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Monthly Archives: December 2007

Mike Huckabee’s opponents have completely given up trying to beat him with ideas, accomplishments, and resumes.  Now they’re resorting to distortions and lies – in particular, Mitt Romney has been caught with his fingers crossed on numerous occasions, especially by Newsweek.

Mike Huckabee

Don’t drink the poison, folks.  Mike Huckabee took office in Arkansas when the previous governor resigned due to scandal, but he was re-elected twice.  He balanced the budget every year he was in office, and he reduced taxes far more often than he raised them.  When Huckabee left office the state had a surplsu of over $800 million, which Huck wanted to return to the people via tax cuts.  It’s unfortunate that term limits forced him from office before he could accomplish that tax cut – which he undoubtedly would have done, despite the majority-Democrat legislature he had to deal with for ten and a half years as governor.

Huckabee is a strong social conservative who governed with the attitude that a governor must do more than posture and make speeches; he has to govern.  That’s the attitude made him one of the five best governors in America (Time Magazine, 2005), and it’ll make him a great president, too.

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Sometimes a candidate can, in an instant, make a mistake that seals his fate.  Who will ever forget Dan Quayle freezing like a deer in the headlights while debating Lloyd Bentsen in 1988, or Howard Dean’s primal scream back in ’03?  Other times a candidate can ruin his career with great care and planning.  Mitt Romney falls into the latter category.  Let me explain to you exactly what I mean.

Mitt Romney is tall, slim, tan, and good looking.  He comes from a wealthy and successful family; he has one of the great names in modern American politics, and he has an enormous person fortune.  Romney also has a beautiful wife and five handsome, clean-cut sons.  Despite all this Romney isn’t perfect – he doesn’t have an ear for good rhetoric or the ability to speak extemporaneously, and his public persona is somewhat wooden and awkward.

Mitt Romney speaks

So when a man like Romney decides that he wants to be President of the United States of America, what does he do?

He makes a plan.  He works the plan.  He runs for US Senate, and when that doesn’t work out he lowers his sights to a prestigious governorship.  He makes sure that his conduct and his record appear to be exemplary, and he continues to plan.  As his plan comes closer to zero hour, he begins to conduct private polls and focus groups.  He convenes planning sessions with highly paid political consultants.  These consultants plan his wardrobe, they create his literature, they decide what his positions should be on the issues, how he should answer questions, and what questions he should avoid answering.  He hires consultants who use data from psychological studies to determine what font is most flattering to the letters in his name, and what color and size his response cards should be.  He meets with pollsters who tell him what issues people like to hear him talk about, what words or phrases he should speak more often and what words he should banish from his vocabulary.

Eventually the candidate’s schedule and behavior, in fact his very personality become so planned, so set in stone, so inflexible, that the campaign becomes like a car sliding on ice; the road curves and the car goes straight.  The car’s momentum – its inertia – now has a very negative effect on it.  And even if the driver of that car (that campaign) regains control, by the time they get going the right direction again it’s too late to catch up to the competition.

Mitt Romney has planned his presidential run for years, and in some ways he has done very well at it.  His campaign is impressive in its size and organization, and in its implementation of carefully planned strategies.  But in other ways it hasn’t worked out so well.  Romney has lived his life as a candidate for years, and sometimes it seems he isn’t sure who he is or what he believes anymore.

More than one potential voter has come away from a Romney event thinking that he had spoken past them or at them, instead of to them or with them.  Maybe the reason is that when Romney speaks, it isn’t from the heart; he’s trying to remember what Jimmy told him to say if he was ever asked this particular question, or he’s trying to get Jimmy’s answer to fit a question he wasn’t prepared for.

Ed Rollins, the campaign manager for Mike Huckabee, has said that the job of a governor is to be a good governor, but that Mitt Romney seems to have spent his term as governor in Massachusetts running for president.  Romney has made a huge gamble.  He has spent nearly $20 million from his own fortune to finance his bid for the White House, he has committed years of his life to accomplish his great goal, and despite all his expenditures, all his efforts, his consultants, his assistants, his planning, and his years of working the plan, it’s looking less and less like he can win. 

Fred Thompson won’t win. His base is relatively small, though it is experienced and committed.  He can’t win, so when he drops out, the cultural conservatives who have been his base will flock to Huckabee – the only other candidate with equally polished conservative credentials.

Romney won’t win. It’s becoming more clear with greater familiarity that his greatest assets are his hair, his teeth, and his checking account.  All Mitt’s money hasn’t been enough to buy him love from the Republican rank and file.  His supporters are split between rich, Wall Street Republicans and cultural conservatives.  When it becomes clear that Romney can’t win, the cultural conservatives will support Huckabee, while the Wall Street fat cats will have no one else to support, so they’ll go down with the ship of Mitt.

Giuliani can’t win. He doesn’t have the necessary momentum or support in the important early states.  His personal life has been a drag on his campaign from day one, and now his health is in play.  When he drops out, the liberal Giuliani supporters who have heard that Huckabee is a liberal will switch their support to Huckabee.  (O, wicked and bitter irony!)

As you can see, it really comes down to McCain -vs- Huckabee. McCain has charisma and is a good, decent man with a stacked resume, but his day has passed. If elected to two terms, he’d be in his 80s before the end of his administration, and Americans won’t go for that. Not from a guy in his physical condition, with all the mental and emotional baggage that people assume (rightly or wrongly) that he carries from his time at the Hanoi Hilton.

That leaves one man standing: Huckabee.  And that brings up a question I’ve asked before: if and when he becomes the Republican nominee for President of the United States in 2008, will he be able to count on the support of the elites of the Republican party?

The Republican presidential candidate Congressman Dr. Ron Paul was on Meet the Press (NBC) on Sunday, December 23 where he refused to rule out an independent or 3rd-party run for president.

It has been noted here at Righty Loosey that Ron Paul has a vast fortune in political contributions that he is sitting on, refusing to spend anything in competition against other Republicans.  Tim Russert pressed Paul to rule out a non-Republican run for president and Paul declined to do so, insisting that he deserves “one wiggle now and then.”

In the same appearance the alleged Republican from Texas also decried the Civil War as unnecessary, saying that the federal government should have bought the slaves and released them, failing to recognize that such a policy would have been opposed both at the federal level and at the local level, and that only a change in the Constitution could have forced private parties to comply with such a program.  Congressman Paul also failed to address the rights of the slaves, and the fact that they would have continued to live and die in bondage while politicians argued the finer points of the Ron Paul Doctrine.  That doesn’t sound very libertarian to me.

Ron Paul looks more and more like a flake every time I check him out.  But don’t take my word for it – you have a computer, do the research yourself!

The Dallas Morning News today recommended Mike Huckabee for the Republican nomination for president in 2008.

In an editorial that acknowledged the shortcomings of the Republican field in general, the DMN editorial board offered its endorsement to Mike Huckabee, describing him as decent, principled and empathetic…”an antidote ot the power-mad partisanship that has led U.S. politics to a dispiriting standstill.”

The editorial ends with this statement: “America needs a clean break from the bitter politics of the recent past.  From the right, Mike Huckabee, a progressive conservative with a pastor’s heart, can deliver.”

A statement from the candidate acknowledged the endorsement as “great news.”

Mike Huckabee, photo courtesy of Stateline.org

If the fundraising numbers reported at www.ronpaulgraphs.com can be believed *, the Ron Paul presidential campaign has raised over $18 million in the 4th quarter of 2007.  But if the numbers being reported at www.politico.com can be believed **, the campaign isn’t spending that money trying to win the Republican nomination for president in 2008.  The campaign isn’t even spending money on commercials in New Hampshire, the small state with an independent streak and an affinity for political mavericks, the very place that most people believe is his best chance for a respectable showing.

The most logical explanation for the Paul campaign’s failure to even attempt to compete in the Republican caucuses and primaries is that he’s saving his money for later.  If Paul switches parties later and runs as a Libertarian or other small-party candidate, or even as an independent, that money will come in very handy.

That’s why I believe that it’s inevitable, Ron Paul will leave the Republican Party and run as an independent or as a 3rd-party candidate.

Doctor Ron Paul, a Republican running for his party’s nomination for the presidency of the United States in 2008, is a thoughtless, intemperate loudmouth.  Asked about Mike Huckabee’s recent commercial featuring a Christmas tree and a notorious bookshelf (which inexplicably included intersecting horizontal and vertical lines), Paul couldn’t resist reciting a quote about fascism and religion that is often incorrectly attributed to Sinclair Lewis: “When fascism comes to this country, it will be wrapped in the flag, carrying a Bible.”  The statement speaks for itself and requires no further commentary from me.

The thing that really grabbed my attention, with regard to this story, is the response of Doctor Paul’s staff and supporters.

The candidate himself has refused to apologize for his obnoxious remark, and his campaign staff have followed his lead.  His supporters, a nutty bunch in the best of times, seem thrilled at the opportunity to attack Huckabee, whose success drives them absolutely buggy.

That’s another interesting aspect of this campaign season, by the way.  Ron Paul’s campaign has received over $18,000,000 in donations in the 4th quarter of 2007, yet he has barely cracked 5% support among Republicans.  Huckabee, by contrast, has raised less than $5,000,000 in the 4th quarter, and yet his support has been hovering just over 20%.  Raise this subject with a Ron Paul supporter and watch the sparks fly – they come unhinged.  Polling in the US is a racket!  The professional pollsters are conspiring to hold Ron Paul back!  You can’t trust those numbers – they’re being cooked.  All joking aside, it’s very interesting to me that Paul supporters believe the unscientific, user-driven polls that they can pack, but they think the scientific polls that they can’t influence are crooked.

The purpose of this article is to sort out, as much as can be sorted at this point, which Republican candidates for president need wins in which states.  The opinions expressed here are based on circumstances as they exist on December 18, as well as on my own prejudices and preconceptions about each candidate.  I hope you enjoy reading.

Giuliani needs to win in Florida because he’s poured so much of his resources into it, and to prove that he’s capable of winning as a Republican.  He can’t afford to give away states because although he’s a formidable campaigner with a deep rolodex and a strong resume, when you get down to it there’s a very large segment of the Republican party that believes he’s not a good fit with their values, and they may be right.

Huckabee needs to win a “Yankee” state early on, to prove that he isn’t strictly a Southern phenomenon. That means Iowa or Michigan. Either one would satisfy this requirement. To win both, obviously, would be best – despite his current strength Huckabee is still lacking in cash and organization. The asset which his campaign has the most of is momentum, and he’ll need all he can get.

McCain needs a win anywhere. His best chance is probably in New Hampshire, where he’s popular and very well known. But NHers might not want to invest their votes in him again, after what happened following his win there in 2000. McCain is also popular in his home state of Arizona, but Arizona isn’t a sought-after prize. Besides, a win there would easily be chalked up to homerism by McCain’s opponents, and probably by the mainstream media.

Romney needs to win somewhere other than New Hampshire. Right now it looks like his best bet is Michigan, since he was born there and his dad was a big shot in the auto industry there, as well as Governor from 1962 until 1969. Aside from New Hampshire, Michigan is where Romney is strongest: he’s currently tied with Huckabee for first place there.  In an effort to salvage his enormous investment in his campaign, Romney has turned heavily to negative tactics, a strategy which could hurt the Republican party even as it fails to help the Romney campaign.

Thompson desperately needs South Carolina to love him. He’s pinned his hopes on taking the conservative vote, the Southern vote, and the Law and Order vote (if it exists). But Huckabee is the darling of the religious right and is trouncing him in almost every southern state so far. The Law and Order vote has yet to materialize.  Like Romney, Thompson has turned to negative campaigning, with the same risks that dog Romney’s campaign.

The also-rans…

Ron Paul, like McCain, needs a win anywhere. He may have a chance in a very small state with a large independent contingent and a love for mavericks. That could be New Hampshire, which would be a great win, and Vermont, which hardly anyone cares about. Minnesota has a history of going that way too, but Minnesota isn’t a big state population-wise and isn’t an early-voting state, either. The smart money says that Paul doesn’t win anywhere, but may not be wise to discount his chances totally, given his enormous bankroll and the unusual fervor of his supporters.

Duncan Hunter has virtually no chance of winning anywhere, so his campaign has made a shrewd decision to concentrate most of his resources in Nevada. Whether it works has yet to be determined, but even if it does work, it’s unlikely to make an impact anywhere else.

Tom Tancredo, although he usually polls higher than Hunter, probably has even less chance of winning. Tancredo isn’t only a single issue candidate (immigration), he’s a single issue candidate with a shrill message and almost no strategy.

Alan Keyes is a persuasive and inspirational speaker when he’s on his game, but he’s off his game most of the time these days. His rhetoric is infused with too much anger, and his daughter’s resentment and much-publicized lesbianism is an embarrassment. It hurts me to say this, having been a Keyes supporter in ’96 and ’00, but Keyes is probably the guy who could never win anywhere, even if the rest of the candidates perished in a plane crash together.

Mike Huckabee’s presidential campaign has been surging since October, and the numbers are looking good – he’s in polling in first place in a bunch of states, including Texas, which was announced today.  He’s also running well nationally; according to Rasmussen Reports he’s been in first place nationwide for a couple of weeks now.

There’s one number, however, that hasn’t been looking so good, and that’s the figure in the campaign’s bank account.  In the first three quarters of 2007 Huckabee’s campaign took in less than $2.5 million in donations.  October and November Huckabee began to surge, and another $3 million came in.  Through the first fifteen days of December the campaign received another $1 million.

That’s a grand total of roughly $6.5 million, a lot of money to a pipefitter or a wallpaper hanger, but when you’re running for president it doesn’t go very far.  That’s why Huckabee’s supporters are taking a cue from the Ron Paul campaign, and planning a “moneybomb.”

A moneybomb, in case you haven’t heard the expression, is a planned happening.  Some of the supporters of a particular candidate defer their gifts for a while, others muster something extra, everybody gives on the same day, and voila!  You’ve got a moneybomb!

It’s certainly been working out for congressman Paul.  His coffers filled with over $4 million in one day in November, and another $6 million on December 16.  And it isn’t just the financial benefits that are attractive – it doesn’t hurt to have CNN, Fox, MSNBC, and the broadcast networks all crowing about your big day.  That’s great publicity, and the best kind of publicity, because it’s more than free, if you know what I mean.

So here’s the payoff, as far as this article is concerned.

Huckabee’s supporters, who call themselves Huck’s Army, are planning a moneybomb of their own for December 27.  Their goal is more modest at $1 million, but the idea is the same: tons of very useful money with the bonus of publicity that money can’t buy.

For more info, get it straight from the source at www.dec27th.com.

Mike Huckabee

My last (previous) post, titled “They Just Don’t Get Us,” got more of a response than I had anticipated.  The article was only concerned with the growing rejection of Christianity (and Christians) by American society.  The comments that were posted by readers were mostly concerned with Christian hypocrisy and its effect on the cultural perception of Christianity itself.  But as I think about the subject more, I’m more intrigued with the intellectual part of the equation.

I’m not a theologian, but I am a Christian who understands most of the fundamentals of his faith and is committed to learning more in time.  Let me air out some ideas here, and please do me the favor of sharing your feedback.

Understanding Christianity and its precepts requires first that an individual adopt the meaning of the proverb, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5) and it also requires us to accept, if only temporarily and for the sake of argument, that all truth is dependent on the Creator’s point of view, not ours.  Jesus has many names, and Truth is one of the most important.  As Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” (John 14:6)  We aren’t just talking about a name, either – we’re talking about Jesus’ very identity.  That’s one challenge that many people can’t get past.  They want to be their own truth, rather than accepting a higher power.  We, on the other hand, accept that Jesus is one with the all-powerful, all-knowing, supernatural God (John 10:30) and that all truth and logic is grounded in Him.  That’s our perspective, our paradigm, from which we view the world around us and interpret the knowledge available to us.

It’s too simplistic to say that you have to first believe, and then you’ll understand and your belief will be justified.  But it’s in the same neighborhood with the truth.  Unfortunately, some people have tried to present Christianity with that rationale, and it has a tendency to make us look like fools.  The Western World likes confidence and it likes certainty.  It appreciates precise language, empirical proof, and unbeatable arguments.  What it doesn’t like is ambiguity on intellectual matters.  And yet one of the most basic (and positive) things we have to offer is an acknowledgement of our intellectual limitations.

What I’m really getting at here is the idea that in order to be at peace with God, we need to acknowledge His superiority and our flawed nature.  Once we incorporate that truth into our worldview, we find that we’re far more able to harmonize what we think we know with what the Holy Bible tells us.