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

Huckabee slams Republican leaders' 'listening tour'

Huckabee isn't a fan of the GOP's new 'listening tour.'

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. Jeff

    I'm not a big fan of Huckabee on social issues, but he's certainly right that the majority of Republicans have acted nothing like Republicans in the last decade when it came to be fiscally responsible.

    May 12, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  2. Richard L

    Mike must have missed the memo from the head of the Republican Party. Limbaugh told them not to listen but to teach.

    May 12, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  3. Don

    Yes, Mike. Because continuing to spend all your time in the echo chamber of Fox News is really helping you understand what Americans really want. Not just the "real Americans" who weren't enough to win any elections last cycle and are only getting smaller. Your continued forray further right is what is going to make you as "irrelevant as the Whigs".

    May 12, 2009 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  4. CS from VA

    "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."

    Namely, a pizza joint at 10AM – might have gotten a bigger crowd if they went to an IHOP instead....

    May 12, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  5. joel palmer

    It's very hard to say who is more pathetic: a trio consisting of a Virginia Jew; a Michigan Mormon and a Florida Episcopalian or an Arkansas Baptist Preacher turned pol ALL trying to herd cats.

    The republipig party is a joke, plain and simple; For thirty years it has been based on a simple premise: cut taxes for the rich and hang the deficits (borrow the money). Jack Kemp will rot in hell for selling that idea to Reagan.
    Now the chickens have come home to roost and the gop is bereft of a single idea (other than "NO").

    In 2010; they will lose four more Senate seats becuae 8 of 10 American voters have wised up to their BS. In 2012; they will pull no more than 43 % of the popular vote and witll ALL be southern and rural; no matter who runs. (Gee I hope it's Palin)

    May 12, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  6. Ticker Shock

    Eric Cantor hides from his constituents and sends out the same form letter replies no matter what the subject. He's not listening to anyone. Cantor needs to be canned.

    May 12, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  7. Pat Smith

    You guys are getting so pure most of us just can come into your very small tent. So keep on keeping on...if you know it all and don't need to listen or grow as a party then keep your ranks closed to all but those who like the old Nazi SS were pure Arayan blood and loyal to one thought. Group think may make you strong for the short run for the long run past 2012 it puts you gravely out of touch with America.

    May 12, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  8. Mark D

    Huckabee is right, of course. The GOP would have much higher favorable ratings if it had taken a strong stand against TARP and other bailouts. Of course, Huckabee never stops to think that maybe, just MAYBE, the bailouts and TARP were the best thing to do for the country...he's more interested in polling numbers! The result of the bailouts will never be readily apparent; we'll never know what would have happened if we didn't approve them, that is, but when ever Democrats and Republicans actually agree on something, I think that's a sign its pretty darn important.

    May 12, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |

    Oxymoron of the decade: GOP Listening Tour.
    In case you haven't heard yet, for the rethuglicant's it's their way or the highway.
    That is to say they will listen to what you have to say but don't confuse them with the facts because they have already made up their minds.
    Not only do the Huckster's comments remind me of a circular firing squad it's starting to look more like the "Donner Party" every day...

    May 12, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  10. Ghost

    Great comments, but he should have kept it about his gang and not a shot at the TARP.

    This makes me wonder when these folks get up here and say thing like teh American people don't want the TARP. Well, I guess he isn't listening either. More people are for it rather than against it. And I think the number will change proportional to whether or not it works.

    For the record, this is not the liberal media hyping this up, although (and I don't think CNN is liberal at all) CNN has had more headlines that have used the words slam, blasting and the like. That can be chalked up to just selling papers, as it were.

    lastly, someone made a good point on the Steele article about how folks were saying the Obama and Clinton were destroying the party being like the republicans now. I think there is truth to that. I don't think the infighting is hurting them as much as their preceived inability to perform their jobs in light of their desire to keep their jobs.

    May 12, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  11. Scott

    Wow, these guys can't even listen without argueing about listening. It's really funny watching these morons go at it with each other trying to figure out what's wrong with the GOP. Any average citizen could tell you what's wrong...the GOP itself is the problem. The GOP is like a alcoholic that thinks everyone else has a problem, not themselves. It's going to take a lot of time and a 12 step program to rehab the party back to health. Remeber, the first step is to admit you have a problem.

    May 12, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  12. KJ

    Republicans are flundering, trying desperatly to find their footing and be taken seriously as a political party again.

    I find all this in-fighting amusing.... 🙂

    May 12, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  13. Lisa

    Uh Oh..Another one bites the dust. Huckabee is about to be drummed out of the Republican party by Rush and Dick!

    May 12, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  14. mike

    Unfortunately, Huckabee is not a responsible republican. Anyone that uses the tarp bill to his political advantage care only about one thing=themselves. That bill was ugly, but it was necessary, the Fox talk show host should know that!

    May 12, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  15. Edward

    It is a MYTH that the Republicans have kept us safe. Who was President on 911? Who had the majority in congress on 911? Of course Republicans will just pass the blame to Clinton but last time I checked he actually did keep us safe and no Al Qaeda based terrorist attacks occurred on American soil during his tenure in office. Regardless of this fact they will still blame Clinton for something that happened on THEIR watch. Whatever happened to personal responsibility?

    May 12, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  16. DJS

    It's even harder to keep from laughing at the fact that a theocratic snake oil salesman like the Huckster is calling out his vapid compatriots. Pot, meet kettle.

    Go ahead and stick to your fundaMENTAList "values," Huckster. No need for the party of Rush to moderate. Good luck winning elections with 23% of the vote.

    General Powell, you and the rest of the patriotic Republicans are welcome in the Democratic Party, or amongst the ranks of the independents if you prefer. Clearly, though, there is no room for the rational and reasonable within the confines of the GnOP.

    May 12, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  17. Mark

    A listening tour? Huckabee is right in regards to "not listening last fall". The problem with that is that the republican leadership, Rush, doesn't even want anyone in his party that doesn't agree with everything he believes in. If this continues, there will be nothing left that even reaembles the republican party. Rush wants only one kind of person and that is only those who agree with him, much like Adolph did many years ago. The time in ripe for a 3rd major party.

    May 12, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  18. Pragmatic

    Pastor Huck slams GOP for listening? When the GOP has" purged" (a word from the Stalin era) and is "purified"... they will be able to hold the national conventions in the banquet hall of the Holiday Inn in Podunk.

    Most Americans are moderately left or right. No one has ever been able tp document how or when "conservative principles" have worked well for American – as a whole – not just the far, far right,the evangelicals, and the rich corporations.

    May 12, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  19. Geoffrey Pahl

    Very disappointing, Huckabee. You're dooming your party to extinction.

    May 12, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  20. Ron

    Whatever– Huckelberry don't get it, McCain can't remember if he was told it, Mitt the Magic Underware Romney thinks he already knows it, Mrs. Todd Palin will never figure it out, Rush the drug addict has no functioning brain cells........... when will the GOP just go away and leave the worlk a better place for them not being here?

    May 12, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  21. Niki

    This guy again? *sigh* The infighting that goes on these days in the GOP isn't helping in the slightest. Its a good thing when different people within the same party have differing opinion...but knocking the efforts of some Republican leaders to revive their party doesn't seem to be contributing much to the end goal of that party. Mr. Huckabee is doing it all for......Mr. Huckabee. He may not say it but he's set on running in 2012 and he has to mobilize his base to get through the primaries....nothing but politics and power-plays as usual....*yawn*

    May 12, 2009 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  22. No Incumbents 2010

    Cantor's "listening tour" is nothing less than a desperate attempt to draw attention to himself amid his lack of ideas to solve the country's serious problems.

    May 12, 2009 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  23. dina levine

    That's too bad about Huckabee. I used to like him. I think his own ambitions are getting to him.

    May 12, 2009 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  24. Jake

    wow! this guy makes me sick to my stomach, but this is the most intelligent thing he has said! even conservative Republican Mike Huckabee laughs at the Republicans!

    May 12, 2009 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  25. Julie

    More fighting within the ranks. Does Huckabee plan to run in 2012 on the Republican ticket? He appears to be distancing himself a great deal from the party, which I suppose is politically correct these days. I agree with him that the party should have been listening a whole lot sooner, but isn't it good that they are at least making an effort to do so now, however feeble their attempt may be. The tea parties also should have come eight plus years ago, but like the art of listening, efforts to stop more government spending is appropriate anytime.

    May 12, 2009 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
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