007 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  20. Bryan Cox

    What a shame the Democrat Party has become when Hillary must apologize for and fire one of her own for commenting on Obama's drug use. Since when do we not care that a presidential candidate used drugs, especially hard drugs?

    I've never used drugs. Why should I believe that Obama's decision making abilities are so great if he's done something that self destructive and illegal by our country's laws.

    Don't apologize to Obama. Bring out his poor judgement in ever having used drugs in the first place. Woohoo, he admitted using (as if he wasn't trying to head off the negative media attention if it just leaked out!). It just shows his poor decision making abilities and lack of respect for the laws of the country of which he wants to be president!

    People should NEVER apologize for bringing such a thing to the forefront. The majority of Americans have not used illegal drugs and should not allow such a thing to go unchallenged by a presidential candidate. Bill Clinton was bashed for it and so should Obama be.

    Is a former drug user the person we want for president? That would be a resounding NO for most rational, law abiding Americans!

    December 15, 2007 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  21. Bob Honea, Daly City, California

    Huckabee is a man who will SAVE the Republican party.

    He holds enough moral high-ground to reap the Religious Right's votes without pandering to there extreme platform.

    He is a man who has set his own house right after years of debilitating excess...see his weight loss history...and knows about the pain that preceeds the glory.

    He is philisophically a moderate. That fits old style Republican ideals and even that Compassionate Conservatism chestnut.

    Huckabee is a political monster ready to sweep up a dissolute and fragmened Republican, and restore it to its better self: Community, Commerce, Conservatism.

    I'm a Democrat Registered voter myself, and both fear and respect Huckabee....If Hillary p.o.'d me during the election, I might cross and vote for this guy....

    So There !

    December 15, 2007 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  22. John, Encino, California

    Huckabee is a dogmatist. This eminently disqualifies him from being President of the United States. This country will NEVER go from an ideologue like George Bush to a demagogue. It just won't happen and the Republican Party better put its thinking cap on if it wants to have a real contender in the next election.

    December 15, 2007 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  23. Mark C, Asheville NC

    As a Democrat I have to say it: please, please, please nominate this clown. The only thing better would be Ron Paul.

    December 15, 2007 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  24. Brad, Wake Forest, NC

    Come on! Howard Dean acted like a fool. Huckabee is nothing like Dean.
    What makes Romney so much more qualified than Huckabee? Wasn't he also just a governor?
    And uninformed voters? What about all the taxes Huckabee cut while leaving Arkansas with a surplus? And as far as the tuition breaks for children of illegal immigrants, have the (informed) voters checked the stipulations for that tuition break. Huckabee is the only stable, non flip-flopping candidate that will uphold and act on what the conservatives stand for. He will fight for our rights, not for his own gain.

    December 15, 2007 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  25. Tom, Iowa

    This is hilarious. With lies and false promises, Republicans hijacked the Evangelicals to get Bush into the White House, and now the Evangelicals are taking over the ship. I say good for them, they should get something out of this mess.

    December 15, 2007 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
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