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. John Wilson, Racine, WI

    Rich Lowry is indeed correct.

    “People FEEL they can TRUST Huck?”

    What people? Where? Doesn’t anyone in this country THINK anymore? Is every decision based upon FEELINGS and BELIEF?

    What informed, intelligent person TRUSTS any politician?

    Rev Huck-A-Buck will NOT eliminate the IRS, although it does sound good. He will bring the intolerant GOD TRAIN in full force into the White House.

    During the next 11 months Americans will inevitably discover that Huck is simply Allen Keyes without the steroids… failing that, my Republican Party is doomed!

    December 15, 2007 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  2. Brian, Frisco, TX

    Replace "Hucakbee" with "Bush" and this article could have been written 8 years ago.

    December 15, 2007 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  3. Dave, Evergreen CO

    The establishment sure doesn’t like to have their authority challenged. You see it in both parties; four years ago they said the same thing about Howard Dean on the Democratic side, this year they are saying it about both Obama and Huckabee. What happens if it’s Huckabee versus Obama in the General? Will people just refuse to vote and our democracy will completely collapse? This is ridiculous rhetoric from a political establishment on both sides of the aisle that is way out of touch with main stream America.

    December 15, 2007 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  4. Jonathan, Florida

    Peter, Sandwich, MA:

    You say you will only vote for Mitt or Rudy in the general? If they don't get in and it is Huckabee on the ticket. Abstaining will simply be a vote for the democrat! Remember – elections are also a contest in some ways. You have to have a President.

    December 15, 2007 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  5. Joelle, Milwaukee, WI

    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…

    Posted By Jose, Orlando, Florida : December 15, 2007 9:12 am

    Me too...

    December 15, 2007 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  6. Mike, Houston Texas

    Romney is basically dishonest–he has no problem in changing his position if it is expedient to his election (e.g., his changes on abortion rights, among others.) Romney goes negative at a drop of a hat, and is another G.W. Bush albeit with more intelligence. Huckabee is refreshingly honest.

    December 15, 2007 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  7. Bill W. Racine, W

    What's wrong with a president who has Christian values and believes. If we look back at many of our now famous presidents we will find most had a relationship with God. 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. America needs to return back to Godly values and honoring Him. A president who has a relationship with the Almighty is an asset not a debit.

    Posted By Al Horta : December 15, 2007 8:57 am

    A RELATIONSHIP with GOD? Now that's scary!

    December 15, 2007 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  8. Jeremy, Lawton OK

    I am not a Huckabee supporter, but could Lowry not write nearly the same critique of Bush in 2000? Afterall, we all know now that Bush was over qualified for president. What a waste of a vote in 2000. Seriously, Lowry do you have any reason and credibility left in your?

    December 15, 2007 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  9. Dale Folsom, Andover, KS

    It seems that our liberal friends are becoming somewhat alarmed that a true conservative, principled leader who dares call himself a Christian, could possibly overcome all the left wing armament that they can muster. Go Mike!

    December 15, 2007 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  10. Francis, Etna, Maine

    Hellloooo – Has anybody else besides me noticed this creep's eyes? This is one crazy-eyed, bible thumpin' mother-_____er !)@*$
    What a sad state of affairs that a bunch of zombies are giving this creature ANY recognition.

    December 15, 2007 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  11. Don Longmont, CO

    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

    I can see why the Republican party courts this evangelical section of the country. You really don't have to address any of the important issues, HEALTH CARE, IMMINGRATION, OR THE ECONOMY. Just pander to their religious beliefs and they will follow you anywhere.

    This great nation can't afford another 4 years not addressing what is impacting the nation. Look at the past 7 years of this type of ?leadership?, know that we can't afford to go down this path again.

    December 15, 2007 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  12. Michael, Los Angeles, California

    Mike Huckabee just did a great Exclusive Interview for millions of potential Catholic votes on

    December 15, 2007 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  13. Justin Dagen, Karlstad, MN

    I believe Mike is very well qualified for Penn. Ave and would make a GREAT national/world leader in addition to being a GREAT family leader; our country is only as strong as the family unit and his proposals are the ones that the country is now realizes will keep us strong in the future. In addition, Mike's faith is the same God-given gift that the founding fathers designed and built this great country with and most of our problems are the result of our failure to live out the faith. I pray for God to strengthen and direct our Pres, regardless of his party. I SUPPORT HUCKABEE 100%

    December 15, 2007 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  14. Dave. San Diego, CA

    "I must either be an anomaly or an idiot in this discussion, probably the latter. I'm a life long Democrat and an atheist for the past 5 years. Yet, I would vote for Huckabee over all but two of the Democrat candidates. My thoughts and beliefs aren't in line with all of his. However, he comes across as the genuine article.

    My frustration runs deep with bought off and rehearsed politicians. America has been over run with lies bought with corporate dollars for so long, that a candidate who is true to himself is what this country needs. We need to get out of the mindset of accepting crooked and paid for politics.

    Posted By Mike, Stevens Point, WI : December 15, 2007 8:02 am "

    Mike I have to disagree with you when you stated: "a candidate who is true to himself is what this country needs". We NEED a candidate who is TRUE to THIS COUNTRY!

    December 15, 2007 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  15. John DeCoste, Cherry Hill, NJ

    Have voted Republican for many years, but would not vote for a Baptist minister for president. Lowrey is correct. There are many Republicans out there, like me, who will only go so far with the christian conservative right. Huckabee or any other 'religious" figure oversteps that boundry. Be careful my GOP.

    December 15, 2007 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  16. David, New York, NY

    I'm a Republican and there's only one candidate that I'm supporting in this election. If Rudy doesn't win the primaries, I'll be supporting a Democrat.

    And, quite frankly, I'm tired of recent US presidents being from either the "Deep South" or California. Let's see...Lyndon Johnson (Texas); Richard Nixon (California); Jimmy Carter (Georgia); Ronald Reagan (California); George H.W.Bush (Texas); Bill Clinton (Arkansas); George W. Bush (Texas). No wonder the world has grown weary of us.

    December 15, 2007 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  17. Chris, Yorktown, Indiana

    Lowry is right – Huckabee is not capable of winning. The only two choices that have a chance are Mitt Romney or Rudy. Can you imagine what the dems will throw at him?
    1) They'll say – "he'll overturn Roe v.Wade". Most Americans support Roe v. Wade
    2) They'll say – "he's a bible thumping, do gooder". Most Americans fear self righteous people.
    Whether these statements are true or not won't matter – because they will resonate with voters who have preconcieved prejudice about fundamentalists. he's a baptist preached for crying out loud.

    December 15, 2007 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  18. Greg, Phoenix, AZ

    Agree 100%.

    The only reason Huckabee has ascended so quickly is that the single-issue Republican voters are having trouble convincing themselves to support Giuliani.

    The problem is that Huckabee will have trouble getting any support beyond the single-issue evangelicals.

    The moderates will no doubt support Giuliani who fits their ideals to a T.

    The independents will not even consider voting for Huckabee because they don't vote along religious lines. Independents are very discerning voters and they will not support a former preacher who doesn't believe in evolution, suggests that AIDS patients be isolated from society, advises women to serve their men, etc. etc. The fact that Huckabee has a very bad taxing record and has no foreign policy experience further impedes his chances with all voting segments.

    Needless to say, Huckabee would get NO support from Democratic voters due to the religious issue.

    Bottom line: The Democrats would KILL to go up against Huckabee in a general election. If the Republicans nominate Huckabee, they are basically guaranteeing a win for the Democrats.

    December 15, 2007 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  19. Jose Card

    "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." –
    Posted By Joseph H, Warner Robins, GA

    Absolutely! Ron Paul's vision for change for the better simply dwarfs Obama's change. Dr. Paul is also from the South, but he thinks for the whole country. No race, gender or religion card for Ron Paul! He has lots of brilliant common sense. Corporations will not even try to buy him. He will make the best president in decades.

    December 15, 2007 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  20. Ryan, New York, NY

    You see, Democrats are driven by animalistic emotion, while Republicans think through things rationally. Therein lies the difference.
    Posted By Jeff Jones : December 14, by 2007 8:42 pm

    This was the laugh that I needed first thing today. Rational, Republicans, are you joking, intoxicated, just stupid? Which party contains the faction of the US that still refuses to accept reality and supports Bush? Which party contains that big percentage of society that's trying to remove evolution in favor of creationism?

    I'm sure you can find some issues where a percentage of Democrats acted irrationally, too. That's not the point that I'm making. I just can't believe how some people are so blinded by hate for the other party that they're unable to look in the mirror and find the same flaws that they're complaining about possessed by a majority of their own party.

    December 15, 2007 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  21. Jose Card

    Anti-Huckabee doesn't me for Romney.

    We have to stop thinking the world is just black and white.

    I will trust our Oval office to either McCain or Ron Paul.

    December 15, 2007 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  22. Jim Long, Fullerton, CA

    Why is Lowry so concerned if he did not have a problem with George Bush? What about Dick Cheney? As CEO of Halliburtom, Cheney acquired Dresser Industries – even though Dresser had a well-known asbestos (liability) problem. That cost my fellow Halliburton shareholders over 3 billion (US$)in lost share values. The republicans have a history of nominating incompetants. Why stop now?

    December 15, 2007 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  23. Josh, Cleveland

    Is it just me or does CNN have it out for Huckabee? Recently, they have a video link to Glenn Beck, a mormon, trashing Huckabee on his NYTimes interview. By the way, ask a Mormon if they have never heard that in their secret temples.
    This story authored by Lowry has resurfaced to the top of the ticker even though it is an older story/development. Wow, guys, you must be peeing your pants right now. You see how good he is and are scared to death with your left-wing agenda.

    December 15, 2007 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  24. Repub Bub - Florida

    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!

    Posted By Bill Maloni, Chevy Chase, Maryland : December 14, 2007 11:06 pm


    December 15, 2007 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  25. Joe...Woburn, MA

    Pretty sad that a conservative newspaper would have the gaul to openly criticize a candidate as under-vetted after it endorsed another candidate. Maybe this will open the can of warms that is known as Mitt Romney's record. Huckabee is a good man with good convictions and his record has shown that he has the capability to be a centrist leader which is what we need.

    Oh and wasn't there an undervetted Governor that the conservatives hailed in 2000?(Think "W")

    December 15, 2007 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
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