May 12th, 2009
03:36 PM ET
12 years ago

Huckabee slams Republican leaders' 'listening tour'

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Huckabee isn't a fan of the GOP's new 'listening tour.'"](CNN) - Former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee is continuing to deride his party's leaders in Washington, saying Monday he has trouble keeping a straight face over the GOP's newly-launched "listening tour."

"It's hard to keep from laughing out loud when people living in the bubble of the Beltway suddenly wake up one day and think they ought to have a listening tour; even funnier when their first earful expedition takes them all the way to the suburbs of Washington, D.C.," the former Arkansas governor wrote in a column on Fox News' Web site.

Earlier this month, Rep. Eric Cantor, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney kicked off a campaign by party leaders to reshape the GOP's image, gathering at a restaurant in northern Virginia for the first of a series of town hall meetings.

The goal of the initiative, the National Council for a New America, is to connect Republican leaders with voters across the country to help get the party's electoral fortunes back on track.

"If some of these leaders had been listening already, they wouldn't need to form a group to start listening now," wrote Huckabee. "Some of the ones who have decided to start listening sure weren't listening last fall when they were supporting the TARP bailout bill that pretty much discredited any semblance of conservative conviction."

Huckabee echoed a similar sentiment last week, telling a California newspaper the GOP was at risk of becoming "irrelevant as the Whigs" if it moderated its policies.

Filed under: Mike Huckabee
soundoff (302 Responses)
  1. Candy West Virgina

    Two things: republicans are NOT fiscally conservative and anyone who believes that needs their head examined. They gave GWB a blank check for rebuilding Iraq and bailing out the banks for crying out loud but wanna be fiscally convservative when it comes to rebuilding America and the middle class???? Second – from their actions alone republicans only care about you if you are rich. They are NOT pro life because they love war, the death penalty and hunting. And they are NOT small government either when they want to tell you who you should and should not marry and what to do with your bodies.

    May 12, 2009 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  2. just saying

    I agree with the 'Huckster' on this particular issue. Where in the hell was the Republican outrage when the TARP bill was being passed during W's watch? They ignored the possible consequences when Bush was in office (and the bill passed) but now they're deriding 'everything' President Obama is trying to accomplish to fix this fiasco of a mess. The party of 'NO' is going 'NOWHERE' if they continue down the road of denial and unaccountability. Mike may never be President in his lifetime, but he IS making sense this time. Go figure!

    May 12, 2009 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  3. hjs3

    A Party divided indeed.....

    Sorry, bit this is kinda fun to watch after eight years of Giilligan's Island....

    May 12, 2009 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  4. Doug-ABQ

    He's right on target. It's too bad that the rest of his party aren't as truthful with themselves.

    May 12, 2009 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  5. Stonewall, Florida

    Hukabee is one of the few voices within the Republican party that presents himself as a balanced politician. There is no hate spewing from his mouth, but constructive, well thought out remarks. Isn't it funny that the party that claims to support moral issues refused to elect the one person in that party who symbolizes those virtues? Christians are allowing themselves to be used by politicians and preachers who use the abortion and homosexual issues as paltforms on which to run. Politicians are only interested in getting to Washington, and as Malcom X said, they will so so "by any means necessary."

    Remember that Jesus was equally passionate about the poor and hungry, the tired, the downtrodden, the stranger, the widowed, the fatherless etc. etc. NOT only about abortion and gay rights.

    May 12, 2009 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  6. Jim - Kingston, Pa

    It warms my heart to see the Republican Party fall apart....their incompetent, prohibitive platform has been long overlooked.

    May 12, 2009 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  7. Sam Ellison

    He would be making a lot of sense if he weren't advocting an even sharper turn to the right. Moderation of both parties is what is needed, it's written on the wall with an ever increasing Independent voting bloc. If Republicans continue running for the extremes, as Huckabee is advocating, the Republicans will become LESS relevant than the whigs. It's not about listening, it's about comprehension.

    May 12, 2009 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  8. jim

    He's just mad he wasn't invited. After all, he's big time. He's got a show on Fox News.

    May 12, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  9. Frozone

    Moderate Republicans are the key to the GOP's ressurection. As long as the fringe extremists like Huckabee keep running moderates out of the party, the GOP will remain irrelevant.

    May 12, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  10. Old white lady in Birmingham, AL

    The listening tour was pretty funny. They went to the suburbs of DC to a predominantly Republican district and spoke to a crowd of screened supporters. Talk about preaching to the choir. Huckabee is wrong about one thing, I think the GOP will become irrelevant as the Whigs if the don't break with the extremist and moderate their policies.

    May 12, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    Let the inn fighting begins

    May 12, 2009 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  12. nick

    It was rare indeed that two men could rise to become Governor of their state and both be from a very small town named HOPE. One rose to become President, as he gave people hope. The other, failed in his attempt to become President because he gave people his version of hope through the Bible. Wearing your religion on your sleeve is a turn off . The irony of this tale of two men, is that the one who became President is more religious than the one who failed The moral of this tale is, keep your religion to yourself and out of your politics.

    Oh yea, both also play musical instruments.

    May 12, 2009 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  13. John Boston

    Sounds like Huckabee wasn't invited...

    May 12, 2009 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  14. rich

    But Mike, are you saying that they should "stop listening" or continue? it is "Too little too late?" or is it "better late than never?" Your rant seems to have no constructive value.

    May 12, 2009 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  15. GOP = 21st century dodo

    Huh? This is a guy who talks to ghosts described in ancient literature. Don't mind him.

    May 12, 2009 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  16. Chris ~ Albany, NY

    Yeah...good luck with your tour....hope you guys have good ears cuz I don't know anyone under 30 that's willing to say that their a republican!

    May 12, 2009 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  17. SPJ

    This group, Rep. Eric Cantor, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, with the exception of Romney (I'm really not sure about him) are not conservative. They are a moderate group, supporting the bailout; and if not supporting it, certainly not speaking out; I think Romney may have spoke out but if he did he didn’t speak loud enough or often enough. Leaders should be able to persuade; he didn’t. It seems the groups focus is more on changing our minds than changing theirs. I know the "boys" do not like Sarah Palin (I am not necessarily saying SP could or should be Pres) but at least she means what she says and says what she means; we hear her loud and clear when she is allowed to talk. She is not afraid of criticism; she is one of the few conservative voices in the Republican party right now and it seems the Repubs are closing rank where she is concerned. And I hear nothing from the Repubs in Washington. When I heard a Repub state after the correspondence
    dinner that Meghan McCain is the up and coming new star of the Repub party, that pretty much told me the conservative is no longer represented in Washington. Ms McC believes in same sex marriage; belittles anyone who doesn't agree with her-she is a Dem in my book.

    May 12, 2009 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  18. J.L. Leffler

    Moderating is not the Republican Parties problem. It is tolerance. If they can only learn to tolerate moderates rather than drive them out they will again be a successful political option. Personally I don't see it happening.

    May 12, 2009 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  19. Jerry

    Right on! You don't need a tour to understand how angry and frustrated people are with a gutless bunch of wimps with no principles. Reagan swamped the Dems because he had core beliefs, stood up for them, and communicated them.
    As Rush said today...Colon Powell wants "moderates;" we had that with McCain. So who did Powell vote for? A Democrat. Guess that says it all.

    May 12, 2009 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  20. RedneckBob

    Dear "Conservatives",

    Please vote out all Bush era politicians and shut down the media outlets that supported the Bush Administration. This is your only hope.



    May 12, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  21. disgusted

    This is the guy who would like to change the constitution to be in line with the Bible. Apparently, he only listens to the base.

    May 12, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  22. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Nothing new, just another Republican wind bag but this one previously called himself "Pastor".

    May 12, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  23. Edward T

    Mike Huckabee is right. No one should listen to the small people of America when it's the corporations that run the country under the GOP rule. We need to get back to a blind capitalization of America because the trickle down theory is all about making the small guys all wet. We can't let Joe the plumber have a voice because he will only start a sitcom with obscure leaders from a cold and faraway land.

    May 12, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  24. marquis

    Huckabee is talking sense but too little too late and he will probably be called a Democrat (heavens forbid) and asked to leave the party. The Republicans need to split into two parties. A social moderate and fiscal conservative party. and "the Rush Limbaugh" party of ultra social conservative and fiscally stupid.

    May 12, 2009 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  25. Eric

    The GOP is screwed...either way it goes! If it moderates, then it will lose its base of Conservative supporters such as Huckabee and Limbaugh. If it placates to the Conservatives, it will lose the moderates. The GOP really has a problem. If they want to win national elections, or even have a prayer at beating Obama, they have to have BOTH the moderates and the Conservatives. Neither side will give in, and the GOP will cease to become a national party...shrinking back to a Southern regional party.

    May 12, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
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