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. Jim, Bethlehem, Pa

    Wow, the rich man Romney is bringing out the big guns. Romney is a coward..
    He's outspent Huckabee about 100 to 1 and he still has to resort to slash and burn campaigning.Sad. Romney is the one that will get crushed by the Dems because he is so phoney. He has no core values or beliefs.

    December 15, 2007 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  2. Karen Houston TX

    7:45 – Do have anything to show that demonstrates Huckabee is a religious bigot or are repeating party lines without any thinking?

    Posted By Tom – D.C. : December 14, 2007 9:15 pm
    Let's see. . . How about Huckabee's recent comment about the Mormon relegion and subsequent apology.

    Did you know that Mike Huckabee was the Key Note Speaker at an Anti-Mormon Rally held in SLC in '98? But suddenly he has a memory lapse and doesn't know much about the Mormon faith! Convenience or lie?

    Don't you think that a person who would go to the trouble of not only participating, but being the MAIN SPEAKER in a rally meant to hurt and slander millions of people is a hateful and bigoted thing to do?

    So Mike Huckabee is not only a BIGOT, he is also a LiAR. DO YOU CARE?

    Are you aware that Huckabee's degree in Theology is now under question? It seems that he is not very forthright.

    Huckabee supporters will overlook any and every indiscression which tells me that they are about as smart as he is, which isn't saying too much!

    December 15, 2007 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  3. Carol, Pittsburgh, PA

    Look what happened the last time our Electorate chose someone they would "most like to have a beer with!!" Puh-leeze! Wake up, America. You got what you deserved! Let's be smarter and better informed this time. Our credibility as a Nation, our planet and our very existence depend on it!!!

    December 15, 2007 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  4. Ronny

    Ron Paul is the only Republican that can easily defeat the dems and the only republican or democrat that is telling the truth!

    December 15, 2007 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  5. Jenny, paxton MA

    huckabee is too good for GOP and its sheeple. he should start a third or fourth party if ron paul goes for a third party. or a fifth if kucinicci and gravel have started one. lowry style of power grabbing for self-serving purposes should be defeated this time!

    December 15, 2007 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  6. Christian, Fort Mill, SC

    I love the diverging and contradictory statements continually made by the anti-Huckabee crowd.
    First he's too Christian, but then when refering to Romney "religion shouldn't be a litmus test".
    Next he's too conservative, but then people (mistakenly) lambast his record as being "tax and spend liberal".
    Then he has no experience, yet he has more executive experience than any other candidate running. He's probably been to more countries and brokered more trade deals than any other GOP candidate.
    I'm also noticing around my neck of the woods that he is really appealing to all the old "reagan democrats" who don't want to vote for a Hillary or Obama, but couldn't bring themselves to vote for any of the establishment GOP candidates either.
    Huckabee is the ONLY GOP candidate that can win and I wish people would realize this and get on board before the infighting tears us apart.
    Go Mike Go!!!

    December 15, 2007 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  7. Clearminded

    The Dem's want to push Huckabee to the forefront in their media outlets becuase they know he doesn't have a chance against Billary (or possibly Obama). A Giuliani or Romney GOP nominee would be much more problematic for the Dem's. It's calculated, and not too difficult for the discerning to smell it from afar.

    December 15, 2007 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  8. mark stevens missoula montana

    Mr Lowry, So you mean like the manifestly unprepared former governor we have had to put up with for the last seven years?

    December 15, 2007 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  9. TIM, Boston, MA

    The so-called christians condemn Huckabee for having done what Jesus would have. Go figure. These GOP christians prove time and again that they have no integrity. GO START A THIRD PARTY, HUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!

    December 15, 2007 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  10. Dr. Green, Birmingham, Alabama

    The man has run a marathon and managed to loose a lot of weight. He is an example of what we should be doing. He obviously knows what is at issue in this election: Health care and responsibility for our own quality of life. That's why he is so popular – not because of his religious background.

    December 15, 2007 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  11. Walt, Belton, TX

    Never heard of Rich Lowery. Is he somebody who considers himself important?

    December 15, 2007 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  12. josh, akron, oh

    one more time..Yes American voters, vote against your best interest! "Aww shucks the Earth is only 6,000 years old! Aww shucks what's the NIE! Aww shucks let me pardon 769 rapists and murders (look at his record) Awww shucks my son tortured and stoned a dog to death when he was a camp counselor! (look it up) Awww shucks but I DID Stay at a Holiday Inn!)


    December 15, 2007 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  13. Imran, Lawrence, USA

    I watched one evening as the CBS evening news lady asked the same question to many of the candidates and most of them like mindless, brainless, and castrated individuals named Iran as a nation that concerns them.

    The problem with right wing nut jobs like Lowry is that they fear someone ethical and morally upright will not go along with their motto: "let's invade other nations and kill and maim people for pleasure and economic greed"

    Mike Huckabee seems to be getting the message over that he has the right credentials for the job.

    Heck if Bill Clinton can come along from Arkansas and win why not Huckabee?

    December 15, 2007 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  14. John A. Moody, Esquire Maryland

    That editorial is off base. As an attorney, it is crystal clear to me that this is an attack. You do not back up your statements- they are mere pronouncements that lead one to your favored position. That is, "my man is getting beat in Iowa by Huckabee so don't like Huckabee". You then speak of a conservative surge. How do you know why the polees of Iowa are going toward Huckabee? PS I am voting for JM who should have won in 2000

    December 15, 2007 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  15. roger, conway sc

    This nation does not need or will it survive being lead by the social conservative wing of the GOP... some of the conservatives are fanatics about religion and it is apart of every decision made...most of them do not care about the values of the individual as long as they spit out their right wing conservative message..

    December 15, 2007 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  16. James H. Sachse

    If Huckabee was such a great Govenor and a man of his word,and campaign promises, how come we still have the disgraceful food tax in Arkansas. That was the main reason a lot of folks voted for him. How he got in the second time shows the mentality of the ultra conservatives voters.

    December 15, 2007 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  17. josh, akron, oh

    Jeff Jones, you might want to change your "Democrats are evil" setting, to "Improved Reading Comprehension" setting...Lowry is not a democrat.

    And yes, if it will get America out of the hole it's digging itself for the past 7 years, we need an Elitist (read: SMART) Republican or Democrat to get us out of this mess.

    December 15, 2007 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  18. Lorie, Durham, NC

    Randall Huggins, Kinston North Carolina : December 15, 2007 8:27 am

    The problem with your statement is that the only person out there who is trying to make his campaign into a religious crusade is Huckabee. Not surprising since his training has been as a minister. Do you expect anything different? Only recently did he drop the "Christian Leader" moniker – very timely since now he believes he has the evangelicals locked down and doesn't need to wear his religion on his sleeve as much. If that's not flip flopping I don't know what is.

    December 15, 2007 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  19. Kent Ratajeski, Lexington, KY

    Lowry describes Huckabee as a "Baptist pastor running on his religiosity". This seems overblown to me. From what I've seen of him on C-SPAN, this candidate hasn't made his faith the central issue that the media are making it out to be. Its the media who are running this candidate on his religiosity, not Huckabee himself. Let religious people run on the strength of their ideas, not on the basis of stereotypes that make eye-catching headlines on Just because the guy is an ordained minister doesn't disqualify him from being considered for public office, and I think the American people are smart enough to realize that in a general election.

    December 15, 2007 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  20. Melanie, MD

    Mike Huckabee's head of the Health Department argued that women could not get pregnant if they were raped, because they were not "receptive." Huck agreed. Please nominate Huckabee, 'cause when all of this nonsense is exposed, the Democrats will win in a landslide!

    December 15, 2007 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  21. Henry, VA

    To know Obama is to love Obama. GET FIRED UP, GET READY TO GO!

    December 15, 2007 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  22. Molly

    PLEAAASE nominate Huckabee. He's the most fitting candidate the Republican party has offered up in decades. He, more than any candidate I've seen, represents the values and viewpoints the Republican party espouses. Why claim to have these values if, when push comes to shove, they are abandoned in favor of a more "electable" candidate. After all, isn't it hypocritical to claim to have values, but be unwilling to support them in the general election?!

    December 15, 2007 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  23. Former Rightie, Pittsburgh

    Every decent Republican has abandoned the ship. Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld/Rove are to blame. The mess the Republican administration and former congress left is deplorable. Because of this, the candidates are all flawed. Nobody in their right mind wants the job cleaning up one of the most blundering administrations in history. Every Republican candidate comes across as just continuing the poor decisions or inactions of the last 7 years.

    December 15, 2007 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  24. Ray, Rochester

    I am a Republican and I will leave the party and become an Independent if they nominate this clown.

    I doubt he will maintain his momentum once Republicans take a look at his record and listen to his idiotic comments.

    Those of you who are Democrat or Independent please know that many Republicans like myself think Huckabee is a moron and would never vote for him.

    The one good thing about Huckabee's rise is that it takes some of the steam out of the Ron Paul campaign. We aren't hearing/reading much from the moRON PAULtards.

    December 15, 2007 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  25. Eric S., Tucson, AZ

    This is 100% correct, and it perfectly decribes the biggest problem with our presidential electoral process. Primary elections are dominated by the hardcore/extreme elements of both parties, and the way to win either nomination is to appeal to those voters. For this to change, more Americans need to vote in primaries.

    December 15, 2007 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11