I might have titled this post “The Most Viable Candidate for President, Part 2” because it continues the theme of my earlier post about Mitt Romney. Pro-lifers must take very seriously the question of a candidate’s viability in a general election. It’s not enough to win the popularity contest among primary voters. The best candidate will be able to win the general election.
With that in mind, consider Rich Lowry’s piece that appears today in National Review
online. Lowry sets forth reasons that Mike Huckabee will not be viable in the general election in November. These include his record on taxes, his lack of depth on foreign policy issues, and more. Combining these shortcomings with the fact that Huckabee has not yet been fully vetted, Lowry contends that a Huckabee nomination would mean a certain loss in the general election.
Lowry compares Mike Huckabee’s viability to Howard Dean’s in 2004: “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. . . Democrats have to be looking at Huckabee the way Republicans once regarded Dean â€” as a shiny Christmas present that is too good to be true.”
Anyway, Lowry’s concerns reflect those of a wide swath of savvy conservatives, and this article is definitely worth reading. I commend it to you for your careful consideration.
“Huckacide: A shiny Christmas present for the Democrats” â€“ by Rich Lowry (National Review)
I’m sorry, but this is just sheer nonsense. It seems the Romney camp is trying to get Conservatives to buy into the Liberal myth that “values” aren’t as important to Americans as taxes etc.
In reference to Huckabee’s record on taxes, I refer you to this post from the Evangelical Outpost”:
f you asked 90 percent of the people who make such a claim how much he actually increased the taxes, they’d have no clue. So let me enlighten them.
Huckabee was Governor of Arkansas from July 1996 to January 2007. During that 10 1/2 year period, taxes that affected all citizens increased by the following amounts:
* Increase in the income tax rates: 0 percent
* Increase in the sales tax: 1 cent
* Increase in the gas tax: 3 cents a gallon
* Increase in diesel fuel tax: 4 cents a gallon
Next time you encounter a “fiscal conservative” claiming that “Huckabee is bad on taxes” ask them if they know these numbers. They won’t. They never do.
I also strongly suggest you read this post:
Further, I just think it’s very lame to knock a candidate because he’s “too Christian”. Of course, the Lowry piece didn’t do this directly, but the constant pointing out how he was a “Baptist Minister” and “doesn’t believe in evolution”, surely implies this. Do you think most voters even care about that? Also, another point he makes is how Huckabee hasn’t done good in fundraising and is on cable news shows…what is the point of fundraising? Isn’t it so that you can pay for TV ads and other things to garner more attention for yourself? If so, then appearing on cable news shows is doing just fine for Huckabee, he’s going to be leading the Republican pack with almost no money! As I mentioned in a previous post, just imagine what he could do WITH money once he gets the nomination.
Lastly Denny, how electable do you think the flip-flopping positions Romney has taken is going to be? How important is “honesty” in deciding who will be our next President?
If Huckabee can win the Republican nomination, he can certainly defeat the Democrats – like George Bush in 04, he’s the only one who can really bring out the “Values Voters” and win the Presidency.
And if you’ve been following the polls recently, you’d find that he’s pulled within 1 point of Clinton:
I have seen several of these articles, but none of them say what exactly the Achilles heel of Huckabee is.
He is the only candidate on either side that is going after the center. We have Republicans pandering to the right, and Democrats pandering to the left. He has as much if not more foreign policy experience as any of the democratic candidates. He is going to be more conservative on fiscal issues than any of the Democrats, Beyond that, he knows how to appeal to blue collar America and minorities.
I find this article very amusing and at the same time perplexing. Jumping into the article I see quite a few holes in Lowry’s argument that Huckabee is unelectable.
He says “[Dean’s ghost] haunts the pundit class,” as if there have been many opportunities for candidates to spike up in the polls. Is this not the first presidential election since 2004?
Lowry assumes that had Dean not blown himself up with his over-the-top crazy man speech his nomination would have been suicide for the Democratic party. I would argue that no one knows what the polls would have shown had Dean not shrilled his way out of the election.
I suppose that being and under-vetted former governor is a bad thing, except I think the last 2 presidents have been former governors without presidential experience and were rather unvetted before running. Lowry points out that Huckabee caters to a particular niche of the party (that niche being myself and all those that support the life of the unborn) with screamingly obvious vulnerabilities (even more so than all the other candidates???), but I don’t think Lowry’s evidence supports these statements.
For instance, there is a difference between not believing in evolution and being the anti-science party (as an engineer I think its more ridiculous to believe that the world works as well as it does and consistently enough to design, build, and safely fly an aircraft in a world created by chance and random mutation than it is to reason that the world works the way it does because the Creator created it). Lowry suggests that outwardly promoting this belief is a detriment to winning. I argue, at what point does winning the election outweigh standing on principles?
Lowry next argues Huckabee’s tax platform. I counter with the following. Since past events are not a predictor of future performance, I will not consider his tax-raising history in Arkansas relevant. I will believe that Huckabee supports a flat tax scheme (whether it is plausible or not, it is perhaps the most conservative approach to tax structure that probably exists besides none at all). If Huck is eliminated from consideration for his previous tax voting record, then Romney is immediately eliminated from the discussion due to his view of abortion in the past. And Romney, what the candidate that the National Review endorsed as most electable.
Concerning foreign policy, it is very common that candidates running for president do not always have the foreign policy experience they need going into an election. What foreign policy experience did Clinton and Bush have before they were elected? Clinton and Bush depended on foreign-policy advisers, but Huckabee, who doesn’t have near the capital as anyone else running, has a 4 person staff making it difficult to pay for a foreign policy adviser. I’m quite certain that will change if Huck wins the primary because the full support of the convention would be behind him.
I for one think Lowry’s attempt at disqualifying Huckabee doesn’t hold water. Thanks for the post Denny!
Don’t Mormons believe that black people are descendants of Satan? His representatives here on earth?
How in the world could anyone vote for a Mormon if they knew that..especially a black person?!
Why are these questions never asked of Mr.Romney in public forums?
I still assert that we as Christians gotta quit worrying about the polls, and seek first God’s Kingdom and His Righteousness, and ask Him to raise up our next president, and for it to be a person who will honor God above man.
D. Taylor Benton
I just got done Listening to Michael Medved’s AM radio show and he blew so many holes in this guys article it was pretty embarrassing.
I will second the comment about Huck’s “Achilles heel”..what is it? no one seems to state it..as to foreign policy…who on either side of the aisle in this election has any foreign policy experience? only one person, and that is John McCain. and He has taken every chance in that past 6 years to shoot Republicans in the foot, why would we want to vote him into office after that?
A couple days ago I wrote an article about why I do support Huckabee… First, I want to say that I am from Arkansas and I have seen first hand the effects of Huckabee’s leadership.
About him not being able to win the general election… If you look at history his campaign this far looks closer to Ronald Reagan’s than it does anybody else’s.. Financially, popularity, and leadership Mike Huckabee is at the same place Ronald Reagan was when he was running for president…
That article is ridiculous… All of you Christian Romney supports are missing a lot. How smart can you really be to lead a country if you believe on Mormonism? You cannot be that intelligent… Romney has no convictions… He is only pro-life and against gay marriages because he knew he had to be too win the nomination. To win his election in the north east he was for gay marriages and pro-choice… You don’t see a problem with that?
Live the Word
I forgot something… Mike Huckabee is the only person who has consistently beaten the Clinton’s in a campaign! And you say he couldn’t win the general election… give me a break!
May I remind Mr. Svoboda, respectfully, that his argument about the lack of intelligence of someone who believes in Mormonism is the same one that atheists use to belittle religious belief, and us believers, in general. (Atheists think the religious are cretins devoid of reason, after all).
Don’t faith and belief come from a different place than intelligence, anyway?
Everyone’s own religion, it’s beliefs and idiosyncratic practices look absolutely wacky to someone else on the outside looking in if they’re not of a similar persuasion. (And God bless us all with lots of real information between now and November of 2008, and the intelligence to hopefully make the right choice)! Best regards.
Huckabee, 1,000 pardons? He did raise taxes, I heard him talk about it on talk radio. Now he sounds like a clinton with the devil brother baloney…Hey if he is the guy from the GOP fine I’ll vote for him… But let’s get one thing right: He is no Ronald Reagan. He could’nt hold his tooth brush…1,000 pardons 11 of those were killers… Weak on the border…Now he sounds tough but weak as Gov. on those issues with illegals……KL, well put.
It’s important to keep in mind the degree to which the conservative intelligentsia (Hugh Hewitt, National Review, etc) absolutely despise Huckabee. They used to just ignore him, but it’s not turned to spite as Huckabee has become a viable threat to Romney.
I think it’s very easy for the conservative elites to forget that the true-blue conservative intellectual class is actually a pretty small minority of voters. At the end of the day, the conservative elites offer arguments that are surely in tension (if not contradictory): on the one hand, they argue that Huckabee is just a pro-life liberal; on the other hand, they argue that he doesn’t stand a chance in the general election.
Ask yourself how many “Reagan Democrats” would ever vote for Romney (the choice of the conservative elites–and in my opinion, a very good candidate). But then ask the same question of Huckabee, who has a tremendous amount of crossover appeal.
The idea that the Dems are routing for Huckabee is a pretty serious case of wish fulfillment–IMHO!
D. Taylor Benton
stop listening to the talking points of the other politicians and go look at the pardon record of all the politicians running, I am sure you will see the same stats budâ€¦lets take the example of his closest competitor Mitt Romney,
In four years, Romney raised taxes 4%â€¦
in 11 years as Governor with an all democratic state government, Huck only raised them 1% over what was previously imposedâ€¦man that sounds like a liberal to meâ€¦not!Not to mention that under Huck,Arkansas had and has one of the lowest tax rates in the COUNTRY….that answers the lamo unsubstantiated â€œbad on taxes and immigrationâ€ claim, go look at the facts seems this is a situation when we critique our own more than we critique other candidatesâ€¦..
Who elso holds the Bible to be true and trust in Christ as their personal Lord and Savior?!?!! not Guilianiâ€¦definitely not Romneyâ€¦.McCain, i think nowâ€¦.Hunter? nopeâ€¦DING DING DING! we got a winner, Huckabeeâ€¦
there you go for the people that say they donâ€™t know what where he stands on immigrationâ€¦
And who else is proposing a Flat tax for America? I donâ€™t know about you but I like to keep my money and be a good steward of it in how I spend it and where i decide to support things. The less I spend, the less taxes I payâ€¦that sounds pretty good to me.
Seriously people, stop watching what the Dinosaur media is purporting and do your own research, you will find amazing differences..
I also want to say that Huck being a Believer in Christ and being indwelt with the Holy Spirit, I would trust him any day over any other candidatesâ€¦
Where would you rank the importance of a candidate’s view of God in your choice of a candidate?
Romans 13 is the central text in my understanding of what a “good” government is. The governing authorities are set in place by God as a common grace to people. The “authorities” exist to punish evildoers, protect the innocent, to wield the sword justly, etc. When Paul wrote Romans 13, he was commanding Romans to subject themselves to the Roman authorities, which were the pagan, Roman empire. So I don’t think the NT teaches us to expect rulers to be Christians. Sometimes the just ruler is the pagan ruler.
We are in a situation that does not really have an analog is scripture. We the people elect our authorities, and we have to make prudential judgments about which candidates will best fulfill the God-ordained task of governing authorities (protect the innocent, punish the wicked, wield the sword justly, etc.). We live under a government that sanctions (via Roe v. Wade) the legal killing of babies. This is an assault not just on justice generically, but on God specifically (since humans alone bear his image, cf. Gen. 9). So I’m looking for a qualified candidate who will wield the sword justly and who will turn back Roe v. Wade. That person may or may not have a right view of God.
Maybe that’s more info than you wanted, but that’s how I think about it.
Thanks for the comment.
Well, Obviously no one took it this way, but I was kidding when I made a comment about Romney’s intelligence. Although you do have to believe some wacky things to be a mormon I do think Romney is a smart guy. I’m not anti-Romney, in fact he is the third on my list, but the second on my list, McCain, doesn’t have a chance! If Romney actually beats Huckabee for the general election I will happy to vote for him! But I think it will be for the worse if Romney does beat Huckabee in the primary’s…
I’m probably not as politically attentive as I should be. Our government doing right may be good for the cause of Christ. On the other hand, our government increasing in corruption may actually be a God appointed means of furthering the gospel.
I share the conviction with you that all of life/creation exists for the glory of God and that God’s aim in all He does is to glory in His own glory. That truth is central to all relationships and decisions. I was reading yesterday in Philippians 2 where Paul comments about sending Timothy to the Philippians or not and his going to visit the Philippians or not and both decisions are cast in light of the Lordship of Christ – to which ultimately every knee will bow and every tongue confess.
If everything is about God – then it seems wise for me to evaluate a candidate as to which one has the main thing right. I don’t know if Huckabee has a high view of God or not – lots of SBC preachers don’t (sadly). I haven’t researched the candidates views of God other than a very surface reading of responses to Romney’s “religion speech”. I’m not promoting Huckabee or any candidate but I was a little surprised at your list of three priorities not including something more directly God-centered.
Please don’t take this wrong – I think you are very astute on these matters and I really appreciate your thoughts.
I am not hoping for a political solution to the spiritual drunkenness of our day; nor am I proposing that we only vote for genuine believers who manifest a high view of God and a biblical view of salvation. I believe one’s view of life is crucial – not only abortion but the genocide, racism, and care for those whom the church isn’t caring for.
I am saying – I can’t make an evaluation of a man’s character or integrity or his leadership ability without considering his view of God.
If God ordains for pagans to be in leadership over me then I believe that is for His wise purposes and I will seek to joyfully and prayerfully submit and honor them. I will pray for them to yield the sword justly and be pro life. They may get these things right and miss the main thing but surely if they were to get the main thing right – to know God and see something of the glory of the only begotten of the Father – then they would be more likely to get life and justice right.